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Bed Bugs

What do Bed Bug Bites Look Like? Pictures vs Mosquito Bites

Bed bug bite

How different are mosquito bites from bed bug bites? And what do they share in common? Below are insights on both mosquito bites and bed bug bites.

What do Bed Bug Bites Look Like

How bed bug bites look like?

insect bite marks

Bed bug bite

Some people will not experience a reaction to a bed bug bite at all. Those that do experience symptoms of a bite are likely to experience one or more of the following:

  • A skin infection caused by scratching the itchy skin and allowing bacteria to enter the wound.
  • Welts or Blisters or hives at bite site
  • Bite with a red, swollen area and a dark red center
  • Bites in a line or grouped together in a small area

Bites can happen anywhere on the body, most commonly bites occur on areas of the skin that are exposed while sleeping such as face, arm, legs and hands.

How do I know if I have Bed Bugs

The only way to know if you have bugs is to produce an actual sample of the bug itself. If you are experiencing bites but have not seen any bugs, you should consider the circumstances in which the bites are occurring. For example, there is a very good chance that you have bed bugs if you waking up each morning with bite symptoms on your body that were not present when you went to sleep. Methods of detecting bed bugs are as discussed below:

  1. Visual inspection of sleeping and resting area such as beds and upholstered furniture

Carefully examine the areas beneath fitted sheets, along the edges of mattress piping if no bugs or evidence of bugs are found remove the mattress and continue with inspection of the box spring paying attention to the four corners under the plastic corner guards and the on the underside of the box spring where the dust cover is stapled into the frame. Keep in mind that bed bugs can easily be missed during a visual inspection so using one or more of the other methods below is recommended if no bugs are found during a visual inspection.

  1. Installation of interception or active monitors

Installing interceptions devices under the legs of the beds and couches is one of the most effective and economical methods to detect low level bed bug infestation that are missed during a visual inspection.

Interception devices can be placed directly under or immediately adjacent to the legs of sleeping and resting areas such as beds and sofas. Bed bugs will naturally move around in an infested environment and in an infested environment and these devices will trap them as they travel to and from beds and furniture. It is best to leave interceptors in place for up to 2-4 weeks inspecting them once every week for activity. University based research has demonstrated this method to be a highly effective method for the detection of bed bug activity.

Active monitors are traps that use attractants (usually CO2 and chemical lures) to detect the presence of bed bugs. These types of monitors can be effective but tend to be more costly than the interception devices.

  1. Contracting a pest management professional to conduct a thorough inspection

While you can certainly conduct your own inspection, qualified pest management professional know exactly where to look for and thus are more likely to discover a low level infestations can be difficult to detect and no matter how good the visual inspection performed is, bed bug infestations can remain undetected even though bugs may be present so it is wise to monitor for activity over a period of time to identify very low level infestation.

  1. Installation of mattress and box spring encasements

Mattress and box spring encasements are more expensive but are an invaluable tool for anyone who is concerned about bed bugs. Encasements not only aid in the early detection of bed bugs but they also protect the bed and are an important part of bed bug management. Encasements aid in early detection by restricting them to the exterior of the encasement where they are easily detected through visual inspection. Use of encasements coupled with the use of interception devices is a very effective combination.

Bed Bug Bites vs. Mosquito Bites

In trying to assess the differences between mosquito’s bites and bed bug bites the following are taken into consideration:

  • Differences in Skin reactions
  • Differences in bite location on the body
  • The pattern of bites on the body
  • Estimated time when a bite occurred

Here are 7 differences of mosquito bites vs. bed bug bites

  1. Symptoms

Mosquito bites usually appear as puffy white and reddish bumps that begin a few minutes after the bite and become a reddish brown bump a day or so after the bite. In some instances and dark spots that look like bruises in extreme cases.

Bed bug bites symptoms are variable and may result in no visible symptoms at first. However, symptoms of reddish bumps on skin, inflammation and red blotches that can become areas of raised, itchy bumps that eventually cause a burning sensation.

  1. Sensitivity to bites

Sensitivity to mosquito bites tends to decrease as the number of times someone is bitten increases. This may partially explain why children are usually more sensitive to mosquito bites than adults.

Generally Bed bug bites sensitivity tends to increase with the number of bites. Often someone who is bitten by a bed bug doesn’t even realize the bug has fed, but as the number times they are increases, the sensitivity to those bite also increases.

