This Is the Tell-Tale Sign You Have Bed Bugs, Pest Experts Say

Here's what to look for if you think you let the bed bugs bite.

If you wake up in the morning with an itchy spot on your arm, you might have been a feast for some bed bugs while you were sleeping. Though you might assume your bites came from a more common offender like mosquitoes, there are certain signs that suggest you were bitten by bed bugs instead. To see what the tell-tale sign of a bed bug bite is, read on, and for more tips on how to know if you're dealing with an infestation, check out If You Smell This in Your Bedroom, You Might Have Bed Bugs.

The bites are clustered.

Woman with bed bug bites
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If you have a cluster of bites, it's particularly likely that you have bed begs. "One of the most tell-tale signs that you've been bit by a bed bug is having a group of bites clustered or in a lined path on an area of your body that has had direct contact with your mattress while sleeping," says pest expert Zack DeAngelis. "Bed bugs usually don't leave one single bite and often leave multiple in clusters."

To find out the tell-tale mark of another insect, beware that If You See This in Your Yard, Prepare for a Bug Invasion, USDA Says.

And they're red and swollen.

Bed bug bites on back
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Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and not all bed bugs bite in clusters. So if you see a single bite, it could still be from a bed bug.

People have a variety of reactions to bed bug bites, but something that tends to be common across the board is that bed bug bites are often red and swollen. "Depending on the sensitivity of an individual, bed bug bites can range from a small red bump to an inflamed itchy red bump," says entomologist and pest control manager Mike Duncan.

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The bites don't go away quickly.

Bed bug bites on woman
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Unlike mosquito and flea bites that only last for a few days, the evidence of bed bug bites lingers for longer. "Bed bug bites can take up to two weeks to heal; it will vary based on how severe the bites are," explains DeAngelis.

He also notes that if you have bed bugs, the bites will likely keep coming, which will make your skin irritated for a longer time.

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And they're itchy.

Man Scratching His Hand
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Itching is a common response to bed bug bites. "More than likely, after being bit by a bed bug, people will feel a strong source of discomfort and itchiness at the source of the bites," says DeAngelis. "However, the degree of itchiness and discomfort will vary, as it depends on that individual's immune response."

It's important to note that if you got the bite in the middle of the night, the itching may subside by the time you wake up—so a non-itchy bite could be from a bed bug, too.

To see if you have an even bigger bug problem, check out If Your House Smells Like This, You May Have a Bug Problem.

Allie Hogan
Allie Hogan is a Brooklyn based writer currently working on her first novel. Read more
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