Bed Bug Bites

Do bed bugs bite?

“Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don’t let…” We all know what’s coming, but I think that most of us, as we grew up, thought that the rhyme was just a cute children’s tale. Personally, we were very disappointed to learn that it’s true. If you have time, feel free to read our article on what are bed bugs. As briefly as possible, bed bugs do exist and they do bite. Keep reading for more information on bed bug bites.

What do bed bug bites look like?

Creative Commons License photo credit: hiyori13
There is no question that we’re asked more often than What do Bed Bug Bites Look Like? Unfortunately, this is a very hard question to answer, as the appearance of bed bug bites can vary from person to person. On some people, it may look like a rash. On others, raised bumps. And on the very lucky few (approximately 20% of the population), there will be no reaction at all. What’s more, even if there are visible signs of bed bug bites, they don’t always have to itch – they may be painful instead.

The most common appearances of bed bug bites is the “breakfast, lunch, dinner” bite. This is the name commonly given to a row of 3 raised bumps, typically on your arm or leg, but in some cases on your torso. The bites are usually in a row of three (sometimes just 2) because the bed bug literally dined on you 3 times. This is often the case because people tend to move while sleeping, and by moving, the bed bug’s feeding is disturbed and must resume in a nearby location. Another visible tell-tale sign of a bed bug bite is that the bump will often have two puncture marks. Bed bugs are supposed to make 2 punctures when they bite you: one to inject you with a numbing agent so you don’t feel them sucking up your blood and one to suck up your blood through. However, the 2 puncture marks will not be visible on everyone.

As you may have inferred, there are more common and less common types of bed bug bites, but there really is no typical. If you really think you might have bed bugs, head over to our bed bugs signs page and use some of the methods described in order to figure out if you have a problem.

Are bed bug bites dangerous?

Although bed bug bites are disgusting and most certainly annoying, they are generally not dangerous. Bed bugs, unlike some insects such as mosquitos, are not known to transmit any diseases. However, a very small percentage of the population is seriously allergic to their numbing agent. In those very few people, anaphylaxis can result, which is potentially life-threatening. Read our bed bug allergy post to learn more.

For most people the only real danger of bed bug bites arises when you start itching them. Continuous scratching can cause blisters and possibly infections. Therefore, if you do have itchy bed bug bites, you should treat them early to prevent any future complications.

How to treat bed bug bites:

Bed bug bites can be treated in many ways. Over the counter medications, such as hydrocortisone cream and calamine lotion, can ease the itching. If you prefer home remedies, then try applying a paste made from baking soda and water on the bites after washing the bites with soap and water. Leave the paste on until it’s completely dry before washing it off. Check out our post on bed bug bites treatment for more information.

How to prevent bed bug bites:

In the end, if you have bed bug bites, then the question you’ll really start asking yourself is “how can I get rid of the bed bugs that bite me all the time?” We’ve got a whole page on how to get rid of bed bugs that I strongly encourage you to read. Above all else, pay attention to the beginning and end of that article, from which you should take away 2 primary points:

  1. You need to put together an overall strategy that should involve several different particular ways to kill bed bugs. If you try only one way (spray, vacuum, dry steamer, etc.), then you will almost certainly fail. Bed bugs are far too resilient and devious. (OK – they’re not really devious, but you’ll feel like they are).
  2. The 2 best things you can buy are a dry steamer and diatomaceous earth. The dry steamer will ensure that you are able to kill not only the live bed bugs but also their eggs. The diatomaceous earth will help kill any bed bugs that survive your first couple treatments, as it will stay around for a while.

You can read a lot of other sites on the web, but if all they seem to be doing is selling you a spray or telling you that you can get rid of bed bugs simply by vacuuming and washing all your stuff, then they’re duping you. (You should definitely use vacuuming and washing as part of your strategy, but they’re NEVER enough).

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