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identifing common bug bites and stings

Bed bugs feed on human blood in the middle of the night, causing clusters of uncomfortable bites. Due to international travel and buying second-hand furniture, bed bug infestations have become more common. If you wake up with strange bites on your body, check your bedding, furniture and clothes for signs of bed bugs.

To prevent a bed bug infestation, you should clean your house at least once a week. When you travel outside the country or visit a friend, inspect your suitcase. If you find bed bugs in your home, call an exterminator as soon as possible.

What Are Bed Bugs?

Adult bed bugs are small in size and ovalish in shape. They are a quarter of an inch long. After they feed, their bodies can swell and take on a reddish color.

Bed bug eggs are white and round, like tiny pearls. The eggs are 1 millimeter (mm) long and almost invisible to the human eye. Bed bug nymphs — baby bed bugs — shed yellow exoskeletons of varying sizes as they grow from 1.5 mm to 4.5 mm.

Bed bugs climb throughout carpets, walls and furniture. While they can be annoying, bed bugs don’t transfer diseases to their hosts. You can get bed bugs from travel outside of the country, from staying at someone’s house or from purchasing second-hand furniture.

important to identify certain bug bites

How to Recognize Bed Bugs

At different stages of the growth process, beg bugs can be difficult to see. A tiny nymph is the size of the point of a pen, while an adult is the size of an apple seed. Inspect your bedding, carpets and furniture for these unpleasant items:

  • Red, crawling bugs: As bed bugs transition through their five molting phases, they may be hard to see as they’re young. When they become adults, they are visible to the human eye. Common areas where bed bugs hide include bedding, furniture and clothes. Bed bugs also might be hiding in loose wallpaper, bedside tables or crevices near the bed.
  • Reddish stains: Look for stains on your mattress, bed sheets or pajamas. In the middle of the night, you may have squished a bug while it was feeding on you. Bed bug stains often look like polka dots.
  • Eggs and eggshells: Another sign of an infestation is the presence of eggs and eggshells in your living space. Bed bug eggs look like tiny white pearls. You might find them on your mattress or clothes or in the crevices of your furniture.
  • Exoskeletons: Bed bugs shed their skin at least five times as they grow. Each time they grow out of their exoskeleton, they leave the skin wherever they feed. You might find old translucent bed bug exoskeletons in your mattress or closet.
  • Fecal matter: Fecal matter from bed bugs resembles black bloodstains, like a fine-tip marker. The spots left from fecal matter can smear and have an unpleasant odor. Including in your bed, you may also find fecal matter on your walls.

Your home is more prone to bed bugs if your friends or neighbors had them. After you have visitors, check the furniture and bedding for bed bugs. You should also check the furniture that you acquired second hand.

Bed Bug Behavior and Habits

You may have questions about how bed bugs function and how you can get rid of them. Bed bugs are active at night, but you can inspect your home for them during the day. You can protect your living space from infestation by understanding the habits and behavior of bed bugs.

Most often, bed bugs will leave more than one bite on your skin, especially if many bed bugs feed on you at once. You might have a singular bug bite from a bed bug, but it’s not as common as multiple clusters.

 

1. Can Bed Bugs Live on Your Body?

Bed bugs can’t live on your body, but they do feed on your body to survive. Their goal is to multiply and infiltrate your living space. After they feed, they go into hiding and begin mating. Female bed bugs can hatch one to three eggs each day and up to 500 eggs in their lifetime.

This mating and feeding process continues at a rigorous pace. After they hatch, nymphs feed to reach the next phase of their growth process. When they move on to each phase, they shed their exoskeleton. Bed bugs are hard to kill, especially now that they’re becoming immune to insecticide.

2. Where Do Bed Bugs Hide on Your Body?

Bed bugs are attracted to the carbon dioxide and moisture your breath releases. They can smell carbon dioxide from 3 feet away. Even though they feed on human blood, they don’t like the smell of human skin.

Bed bugs will feed on any exposed skin, usually in the neck, arms or face. Their saliva contains an anesthetic that numbs your skin, so you don’t wake up in the middle of the night as they eat. An anticoagulant in their saliva also prevents clotting so they can eat until they’re satisfied.

Bed bugs feed for three to ten minutes. They start by munching on the exposed skin from the bedding. As they feed, they travel down your arm or your face and create bites in a line formation.

3. How to Find Bed Bugs During the Day

Bed bugs hide within 8 feet of their hosts. Bed bugs can survive a year without feeding, but they tend to feed every five to ten days. Inspect your home for bed bugs in these areas:

  • Closets
  • Mattresses
  • Baseboards
  • Floorboards
  • Box springs
  • Carpeting
  • Picture frames
  • Books
  • Furniture
  • Electrical appliances
  • Outlets

Human blood attracts bed bugs, not filth. The appearance of bed bugs in the home isn’t a sign of dirtiness. You should check your home for bed bugs during the day while they sleep.

4. Can Bed Bugs Live in Your Clothes?

While they prefer stationary habitats, bed bugs will hitchhike to new locations on clothes, mattresses, carpet, furniture and suitcases. They can infest multiple areas at once by traveling to different homes and rooms. When they take up residence in your home, bed bugs may also enjoy resting in your cozy closet.

As you travel, check your suitcase for bed bugs. The surfaces where you put your suitcase or clothes in a hotel could contain bed bugs. You should also inspect the home for bed bugs after you’ve had visitors.

