Do I have bed bugs? Are these bed bug bites?

by nobugsonme on October 22, 2006 · 126 comments

in bed bug detection

Do I have bed bugs?

What bed bugs (or bedbugs) look like depends partly on their life stage and whether they’ve just had a blood meal or not. You need to know that the adults are about the size of an apple seed, and the youngest nymphs can be the size of a speck of dirt. In other words, very difficult to see. The unfed nymphs are light-colored, whereas a bed bug that has fed will be red, rust, or brown in color. Here is a photo of a colony of bed bugs of various stages.  Here is our gallery of photos of bed bugs and signs of bed bugs.

They also hide well. They can be very thin (like a piece of paper) and can slip into cracks. They may be hiding in places you do not think anything can get into. Though they prefer to feed late at night (around 3-5 am seems to be ideal), they may bite you without your knowledge, during the night or day, in bed or while you sit in a chair or on a sofa. You can be bitten for months and months without seeing an actual bug dead or alive. Bed bug bites can’t be diagnosed from looking at your skin, since bed bug bites can look like several other conditions–and they don’t look the same on everyone. Our bed bug bites photos page gives you some idea of the variations. (More on some of the other conditions you might have instead are below.)

Here is a photo used with permission from Stephen L. Doggett, Senior Hospital Scientist in the Department of Medical Entomology at the University of Sydney and Westmead Hospital. This is their bed bug site. He’s also the principle author or the Code of Practice for the Control of Bed Bug Infestations in Australia, which can be downloaded from the same site. We thank Stephen L. Doggett for giving us permission to post this helpful photo!

Where can I learn more?

This is a highly informative PowerPoint presentation by Harold Harlan, a well-known bed bug researcher. You will be able to gain a lot from it even though it is obviously meant to accompany a presentation. This PDF of a Powerpoint lecture by Harold Harlan (“Bed Bug Biology and Behavior,” April 2012) is highly informative (click to view PDF on NPMA website).

These are some links to Bed Bug Fact Sheets from university extension services and entomology departments:

University of Sydney (warning: link will open PDF )

Armed Forces Pest Management Guide to Bed Bugs (written by Harold Harlan)

Here are is the flickr photo stream of Lou Sorkin.

Other things that might be bothering you

Bed bugs are rapidly spreading right now, but these other closely related species may also be the source of your woes:

Bat Bugs (Wikipedia entry with photo). More bat, bird, rat bug information to come when we find it.

Less closely related are bird mites (U of Sydney page on bird mites) and CDC page on scabies. Many of us are erroneously treated for scabies in the first instance; doctors can test for scabies and you should get them to do this before treatment if at all possible. You’ll be praying it’s scabies anyway, and hey, if you’re lucky, you’ll be right. (I wasn’t.)

It’s worth ruling out fleas (yes, even if you don’t have pets!)  This FAQ on fleas explains how to detect fleas and gives helpful DIY trap and treatment ideas from some of our pest experts.

This PDF from the University of Kentucky outlines a number of insect and non-insect causes for “invisible itches”. Click to load PDF.

Non-insect causes include: allergies to cosmetics, animals, chemicals of all kinds may cause similar symptoms. There will, obviously, be no bed bug feces, bugs, or cast of shells in this case. See dermatologist and/or allergist.

Hot-tub folliculitis: apparently time in a hot tub can lead to a special bacterial infection that also looks a bit like these other conditions. Again, see your doctor.

Delusional Parasitosis (a.k.a. Ekbom’s Syndrome) is a condition in which people think that insects are crawling on them and biting them, when they are not. Although this American Entomologist article by Nancy C. Hinkle is entitled “Delusory Parasitosis” (click here to load a PDF), it also outlines how very real environmental, physical, and other conditions can cause similar symptoms to a bed bug infestation, including itching, crawling sensations (formication), skin conditions and rashes. While it is true that people are occasionally mistakenly diagnosed with Delusory Parasitosis (and later discover their symptoms to have been caused by bed bugs or another cause), it is a common condition.

Additional possibile causes of itching and skin reactions are explored in this Bedbugger Forums thread.

If you think you have bed bugs but have not got a bed bug specimen, you should take steps to verify whether you do have bed bugs or another medical, pharmaceutical, or environmental cause. Use monitors (see below) to rule out fleas and detect evidence of bed bugs.

Enlist the help of PCOs and entomologists in identifying any insects or cast-off shells you find. You should at the very least see some bed bug feces (which can appear as small black specks or sometimes stains on the bed). You can post photos of suspected bed bugs, cast skins, eggs, or fecal stains in our forums for an expert to have a look.
Experienced PCOs can often identify the presence of bed bugs by such evidence. In the absence of any bed bug evidence, be persistent about seeing your physician and preferably a dermatologist as well, until someone is able to help you.

Detecting Stealthy Bed Bugs

Many varieties of bed bug monitors are available now to help you (or your pest management professional) determine if you have bed bugs.

Active monitors actively attract bed bugs using Co2, heat, pheromones, or kairomones.

They may not work well in low-level infestations where few bed bugs are present, if a human is sharing the space. That’s because the human is going to be the more attractive “object” in the room.

Active monitors may be more useful in unoccupied spaces or where more bed bugs are present.

Early active bed bug monitoring tools such as the Nightwatch ranged from $400-1000 (released in 2009 and 2010 respectively, no longer available as of 2012).

However, those options were quite costly. There are now much less expensive active monitors which still work to attract and trap bed bugs, for detection purposes.

“Detecting Bed Bugs Using Bed Bug Monitors,” written by Changlu Wang, outlines options for detecting bed bugs, including instructions on how to implement a DIY dry ice monitor Wang’s office developed.  You can download it for free from the Rutgers website. Keep in mind, the dry ice monitor requires a certain level of knowledge (in handling dry ice) and dry ice can be costly and difficult to obtain. Forum user NewBlood found this monitor would cost him $140 a week to run, since in his area, dry ice could only be bought in 10 lb. blocks (at $20 a pop), which would sublime in 24 hours, needing daily replacement.

Luckily, in March 2010, a brand new active bed bug monitor debuted, one which uses C02 like the dry ice DIY monitor mentioned above, but which is much easier to assemble and run, using refillable C02 pellets instead of dry ice.  The Bed Bug Beacon, designed by David James (who also invented the Packtite and Bed Bug Blue) is also priced under $50, and you can refill the pellets cheaply for longer or repeated use.  You can read more about the Bed Bug Beacon.

You or your PCO may also decide to employ a passive monitor(like Packtite Passive/BBAlert Passive) or pitfall/interceptor bed bug monitor (such as ClimbUp Insect Interceptors or BlackOut Bed Bug Detectors).

