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What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?

Updated on August 30, 2010

Bed bug bites affect everyone differently. Some victims of these nocturnal parasitic blood suckers awake to find large red welts on their bodies, while others will have no visible signs of being bitten. Some are are left with moderate to severe soreness and/or itchiness, while others feel little or no discomfort at all.

You may not know a bed bug has bitten you unless and until you awake with a bite mark. This is due to several factors. First, bedbugs are teeny little critters (click here for bed bug photos) that come out to feed only when they are certain that the person they are feeding on is asleep. Second, these six-legged insects are extremely fast runners, and will retreat to a hiding spot with your slightest movement. Finally, when a bed bug gets set to feed on your blood it will first pierce your skin with two tiny hollow tubes. The first tube will inject a numbing agent into you, which results in you feeling very little if any discomfort as the second tube is used to extract your blood.

The severity of the size and discomfort of bed bug bites differs amongst victims depending on their reaction to the numbing agent. The amount of bite marks may be a sign of how severe the bed bug infestation is, or may be a result of a victim moving around in their sleep. A bedbug only needs about 5 minutes to get his fill of blood from you, and this amount can be extracted through a single bite wound. If he was disturbed by your movement before he has had enough to eat, he will return later for more blood, and probably make another bite elsewhere to get it.

To show how everyone reacts differently to bed bug bites I've posted four pictures below. Below are pictures of four different bed bug victims, and the marks left on each of their arms.


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    • Bedbugabscond profile image

      Melody Trent 5 years ago from United States

      The pictures above are some severe reactions. Handy Man Dave, you are right. Prevention is the best medicine. RTallioni, most scientists say that bed bugs do not spread disease. However, there is some concern they might carry hepatitis. That is a very controversial argument that way and there is no proof either way yet. Great photos, thanks for the share!

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      Handy Man Dave 6 years ago

      My neighbor came over my house one day during the summer to drink a few beers and watch a baseball game. I noticed that his legs were all bitten up so I asked him what happened. He is a camp counselor, and said that he just returned from camp and must have been bitten by mosquitos. The distinct pattern of red blemishes on his legs did not look like any mosquito bites that I've ever gotten. This happened at a time when bedbug infestations were all over the news here in Philadelphia, so naturally I was in a panic. I didn't want this guy giving me bedbugs, so abruptly told him I wasn't feeling so well and needed a nap, which encouraged him to leave. The bite marks on his legs resembled those of the bedbug victim wearing the wrist watch in your photo above. I havn't seen a bedbug in my home and I can't be sure that the marks on his leg were from bedbugs but I havn't invited him over since. I've heard that exterminating a bedbug infestation can cost thousand of dollars, which I would never be able to afford. I guess I'm a believer that prevention is the best way to combat the outbreak of bedbugs.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

      Yuk, yuk, yuk. Hotels are a fearsome prospect. What about a hub on the diseases the nasty things carry?

    • Dave Cald profile image

      Dave Cald 7 years ago

      With all the talk on the news lately about Bedbugs, I've been worried sick that my home could become infested. I live in Philadelphia, and according to Terminex, we are the second most bedbug infested city behind only New York City. I am afraid to stay in hotels, because I am afraid these little critters will hitch a ride home with me. Thanks for the photos, but hopefully I'll never have to compare my arm to them!