Signs of Bed Bug Bites

If you wake up with random bites on your skin, the bites may be from bed bugs. You can only know for sure that you have bed bug bites if you see the bugs somewhere in your home. Here are the symptoms of bed bug bites:

  • Bites on skin exposed while sleeping: Common areas where bed bugs will bite include the neck, arms, shoulders, face and hands. Bed bug bites are small and red. They can also irritate and inflame your skin. You can experience symptoms within minutes or days after the bite occurs. Skin lesions will go away after two weeks.
  • Lines or clusters of bites: Bed bugs start by picking a part of your skin and sucking the blood. If you feel their bite, you might twitch and move them out of the way. In response, they’ll puncture you at a different spot. As a result, you’ll have lines or clusters of bites. The bed bug bites could also form a zigzag pattern on your skin.
  • Allergic reactions: You could develop an allergic reaction to bed bug bites. Allergic reactions involve painful swelling and, in some cases, anaphylaxis. Contact a medical professional if you have trouble breathing or disorientation from bed bug bites. You may also experience difficulty sleeping from excessive exposure to bed bug bites.

The more you’re exposed to bed bugs, the more you’ll experience the symptoms. Some people don’t have any response to bed bug bites. Your body is numb against bed bug bite symptoms until the anesthetic from bed bug saliva has worn off.

Scratching at bed bug bites could cause skin infections. You can treat bed bug bites with over-the-counter anti-itch creams. You could also take antihistamines to reduce itchiness.

How to Tell Bed Bug Bites From Other Bites

Different skin conditions can resemble bed bug bites. Before you diagnose yourself, compare your symptoms with these other possible causes of skin irritation:

  • Bed bug bites vs. mosquito bites: Bed bug bites look similar to bites from a mosquito. You can get mosquito bites in the evening or early morning from spending time outside. Mosquitoes only bite once or twice, while bed bugs bite multiple times in clusters or lines.
  • Bed bug bites vs. tick bites: The bites that ticks leave are much larger than bed bug bites. Tick bites also have red rings around the welts. Bed bugs will hide from their hosts, and ticks tend to hide within their hosts’ skin.
  • Bed bug bites vs. flea bites: While bed bugs can be anywhere on the body, fleas tend to bite your lower legs. Fleas are also only a danger if you have pets. Fleas tend to favor animal blood over human blood.
  • Bed bug bites vs. chigger bites: Since chiggers live outside, you won’t find any chiggers in your bed. Sometimes there’s a delay between the time chiggers bite you and the time you see a reaction. If you see bites around the waist, chiggers might have bitten you.
  • Bed bug bites vs. food allergies: A food allergy is a medical condition where certain foods trigger a reaction. Your immune system attacks foods that are harmless to most humans. More than 170 foods cause allergic reactions in people. Hives can be the result of a mild food allergy. Besides skin irritation, you may also experience itchy throat, itchy eyes or abdominal cramps.
  • Bed bug bites vs. poison ivy: Poison plants can cause rashes that resemble clusters of bed bug bites. Poison ivy rashes are blotchy and red. Bed bug bites do not produce rashes unless you have an allergic reaction.
  • Bed bug bites vs. chickenpox: As a viral infection, chickenpox can spread in every area of the body. Bed bug bites are only in concentrated areas on the skin. The blisters from chickenpox may also contain pus, while bed bug bites do not.
  • Bed bug bites vs. irritation from household products: Reaction to new soaps, detergents and makeup could cause skin irritation. Consider what products came into contact with the irritated area. If you bought new soap or tried a new laundry detergent, the product may have caused a rash.

I Have Bed Bugs. Now What?

At the first sign of bed bug infestation, you need to take immediate action. Instead of trying to deal with the bed bugs yourself, call an exterminator right away. A professional will inspect the common areas where bed bugs hide and create a plan of action for getting rid of them.

If you rent, you should also call the landlord or property manager of your apartment. While you wait for the exterminator to arrive, you can follow these tips:

  • Prevent the spread of bed bugs: Wipe down your walls with a wet rag or a steamer. Vacuum your floors, furniture and mattresses. When you do vacuum, make sure you throw out the bag as soon as you’re finished.
  • Get rid of the clutter: Bed bugs enjoy hiding in the messy areas of your home. Instead of giving them a place to hide, clean up your living space. Be careful with storing items under the bed, and put dirty clothes in hampers.
  • Wash your clothes and sheets: Heat settings on your washer and dryer create a temperature hot enough to kill bed bugs. You should wash your linens at least once a week. Remove the covers on your couch cushions and wash them along with your linens.
  • Invest in mattress covers: Mattress covers and box spring encasements are light colors to help you see bed bugs on your bed. Mattress covers prevent bed bugs from exiting or entering the mattress. These covers also prevent stains and allergens.
  • Continue to sleep in your bed: Since bed bugs are hitchhikers, you can bring them with you if you sleep on the couch or at a friend’s house. You can rest in your bed, knowing that bed bugs don’t carry disease. Continue to sleep in your bed until the exterminator has come to deal with the infestation.
  • Keep your infested mattress or couch: Wait until you’ve spoken with a professional before getting rid of your mattress. Discarding an infested mattress can spread bed bugs to other parts of the house. You can also spread the infestation to another house if you leave a piece of furniture on the street.
call spectrum to get rid of your pests

Spectrum Pest Control, Inc. Will Exterminate the Bed Bugs in Your Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Home

Call our professionals at Spectrum Pest Control, Inc. to find out about our inspection and extermination services. We treat our customers in the Pittsburgh area like family. Give us a call today at 724-285-1950 to schedule an appointment. You can also fill out a contact form on our website for more information.

To protect you and your family from pests, choose Spectrum Pest Control in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding area for residential pest control services. We’ll thoroughly inspect your home and develop a customized treatment plan to secure your property and prevent infestations. Contact us today for a free pest control quote.

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