Why Do Bed Bugs Bite Some And Not Others?

Why Do Bed Bugs Bite Some And Not Others?

You might be wondering why despite sleeping in the same bed as another person, you are the only one that has bed bug bites all over your body. This is very possible but it can be due to several different reasons.

It can be because of your blood type, your body reacts to bed bug bites more, your side of the bed is infested, it might not be bed bug bites, or the other person might be wearing bed bug repellant.

In this article, we will get down to the real reason why bed bugs seem to like biting you so much. So if you have this problem, just keep on reading.

What does a bed bug bite look like?

Before we proceed to the reasons as to why bed bugs bite some people and not others, let us first discuss the characteristics of a bed bug bite.

Bed bug bites can appear anywhere on a person’s body, but most especially in areas that are exposed during sleep and not covered by any article of clothing. These body parts include the legs, arms, shoulders, hands, face, and neck.

When a bed bug bites, their saliva includes some anesthetic properties that make the area numb. The human host will be unable to feel the bite while the bed bug is feeding. Furthermore, their saliva also has an anticoagulant that keeps the blood from clotting and so the bed bug can then continue feeding with no interruptions.

A person will only be aware there was even a bite long after the bed bug has already hidden away to safety.

Bed bug bites cause varying degrees of discomfort, specifically swelling and itchiness. Other symptoms of bed bug bites include a red, raised welt with a clear center, a painful, burning sensation around the bite, multiple red welts or bumps in a cluster or a zigzag pattern, hives or blisters around the red bumps, or areas of skin that appear inflamed. There may also be blood spots appearing on your sheets or clothing.

Other health complications that can come about from having bed bugs are skin infection from the multiple bites and their vulnerability to being contaminated with bacteria. A person may also develop sleep problems because having bed bugs can be very stressful to most people. Other people go as far as actively avoiding sleep just so they do not get bit. Because of the stress, lack of sleep, compromised health, a person can develop fatigue, anxiety, and even depression.

Some people have such severe reactions to bed bug bites such as irregular heartbeat, tongue-swelling, flu-like symptoms, fever, blisters, and difficulty breathing, that may require a trip to the emergency room.

Why do bed bugs bite some and not others?

The bed bugs are on one side of the bed

One of the reasons why one person has bed bug bites and another does not despite sleeping in the same bed is because the bed bug infestation may be concentrated on one side of the bed. A bed bug infestation starts from a handful of bed bugs and if they are on the left side of the bed, the person who sleeps there is going to get bitten. Bed bugs will bite the nearest human host because they want to be as close to their hiding spot as they possibly can while feeding. Why would they risk venturing to the farther reaches of the bed when there is a host close by?

The bed bugs are attracted to the carbon dioxide human exhale, the smell of our skin, and the warmth our bodies emanate.

Bed bugs are attracted to the smell of human skin because of the pheromones in our sweat. This is also why bed bugs like to infest our clothes. You can try washing up before bed to minimize the sweat on your body, this might stop the bed bugs from finding you to some extent. If you wash up but your partner does not, it could explain why they have more bites. But be aware that bed bugs are still going to be attracted to the carbon dioxide you exhale as well as the warmth of your body.

Your blood type is their favorite

Another reason why some people get bit more than others is because of their blood type. Bed bugs do not have a preferred blood type as a whole, but it has been observed that if a bed bug’s first ever blood meal is a person with type O blood, the same bed bug will want to feed on type O blood for the rest of its life. For example, you sleep alone for the first six months of an infestation, then your partner starts sleeping in the same bed. Despite there already being two people sleeping on the same bed, you are still the only one getting bit. This may be because you and your partner have different blood types, and since you are the only one the bed bugs have been feeding on for months, they have no interest in your partner’s blood.

Different bodies react to bed bug bites differently

The reason why bed bug bites swell is because of the body’s histamine response. If the body senses something foreign, and possibly toxic, it will trigger a natural immune response.

The same way some people have food allergies while some do not, some people react to bed bug bites while some do not. This means that you may be getting bitten just as much as your partner, but they just react more severely than you do.

The bites are not from bed bugs

You might also just be mistaking the bites for bed bug bites. They could be mosquito bites, scabies mite bites, or allergy hives.

Bed bug repellant

If either you or your partner are using skin or beauty products that incidentally contain bed bug repellant, that may be why they are biting you less. One example is essential oil. Some shampoos, body washes, perfumes, and lotions contain these essential oils that can repel bed bugs, without you being aware of it.


Bed bugs bite some people and not others because of either different blood types, different reactions to the bed bug bites, bed bugs infesting only one corner of the bed, the bites may not even be from bed bugs, or you may just be using a skin or beauty product that contains an ingredient that is a bed bug repellent.

Image: istockphoto.com / Kwangmoozaa