Climbup (TM) Interceptors
and BlackOut Bed Bug Detectors are designed to catch bed bugs which leave or climb onto the piece of furniture. You place disks under the legs of beds, sofas, chairs, etc. You can get a set of four ClimbUps for under $22, or a dozen for under $60; a dozen BlackOuts run about $50. (Make sure you get one for every leg of the item you want to use them with.)

They can be a helpful detection device in many cases. And they are great for people who don’t have bed bugs yet, as they would detect bed bugs which come in to feed on you via attached apartments or houses. Note some complaints have come from people using the ClimbUps brand on thick carpeting, which may cause them to crack more easily.

You can read more about interceptor and pitfall style monitors here.

If you want something to trap bed bugs climbing onto or off of the bed, but the ClimbUp Interceptor does not suit the design of your bed legs, the Bed Bug Barrier may be another option. (We’re still waiting for more feedback on those from users.)

David Cain of has designed a passive bed bug monitor which is now being marketed as the Packtite Passive (in North America) and BBAlert Passive (in the rest of the world).  It is designed to be attached to various types of beds and serves as an attractive harborage for bed bugs.  When bed bugs harbor there, you should soon find fecal traces, cast skins, or even bed bugs upon routine inspection of the monitor.  It can then be removed and placed in a sealed bag to be shown to a pest professional, landlord, etc.  Read all about the Packtite Passive/BBAlert Passive and watch an informative video from the manufacturer here.

Finally, canine scent detection dogs are now being trained to sniff out bed bugs. Canine scent detection can be an effective option. They are not 100% effective, but can be better than a human visual search. It is crucial to understand that training methods vary. Ask if your canine dog handler will carefully search for a bed bug or egg in the vicinity after a dog alerts. Otherwise, you have no way of verifying whether you might have a false positive.

If you are looking for a canine scent detection unit, please read our bed bug sniffing dog FAQ first, and come to the forums if you want to discuss dogs further; keep in mind that competing schools of dog training may have different perspectives, but that bedbuggers who have hired dogs in your area may be able to make suggestions about reputable firms.

A new product (released 2012) called Bed Bug Blue (from the makers of Packtite and the Bed Bug Beacon active monitor) may help you test suspected fecal stains to help determine if you have bed bugs. Read this FAQ for more on Bed Bug Blue.
You may also find these FAQs useful in trying to figure out if you have bed bugs:

What are different types of bed bug monitors? How can they help confirm the presence of bed bugs?

What do bed bugs and signs of bed bugs look like? Where can I see photos of bed bugs, bed bug eggs, cast skins, and fecal specks?

What do bed bug bites look like? Where can I see pictures of bed bug bites?

What do I need to know about bed bug sniffing dogs?

Last updated 3/26/2015

Comments are now closed. Please post a message on our Bedbugger Forums if you have questions or need support. If you have suggestions for improving the FAQs, you can contact me here.

Last updated 1/2019

1 KIM May 31, 2007 at 3:33 pm


2 nobugsonme May 31, 2007 at 3:46 pm

You need to read our other FAQ “Think you have bed bugs? Some do’s and don’ts!” then call a PCO. We have a FAQ on how to choose a PCO who knows how to get rid of bed bugs (they do not all know). The PCO should thoroughly inspect your home and all adjacent units (sounds like a 2-family house). Ask them if they had bed bugs in their previous home. Don’t get mad–if you’re catching it early and in a 2-family building, it should be relatively easy to treat. They may have come from the tenants, or any number of other sources (hotels, trains, kid home from college, etc.)

But get someone good in right away to inspect and treat. If you do treat, you and the tenant need to follow the PCO’s protocols for preparing. If they do not have one, pick another PCO! If these are not followed carefully, the problem will spread. Go to our forums (
if you need more advice, but start with the FAQs. Don’t panic, it sounds like you caught it early.

3 nobugsonme May 31, 2007 at 3:54 pm

oh, and Kim– the bed bug you caught is unlikely to be the sole bed bug. I’d get the PCO in. Some people have tons of bed bugs and never see ONE.

4 Kim May 31, 2007 at 8:47 pm

hello again. now that i am home and have fully inspected my bed which by the way is a water bed i didn’t see any tell tale signs of fecal matter or eggs or skins i’m not sure the bug i found this morning was a bed bug. how can i be sure. do i wait until the middle of the night and go bug hunting? i’m kinda freaking out here.

5 nobugsonme May 31, 2007 at 10:07 pm


People go months and months being bitten without seeing one, and they are hard to find. Unless you have an enormous infestation, they remain hidden during the day. They are tiny and can hide in the cracks of a bed frame, unseen. They come out when they know you are asleep (based on your breathing, generally 3-5 am). Fecal spots can be little black specks that look like pepper, or the stains that are more like ink on the cloth.

I guess it hinges on whether you got a good look at it. You said it looked like an adult that had just fed. Look at some more photos here (see links to photos on our site in right sidebar). If you did not get a good look, it might still help to look at bite photos (linked at the top of this page), keeping in mind they can vary a great deal.

I guess if you did not get a good look and are not at all confident that what you saw was a bed bug, then you might choose to wait. The next time you’re bitten, call a PCO.

Personally, I would have a PCO in to inspect and I would talk to the tenants. As long as you make it clear you won’t be mad or blame them if they’re honest. You just need to treat bed bugs right away. I don’t think you can be too cautious.

Unfortunately with no signs–fecal matter, shed skins, or bugs–PCOs are not supposed to treat (by law). Many will, because the signs are hard to find, and because bites are signs.
If you see another bug, catch it in a small jar, or on one side of clear packing tape (in which case, gently stick it to an index card). If you find a bed bug, you need to save it.

6 Davis July 31, 2007 at 10:51 pm

Is it possible to only get them on your inner thighs? I have several bite just on my inner thighs and a few on the back of my right thigh but none anywhere else. I slept on my couch and woke up with them, I fell asleep there with my 4 year old and have inspected her and see nothing…. They itch and are hard with a scab on the top… I woke up with 30-40 of them at least they is no order to the bite at all ( I read bedbugs were usally in a row)

7 nobugsonme July 31, 2007 at 11:07 pm

Not necessarily in a row, Davis. Many people get bitten in rows or in triangles. But others get single bites. It has to do with (from what I have been told) whether you move while they’re biting you, and also whether it’s hard to find a vein.

Could also be something else, though. Make sure you rule out other causes as per the FAQ, and look for other signs.

