Bed bugs: Are your bites from bed bugs? How to identify bed bug bites

Bed bugs: How to identify if your bites are from bed bugs

BED BUGS feed off human blood by biting the skin of their victims while they’re sleeping. But how do you know if your bites are from bed bugs or from other insects? Here’s how to tell.

Bed bugs are small insects that live in and around beds and furniture. They crawl out at night and bite exposed skin to feed of blood. Bed bugs are not dangerous and don’t carry diseases, but their bites can be itchy and irritating to live with. If you are getting bitten at night and don’t know why, how can you tell if your bites are from bed bugs or from other insects? Bed bug bites look similar to bites from other insects, in that they appear as itchy, red bumps on the skin.

Related articles

Some people have a reaction to the bites. They can be very itchy and there may be painful swelling

While this may make it seem difficult to distinguish between the potential culprits, there are a number of ways to detect where your bites are coming from.

Firstly, you may be able to tell if your bites are from bed bugs by looking at the pattern in which the bites appear on your skin.

Bites usually occur on exposed areas like the face, neck, hands or arms, and are less likely to occur under clothing.

As bed bugs are crawling insects, they typically bite in lines or clusters along the skin while they are crawling.

Flying insects like mosquitoes are more likely to bite in random places on the body while they are flying.

Bed bugs are crawling insects that bite exposed skin during the night (Image: Getty Images)

Secondly, you may be able to detect the source of the bites by checking for evidence of bed bugs in your bedroom.

Bed bugs are small, but are still visible to the human eye. Adults can grow up to 5mm long.

They usually hide away in cracks in the bed and surrounding furniture so you could try to find them by searching the mattress and bed frame, and shining a torch into the crevices of the furniture.

You may also be able to spot evidence of bed bugs by checking for markings on the bed sheets and mattress.

In homes with bed bugs infestations, the bed sheets and mattresses will often be covered in brown or black or red spots.

Related articles

Bed bugs live in beds and surrounding furniture (Image: Getty Images)

Bed bugs bite in clusters or lines along the skin (Image: Getty Images)

Bed bugs: How to spot them and how to get rid of them

Bed bugs: What are bed bugs? How to spot an infestation and how to get rid of them.

Bed bugs: How to spot them and how to get rid of them

The brown or black spots are dried poo from the bed bugs, while the red spots are blood stains which occur if you squash a bug while sleeping after it has fed.

Bed bugs shed their skin as they grow, so you might also notice mottled bed bug shells on and around the bed.

In addition, you may be able to detect the presence of bed bugs by the tiny white eggs they lay.

“Bedbugs can hide in many places, including on bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind pictures and under loose wallpaper,” said the NHS.

“Some people have a reaction to the bites. They can be very itchy and there may be painful swelling.”

If you think you have a bed bug infestation in your home, you may need to call in pest control to get rid of them.

Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Bed bugs are small insects that live in the cracks and crevices around your bed.

Bed bugs

Bed bugs are small insects that feed on your blood, often causing itchy bites. They tend to live around your bed and travel on clothing, furniture, bedding and luggage. While they do not transmit diseases, they are upsetting and can be hard to get rid of.

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are oval-shaped and flat. They can grow up to 5mm long, changing colour from cream to brown as they mature. While they need to feed on blood to grow, they are resilient and can live for up to a year without a feed.

Bed bugs tend to live in cracks and crevices in and around your bed, especially in mattress seams. They prefer to feed on humans but will also feed on other warm-blooded animals. They mainly feed at night.

Signs and symptoms

Signs of a bed bug infestation include:

  • regularly waking with bites
  • bed bugs on your mattress, bed frame and other furniture
  • brown spotting (bed bug faeces) or blood spots on your mattress
  • a musty, sweet smell with large infestations

Bed bug bites can cause red, itchy spots. These are often found on your legs, arms and shoulders. Some bites can become infected. Some people don’t react, while others may not react until up to 9 days after they’re bitten.

Very occasionally, people with multiple bites have lost so much blood they became anaemic. Some doctors believe bed bugs may trigger allergies and asthma.


Bed bug bites tend to clear up on their own, or with simple first aid measures. Read about treating insect bites.

See your doctor if you are concerned about your bites. Your doctor may recommend steroid creams or antihistamines if your bites are very itchy or severe. If a bite has become infected, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.

See also:  Are Ticks Gone In Winter?

How to get rid of bed bugs

It can be hard to get rid of bed bugs. You will need to buy a product designed to kill bed bugs. But if there is an infestation, you may want to call a pest control company.