  1. Symptoms

Mosquito bite symptoms are moderately painful, very irritating, and itchy and leave round, red or pink mark on the skin. Mosquito bites may occur anytime during the day, at dusk or at night.

Bed bug bite symptoms are usually unnoticed and can be almost painless at the time of the bite. In fact, much of the time a person does not even realize they were bitten unless they notice the bite welts.

  1. Time to heal

Mosquito bites usually clear up and heal much quicker than bed bug bites, which may persist for a few days or even longer.

  1. Bite sites

Mosquito bites are generally distributed in a random manner over parts of the body that are not protected by clothing ( legs, face, back neck, e.t.c)

Bed bug bites are more clustered and often occurs in a distinct bite pattern that can be described as being multiple and arranged in linear or circular fashion. Common locations include the neck, back, chest, arms, legs and around the crotch.

  1. Life cycle

Mosquitoes develop by complete metamorphosis which means they go through four stages in their development circle that is entirely different-egg larvae, pupae and adults. Only the female mosquito adults bites and feeds on blood.

Bed bug develop by incomplete metamorphosis, which means they go through only three life stages-egg, nymph and adults- and both the male and female, nymph and adults feed on blood.

  1. Disease transmission

Mosquitoes through their bites are known to transmit many diseases that affect people and animals.

Bed bugs through their bites are not proven in any way to be transmitters of diseases to people and animals.

How to Treat Bed Bug Bites

Bed bug bites can look similar to the bites from other insects which commonly appear in clusters or in rows of 3 to 4 bites.  Some bites can disappear after a few days but some can become infected. Bed bugs don’t transmit diseases but they can cause a skin infection because of the scratch.

Here are top 17 most effective remedies for how to get rid of bed bug bites, which you can easily apply in order to get rid of bed bugs bites and prevent future incidents of infections.

  1. Lemon juice

Lemon juice is a very powerful natural astringent for how to get rid of bed bug bites. It helps to treat itching and dried out rashes that are caused by bed bug bites. It can also reduce swelling, redness and prevent infection because of the anti-inflammatory properties.

To use lemon:

  • Take a cotton ball and dip it in lemon juice
  • Dab it on the bed bugs bites
  • Wait for several minutes then rinse off these areas
  • Apply this solution for several times a day
  1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple vinegar has antibacterial and anti-microbial properties. It also has acetic acid and anti-inflammatory components hat reduce itching and burning.

To use Apple cider Vinegar

  • Use raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to apply on the bed bug bites.
  • Wait for a few minutes then rinse it off with cold water.
  • If the symptoms don’t reduce, reapply apple cider vinegar after several hours.
  1. Soap and water

This is another tip for how to get rid of bed bug bites. The combination of soap and water is what to put on bed bug bites immediately after you notice them.

To use water and soap:

  • Wash the bug bite with water and mild soap
  • Apply soap on the bed bug bites and rub thoroughly
  • Use enough water to wash off the soap
  • Pat the area dry using a towel.
  • After this process the affected area of your skin will start to feel comfortable.
  1. Anti-itch over-the-counter cream

This is the best and most effective treatment for how to get rid of bed bug bites.

  • Use a cream that contains hydrocortisone or cortisone like Cortaid because it can reduce itching and inflammation.
  • Follow the package’s directions to use the cream correctly.
  1. Take Oral Antihistamine

Oral antihistamine can dislodge the bites and control the allergic reaction. As a result pain and itching fades away.

To use the antihistamine drug:

  • Follow package instructions for the correct dosage.
  • You can also try OTC antihistamine cream
  1. Get pain relievers

If your bites don’t disappear and you feel pain or discomfort, you need to take OTC anti-inflammatory analgesic oral medication like naproxen, aspirin or ibuprofen to ease the pain and itching.


You need to consult your doctor before taking these medications.

  1. Apply Tea Tree oil

Tea tree oil, which is an antiseptic, also helps to stop the infection from spreading further. It is highly regarded as an effective cure of bed bug bites.

To use tea tree oil:

  • Apply a few drops of tea tree oil on the bug bites and
  • Rub thoroughly
  • Repeat this twice a day for quick relief.
  1. Marshmallow poultice

Marshmallow is a type of a herb that has been used for ages to get rid of bed bug bites. It plays a big role in fighting inflammation and itching.

