Bed bugs are an unpleasant factor to some places, and their bites are irritating and can cause allergic reactions in people. these small bugs can last for days on one bite so it can sometimes be misleading when the infestation appears and when it’s truly gone. Wildwoods Pest Control is dedicated to making sure that your home is free of bed bugs so you can sleep easy.
Bedbugs feed on the blood of humans (though some species have a taste for other mammals and birds, too) by inserting a sharp proboscis, or beak, into the victim’s skin. The critters become engorged with blood in about 10 minutes, which fills them up for days.
The insects are most active at night, though they are not exclusively nocturnal. Bedbugs are attracted to warmth, moisture and the carbon dioxide released from warm-blooded animals, according to Purdue University. On sleeping human hosts, bedbugs often bite exposed areas of the body, such as the face, neck, arms and hands.
But looking for bedbug bites might not be the best way to tell if you have an infestation.
“A lot of people put a lot of import on looking at the bite and identifying it,” Harold Harlan, an entomologist and a bedbug expert, told Live Science. “I’ve raised these things for 41 years and I cannot tell what is a bedbug bite.”
Bedbug bites can look very similar to bites from other insects like mosquitos and fleas. People also have widely varying reactions to bedbug bites. Some people have little visible reaction to the insects’ nibbling — they don’t develop lesions or bumps or pustules at all.
The bites themselves don’t usually pose any major health risk since bedbugs are not known to spread diseases, but an allergic reaction to the bites may require medical attention, CDC officials say. There have also been some strange cases linked to bedbug infestations. Researchers reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 2009 that they treated a 60-year-old man for anemia caused by blood loss from bedbug bites. Another study published in 1991 in the Journal of the Egyptian Society of Parasitology found that people with asthma might be more susceptible to allergic reactions from bedbug bites.
Excessively scratching the itchy, bitten areas also may increase the chance of a secondary skin infection. Antiseptic creams or lotions can be used to ward off infection and antihistamines can be used to treat the itching. And an infestation can take a psychological toll on those affected: People whose homes have been infested with bedbugs may have trouble sleeping for fear of being bitten in the night. There are also public health, social and economic consequences; office buildings and schools often have to close if they are dealing with a bedbug infestation.