You will need to treat all areas where the bed bugs hide, including under the mattress and in all cracks and crevices. Thoroughly vacuum the whole area and remove the contents of the vacuum in a sealed plastic bag.

You should wash all clothing and bedding that may have been contaminated with bed bugs at 60 o C.


You can help prevent infestations by:

  • avoiding using second-hand mattresses
  • regularly checking your bed for bed bugs
  • keeping your bedroom tidy to minimise hiding spots

Source s :

Last reviewed: February 2019

Search our site for

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Bed bugs

Bed bugs are small parasitic insects that feed on human blood by piercing the skin. They usually seek out blood meals at night.

Read more on WA Health website

Bed bugs

Bed bugs are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of humans while they sleep

Read more on NSW Health website

Bedbugs — Better Health Channel

Bedbugs have highly developed mouth parts that can pierce skin.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Insect — Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia

The most common causes of severe bite and sting allergyin Australia are: Bee sting (honey bee and native Australian bees) Wasp sting (paper wasp and European wasp) Ant sting (jack jumper, green-head, bulldog ants)Other insects such as ticks, caterpillars, March flies and even bedbugs can trigger anaphylaxis but are less common.Individuals can have a range of allergic reactions to stings bites but not all are serious.

Read more on Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia website

Kids’ Health — Topics — Bites and stings

When you read ‘bites and stings’ what do you think of?Well, I have those sorts of nightmares too!Occasionally some unfortunate people are bitten by these creatures, but most bites and stings are from much smaller beasties — like flying, jumping and crawling insects, quite small spiders and some things which look pretty tame really (sandflies, mosquitoes and fleas, to name just a few)

Read more on Women’s and Children’s Health Network website

First aid for bites and stings

Serious allergic reactions occur in approximately 2 per cent of stings from ants, bees and wasps.

Read more on WA Health website

Urticaria (Hives) — Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia

Urticaria (commonly known as hives) are mosquito bite like swellings on the surface of the skin that range in size from a few millimetres to several centimetres. They may last minutes or hours and can change shape from round to oval, forming rings or patches. The skin swelling seen in urticaria is due to the release of chemicals such as histamine from mast cells in the skin that causes small blood vessels to leak. They are often itchy, but sometimes may not be itchy at all.

Read more on Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia website

Insect bites & stings: treatment | Raising Children Network

You can treat many insect bites and insect stings yourself. But if your child has an unusual reaction to an insect bite or sting, seek medical attention.

Read more on website

Mosquitoes can carry diseases — Better Health Channel

You can reduce the risk of mosquito bites if you get rid of potential mosquito breeding sites around your home.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Barmah Forest virus fact sheet — Fact sheets

Barmah Forest virus is transmitted to people by being bitten by a mosquito that is infected with the virus. Symptoms include fever, rash and sore joints. Avoiding mosquito bites prevents infection.

Read more on NSW Health website

Show more


Healthdirect Australia is not responsible for the content and advertising on the external website you are now entering.

Bed Bugs


Learn More

See, Play and Learn



For You


Bed bugs bite you and feed on your blood. You may have no reaction to the bites, or you may have small marks or itching. Severe allergic reactions are rare. Bed bugs don’t transmit or spread diseases.

Adult bed bugs are brown, 1/4 to 3/8 inch long, and have a flat, oval-shaped body. Young bed bugs (called nymphs) are smaller and lighter in color. Bed bugs hide in a variety of places around the bed. They might also hide in the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, and in the folds of curtains. They come out to feed about every five to ten days. But they can survive over a year without feeding.

To prevent bed bugs in your home:

  • Check secondhand furniture for any signs of bed bugs before bringing it home
  • Use a protective cover that encases mattresses and box springs. Check it regularly for holes.
  • Reduce clutter in your home so they have fewer places to hide
  • Unpack directly into your washing machine after a trip and check your luggage carefully. When staying in hotels, put your suitcases on luggage racks instead of the floor. Check the mattress and headboard for signs of bed bugs.

To get rid of bed bugs:

  • Wash and dry bedding and clothing at high temperatures
  • Use mattress, box spring, and pillow encasements to trap bed bugs and help detect infestations
  • Use pesticides if needed

Bed Bugs: Everything You Need to Know

Belonging to the order hemiptera or true bugs, bed bugs are household vampires that feast on blood. They undergo a slow metamorphosis through a 5-stage life cycle that begins as an egg hatching into a nymph to end as a mature breeding adult with a nasty bite.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through what a bed bug is, how to spot them, and their life cycle.