To use marshmallow:

  • Apply marshmallow poultice on your affected skin area
  • Rub gently as you massage the area.
  • Repeat this twice a day for effective and quick relieve
  1. Aloe Vera

The aloe Vera cream is good for your skin treatment and particularly on how to get rid of bed bug bites. Aloe Vera has active compounds and amino acids which play a big role in reducing burning and itching caused by insect bites and bed bugs. It also keeps the skin moisturized in order to heal the skin.

To use aloe Vera:

  • Clean aloe Vera leaf thoroughly and cut it open
  • Scoop out the gel then apply it onto the affected skin
  • Put the remaining gel in a refrigerator
  • Repeat this a couple of times a day for several days
  1. Onion

Onion has a lot of sulfur, which has strong therapeutic properties. Onion also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial compounds that play a big role in preventing a bed bug bite from getting infected. Onion also works quickly in relieves pain and itching from a bed bug bite.

To use onion:

  • Take a fresh raw onion and chop it into small pieces
  • Smash the onion in a bowl until appears paste-like
  • Apply the paste on the bed bug bites
  • Allow it to sit for 30 minutes then,
  • Rinse it with distilled water
  • Repeat this process after 6 hours to get rid of the bed bug bites.
  1. Baking soda

Baking soda is an efficient ingredient for how to get rid of bed bug bites because it alkaline in nature and hence neutralizes acidic chemicals that causes of itching. It also has anti-inflammatory active compounds that help to reduce redness and swelling.

To use baking soda:

  • Mix 2 teaspoons of baking soda with 4 tea spoons of water together
  • Mix the well, to form a paste-like substance
  • Apply the paste-like mixture on the bed bug bites
  • Let it sit for 20 minutes then wash it off with distilled water
  • Apply the mixture again after 6 hours to get rid of bed bug bites.
  1. Tea bag

Moist tea bag can be effective to reduce the swelling and itching caused by insects especially bed bug bites because of its mild anesthetic compounds and tannins which are astringent.

To use tea bag:

  • Place a moist used tea bag in a refrigerator to cool it for at least 30 minutes
  • Place the tea bag on the bed bug bites for 15 minutes
  • Repeat this process as many times as you can.
  1. Witch hazel

Witch hazel acts as a moisturizer and provides a cooling effect on the bed bug bites hence reducing burns and inflammation.

  • To use witch hazel
  • Use a cotton pad to soak in witch hazel.
  • Place this cotton pads on the bed bug bites.
  • Let the cotton pad sit for 20 minutes before removing them
  • Repeat this process to get rid of bed bug bites
  1. Toothpaste

This is the easiest way for how to get rid of bed bug bites; toothpaste can reduce the burning and itching sensations due to active menthol components that provide a cooling effect.

To use toothpaste:

  • Dab a little white toothpaste on the bed bug bites
  • Wait for 30 minutes before washing it off.
  • Repeat this process again 4 times a day
  1. Cucumber

Cucumber slices and peels contain active compounds of vitamin C and caffeic acid that provide anti-inflammatory benefits that can relief the itch and burn.

To use cucumber:

  • Take a piece of cucumber slice or peel and place it on the bed bug bites
  • Rub it over the bed bug bites gently for 10 minutes
  • Repeat this 4 times a day to get rid of bed bug bites
  1. Ice cubes

This is not only an easy but effective way to ease the itch from bed bug bites. Ice can ease the itching sensations due to its cold temperatures. In addition it can calm the swelling.

To use ice:

  • Put some ice cubes in a thin towel then wrap them
  • Place it on the bed bug bites and let it sit for 5 minutes before removing it.
  • Repeat this again multiple times as you can to get rid of bed bug bites
  1. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is an effective tip for how to get rid of bed bug bites because of its anti-inflammatory properties and soothing. Furthermore it can reduce skin irritation caused by skin issues like psoriasis and eczema

To use oatmeal:

  • Add a teaspoon of oatmeal to water then mix them together to make a paste
  • Apply this mixture on the bed bug bites
  • Wait for at least 15 minutes before cleaning it off
  • Repeat this process 4 times a day to get rid of bed bug bites
  • Alternatively you can prepare an oatmeal bath, by adding half cup oatmeal in warm bathwater then add some drops of peppermint essential oil as well. Soak in this bath for 15 minutes. Repeat this for 3 days consecutively to get rid of bed bug bites.

Further References:

  1. How to get rid of Bed Bug Bites
  2. How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs: A DIY Guide
  3. How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Using Less Pesticide-invisiverse
  4. Why is getting Rid of Bed Bugs So Hard

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