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What Are Bed Bugs? How To Identify Bed Bug Bites in 10 Steps

August 13, 2019 Vinx Pest Control Bed bugs
What Are Bed Bugs? How To Identify Bed Bug Bites in 10 Steps

If you’re wondering how to identify bed bug bites, you’ve come to the right place. We get how frustrating it can be to look down at your skin and see bites. But, if we’re talking about bed bug bites, you don’t even need to look down—you can feel them because they itch like crazy! You’ve probably been googling like crazy, trying to figure out what is going on with your skin. Is it chickenpox? Mosquito bites? Flea bites? The list goes on and on. The deeper into Google you get, the more you begin to itch. You may even feel like there are bugs crawling on you as you read!

Believe us—we’ve been there. It’s the worst feeling in the world, and we don’t wish it upon our worst enemies. Because we like you, we’re going to help get you to the bottom of your bite problem. By the end, you’ll know whether or not it’s those pesky bed bugs you’re dealing with. But before we get into how to identify bed bug bites, if you read this and realize you’ve got bed bugs and live in the DallasFort Worth area, fill out the form below or give us a call for to get a quote. 

What are bed bugs?

Even the name is gross: Bed bugs. It’s as if your literal nightmare was created in a small, oval bug. If you’re anything like us, your bed is your safe haven. As it should be! It’s the place where you rest and recharge. It’s where you dream big and cocoon yourself in endless warmth. It is not a place for bad things to happen to you.

If we could, we’d take the problem away from you. Oh, wait…we can! We’re bed bug experts, so let’s break it down:

  • Small bugs that are parasitic
  • Drink blood, like ticks and fleas
  • Repopulate extremely fast
  • Love dark places (like your fave pillow!)
  • Infestations are very common by the time you find them

Did we scare you? We’re not trying to. Basically, bed bugs are no bueno. They’ll bite you and your loved ones, leaving itchy welts that can scar if you scratch them! If you’re noticing bed bug bites and you aren’t sleeping in a hotel or someone else’s home, there’s a good chance there are other signs of the bed bugs that you aren’t seeing. And because bites often mean you can have an infestation, let’s look at the signs that you may have a bed bug infestation.

Signs of a bed bug infestation

Everyone wishes they could have an infestation of money or free candy or something good! Instead, we’re stuck with the bothersome infestations of creepy crawlies that like to suck our blood. And unlike Bella and Edward, these creepers aren’t vampires but bed bugs. However, they will watch you while you sleep just like in Twilight.

So, if you’re not into that (we don’t blame you), let’s make sure you know what to be on the lookout for. The first thing you usually see with bedbugs are the bites. But, we’ll talk about that later. Here’s the thing: Bed bugs can live up for a year. In that year, they can lay up to 500 eggs. Now imagine those 500 eggs laying an additional 500 eggs each. We’re not going to make you do math, but it’s a lot of bed bugs! 

When there are that many bugs, there is usually a musty-like smell. So, if you’ve been sniffing something strange these past few months and blaming it on your husband or the dog, it’s probably not them. Or, at least they shouldn’t be completely to blame. That sweet, slightly musty, almost like your grandma’s house type of smell could be from bed bugs. They have these (not so) awesome smell glands that excrete this unappetizing smell all over their (your) home. It can be in your furniture, your sheets, your pillows, and even your clothes!

Beyond smelling like a wet or moldy home, there also may be strange rust-colored stains that pop up wherever bedbugs are. We hate to be the ones to break this to you, but it’s not rust. That would be the bed bug’s stool. You are what you eat, and since they eat blood—well, you get the picture.

Another thing that you may see around your house are bed bug sheds. And no, this isn’t where they hold all their extra gardening tools. Their sheds are their old skin that they molt out of as they grow. Remember, bed bugs are tiny. They are tinier than an apple seed! These sheds may not look like much to you. They may seem like little white bugs that look nothing like bed bugs. People often think they are small gnats or tiny beetles. But, alas, they are not. If you have seen any sort of white “bugs” dead around your house, it could be bed bug casings.

