5 Things You Need To Know About Bed Bug Bites
Bed bugs are a big problem: an American survey found that one-fifth of people have either suffered through an infestation or know someone who has. When you wake up with strange bites on your skin, your first thought may be that you are infested with bed bugs, and you may be right. Here's what you need to know about bed bug bites.
What do bed bug bites look like?
Bed bug bites look like small, red spots on your skin. They can be either flat or raised, and may be itchy or turn into blisters. The reaction varies based on how sensitive you are to the anti-coagulant they inject when they feed on your blood.
Bed bug bites tend to be grouped together, so you may see bites in either straight lines or zigzag patterns. Other types of bugs tend to bite in random patterns, so lines or zigzags are a clear sign that bed bugs are responsible.
Do bed bug bites mean you have an infestation?
Waking up with bed bug bites doesn't always mean that you have a bed bug infestation. It can take a few days for your body to react to a bite, so if you recently stayed at a hotel or slept over at a friend's house, you could've been bitten there. However, the bugs could've also come home with you from the infested location, so you should still consider the possibility that your house is infested.
What if the rest of the family don't have bites?
If you're the only one covered in bites, you may think that bed bugs can't be responsible. Unfortunately, this may not be the case. A study conducted by the University of Kentucky found that not everyone who gets bitten by bed bugs has a reaction. The study surveyed 474 people who had confirmed bed bug infestations and found that 30% of them had never had a bite or any other skin reaction. The study found that elderly people are the least likely to suffer symptoms from bed bug bites, but people of all ages reported not experiencing symptoms.
Do other insects cause similar bites?
Many other insects can bite you when you sleep and leave red, itchy bites on your skin. Insects like fleas, lice, or mites may be responsible for your bites. You may also be getting bitten during the day by insects like mosquitoes. You don't need to panic every time you wake up with bug bites on your skin, but you do need to investigate further, in case you have bed bugs.
How can you prove bed bugs caused your bites?
Bites alone aren't enough to prove the presence of bed bugs, so you'll need to look more closely. Check your mattress, sheets, and the furniture around your bed for signs of bed bug activity. Live bed bugs are an obvious clue that you have a problem, but since they tend to be more active at night, you may only find small clues that they are present.
Look for small, blood-colored stains on your sheets; these stains can be a clue that bed bugs were crushed in your bed after feeding on you. Also, look for dark brown or black spots on your mattress and sheets; these spots are bed bug feces. You may also find bed bug eggs if you look very closely. These eggs are only about 1 mm long and pale yellow, so they can be hard to spot.
Waking up with bites all over your body can be terrifying, but it doesn't always mean that you have a bed bug infestation. To confirm your fears, you need to examine your sleeping area closely for signs of bed bug activity. If you find these signs, call a pest control company immediately, before the infestation can get any worse.