8 Davis July 31, 2007 at 11:14 pm

I have read the FAQ pages and am still unsure… we have had this couch for years and this is the first… I also don’t live in an apartment (which it seem alot do) From what I gether they bite exposed skin and I was wereing sweat shorts and only under the shorts did I get bit — but none on the outside of my thighs. I am thinking of going to the doctor because my legs are becoming stiff and sore… does this happen from thier bites?

9 nobugsonme July 31, 2007 at 11:23 pm

They can certainly bite covered skin, but this is a bit unusual–them going to that level of trouble. I’d seek other causes via your doctor. Stiffness/soreness does not sound right to me.

10 sue August 1, 2007 at 5:27 pm

I have another question. It mentions that the bug will first insert an anticoagulant into your skin before biting. I take anticoagulants already for a heart problem, in the morning I wake up with new bruises all over my legs and arms and chest and back. Could this also be a sign?

11 nobugsonme August 1, 2007 at 5:36 pm

I really think you should talk to your doctor about that. I am not qualified to give medical advice (and of course, anyone who claims to be, online, may not be). Bruising can have all kind of causes and I think your doctor will want to know about that.

12 BedBugUncertain September 3, 2007 at 1:54 pm

So, i took a picture of a bug on my boxspring that I thought looked a bedbug.

But when I blow up the photo, it doesn’t seem to have six legs — looks more like it has lots of them all around it’s body. (they look like numerous spikes, too many to count, all around the perimeter of the body)

Any thought on what else it could be? (I am still going to call an exterminator in to be sure, but this is the only bug I’ve seen and caught)

Thank you!

13 nobugsonme September 3, 2007 at 2:01 pm

bedbuguncertain, it’s not a bed bug. (other readers: BBU sent me the photo.)
That does not mean you do not HAVE bed bugs. They may be hidden elsewhere.
It just means this is not one.
I would get a PCO who knows bed bugs to inspect your home. We have a FAQ on how to find one. Keep in mind they often hide well (for example, inbetween cracks in bed frames, rather than in or on the mattress itself.)

14 BedBugUncertain September 3, 2007 at 2:31 pm

Thank you — good to know. And yeah, I am definitely having an exterminator come in later this week, and will be cleaning out all my clutter no matter what.

Whether I have bed bugs or other, I still want to be bug free.

15 nobugsonme September 3, 2007 at 2:56 pm

Decluttering is good, but be careful how much cleaning you do before the PCO comes in. If you move things, you can move bed bugs. If you clean things, you can clean signs of bed bugs away. Best to get a thorough inspection first.

16 Jeff September 8, 2007 at 10:06 am

Hi, i like many of the other posters on this site, am loosing my mind! I say that sarcastically, but honestly I have so many issues that I feel like I truly may be going crazy. I noticed about a month ago a strange pimple like mark on my face. I am very conscience of my skin being clean and am a well groomed person. This marking that I thought was possibly a zit only grew in size and it looks like it has little tiny tiny red specks inside of it. It isn’t raised like a zit, but more indented in my skin like a tiny little crater. I know I should not have picked it, but I did of course. It hurt like hell, kinda like I was pulling off something that really didn’t want to be pulled off. Since I made that mistake I have had several more of these pop up in random places all over my face. The original one that I picked, came back but bigger. They bleed forever if I pick at them and they don’t go away even when I swab the markings with alcohol or acne medication containing salicylic acid. I don’t have a doctor and don’t feel that a trip to the ER is really the right thing to do. My room has kind of a lot of clutter in it. I am really busy, and lazy too, and haven’t unpacked boxes that were in storage for awhile. I am going to spend the day trying to get everything cleaned up so that I can eliminate any possible areas for any bugs to hide. But I need to do something about what is all over my face, it is looking really bad. Please any advice, help that you can give me would be so greatly appreciated. Thanks very much.

17 nobugsonme September 8, 2007 at 1:16 pm

HI Jeff,

Sorry you’re going through that.

Although people have really different bite reactions, as you can see from the link at top that says “photos of bed bug bites”, I have not heard a single person describe the original bump (before scratching) as a “crater” indented inward, as you did. I also have not heard anyone talk about bed bug bites being filled with red specks.

Therefore, I would be skeptical about this being bed bugs. I also would note that most people do not initially get bitten by bed bugs on their faces unless they sleep with almost everything else covered. Bites beginning on the legs, feet, arms, shoulders, and back seem to be more common. (Often people begin sleeping covered from head to toe to avoid bites, and leave only their faces exposed, making this more likely.) But it’s mostly your description that tells me this is probably from another cause.

So, I seriously think you should see a doctor. There are a lot of medical conditions that might cause such bumps and you really should get them looked at.

18 Cathy September 22, 2007 at 7:07 pm

I’ve come from my holidays on Tuesday from Portugal. I stayed in an old windmill converted in to a house. I noticed in bed some itchiness but did not get any bites or red marks. I came back home and washed my clothes but when I went to bed I started getting itchy everywhere. Now I’m not in bed and still feel it. As I’ve read the bed bugs bite so I think it should not be that… do bed bugs always bite? Do they make people itchy without biting or is it something else??? What is it???

19 nobugsonme September 22, 2007 at 11:15 pm

HI Cathy,

I would get a doctor to rule out any medical conditions. There are a number of things which might be causing this besides bed bugs.

Bed bugs are possible: they can feel like you’re being bitten, even when you’re not. So you might be bitten at night but FEEL like you’re being bitten in the daytime when there’s nothing there. We have some FAQs on this.

And although most people have itchy welts or bite marks of some kind, I have heard a few people complain of itching without marks.

So I’d check with a doctor. And look also at the FAQs in the Bed Bugs 101 section here:

and click “Photos of bed bugs and signs of bed bugs” in the top banner. This will help you be alert for any signs–which may be quite hard to find, in a new infestation.

20 Jenni September 28, 2007 at 7:48 pm

Two weeks ago I stayed in a hostel in Portugal which appeared to be immaculately kept. During the night I woke feeling like I there were several creatures crawling on me. At about 2 am I woke up enough to realise that I was infact not alone! I got up and turned the light on and found three brown bugs in the bed, which I quickly flicked onto the floor. As it was the middle of the night, I got the top sheet and shook it, then wrapped myself in it like a mummy and tried to cover my head and hands. I could feel them walking through my hair and over the sheet. Over 24 hours later bites appeared mostly on my hands, face and neck with a few on my legs and feet. Years ago I was bitten by bed bugs in Indonesia, although I never actually saw them.
My question is could the bites be from something else similar? I thought they were more oblong shape, though similar size and colour to the photos on the web. I have studied biology and was sure the bugs were beatles with a dividing line down their back, not with the segmentation that the photos all show. (Ofcourse when I saw them it was only for a few seconds and it was late and I didn’t stop study them!) what do you think? Thanks Jenni

21 nobugsonme September 28, 2007 at 11:32 pm

There’s another bug called the blood-sucking cone nose that sucks your blood, and other insects (like masked assassin beetles) and mites that bite. The mites would be smaller. There are some kinds of ticks that might be possible. We have lots of photos on the site and links to others in the sidebar–I’d look at more photos and see, since bed bugs look different depending on life stage and depending on whether they just ate or not.

