Bedbugs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quick GuideBed Bug Bites: Fighting Back Against Bedbugs

Bed Bug Bites: Fighting Back Against Bedbugs

What are the symptoms and signs of bedbug bites?

Bedbugs bite and suck blood from humans. Bedbugs are most active at night and bite any exposed areas of skin while an individual is sleeping. The face, neck, hands, and arms are common sites for bedbug bites. The bite itself is painless and is not noticed. Small, flat, or raised bumps on the skin are the most common sign; redness, swelling, and itching commonly occur. If scratched, the bite areas can become infected. A peculiarity of bedbug bites is the tendency to find several bites lined up in a row. Infectious-disease specialists refer to this series of bites as the "breakfast, lunch, and dinner" sign, signifying the sequential feeding that occurs from site to site. In some people, the bites can take several days to develop. The signs may become apparent up to 14 days after the bite has occurred.

Bedbug bites may go unnoticed or be mistaken for flea or mosquito bites or other types of rash or skin conditions, since the signs of bedbug bites are difficult to distinguish from other bites or skin conditions. Bedbugs also have glands whose secretions may leave musty odors, and they also may leave dark fecal spots on bed sheets and around their hiding places (in crevices or protected areas around the bed or anywhere in the room).

Bedbugs have not been conclusively proven to carry infectious microbes. However, researchers have implicated bedbugs as possible vectors of American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) in areas where this disease is endemic, and studies are ongoing to determine whether bedbugs may serve as carriers of other diseases. Continue Reading

Reviewed on 5/6/2016
References
REFERENCES:

Greenberg, L., and J. H. Klotz. "Pest Notes: Bed Bugs." Oakland: Univ. Calif. Nat. Agric. Res. Publ. 7454. Sept. 2002.

Harvard School of Public Health

Kolb, A., G.R. Needham, K.M. Neyman, and W.A. High. "Bedbugs." Dermatol Ther. 22.4 July-Aug. 2009: 347-352.

Potter, Michael. "Bed Bugs." University of Kentucky Entomology. Aug. 2008.

Schwartz, Robert A. "Bedbug Bites." Medscape.com. Mar. 19, 2014. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1088931-overview>.

Thomas, I., G.G. Kihiczak, and R.A. Schwartz. "Bedbug Bites: A Review." Int J Dermatol 43 (2004): 430.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Bed Bugs FAQs." Jan. 10, 2013. <http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/bedbugs/faqs.html>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Parasites - Bed Bugs." Jan. 10, 2013. <http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/bedbugs/>.

United States. Environmental Protection Agency. "Bed Bugs: Get Them Out and Keep Them Out." Nov. 26, 2014. <http://www2.epa.gov/bedbugs>.

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