A Quick View of Characteristics

The common bed bugs are interested in humans and don’t go for animals with fur. They can cover a lot of distance and travel about in personal belongings such as purses, luggage or gym bags. Bed bugs hate heat, so they won’t travel directly on your body, so protecting your belongings is the best way to prevent infestation.

Spotting Adult Bed Bugs

Have you seen apple seeds? Adult bed bugs look quite similar. Depending on their age, they are between 4.5mm and 7mm long and go from white when first hatched to a deep mahogany brown. A closer inspection reveals six legs, an oval-shaped abdomen and two short antennae.

Being an insect their anatomy is divided into three parts, head, thorax and abdomen.

    Head: Bed bugs have a tiny head and an eye on each side for 180 degree vision. For a nose they have a sharp ‘beak’, the clypeus, used to pierce skin. You may not notice it’s long proboscis since bed bugs keep it tucked under their bodies unless they are feeding. There are also two antennae.

Thorax: The midsection of a bed bug is called the thorax. Compared to other insect thoaxes, it’s quite tiny. Nearby there are rudimentary ‘wing casings’. There are no wings.

  • Abdomen: The abdomen of a bedbug is its most noticeable body part. In fact, it’s usually twice as wide as the thorax and around four times as long. From above, it looks quite rounded, but from the side, it looks flat.
  • See also:  Bed bug Bite-Pictures, Symptoms, Treatment

    Unlike many other similar-looking bugs, their bodies look quite segmented when you view them from above, and that separates them from carpet beetles and spider beetles. Their oval-shaped bodies also help identify them. They are wingless, which means they just cannot fly. Many people say that bed bugs can fly because they have wing pads. That’s not true because they do have the vestiges of wings but they are not developed enough to help them fly.

    So, how do they move? Well, they crawl, and more interestingly, they are capable of covering up to 4 feet in a minute. It may not seem far, but it’s usually enough for them to find a hideout when you try to kill them.

    The Bed Bug Life Cycle

    In their lifetime, bed bugs go through three stages including molting twice as an adult.

      Egg: Eggs are tiny and pearl white in color. They are laid in dark spots around your home. They take about 6 to 9 days to hatch.

    Nymph: During the second stage, nymphs or juvenile bed bugs hatch and are around 1.4mm long although some can be up to 4mm. Each nymph passes through five stages, known as instars to become an adult, and it takes about 5-8 days to complete each instar. Nymphs look like adults but they cannot breed.

  • Adult: Once hatched, a bedbug takes around 35-40 days to mature. They can be as large as 7mm and at this stage are capable of reproduction. Under ideal circumstances, adults can live up to 10 months, but their lifespan is usually between 3 and 10 months.
  • Understanding Nymphs

    When you talk about getting rid of a bed bug infestation, it’s important to try methods that clear the adults and eggs, as well as all the nymphs.

    Being white, nymphs are harder to spot but they only stay white until they take their first feed. Nymphs have a red lump in their abdomen where they store their blood meal as they slowly digest it. Once it’s completely digested they molt and shed their exoskeleton so they can grow larger.

    As they continue to digest and grow they turn brown. The color change shows they have absorbed the nutrients in the blood. In total, the nymph passes through five sub-stages or instars and with the completion of each, they get browner. Once an adult, they don’t change color again.

    Nymphs molt during instars and will molt five times altogether before they are mature adults. Between each molt, they need a blood meal to survive. Even though nymphs are small and too young to breed, they are still looking for a meal from the instant they hatch.

    Fact: Did you know that after feeding, those nymphs could grow six times their body weight?

    Can You See Bed Bugs With The Naked Eye?

    Of course, which is helpful if you’re on a mission to confirm you have a bedbug infestation. The adult bedbugs are the largest and darkest especially when they have recently fed. They also move much more slowly after they’ve just eaten.

    Nymphs are tiny but still visible despite being no larger than a pinhead although you might have trouble finding them without a torch.

    Bed bugs are nocturnal so active at night, but that doesn’t mean they won’t come out during the daytime to feed if there’s an opportunity. Even so, they prefer to hide in safe crevices and cracks during the day. This makes finding their hideouts more of an issue rather than being able to see them with the naked eye.

    Differences Between Males and Females

    It’s a subtle difference but still noticeable. To determine a bed bug’s gender, you need a close look at their abdomen. Ones that look slightly rounder are female bed bugs. Males are slimmer and more elongated, especially when unfed.

    A more obvious difference is at the tip of the abdomen. A closer look will show that females have rounder bodies whereas males have a more pointed tip, which is considered their sex organ.

    Fact: Did you know bed bugs bite a lot but you don’t feel it because they inject an anesthetic and anticoagulant while sucking blood but that may leave you with reddened bumps?

