What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like

Often, bed bug bites look like a line made up of red dots, as shown in the image below. These dots appear as the bug moves along your skin, testing areas for the perfect feeding spot until it settles in and begins a full feeding. It takes about 15 minutes for an adult bed bug to feed on your blood and even less time for a nymph.

There are two sections to the mouth-part. One is used to inject a mixture of anticoagulant and anesthetic, while the other mouth-part sucks up your blood. As a result, there could be multiple bugs biting your body, and you may not notice until you wake up and discover yourself covered in red bumps!

The pictures above are great examples of what the bed bug bites look like at various stages of development! You can see the red bite mark pattern on Monica’s side, as well as the seven bite marks on her hand.

Remember that just because you have multiple bites does not mean you have multiple bed bugs; one bug could have caused all that irritation!

If the bites are from nymphs of a new nest, you may have minor bumps, as shown in the picture of Richard’s arm above. However, Richard’s whole body was viciously attacked while sleeping – his arm alone had more than 50 bites! In addition, his thigh, calf, legs, back, and face had multiple bites.

Adam’s bites were from a new infestation only 30 days old and from nymphs eagerly ready for their first feeding. The area circled in black is a grouping of bites.

Here is what bed bug bites look like on legsarmsblack skinchildren, and other parts of the human body.

Heather was kind enough to share her nightmare, explaining how important it is to do an intense search of bed bugs and why you should not take this step lightly!

As shown above, some people develop a bed bug rash due to the bed bug’s saliva, which can range from small red itchy bumps to large welts.
Take a look at those large painful blisters in the first picture! Her hand had an allergic reaction to the bed bug’s bites.

Bed bugs severely bit Julio’s arm, which developed a bright red rash on his bicep that took a long time to heal!

Ross stayed at a cabin with a nest of baby bed bugs that feed on his forehead, and in the other pictures, you can see swelling and welts on the arm and leg.

People ask us what bed bug bites look like on people who have darker colored skin, be it black, Hispanic, Asian, etc. You can see bites on the face, hands, stomach, and face in the images above.

As you can see, bites on black people don’t look that different from bites on light-skinned people.

These are pictures of bed bug bites on various legs; some are small bumps while others have large itchy welts.

The first photo shows a severe skin reaction to the bite area. Photo #2 shows bright red welts that are raised and very painful. Karina’s photo shows dark skin and scarring. Jonisha’s shows the line of bites, while Vanessa’s leg has raised swelling in all the bite areas.

These are pictures of bites on various arms, some are small bumps while others have large itchy welts.

Image #1 shows Roy’s arm after being attacked by bed bugs, while image #2 shows what bed bug scars look like, and the last image shows bites on a baby’s arm.

Vanessa took her young son to the doctor and confirmed these bites were from bed bugs. But, look at the damage they did to his face! It’s important not to scratch the area, or scabbing may leave a scar. Vanessa explains what happened:

I am so glad I found your website. My family and I just returned from vacation two days ago, and my youngest children are covered with bed bug bites; at first, we did not know what they were.

The bites started after the first night of staying there. They increased in number and became worse over the week. We had no clue. Bed bugs never crossed our minds. I took them to the doctor as soon as we got home, and we got the news, BED BUGS!

I was disgusted and freaking out! I still am, and I can’t sleep at night. I worry that we brought them home and feel my children’s pain. They are pitiful! The bites do not seem to be clearing up and itch like crazy. My husband and I only have a few each. I will never go on vacation again!

Another visitor, Ava, had her neck badly bitten by bed bugs. For many months, her baby boy had bite marks which doctors initially suggested might be scabies or fleas.

A few months later, when Ava’s older son complained of his skin crawling in the middle of the night, she checked on the baby and found his bed frame and mattress covered with bed bugs, with many in the process of feeding!

This poor baby was helpless to do anything while being bitten by bed bugs. If you ever see something like this, it may indicate the infestation is close and should be easy to locate.

More pictures of bed bug bites

Yes, that first image below is of a tiny bed bug that crawled into a woman’s nose and lodged itself in a hard-to-reach spot. She could feel it moving, but nothing she tried could dislodge it, so she used a hydrogen peroxide nasal irrigation technique (Not sure if this is safe or not), causing the bug to turn into the white mass you see hanging from her nose. She was then able to remove it with tweezers.