22 Lili October 12, 2007 at 2:39 am

Caught something that looks very much like a bed bug (light brown, 6 mm long, striby surface, flat). A couple of things make me doubt (wish!) it might be something else: it didn’t move particularly fast; it was crawling around my bed in the middle of the night but while the light was on; it has at least 8 legs (and on most photos it looks as if it’s only got between 4 and 6). What do you think?

23 nobugsonme October 12, 2007 at 4:10 am

If it was crawling slowly, it may be because it had fed. Did you look through all the photos posted and linked to here:

They look quite different at different life stages and also before and after a meal. In the third photo down in the link above, the nymph clearly has 6 legs and two antennae. Could you have mistaken the antennae for legs?

Your best bet would be to catch a sample on the back of a piece of sticky tape. I know how hard that is.

Are you being bitten? Are there other signs? Is there any reason to think you may have bed bugs? How good a look did you get?

24 Renata October 12, 2007 at 12:59 pm

this web sites are so useful!! I am so glad I found them. I and my flatmate are having very difficult time now so I am searching for information everywhere. We surely have bed bugs at flat – we saw them, most of them in the morning or over the day. It means our flat is infestated very much,doesn¨t?:(
But the problem is – we are 3 in flat and we all saw a doctor. But to one of us the doctor said that she had been bitten by bedbugs but I and the third girl were said ( from different doctor) that we had been ill with scabies.
It is so difficult to decided if the diagnosis was right or not!! Copinng with scabies and bedbugs together is really terrible. I know that you are not a doctor – I just would like to hear your opinion. Do you think that scabies could be a wrong diagnosis? But my friend had a rush over all body, even on her belly and I dont know if bugs bite on such places:/We are very afraid of having scabies- to us it looks more infectious and serious than bugs.

25 nobugsonme October 12, 2007 at 3:38 pm


It is very difficult for doctors to diagnose bed bug bites. If you click the link above to “bed bug bites photos” you will see many variations. Lots of doctors do misdiagnose bed bug bites as scabies, since the skin conditions can look similar in some people.

Scabies, as I understand, can be detected by analyzing a skin scraping. I hope your flatmates will go back to the doctor and request this. It is POSSIBLE to have scabies AND to have bed bugs at the same time, though the two conditions are not related in any way, and this would be very bad luck to have both conditions at one time. I have heard of it happening.

However, it is also possible, if scabies were diagnosed purely on visual evidence, that your flatmates’ rashes are from the bed bugs. Though their first choice would probably be to bite exposed areas of skin, bed bugs can and do bite under clothing as well as exposed areas. Bites on the belly and other covered areas are common.

Since you have seen many bed bugs during the day, it does sound like you have a significant infestation. You must get treatment for your flat. You should also talk to the owners (if you rent) and neighbors. If your bed bugs appeared suddenly, in large quantity, it can be that a neighbor used a “bomb” to treat them, making them scatter to neighboring flats. It can also mean someone who had bed bugs moved out, and so they came looking for you. Of course, it is also possible that you have had them for a while before you reacted and/or saw them. But there’s a good chance neighboring flats or even the whole building may be infested. Treating one flat, in such a case, will do little to solve your problem.

One more thing–scabies may sound terrible, but it can be solved with the application of a lotion from the doctor. Usually one treatment is needed, sometimes two. All clothing, sheets, towels, etc. must be washed and dried on hot.

But bed bugs can persist for months, even with treatment. So in my opinion, they can be more serious. Please get a professional to help you right away, and talk to the people in your building.

26 Renata October 13, 2007 at 7:13 am

Thank you very much for your quick answer:)The problem is in the whole house, we have just got to know that a neighbor above us underwent the same problem.
But because we are students we just rent this flat so we of course want to move as quick as possible. BUT!!!of course we know that we can’t move with all our things becouse that would only spread bed bugs to this another clean flat. So we plan to be very careful, move there just few necessary pieces of clothes at first. And the rest of our things after professional de-infestication in the old flat.
So I have thousands of questions I hope you can help me with. We need to avoid to spread bedbugs to our jobs (hotel, househodls),so..
1.Can bugs stay in your hair?
2.We are from Czech republic and here is not usual to have dryer at home. So would be bedbugs and eggs destroyed by normal washing in washing machine? And
how high should the temperature be?40°c or 60°c or 90°c?
3.And would be enough to just put (dive) thing in the water for 2-3days? (back-pack, big rucksacks, school bags, etc – things which are to big to put them into the wash.mach.)
4.And what about freezer? I mean the normal one that we use to freeze food. Will it destroy bugs@eggs?;) and how long should we leave things there?
5.What about shoes? Do we have to clean our daily used shoes after each night before going to work, etc.? I know that before going somewhere we should always take a shower and wear a clean clothes but how to do it with shoes?
6.Do you have any experience if the bed bugs hide in papers in drawers in writing table?
7.Could be eggs found alone without any other signs of bedbugs? We are afraid of glancing over the eggs because it is difficult to find them in books and papers,…
I hope that you are not infest with my questions:)
Thank you very much. Renata

27 Leah October 15, 2007 at 1:22 pm

I’ve heard that there have been several recent cases of bed bugs in the Prague area-I live in Prague 2 and have been attacked viciously for a month by the creepy creatures–I finally found 2 adult sized bed bugs last night, living in my bed frame. I am furious! I just moved into a new, renovated flat and this is the last thing I’d expect…yuck. I have an exterminator coming later this week ot treat my bedroom and perhaps my entire flat. I was told that it would cost between 1500-2000 kc. GOOD LUCK. L|G

28 nobugsonme October 15, 2007 at 2:30 pm

dobry den, Renata,

I wish you were having a better time. Bed bugs are very difficult to kill.

1. No– they should not be living in your hair or on your body. They can hang out in your clothing, but will run and hide as soon as they can. A shower and clean clothes will help.

2. entomologist Michael Potter suggests a washing machine will kill bed bugs but not eggs. Read the article linked from this FAQ for Dr. Potter’s information. It might be worth going to a laundromat if they are available, but otherwise, you can only do your best.

