What do bed bug bites look like?
Bed bugs are parasitic insects which will suck the blood from any mammal, bird or bat. They do not discriminate and are opportunistic when feeding. They prefer their host to be quiet and not moving (sleeping) but when hungry enough they will seize the moment and have a quick snack.
Bed bugs have piercing mouth parts, meaning they do not have teeth but a long tube to puncture the skin and drink up the blood. To reach their blood meal, they will crawl onto or fall onto (from the ceiling) their host. They do not fly or jump.
They are similar to mosquitos in that they inject a numbing agent so the victim may not feel the bite. But as the body begins to process the toxin an allergic reaction may happen. Everyone’s body is very different in their reaction to this toxin. Some may have no reaction at all, others can have extreme reactions similar to a yellow jacket or wasp sting. We have seen husband and wife sleeping in the same infested bed, one eaten up and one with no bites at all. The bed bugs are not selective, they are feeding on both people, but one of them is not reacting to the bites.
I have found it interesting over the years, many people want a pest technician to “look at” their bites and diagnose a bed bug encounter this way. First off, pest technicians are NOT doctors. Doctors are the only professionals that should be looking at your skin and offering opinions and recommendations. Secondly, with every person’s reaction being different, it is almost impossible to distinguish the difference between insect bites. As a courtesy, please do not strip off your clothes to show the tech your bites!
My personal experience with bed bug bites has been infrequent. I would be naive to be in this business and think I will never get bit, but after 12 years of inspecting and treating them, I can count on one hand the number of times I have been bit. We are careful. We use the Red Coat Repellent (this is why it was created), and we only touch the infested items with gloved hands. We do our best to not touch the furniture with our arms or bodies.
The most recent bite incidences I have experienced have been on the job in a HEAVILY infested unit. The insects are on and under every surface in the room. They are on the floor, the ceiling, and the walls.
The photos below tell the story the best. The photo of my neck – one fell on me from the ceiling. The photo of my leg – they crawled up my boot and bit me through my sock. The photo of my wrist - they crawled up my glove and got me between my cuff and glove. I did not know about the bites until a few hours later, when the reactions started.
My reactions are bad, but I have a highly reactive body with very sensitive skin. I am a mosquito magnet and yellow jacket stings will send me to the ER with an EpiPen. As time has passed, my reactions to bed bug bites have gotten worse. The neck photo was in 2017. The leg and wrist photos are 2023.
If you suspect bed bugs in your home or office, please contact us to help. Red Coat offers Bed Bug K9 inspections to diagnose the infestation as well as treatments for a wide range of properties. We will manually remove the insects first and then utilize a green approach to treating your home. No one wants chemicals head to toe in their living space and we understand this. We have the knowledge and deep experience to guide you in this challenge.
My most important piece of advice is….Just don’t spray or dust anything with DIY products. You will only make it worse by spreading the bed bugs throughout your home.