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What are the symptoms and signs of bed bug bites?
Bed bugs bite and suck blood from humans. Bed bugs 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 bed bug 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 bed bug bites is the
tendency to find several bites lined up in a row. Infectious-disease specialists
refer to this as the "breakfast, lunch, and dinner" sign, signifying the
sequential feeding that occurs from site to site.
Bed bug bites may go unnoticed or be mistaken for flea or mosquito bites or
other types of rash or skin conditions, since they are difficult to distinguish from other bites. Bed bugs also have glands whose
secretions may leave odors, and they also may leave dark fecal spots on bedsheets and around their hiding places (in crevices or protected areas around the
bed or anywhere in the room).
Bed bugs have not been conclusively proven to carry infectious microbes. However, researchers have implicated bed bugs as possible vectors of American
trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), and studies are ongoing to determine whether
bed bugs may serve as disease carriers.