3. Immersing things in boiling water might work. I think it is the temperature not the length of time that matters.

4. The freezer should kill bed bugs and eggs. However, it can take longer than you think. You should determine the temperature of the freezer. Items might need to be left as long as 1-2 weeks if it is not very cold, and then opening the freezer will raise the temperature each time. All the good data on freezing times assumes lower temperatures than the standard home freezer is likely to have.

5. The FAQ linked above and the others here might help.

6. Yes–they will hide in clutter. They prefer to be close to where they bite you (which can be in a chair as well as in a bed).

7. You may not be able to see eggs. I would follow Leah’s advice and get a professional to treat your home (and make sure the landlord does this for neighbors on all sides, top, and bottom, as well as anyone else with a problem). All must be treated at once and you will likely need more than one treatment–spaced about 2 weeks apart. The two of you are not the only folks in Prague who have written in lately. I think it is a big problem there as everywhere else.

29 Ami November 8, 2007 at 8:48 pm

Hi, firstly, thanks for the very informative site, though it’s freaked me out more now!

I’d like to get your opinion on whether or not I may have bed bugs.

For the last 11 days, my partner and I have been getting bitten from the waist down whenever we’re in bed. Initially, we did think we had bed bugs, so did some research on the web for signs and ways to confirm infestations. Somebody suggested that during the night, grab a flashlight and quickly check under the sheets between 3 – 6am as we’d be able to find bed bugs looking for a feed. My partner did this while I was sleeping, several times through the night, and saw nothing.

Secondly, we have no bedbug poop (in the sense that we have no black stains on the bed)! Or blood stains. And last night, as I hopped on to the bed (with all my clothes – pants, shirt, jumper), I got another bite, and during the day some time, with my clothes on again, I got 4 bites on my hip. So unless there are some very diligent bedbugs in my clothes…. I’m not sure.

There were two nights where we didn’t get bitten at all – I had vacuumed on the first day, sprayed the mattress with insecticide (as a per a recommendation from a friend who had bedbugs and said that worked… I’m doubting it now) and sprayed the entire surrounding area of our bed (we have floorboards). I repeated the spraying ritual around the bed on the second night, too, and got no bites.

This morning I thought it might be fleas, and was about to go buy flea aerosol bombs, until I saw your site. Which says

1) I may never see a bed bug!
2) Tell-tale signs may not be there for everyone, and,
3) Aerosol cans are going to worsen a bedbug infestation

So I thought I’d ask what I should do now. I don’t wanna make it worse with the aerosol bomb, and I’ve inspected all the seams of the mattress and found nothing. So I’m very very confused and lost now! Please help!


30 Ami November 8, 2007 at 8:52 pm

P.S. Our bites are extremely ambiguous in the sense that they look like normal mosquito bites but smaller (like some of the photos you have up here on bedbugger), so I can’t tell if it’s fleas or bedbugs as they’re just regular itching bites to me.

31 nobugsonme November 8, 2007 at 10:39 pm

The appearance can vary widely, Ami, and the photos on our bites page do not represent all possibilities.

Your situation certainly sounds like bed bugs. I would not try and self treat, but would get a PCO in. Everyone eventually sees some signs but in the early stages, they may be minimal. Many see black, brown, or red fecal SPECKS rather than stains as in the photos. The specks are little black flecks. The color may vary along the red-black range. But if you have only been bitten a short time, there may not be many. Using white sheets and clothing helps.

I’d get a PCO in asap. And if you live in a multi-unit, consider that they may have come from neighbors, who will need to be inspected and treated by a PCO. It is common for people not to react to bites, so they may not even know.

32 katie November 29, 2007 at 9:17 pm

Hi, Over the past few days I have noticed various bites come up on my legs and arms and chest, the reactions I have had to the bites has been very inflamed and itchy. I usually react badly to bites however these are particularly bad due to the sheer amount of bites. My bed sheets are black therefore I cannot make out any markings on my sheets. Im unsure what to do now as im not sure I actually have bedbugs.

33 nomorebugs November 29, 2007 at 9:23 pm

With this many bites, you might see something. Check the seams around your mattress. Check very carefully as they are small. Google or google bed bug for what you should check for. Check everything near the bed.

34 hopelessnomo November 29, 2007 at 11:36 pm

Also, sometimes for some people when they first start reacting all their previous bites surface at once.

Switch to white sheets and white bedclothes and save anything you find for identification.

There are additional FAQs and photo resources on this site.

35 goinginsane December 9, 2007 at 5:48 am


Thanks for the great forum. 3 months ago my parents visited and we stayed in an invested London hotel, but we didn’t realize this until we slept one night in my apartment (with my mom on my couch). My parents left after that night. I washed all clothes i brought super hot (and ruined some), my backpack, vacuumed *all* furniture, floors, etc., and very thoroughly cleaned in every way recommended on the websites. Hours of work. My (small) apartment is in brand new good condition, absolutely no clutter, with no cracks or anything i can see.

Then a few evenings ago, I see one little brown bug crawling down my couch. Definitely a bed bug. I tore the couch apart and haven’t found any signs of feces or molted skin, nor have i had a single bite.

I would call a PCO, but i live in Germany and i can’t even begin to imagine who i need to call. We’re scheduled to throw the couch out tomorrow morning, but i hate to throw it away because of one solitary bug and no other signs. Could it be that he was the only survivor and that i should wait for other signs? What would you do if you were me?

Thanks for your help.
Psychosomatic in Cologne

36 nobugsonme December 9, 2007 at 3:55 pm


Sorry you have bed bugs. I doubt that this is a solitary bed bug. Try to call someone who does pest control first, since they may even be able to salvage the sofa. If you must throw it out, be sure to destroy it first (slash it up with a knife) because if your neighbors salvage it, the cycle can begin all over again–they can come back!

You can be assured you are not the only one in Germany, and so there will definitely be people who can help. This is a map of European readers. As you can see we have many in Germany. Find someone who does pest control, a well-known, good company with lots of experience in your city should have had some bed bug cases already–they are everywhere!

Good luck and come to the forums if you need support. Click the blue button at top right that says “forum.”

37 tab097 December 10, 2007 at 6:07 pm

Yeah, i find it hard to believe it is just one bug. I learned the word for Pest Control (Schädlingsbekämpfung) and chose a company that advertises that it’s been in Germany for 45 years with offices around the world. I talked to a guy today who is going to come by wednesday morning and verify that my dead bug is really a bed bug (which i’m already sure of) and check out my couch. Thanks for the map. If this guy can’t help me i’ll definitely choose one of your readers!

