There are many possible culprits to blame when you wake up covered in itchy insect bites. Mosquitoes, fleas and bed bugs are known to produce small red dots of raised skin, often itchy and partially swollen.
Determining which parasitic pest is responsible for your bites can be a challenge. But as with any other endeavor, the more you know, the more power you have. Understanding what bed bugs are, what they look like, and where they live is the first step to identifying bed bug bites.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are parasitic insects that consume the blood of warm-blooded mammals. They are typically tiny, adults averaging at about 3/16th of an inch. They are capable of reproducing quickly, and they can survive for up to seven months without food, making them a tricky pest to defeat.
They get their name from the fact that they are commonly found in bed linens, pillows, and mattresses.
Bed bugs can be difficult to see due to their size
Where Do Bed Bugs Live?
Bed bugs can live in a wide variety of locations if their home isn’t too hot or too cold. They prefer warm, dry, darkened spaces like the underside of mattresses, pillows, cushions, and couches.
Bed bugs are so small and flat, they can live in the cracks between your baseboard and your wall! They are small enough to fit onto the head of a pin.
When bed bugs emerge from their hiding spot at night, they nibble at exposed skin. Many people who wake up with bed bug bites find them across their arms, legs, shoulders, neck, or face. These are the most often uncovered areas when we sleep.
Once you’ve found evidence of bed bugs, you can begin to treat your bites safely and wisely.
What Do Bed Bugs Bites Look Like?
Bed bug bites don’t all look identical, which makes them somewhat difficult to diagnose. But typical signs and symptoms include:
- Raised red dots, often in a line or grouping
- Itchiness around bites
Some people may experience a severe allergic reaction to bed bug bites. Symptoms of such a reaction include:
However, some individuals may have a delayed or absent response. For these individuals, there is usually very little itchiness and very little inflammation.
A medical professional will be able to verify your insect bites and consult with you for further treatment.