Sometimes you might start suspecting a bed bug infestation because of bite marks on your or a family member’s body. So, if you cannot find any signs of bed bugs but you still feel that your home may be infested, the best thing for you to do is to call a professional pest control expert and ask them to do a check on your house. These professionals have decades of experience and they know exactly where to look and what to test when they are identifying possible bed bug infestations.
If you have bite marks on different parts of your body, and you suspect bed bugs but cannot find tangible proof, this article will have suggestions on how to go about dealing with the possibility of bed bugs or what other causes those bites may have.
How do I find bed bugs?
If you suspect that you might have bed bugs because of the bites on your body, look for other potential signs around your home.
Using a magnifying glass and a flashlight, look for blood stains on your mattress and sheets. These stains may not be obvious at first because they are quite small. They will look more like faint red dots.
If you have bites on your back, check the part of the bed your back may have been positioned on during your sleep. Bed bugs that have just fed are rotund and full of blood. If you happened to roll over them in your sleep, they might have burst and left blood splatters on your sheets.
Another sign to look for is bed bug feces. These are tiny black streaks that you might not even think twice seeing, especially without a magnifying glass and a flashlight. These bed bug feces stains are proof that bed bugs have been in that area.
If you are worried about your mattress getting stained, try using a bed bug mattress encasement to help protect it.
Another sign of bed bugs is the presence of bed bug shells. Baby bed bugs, or nymphs, shed their exoskeleton several times as they grow to maturity.
A sweet, musty odor is also emitted by bed bug colonies in your room. It is not a particularly strong smell but it is quite distinct.
Where do I find bed bugs?
Bed bugs can make a home out of almost any area where they are safe and are able to rest until their next meal, but there are places they definitely prefer over others. These are the places that you are most likely to locate them.
Bed bugs often live inside of box springs, which provides them with a secluded area that is dark and away from any immediate threats. It also keeps them close to people which are their sources of food.
Under the mattress is another place bed bugs place themselves, as well as the bed frame and headboard.
Do not take the term bed bug too literally as these pests can also thrive in the furniture near your bed, such as dressers, side tables, couches, or bookshelves.
Other causes of bite marks
One thing you must keep in mind when looking for bed bugs is that you may have actually been bitten by a different type of insect. Another possible cause of the red marks on your body are rashes or lesions caused by allergies, viruses, or bacteria.
Insect bites that look like bed bug bites
Mosquitos leave a bite that resembles itchy pimples that have a sharp stinging sensation. They usually go away after a few days.
These pests live on your hair and bite your scalp. Symptoms of lice bites include extreme itchiness and presence of sores on the scalp. They differ from bed bug bites, because those are found on parts of the body that most commonly touch the bed when you sleep.
Most spider species are not harmful to humans but there are a handful that can leave a painful sting and can even cause death. Their bites are usually minimal, just one or two, and not multiple in clusters like a bed bug’s.
This skin disease is caused by a small type of mite that can also be spread through clothing and beddings. They cause a rash and intense itching that can develop into open sores on the skin.
These insects prefer to bite the moist and warm parts of a person’s body, such as your groin or armpits. While bed bugs prefer to take a blood meal then zoom back to their hiding place, ticks can remain on their host’s skin more than a week after biting.
Rashes or lesions that look like bed bug bites
1. Dermatitis herpetiformis
This is a rare autoimmune skin condition that causes the formation of red skin and itchy blisters. This is common amongst people with celiac disease. The rash appears on the knees, elbows, lower back, scalp, and buttocks.
These are red bumps or welts that appear on a person’s skin after an allergic reaction. The lesions are extremely itchy and raised. If the red marks on your skin spread quickly, it may be hives.
3. Fungal infection
Fungi target and thrive on the moist parts of a person’s body such as the genitals, under a person’s breasts, or their feet.
A fungal infection may go hand in hand with an allergic reaction that will lead to hives.
This is also known as heat rash and is a common skin condition caused by inflammation or the blockage of a sweat duct.
This is more common in babies as well as people who live in tropical climates. Symptoms may vary but will often include red and itchy bumps.
Bed bug bites can look similar to other insect bites or various skin conditions. The best way to be sure that you are indeed dealing with bed bugs that are causing the red bite marks on your body, is to search your house thoroughly for any signs of bed bugs.
If you have ruled out other causes and are sure that bed bugs are in your home, but have no physical proof, you can hire professional exterminators to find where the bed bugs are so you can get rid of them.
Image: istockphoto.com / spukkato