Thanks so much for your reply and cross your fingers for me (or as the germans would say: press your thumbs)! Even if i have a war ahead of me, it’s nice to know i’m not alone.


38 nomorebugs December 10, 2007 at 7:34 pm

This is the first I’ve heard of bed bugs in Germany. I would be interested to learning if a PCO in Gemany is better able to eliminate bed bugs.

Are there no or little German language blogs or forums on bed bugs?

Guess I’m always looking for new information (provided it’s some factual science and research behind it).

39 nobugsonme December 11, 2007 at 1:12 am

HI Tabitha,

Good to know the German for PCO!

Not sure if our readers can help–but they’re at least proof you aren’t alone. When people say “bed bugs aren’t a problem in (Cincinnati, Glasgow, Prague, Halifax, Alaska, etc.) I love to point them to the map. It’s in the sidebar midway down if you want to see your cohort outside Europe.

Your PCO is likely to know what they’re doing (or be in touch with someone who does). The only thing better would be if they had a PCO who’d been there since the late 40s, when the great mass of people last had to deal with bed bugs without DDT. (There have been cases since, everywhere, but not like before, or now.)


As far as we know there is a Francophone bed bug blog out of Montreal (La Cibole de Cimex) and a number in the US in English, three of these in NYC alone (see links to right). Only a few of the Anglophone ones are active or solely about bed bugs, and as far as I know Bedbugger and forum are the most active.

I speak only of bed bug blogs and forums; many more blogs became “about bed bugs” for a time while the author dealt with the problem; they’re often as interesting even if the bed bug story only lasts for a limited time. And they’re in the links too. I haven’t got them all there, but most of the ones I’ve seen.

(Don’t know of any in other languages or countries, but I don’t doubt they’re out there, or on their way, and we’d love to hear about them.)

40 Ottawabugs March 9, 2008 at 12:45 pm


Your site is great. We (my husband, myself and our 2 children) went to Ottawa for a visit about a month ago. When my husband woke up the next morning in our hotel room, we noticed red “dots/smears” all over the bedsheet but there was nothing on his body. (I had slept in the sofa bed with our daughter) We did not recognize this as a bedbug sign but just thought the sheets had not been changed since the last people and were disgusted. The hotel changed the sheets for us and we stayed 2 more nights with no other signs of anything.

A week later, back at home, my husband started getting red bums on the back of his arms and on the sides of his hips. Through our research we discovered that the hotel must have had bbs but my question is: could my husband have reacted a week later to the bites or did we bring some critters home with us?

I freaked out and washed everything from the trip including bedsheets etc. My husband’s rash went away in a few days and we thought that was the end of the ordeal, that his was just a delayed reaction to the bites. But now, 2 days ago I woke up with what looked like a solitary mosquito bite that was itchy (gone the next day) and my daughter has now woken up with tiny red pinpricks (2 on her face, 1 on her hand and 2 on her back) We have not seen any evidence (live bugs, feces, eggs etc.) but now I’m freaking out again!

Should we be calling a PCO or are we over reacting.

41 nobugsonme March 9, 2008 at 2:25 pm

It is possible that your husband originally had a delayed reaction. Some of the university fact sheets tell us reactions can happen up to nine days later. However, since you and your child are now reacting and it has been a month, you absolutely do need a PCO.
Please read the other FAQs and feel free to post additional messages and questions on the forums. (Click the forums button at top right.)

42 bettwanzen April 7, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Hello there,

thanks to your site I’m able to know what was going on with me. I rented my apartment for two months because I was going for a long trip and when I came back I started to notice these itchy bums every couple of days on me. After a month I realized they were bedbugs but didn’t see any until 3 weeks ago that I caught one, I thought was the only one because I didn’t get any bites until today, when I woke up with new bums. I made crazy-cleaning and found another little guy, and of course got very upset.

What should I do?! I’m an international student in Hamburg (Germany), living in a flat with another guy, funny to say he hasn’t had any bite ever. I could “easily” leave to another apartment but it will cost me some effort or I could fight back stronger these critters.

What do you suggest me?????

I’m desperate to find a solution, been already 2 months of not sleeping well!!!

43 nobugsonme April 7, 2008 at 6:40 pm

Hi Bettwanzen,

Sorry for your trouble.

You need a pest control professional. I am sure there are good ones in Hamburg. If you own your apartment, then you probably have to pay. If you have a landlord, the law may require them to pay (we don’t know the housing laws there). In any case, you really need a professional to come and treat.

If you look at the map of our readers, you will see people are logging in to this website from all over Germany.

This suggests bed bugs are a big problem there and a good pest professional should know what to do.

You may also need your neighbors to be professionally inspected. While this may have come from your recent tenant, it can also come from neighbors. Your roommate can be bitten and have no idea (we’re told 50% of people may not get itching or bite marks), so he must have his room treated too–the whole apartment, in fact.

Come to the forums if you have further questions!

44 Emma April 10, 2008 at 2:59 pm

I moved into a flat last july and bought all new furniture but about a month ago I noticed some bites on my legs mainly, since then they have appeared on my hip, arm and back. It isn’t alot just one here or there. I have checked my bed for any signs of infestation, I sleep with white sheets but I haven’t found signs of anything. No fecal spots or flecks, nothing! It’s getting really frustrating now. The woman who lived in the flat before me had a cat, is it possible it fleas? But it just seemed so odd that it happened oput of the blue, I have had no visitors, no second hand furniture, nothing has changed.


45 nobugsonme April 10, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Could be fleas. You can get a flea trap and test this idea.

You might want to get the doctor to rule out scabies and folliculitis (per the FAQ above).

Bed bugs can come from neighbors or can be picked up and brought in (though the former seems very common in apartment buildings). If you are renting, your landlord may be liable to pay for inspection/treatment. If you do have them, neighbors above, below and on all sides must also be professionally inspected.

You can probably rule out fleas and scabies fairly swiftly.

46 destiny April 15, 2008 at 1:12 am

How long do bed bugs fest before they start to feed. I purchased bed mattress 2 years ago. I’m wondering if the mattress was infested at the time of purchase.

47 nobugsonme April 15, 2008 at 3:14 pm

Bed bugs would have started feeding you right away. It is true that some people do not react for awhile (say a few months) and some never react. I would guess in your case they came from elsewhere–a neighbor, workplace, school, public transportation, etc.

If you have more comments or questions, please go to the forums:

48 LittleBuggers April 24, 2008 at 2:05 pm

Is it possible to have bed bugs and not see any bites?

