Most children and adults are familiar with the goodnight wish, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite,” which has been a cheerfully said before bed since the 16th or 17th century. Although bed bugs have been a part of our history for hundreds of years, many people still have many unanswered questions about bed bug bites. The abundant amount of “wives tales” and false information surrounding bed bugs has only exasperated this problem.
Here’s everything you need to know about bed bug bites!
Bed bugs are drawn by warm temperature, carbon dioxide and are known to feed on exposed skin while you’re sleeping. Bed bugs can feed at any time of the day or night, whether you’re sleeping or not, and will adjust their feeding times according to their hosts.
When bed bugs are ready to feed, they grasp exposed human skin with their fore tarsi as the proboscis is extended forward and thrust into the capillaries of the skin (categorized as vessel feeders) injecting anticoagulant and anesthetic from their saliva. Bed Bugs feed by sucking for about three-five minutes or more. The bug then withdraws the stylet bundle from the feeding position and retracts it back into the labial groove, folds the entire unit back under the head, and returns to its hiding place. It takes between five to ten minutes for a bed bug to become completely engorged with blood.
The act of biting is usually not felt, but later, there can be an allergic reaction to the protein found in the bed bug’s saliva. Approximately 50% to 70% of people develop an allergic which can cause severe rashes or even blisters. This reaction usually results in small, flat or raised bumps, red swollen and itchy skin. If scratched, the bite areas can become infected. The saliva of the bed bug often contains active substances (hyaluronidase, kinins or proteases), which may cause different skin reactions including (erythema, wheal, vesicle, hemorrhagic nodule). It’s important to remember that everyone reacts to bed bug bites differently. Some people don’t react to bed bug bites at all. Even two people sharing the same bed can be affected differently.
The site of the bite can also become subject to secondary bacterial infections and lead to eczema, cellulitis, and/or lymphangitis. An occasional systemic reaction can occur from a bed bug bite, and in some cases, if the bite reactions are intense, repetitive scratching will produce skin lesions that may be complicated by impetigo.
The skin lesion produced by the bite of a bed bug resembles those caused by many other kinds of blood-feeding insects, such as mosquitoes, spiders and fleas. Therefore, bed bug bites can rarely be identified by the appearance of the bites alone and the culprit must be found to be positively identified as bed bug bites. Most welts heal in a few days but in unusual cases, the wound may persist for several weeks to months. Usually, an anti-itching ointment will help, but if bites become infected, people should see their doctor. To date, the bed bug has not been known as vectors of diseases.
One the bed bugs have fed, they are known for “dining and dashing.” After a full blood meal, they scurry off quickly to return to their hiding place, sometimes dropping a portion of their last meal as fecal matter on the way as they continue to digest their fresh blood meal.
If you have experienced unidentified bites, especially after traveling, you should do a full inspection of your bed for any signs of bed bugs. For a quick guide to bed bug inspections, check out your bed bug inspection guide at https://azexpest.com/2016/12/misidentifying-bed-bugs/. Bed bug bites can be extremely irritating, painful, and potentially dangerous. If you think you’re having an allergic reaction to bed bug bites, contact your doctor immediately.
If you suspect bed bugs at your home or business call in the bed bugs pros at AZEX Pest Solutions for a free inspection and treatment plan. With our heat treatments, we can kill all the bed bugs in just one day! Call us today for more information 877-445-2847.