What percentage of people react to bed bug bites?

by nobugsonme on April 17, 2009 · 3 comments

in bed bug bites, bed bug research, bed bugs

Often on the Bedbugger forums, we hear statements like, “I see dark spots and saw a bug in my bed that looked like a bed bug, but I do not have any bites.”

In response, I used to say, “many people do not react to bed bug bites.”

I first formulated this response based on anecdotal evidence: people coming to our forums who knew they had bed bugs and did not react. And PCOs who feed bed bug colonies and do not react.

Then, after hearing Jerome Goddard put the percentage of those who do not react to bed bug bites at 70%, I cited him on that for a while.

Having heard other statistics ranging from 50-60% recently asserted by other entomologists in the media, I have recently been saying that “entomologists tell us 50-70% of people may not react to bed bug bites.”

And now, thanks to Renee’s well-researched post, which shows some studies suggest a small minority do not react, and in the absence of a more definitive answer, I am going to go back to the only answer I know to be true: “many people do not react to bed bug bites.”

I know you’ll want all the information on this from Renee, so check out her post here.

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1 Renee April 17, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Nobugs, thanks for noticing my post.

I’m glad you’ve always pointed out to people that they or others living in the same home may not react to bed bug bites. Many people do not diagnose their problem quickly enough because they lack this critical piece of information. This has to be in every single piece of public information for bed bugs. It’s essential.

I really dislike Jerome Goddard’s efforts to diminish the importance of bed bugs. I find it irresponsible. To find that his analysis on this particular issue is flawed (I read the paper he’s basing this on–if I can figure it out, why can’t he?) is rather sweet to me. It makes me feel better. I actually wrote him a letter when the JAMA article and all his public statements were just too much for me. Jessica tried to talk me down from the ledge, but failed. We joked that it was a bit like drunk dialing/drunk emailing, sans the alcohol, but about the same. 🙂

2 lieutenantdan April 20, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Wife and I were receiving bites but I did not react at that time, only a couple of itchy bumps on the top of my head.

Two things. The top of my head showed reactions to bites so I wonder if for some reason only one particular location on a person can be sensitive to bites.
And then there is the possibility of delayed bite response reaction. Marks on my body did not appear for several weeks after my wife’s initial reactions and three PCO treatments, the marks continue on in some extent to present time.

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