Q: How Long Does a Bed Bug Bite Last?

A: Bites heal within 14 days, but scratching can extend that time to a month and cause infection. Depending on a person’s resistance levels, they may not show any symptoms for 14 days after the bite, so it is possible that the whole process (from initial bite up until the time the bumps go away could last 30 days).

People who have been living with an established infestation and have been bitten repeatedly may have immediate reactions to the bites.

For those bitten for the first time, there may be no reaction, or it may take up to 14 days before the person begins to react. Two weeks is a long time, and if you sleep in multiple locations, it might be challenging to figure out where you were bitten.

Q: Do bed bug bites itch?

A: Yes, a bite from a bed bug can cause a powerful desire to itch, and that is the worse thing you could do. Infection, scarring, and a whole host of other problems can come from itching.

The more frequent the bites, the more sensitive your skin becomes, and the stronger the desire to scratch.

Whatever you do, do not itch these bites; it will only worsen and lead to infection and scarring, making the bite last even longer!

Q: Can bed bug bites cause MRSA?

A: Take a look at this woman’s hand, which she states her MRSA started from a bed bug bite; there are also comments from our visitors about their similar infections.

Q: How are bed bug bites treated?

A: Baking Soda paste is the best home treatment for bites; mix water with baking soda to make a paste that you then place on the area and let dry. Here are the instructions:

  • Make sure to wash the bed bug bites with soap and water.
  • Make a thick, sticky paste with the water and baking soda, not too runny and thick enough that it will stay.
  • Let the paste stand until completely dry, and then wait an hour or so. Some let it stand for hours, while others find that an hour or less is effective.
  • Gently wash the paste off and pat dry.

Natural remedies for bites include:

  • Witch hazel, St. John’s Wort, and Lemon juice all work by removing the desire to itch (Astringents).
  • The gel from the Aloe plant is how many treat bed bug bites and contains anti-fungal and antibiotic properties that work great! Just trim a tip and apply the exposed area to the bite.
  • Handed down from generations is a bath with a half cup of peppermint oil to relieve the itching.
  • Claude suggested a “hot as you can stand it” shower or bath to treat the bites. The itching will intensify for a few seconds, but the relief lasts for many hours. Some believe the heat from the water overloads the ends of your nerves and prevents them from telling your brain to itch. Some think that the heat causes your body to release more histamine than usual, thereby less histamine around the bite. Whatever the reason, it’s commonly used as a solution to itching caused by bites.
  • Lemon juice on a wad of tissue placed lightly over the swollen area to reduce itching
  • Chrissie said that a dab of Essential Oil of Basil with a cotton bud on each bite brings the ‘poison’ the bug has deposited to the surface (she lances her bites with a sterilized pin (flame heat/wiped clean)). She then dabs the bed bug bites with lavender oil, and her itching subsides.
  • Sam uses crotamiton creme followed by lotrix creme for 15 days to

In Richard’s case, the itching was so bad that he ended up at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Urgent Care, where the doctors prescribed Calamine Topical Suspension USP, Cephalexin, and Hydroxyzine HCL for the bed bugs bites.

  • Calamine helps to keep the bite area from oozing
  • Cephalexin helps with bacteria of the infection bit
  • Hydroxyzine helps with the itching that some people experience after being bitten.

Rachel had a doctor prescribe her betamethasone valerate to relieve the itching. She says it works but doesn’t get rid of the bites.

Bridget’s Dr. prescribed a topical cortisone cream to stop the itching and told him that diphenhydramine (Benadryl) would halt the itching too.
These medicines and tropical location were prescribed for bed bug bites

Julie’s Doctor suggested using tea tree oil as a repellent and fucidin H on the spots. He suggested that I should spray everything with bed bug dust, even the mattresses.

Rob’s Doctor prescribed locoid lipocream and found it to be most effective. He tried a sample of foaming medication in a small can which didn’t seem to work. He treated his swollen bites 3x the first day with the lipocream, and by morning it was 100x better with significantly reduced redness and swelling.

We have an entire page of home remedy and treatment discussions shared by our visitors if you want to learn more.

We have additional Bed Bug FAQ‘s.
Want to see more images? Check out these pictures of bedbug bites

Hundreds of Victims Discuss their Bed Bug Bites!

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