Last night I was awoken from deep sleep (about 3am) from something biting me (back of my knee). The pain lasted a couple of minutes. No sign of a bite.
Previously I’ve had the same thing happen on the tops of my feet, back of my thigh shortly after going to bed.

I’m convinced it’s either bugs or fleas (we have a cat, but he gets regular treatment) but have never found evidence (husks, excrement etc).

49 livingnightmare April 29, 2008 at 10:41 pm

I really need help. I can’t eat or sleep I’m so freaked about this. This is a long post so let me state my question up front first–how do I find a PCO in my area (Baltimore) who will deal with this when I have no obvious signs other than one dead bug that popped out of the dryer tonight as I pulled out my laundered sheets (THREE WEEKS AFTER THE INITIAL EXPOSURE, ARGH), a possible egg casing collected from my sheet this morning (ewww), a few blood spots on the sheets, and a random bite here or there.

I have inspected and vacuumed my mattress and seen no bugs or eggs–nothing but possible very light droppings in one spot on the baseboard near the bed. Still one or two blood smears a night. And now I find a couple of round blood spots on the sheet covering the living room furniture that my dogs sleep on (normal dog-related stuff or bedbugs, who knows?). Mostly I am concerned that my dogs are spreading bbs around the house–they sleep on the living room furniture, the floor of every room (some carpeted, some hardwood with lots of cracks), the futon in our guest room, the upholstered chair in my den, the bed, everywhere. Should I be trying to keep them contained or is it too late? I have kept everything vacuumed and laundered as best as I can since the initial exposure (nasty hotel room that we were only in for about 2 hours before realizing), but you know how overwhelming dealing with a house full of stuff from the last 10 years is.

I want to try a PCO but I’m so afraid they won’t help and I feel overwhelmed trying to find an experienced one that will also consider my pets–a Google search turned up nothing useful. I feel like getting in the car and going to buy a steamer and some DE now but I’m so exhausted from all the vacuuming and inspecting and finding nothing but possibly a little fecal matter on the baseboard (but possibly dirt, how can I be sure) and those evil blood spots and that dead bug (only one we’ve ever seen in this house) that I feel I’m about to crack. Also I am concerned that through all the laundry I have done my laundry room is infested, despite the dozens of bags I have used to transport things.

And what about my car? We brushed ourselves off as best as possible before jumping into it as we left the nasty hotel but not everything was bagged at that point and it was quite late at night–I’m worried that every time we ride in the car we are picking some hitchikers up and bringing them in the house.

I have read all the FAQ and know I’m not supposed to panic, and I am a rational person, but how can I not panic? I have lots of summer travels and visitors planned. I am smoking cigarettes again, skipping meals, hitting the Jameson, and popping valium like crazy but the whole thing is just making me literally insane. So sorry for the long rant, I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before.

50 nobugsonme April 30, 2008 at 7:43 pm

HI livingnightmare,

Please copy and repost your comment in the forums:

You will get many responses there and can also read old posts discussing Baltimore PCOs. It might help to find a local PCO that has access to (or trusts) a bed bug dog, which can be an aid to detecting cases especially in early stages.

51 Gregg Strouse May 6, 2008 at 9:59 pm

I’ve been battling bed bugs for half a year. I ordered a kit: bed cover, spray, DE, slippery tape, and I did it all. I washed everything. Lifted the carpet and vacuumed. Bagged all my books. And I still get bites!! Since the first infestation (which was massive) I’ve only seen 2 bugs. I don’t see any feces, no shells, no blood, but my legs are devoured. WhenI go away on vacation, the itching stops. I still spray, put out DE, change my sheets, to no avail. How can I find them? How do I end this? It’s causing mental anguish.

52 nobugsonme May 6, 2008 at 10:44 pm

I would seriously recommend getting a professional who knows bed bugs to come in and treat. See the FAQ on choosing a PCO so you know what questions to ask.
I know bed bugs can be hard to treat, but you should be able to beat them with the right help.
Please come to the forums if you want more support (click blue forums button at top right).

53 CreepedOut June 19, 2008 at 9:38 am

My husband and I started getting bites on our arms and legs about a week ago. A day before that I saw a small red bug on my bed and squished it before I thought anything of it. But after getting bitten about 15 times over the next two nights, I’ve been totally creeped out and am on the lookout for any signs. I keep running into my room at random times and ripping off the sheets hoping to spot something. I’ve even set my alarm for the middle of the night so I can poke around with the flashlight…but to no avail. Until this morning! I woke up and on the comforter next to me was what looked just like pictures of the beg bug nymph. I caught it and have it in a sealed container. I called a PCO and told them what I found and they suggested just getting a impenetrable mattress and box spring cover and that should seal in everything. But after reading that they aren’t just in the bed, how is that going to help if they’re anywhere else in our house. Is this a good step to take, or if this is a bed bug problem, would it be better to have them come in and treat right away before anything gets out of hand?

54 nobugsonme June 19, 2008 at 11:02 am


You must verify whether this is a bed bug before you have your place treated. If you can take a close-up photo, upload (free and anonymous) to, post a link on the forums and someone will probably be able to help.

If you do hire a PCO, I’d encourage you to call some others and interview them. There’s a FAQ (linked by me two comments above this) on what to ask PCOs. I would not trust someone whose response to “I found a bed bug in my bed” was simply to encase it. Yes, a good quality encasement can help a lot. But you’re right that bed bugs don’t only infest mattresses.

If you have further questions, please come to the forums, where you’ll find much support and more answers.

55 scared shitless June 22, 2008 at 9:08 am

I just went on vacation for two weeks and i decided to sublet my apartment to a young lady. she emailed me during my trip saying that she had some bites (or skin irritations) and went to a dermatologist. she said that the dermatologist said that they could be bedbug bites. of course she freaked out and insisted that i have bedbugs. i have lived in this apartment for months and never have been bitten, nor has anyone else that has spent the night been bitten or complained about anything. i just returned home and i am scared to go into the apartment so i am staying with a friend until the exterminator gets there. how likely is it that i really do have bedbugs. i must add this girl seemed a little crazy so it may all be in her head! could she have brought bedbugs to my apartment and now my apartment is infested? help i am scared shitless!

56 nervous nelly June 22, 2008 at 6:20 pm

I am convinced I found a bed bug in my bed yesterday. But I have no bites and can find no other evidence (fecal matter, stains, casings, etc.) of anything else. I am calling pest control tomorrow, because I will heed all warnings that some aren’t affected by the bites but the bugs do exist, but I am wondering if I can be at all optimistic that this is just one bug that traveled home with me from a recent business trip….

57 nervous nelly June 22, 2008 at 6:25 pm

P.S. How long do I need to put clothes in the dryer for before I can ethically give them away, rather than throw them away?

