Few Bay Area residents are interested in bug identification. We're sure there are many things you'd rather talk about than the minute details of bug anatomy. We get it. The good news is that you don't have to take an entomology class to figure out if you have bed bugs in your Bay Area home. You don't even have to see a single bed bug to know that you have these insects in your bed, couch, or some other hiding place.

bed bug on hair
bed bug on a hand

Anatomy Of A Bed Bug Bite

You know that bed bugs bite, but are you aware of the characteristics of bed bug bites? Do you know that it is possible to tell that you're being bitten by bed bugs simply by considering a few of these characteristics? Here are a few facts to consider:

  • Bed bugs bite more than once. If you're bitten by one bed bug, you're likely to get three bites. If four bed bugs bite you, you're likely to see twelve bites. It doesn't take many bugs to cause a lot of bites. So, the first characteristic to look for is the number of bites. If you have only one bite, it probably isn't a bed bug bite.

  • Bed bugs don't cause necrosis. If you see an ulcer or pustule at the center of the bite wound, you can rule out bed bugs. It is more likely that you were bitten by a spider or an ant. 

  • Bed bugs feed for a few minutes at a time as they crawl across your skin. If one bed bug bites you, you should see a line of bites that are close together. These bites might have a slight zig-zag appearance if the bug was disturbed during feeding.

  • Bed bugs bite in the same area as a group. While all bed bugs don't come out to feed at the same time, the group that does will feed in the same location together. You're not going to have bug bites all over your body in random places. They'll be in the same general area.

  • Bed bugs tend to bite exposed skin. If you wake up with bites on a location of your body that stays covered during the night, they may not be bed bug bites. These insects need about five to ten minutes to feed. They prefer to feed where they aren't going to get dislodged by a blanket moving across your skin. But, keep in mind that this isn't always the case. Bed bugs can get under your blankets and feed on you in covered areas.

  • Bed bugs tend to bite toward the top of the body. They're attracted to carbon dioxide. If you find lots of bites on your feet, ankles and lower legs, they may not be bed bug bites. If the bites are random and do not look like a path of bites running across your skin, this is even more indication that you're getting bitten by something else.

  • Bed bug bites can be minor at first. When you first start getting bites from bed bugs in your Bay Area home, the bites may be from bed bug nymphs (baby bed bugs). The nymphs are only 1mm long. That is ⅕ the size of an adult bed bug. The wounds they create can also be significantly smaller.

  • It can take several hours or days to see the bites. You can wake up with several bed bug bites and not know that you were bitten by bed bugs during the night. This is because it can take a while for your body to react to the proteins in bed bug saliva. When the reaction begins, you'll notice bumps and a rash forming. Since bed bug bites are numerous, and the bumps can be slight, you might think that the rash is just a rash and not insect bites. If you are aware that they're insect bites and not just a rash, you might think that you got bitten by outdoor insects. Keep this fact in mind as you're determining where the bites came from.

Other Bed Bug Warning Signs

With all of the characteristics listed above, you may be able to tell that you have bed bugs in your Bay Area home without ever seeing a bed bug. If these aren't enough, here are a few more signs that can help you remove any doubt.

  • Bed bugs leave shed skins. This is because nymphs pass through five instars and shed their skins each time.

  • Bed bugs excrete blood. If you find brown stains on mattresses, box springs, bedding, sheets, furniture or fabrics, you could have a bed bug infestation.

  • Bed bugs leave excrement around. The excrement of bed bugs is black. You might find specks, blotches, or stained areas.

If You Have Bed Bugs

When you find bed bugs in your Bay Area home, contact Bay Pest for bed bug control. We use the most advanced strategies to get every last bug. Reach out to us today for assistance. We can help!


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