    The Bed Bug Reproduction Cycle

    Dealing with a bedbug infestation is difficult not only because these pests have become resistant to common pesticides but because they reproduce very quickly. If it was possible to find a way to stop them reproducing, we’d be able to get rid of them once and for all.

    Once a nymph passes through five stages and turns into an adult, it’s ready to breed. Bed bugs use a process called traumatic insemination. A male bed bug has to break through the shell of a female to inject sperm directly into its body. After traveling through the female’s body, the sperm eventually reaches eggs to fertilize them.

    Something that makes this whole process bad news for households is that once fertilized, the female is capable of lying at least one egg a day, and she can mate again to keep topping up the number of eggs she is carrying. This process continues for 6-8 weeks, which means plenty of eggs to grow into new bed bugs.

    Each female bed bug lays up to 200-250 eggs although some studies have recorded females lying more than 500. It all comes down to the right conditions. Females are likely to lay more eggs in warmer temperatures and in places where breeding and feeding conditions are most suitable.

    Compared to cimex lectularius, the common bed bug in the U.S., lays many more eggs than their tropical cousins.A tropical bed bug lays no more than 50 eggs in her entire lifetime.

    Fact: Did you know female bed bugs often migrate away from their harborages after the undergo traumatic insemination?

    Can Bed Bugs Survive Without a Blood Meal?

    One reason why we have failed to get rid of bedbugs for good is that they are very resilient and more than capable of managing without meal. However, once they have fed, it takes them a long time to digest the blood. Left unfed, they can last months without blood meal.

    Bed bugs can live longer without food when they are in cooler environments. In fact, experts believe that bed bugs can live up to a year without feeding at 55F or less. However, they may find it a bit harder to survive without food in temperature-controlled buildings but they can still survive for 6 months.

    This means that even leaving your home for a few months is not always going to work. These little blood-suckers won’t starve to death waiting for you to return.


    Bed bugs are notorious household pests, and as they reproduce quickly, with each female laying over 200 eggs, it doesn’t take long before you have a heavy infestation at hand. Leaving it unattended would result in serious issues, including itching and allergic reaction.

    Identifying those bugs, however, will help take quick actions and may make it possible to eradicate an infestation before the problem spirals out of control.

    Bed Bugs

    Did you know? Female bed bugs can lay over 500 eggs in a lifetime!

    Bed Bug Facts for Kids

    Bed bugs get their name because they are commonly found in beds but can also be found in other places where humans spend a lot of time: hotels, airplanes, and couches.

    • Size: 1/4″
    • Shape: Flat, broad, oval
    • Color: Mahogany to rusty brown and they turn red after sucking blood
    • Legs: 6
    • Wings: No
    • Antenna: Yes
    • Common Name: Bed bug
    • Kingdom: Animalia
    • Phylum: Arthropoda
    • Class: Insecta
    • Order: Hemiptera
    • Family: Cimicidae
    • Species: Cimex lectularius
    See also:  Noises in Your Attic or Loft? A Sign of Pests, Rentokil

    Bed bugs can feed on the blood of any warm-blooded animal. Their most common targets are humans because, unlike animals with fur, we have a lot of exposed skin for them to bite.


    Bed bugs are typically found in beds and small cracks and crevices.


    Bed bugs are typically found in beds and small cracks and crevices. When Bed bugs feed, they inject the skin with their saliva (this keeps the blood from clotting ) and an anesthetic (this keeps the host from feeling the bite and moving). Bed bugs do not spread disease, but their bites can become red, itchy welts.


    • Don’t take mattresses or padded furniture that has been left at the curb or on the street.
    • Check your bed sheets for blood spots.
    • Keep your suitcases covered in plastic and off the floor when you travel.
    • When you travel, take a small flashlight to help you look for bed bugs.
    • When you return from a trip, wash all of your clothes — even those that have not been worn — in hot water to ensure that any bed bugs that may have made it that far are not placed into your drawers/closet.
    • Bed bugs are hard to see, so if you think you have bed bugs, call a pest management professional.

    Didn’t find the facts you were looking for on PestWorld for Kids? Get additional bed bug information at the official NPMA website.

    More fun with pests

    Parents & Teachers:

    We don’t allow any on-site or pop-up advertising, or third-party external links, so children can play and learn freely!

    Content for Grade Levels:

    Brought to you by the National Pest Management Association.

    Visit for additional information on bugs and pest control experts.

