Bed bugs are small, brown, flat insects that are roughly 5-7mm in length, and they leave bite marks which resemble the same markings left by mosquitos when they puncture the skin. Like mosquitos, bed bugs leave bites because they are parasitic and seek out humans or animals to take their blood. Also like mosquitos, a bed bug’s bite leaves a red, itchy bump raised above the skin. The main way to tell the difference between the bites from a mosquito and bed bugs bites would be to look at their frequency and bite pattern. Mosquitos do not move in groups and will usually leave singular bites in erratic locations. For example, even if there is more than one mosquito around, they would bite someone in erratic places like one on the arm, one on the leg, and one on the ear. When bed bugs leave bites, they will often appear in a central grouping or line.
Bed bugs bites can also be mistaken for the similar spots left by fleas. The main difference is that flea bites are much smaller and will not be as swollen. Fleas also typically bite people on their feet, ankles, and lower legs rather than on the arms, legs, and hands. Because bed bugs leave bites at night when they exit their hiding places, they will choose areas that are exposed while someone is sleeping. Bed bugs will travel a fair distance in order to find food, with some being recorded as having moved ten feet in order to reach a person. However, if the bites disappear, this does not mean that the pests are gone. Bed bugs eat once every few days and can return after the original bites have vanished, leaving even more bites in their place.
So, what can be done about bites? Thankfully, the bites of bed bugs do not typically require medical attention. Usually, the bites will cause an itching or burning sensation, and people might be tempted to scratch them. People should avoid scratching the bites whenever possible because doing so can cause further irritation and even skin infections. Some people might also experience blisters and hives caused by an allergic reaction to the bite. In many cases, applying a soothing antiseptic cream is all that would be necessary to alleviate the reaction and subsequent itching. Allergic reactions can be lessened through the use of antihistamines. However, if someone shows signs of a severe reaction, they should go to the hospital or see a doctor immediately to stop the reaction from worsening.
Bed bugs bites are one of the telltale warning signs that there are bed bugs in a residence or business. Because they reproduce quickly and are small enough to hide in tiny cracks, they can be difficult to eliminate. Although many websites advertise DIY pest control methods, they are often ineffective. Bed bug populations have been on the rise all around the world, and the pest is one of the most prolific and difficult to exterminate completely. Professional exterminators have access to the products and tools capable of removing the pests in their entirety, including any eggs or young nymphs which might be hiding in furniture or cracks around the room. As the industry advances, some methods of bed bug removal include environmentally friendly, non-chemical products and treatments. People interested in safe yet effective methods can discuss benign bed bug removal and stop the bites from continuing.
Jose D. has been providing pest control solutions to North County San Diego residents since 2000!