The best way to find out if you have an infestation is to check. Take a flashlight and leave the room light off. Bed bugs love the dark, so it’s best to surprise them with your flashlight. Check your furniture, and especially your bed. You’ll want to lift up the cushions or mattresses and check the edges with the flashlight. You can see bed bugs with the naked eye, but you should also be able to see molt, eggs, or feces. You may even see blood spots from where your bites have bled.

If the thought of checking for bed bugs grosses you out, we get it! That’s why we have certified techs that know exactly what to look for. If you would rather an expert take a look, give us a call. We’d be happy to send someone out to help with your problem.

How to identify bed bug bites

If you’ve found bed bugs, there’s a good chance that you have bed bug bites. But if you didn’t pause reading to play bed bug Inspector Gadget, let’s get to the bites. You’ve got all these bites, you’re frustrated beyond belief, and you don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. We’re that light! We have ten ways for you to identify your bed bug bites for good.

1. Didn’t feel it

The first thing that helps you to identify a bug bite may be the strangest thing of all. It’s that you may not have felt it at all! The thing about bed bugs is that they inject an anesthetic that actually numbs the area that they are biting. So, you aren’t able to feel when a bed bug is attached to you. The creepiest part is that they stay attached to you from anywhere from three to ten minutes sucking your blood until they are full! That’s a long time!

2. Looks like a mosquito bite

Another way to identify whether you have bed bug bites is that they are going to look like mosquito bites. Obviously, if you haven’t been in an area with mosquitos, this will be extremely concerning. If these bites look and feel like a mosquito bite, there’s a good chance they are bed bug bites. You can expect for them to be swollen and itchy and especially red!

3. New bites when you wake up

If you haven’t guessed by now, bed bugs are eerily similar to vampires. They only come out at night! That means that you will have bites when you wake up. If you are waking up with bites that you didn’t have the night before, we’ve got some bad news. It’s probably not a spider but bed bugs that are biting you! This is one of the telltale signs that you are dealing with bed bugs and not something else.

4. Bites on anywhere skin is exposed

Bed bugs, unlike fleas, are not picky. Anywhere your skin is exposed, you can expect to see bites. If you were dealing with fleas, you would mostly see bites on your ankles. This is typical to see, but not with bed bugs. If you wear shorts, you could have bed bug bites all up your legs! If you wore nothing—well, let’s not go there. We’ll just say that the result will not be pleasant. If you’re dealing with bed bugs, cover up buttercup!

5. Clear or dark center

There are so many bug bites that it can be hard to determine one from the other. However, a really good way to determine this is what the center of the bug bite looks like. For many bug bites, you will find a hot red center. This is typical because the skin is swelling and reacting to what the toxin in the bug is. 

However, you won’t see a hot red center when it comes to bed bug bites. The most typical center you will see with bed bug bites is a clear center. Other times, there may be a darker center that then fades out to a lighter red color. Bed bugs have a sort of beak that they insert into your skin and drink your blood with. It’s this beak that can often cause these clear centers. 

6. Dried blood spots

Because these bugs leave a larger hole with their beak, you often continue to bleed after they say goodbye to you. If you wake up with dried blood spots on your skin where your bites are, there’s a good chance that this is a bed bug! The dried blood will be small and pinpoint-like, so it can often go unnoticed until the bites start itching severely.

There’s also the possibility that the blood will end up on your sheets rather than stick to you. So, always check your sheets when you wake up!

7. Bites in a line

Perhaps the most telling sign of bed bugs is when there are multiple bites. But, it’s also a known fact that bed bugs bite in a line. It can be zigzagged or straight, but bed bugs are going to bite multiple times in a line. Unlike other bugs, that may just bite once, you don’t usually have one or two bed bug bites. They are out for blood—literally—so if there are a line of bites, pick up your phone and give us a call!