    © Copyright 2018 National Pest Management Association

    Bed bugs

    Bed bugs are small insects that feed on the blood of mammals and birds. Adults are oval, wingless and rusty red colour and have flat bodies, antennae and small eyes. They are visible to the naked eye, but often hide in cracks and crevices. When they feed, their bodies swell and become a brighter red. In homes, they feed primarily on the blood of humans, usually at night when people are sleeping.

    Why are they called Bed Bugs?

    The name of the “bed bug” is derived from the preferred habitat of the bed bugs which is the beds and bedding or other sleep areas. Bed bugs are mainly active at night but are not exclusively nocturnal. They usually feed on their hosts without being noticed.

    Where do Bed Bugs come from?

    Bed bugs are not native to Australia. They originate from Europe and Asia and were brought to Australia by travellers.

    What do Bed Bugs look like?

    What are Bed Bugs Signs & Symptoms?

    The first signs and symptoms of a bed bug infestation may be the presence of bites on family members. A thorough inspection of your bed, mattress, surrounding areas and the common hiding spots may also reveal the bed bugs and their castings themselves, however, due to their size, they are often hard to see. Another sign would be small blood stains from crushed bugs on sheets or mattresses or rusty or dark spots of bug excrement on mattresses, bedding or walls. When bed bug infestations are severe an offensive, sweet, musty odour from their scent glands may be smelt.

    Find the Bed Bug bite picture below

    Do Bed Bug bites carry infections?

    Bed bugs are known to cause a number of health problems, including skin welts, infected bites, scars, psychological effects and allergic reactions. They are infected by more than 30 human pathogens, but so far no study has found that can transmit these pathogens to humans.

    What do Bed Bug bites & rashes look like?

    The bites of a bed bug has a number features such as large welts that diminish to a red spot that slowly fade over a few days, itchiness, reddening of the skin, localised swelling, formation of blisters and scars if the bed bug bites become infected.

    Treatment for Bed Bug Bites

    So far bed bugs are not known to transmit blood-borne diseases such as HIV or malaria; although the bites can be extremely itchy and distressing. Treatments include using calamine lotion or anesthetic creams to treat the itching, wash the bites with antiseptic soap to reduce the risk of infection, apply an ice pack frequently to help relieve swelling and resist the urge to scratch. Do your best not to scratch because it can cause an infection.

    What Causes Bed Bugs?

    Bed bugs and their eggs are accidentally brought into your property by visiting an infested property or having a guest from an infested property stay with you. They are also brought in by infested items such as furniture, clothing, and backpacks. They are also known to enter your residence via close dwellings through the air duct or false ceilings. Bed bugs also come from people visiting an infested area such as a subway, movie theatre or hotel.

    How long do Bed Bugs live?

    The typical lifespan of a bed bug is about 10 months and they can survive for weeks to many months without feeding.

    What is the Bed Bugs Life Cycle?

    What is natural control treatment?

    Bed Bug Killer (Diatomaceous Earth) is a non-toxic bed bug killer. Steam is also a non-toxic bed bug killer.
    The Bed Bug Barrier Control System offers a low cost and natural DIY pest control system with a step by step instructional video.

    How to kill Bed Bugs in Australia?

    Australia’s only non-toxic and long term bed bug solution can be found at Bed Bug Barrier. The best bed bug treatment is Bed Bug Killer powder. Bed Bug Killer is a natural non-toxic treatment for bed bugs. Bed Bug Killer powder also gives years of on-going protection.

    Where do Bed Bugs hide?

    Bed bugs can live in any area of a property and can live in dark tiny cracks and crevices. They tend to be most common in areas where people sleep and usually more concentrated in beds, including mattresses, bed bases and bed frames. Other sites where bedbugs often live include curtains, edges of carpet, corners inside dressers and other furniture, cracks in wallpaper particularly near the bed and inside the spaces of wicker furniture.

    Why do Bed Bugs spread to other rooms?

    Bed bugs usually spread to other rooms or apartments when toxic chemicals are used which force the bed bugs to find safer nesting areas.

    How to find Bed Bugs in the mattress?

    Inspect the entire mattress for bed bugs, eggs, castings, blood spots and faeces. Use a bed bug proof mattress encasement to trap bed bugs and their eggs inside the mattress to kill them.

    How to kill Bed Bugs in the mattress?

    It is not a good idea to use chemicals on the sleeping mattress, instead, use a Bed Bug Proof Mattress Encasement to kill bed bugs living on the mattress and remove the nesting area for the bed bugs.

    What do Bed Bug eggs look like?

    Bed bug eggs are almost invisible to the human eye, they are white and tubular in shape.

    No comments

    Добавить комментарий

    Your e-mail will not be published. All fields are required.