8. Bites in threes

It’s true that bed bugs bite in a line, but, they also bite in threes. Many people refer to this as the bed bug triangle. Unlike the Bermuda triangle, there is no pleasant island point! This triangle is often from a group of bed bugs. Bed bugs are super cliquey, just like your least favorite high schoolers, and they travel around in threes. If you’ve noticed a grouping of bites that then continue into a line, go grab your flashlight—it’s time to check your sheets!

9. Swollen bites

Some bites swell a lot, others do not. If you have swollen bites, you know that something is irritating you. The problem with bed bugs is that everyone reacts differently. Some people’s bites won’t swell at all, but will instead look like flat, red dots across the skin. Other people’s bites will swell up like a mosquito bite and leave behind a large, raised bite.

Perhaps the scariest thing is that, although rare, bed bugs can cause some individuals to go into anaphylactic shock. This is when the airway passages swell shut. It can be life-threatening and happens very quickly. Always keep an eye on your family and how they react to bed bug bites. The last thing we want is for someone to get injured or die from bed bugs!

10. See bed bugs

Here’s a shocker—if you see bed bugs, your bites are probably from bed bugs! All kidding aside, the best way to determine if you’re dealing with bed bugs or not is to actually look and locate the bed bugs inside of your home. If you find them, you can talk to a pest control company about coming out and exterminating. Every day counts, so if you know that you have bed bugs, it’s time to call. Bed bugs are extremely resilient. If they are not treated with professional-grade tools and pesticide, your infestation will get worse.

How bed bugs bite

Ready for the nitty-gritty in how bed bugs bite? These small bugs have a strange, elongated beak. However, they aren’t like birds! These beaks will pierce your skin. Once they do that, they will suck up your blood for three to ten minutes. Often times, you won’t notice that they are there. They will inject you with an anesthetic, so you won’t feel a thing! 

Do bed bugs bite in a triangle?

One of the most common questions we get is if bed bugs bite in a triangle. This is often talked about, and our answer is: Sometimes. It’s true that bed bugs bite in three. It’s also true that they tend to bite in a line or a zigzag pattern. However, they don’t always bite in a triangle. While their group’s bites can happen to be a triangle, it doesn’t always end that way. So, you shouldn’t look at your bites and assume they aren’t bed bugs since they aren’t in a triangle. 

That being said, you can expect for your bed bug bites to be heavily focused and in straight angles similar to triangles. We just don’t want anyone thinking that they need to pull out their rulers and protractors trying to measure whether or not the three bites are a triangle!

How to get rid of bed bug bites scars

Unfortunately, depending on how bad you react to the bed bugs, they could leave some scars behind. This is usually when you react to them pretty severely. Some people will itch and scratch at the bites as severely as they do chickenpox, so you can see how it would leave behind some nasty sores and scars! 

If you do find that you have bed bug scarring, there are a few things you can do. First, is wait it out. These small bite scars may prove to actually go away with time. Second, apply some skin oil, like Bio Oil, to the bites. This can help prevent the scars from sticking around. Third, talk to a dermatologist, who may be able to help you with prescription-strength scar cream.

Conclusion: How to identify bed bug bites

Bed bugs are the worst, and we understand that! When you’re wondering how to identify bed bug bites, there are just a few things you need to check. Look and see if the bites are small and red. Are they in a straight line? Do they zigzag? Is there more than one bite? If so, there’s a good chance it’s a bed bug bite. The problem is that until you find the actual bed bugs, it can be hard to know for sure.

You’ll need to check the crevices and spaces in between mattresses, pillows, and furniture. If this doesn’t seem like something you want to do—we get it. Bed bugs can make you feel like there are creepy crawlies all around you, which is never fun! Call us today and we’ll do the inspecting for you. Here at Vinx, we know everything there is to know about bed bugs. Whether you live in the Fort Worth or Dallas area, we’re here to help. Our technicians know everything there is to know about these pesky bugs. Give us a call today or fill out the form below for a free bed bug extermination quote! We can’t wait to hear from you.