58 nobugsonme June 22, 2008 at 11:54 pm


Here’s an important piece of information you may be missing: a large segment of the population does not react to bed bug bites. They may have no itching and see no marks on their skin.

Bed bugs are also notoriously good at hiding.

It is therefore perfectly plausible that you had bed bugs in your home, had no idea you were being bitten, and had not seen a bed bug.

Your visitor, who obviously does react, would in this case be your alarm system.

It is possible she brought them with her. People can pick them up and transport them. A careful inspection of the home might give an experienced professional some clues as to how long the bed bugs have been there.

The important thing would be to get a pest control operator who knows their bed bugs to get in there and deal with it. And if they are bed bugs, you can’t sleep away while they’re treated. Read the FAQs (esp. the “Dos and Don’ts”) and learn more about how to get rid of them swiftly.

And make sure your adjacent neighbors are inspected by a pro too (next to your unit on all sides, above, below). IF you got them from a neighbor, and they are not aware of their infestation or simply aren’t getting treatment, then you will not get rid of bed bugs.

If you are renting, your landlord may be responsible for paying for treatment.

59 nobugsonme June 22, 2008 at 11:56 pm

nervous nelly,

No one here can say if you have one or many. Even a PCO may have trouble finding their hiding spots.

Get someone who knows bed bugs in and treat. If you have attached neighbors, see my comments to scared above.

Also, you need this FAQ re: your clothing:

Remember to seal the dry clothes immediately in airtight bags before donating.

60 Jermaine June 26, 2008 at 8:21 am

hello I have a quick question… for the last week or so i have been waking up w/ lil like mosq bites on me… and at first it was only on my side of the bed… now it seems as though it’s gone to the other side of the bed…. however when i wash the sheets the biting seems to stop for a few days then it comes back…. what should i do to get rid of this?

61 nobugsonme June 26, 2008 at 1:21 pm

You need to read more of the FAQs. Start here:

62 Michael July 1, 2008 at 7:41 am

i have these black insects on my bed which are nothing like bed bugs at all, they are black and have grey stripes and move relatively slow. however when i was cleaning my bed i found maybe 6 or 7 around my bed at the time. what might these insects be?

63 nobugsonme July 1, 2008 at 2:10 pm


Possibly carpet beetles?

Try and capture one and go to
If you don’t find one that looks like yours, they will identify them from a photo.

Alternatively, a quicker method would be to take a sample to a pest control company, and ask in the office.

The good news, not bed bugs, right? 🙂

64 Jessie July 8, 2008 at 5:04 pm

Do some people react to bed bug bites and not others? Every time I go to our lake cabin, I get bit and bit and none of my other relatives do… I’ve slept on my mom’s bed and she said she doesn’t get bites there. I used to think they were from spiders but the more I read the more I think they look like bedbug bites.

65 nobugsonme July 8, 2008 at 7:16 pm

Yes, Jessie, this happens all the time. Some people are not allergic. Some of them will become so in time, others may not.

66 Meli July 21, 2008 at 2:40 pm

Hi, For the past week I have been getting random bites in my sleep. Usually only 1 or 2 a night, some on feet, legs, and arms…most recently one on my left hand middle finger and 2 on my right forearm. I had a PCO come in and take a look (at my mattress, bed frame, closet, behind outlets, etc) and he didn’t see a thing. He looked at the bites I had and he said they are too small to be bedbugs, BUT on his way out, he remembered treating my (NEW) neighbor a couple months back for bedbugs. I don’t think my recent bites and my neighbors recent case of the bugs is a considence. Should I get treated just to be safe? Sooner the better, right?

67 nobugsonme July 25, 2008 at 10:57 am

You might get a second opinion by having someone else inspect, you might try a bed bug dog, or you might go ahead with treatment if the PCO is willing and if you feel you’ve ruled out other possibilities (scabies, fleas, folliculitis) per the FAQ above.

Your PCO does not understand that bed bug bites can be small or large. Smaller ones don’t often photograph well, and our bed bug bite photos page does not represent them as well as larger or more prominent bite marks.

68 chris July 26, 2008 at 10:54 am

can you purchase the all stop bedbug treatment in stores or do you have to order on line need now

69 yodder July 29, 2008 at 11:28 pm

I get a couple bites here and there during the week, for the past few weeks. but alot of the bites seem to happen late in the day. If I work in a darkened room, the room is kept pretty dark all the time, and I spend more time at work than at home, would the office be a better “nest” for the bed buggers than my actual bed.

I have yet to find any evidence of bed bugs at home, but I’ve been concerned and reading up since I got 3 bite on my arm during a plane filight. i got bit right after i opened up the comp. airlne blanket and put it on myself

70 nobugsonme July 29, 2008 at 11:55 pm


With bed bug bites, delayed reactions seem to b the norm.

People react anywhere from hours to days (as many as nine days, we hear) after being bitten. Many people seem to think they react sometime the next day after being bitten at night, but few of us know for sure.

It is possible, I imagine, to get a quicker reaction, but again, unless you see yourself being bitten, hard to know for sure.

To be honest, you would not even have to keep the workplace dark in order to be bitten there. People have been bitten in law firms and design offices by day.

So I would have your home AND workplaces carefully inspected, preferably by a professional (but you can learn about inspection and inspect yourself by looking at some of the resources here).

If you have more questions after reading the FAQs, check out our forums.

71 brad August 3, 2008 at 12:23 pm

Hi! I have a question? I have lived in the same apartment for 20 years and i have never had any problems with bedbugs. But recently i have started getting bumps that itch but only after i scratch them do they rise and become red. i saw the pictures of the bites and mine do look like them but i ask why now am i getting bedbugs if i never had them before?

72 nobugsonme August 3, 2008 at 2:47 pm


Bed bugs were extremely uncommon in many parts of the world for most of the 20th C. I would venture that most people encountering them now never had them before.

Make sure what you have is bed bugs and get professional treatment. If you have more questions after reading the FAQs, you can come to the forums.

73 Tina August 5, 2008 at 12:01 pm

My question:
Something is biting me almost every night while I sleep. I don’t have bed bugs, because I have inspected the mattress very well and don’t find anything, but no matter if I change the sheets, spray my bed and surrounding area with a bug spray, something is biting me, I can’t see it or find anything?? The bites look like a little rash area, then start itching insanely, and turn into big welts and eventually I scratch them raw!! I can’t take this anymore? It’s usually around my ankles, but last night I was bit on the arm, three in a row (I was bit a total of 15 times) When I called an exterminator for advise, he asked if I had seen a dermatologist because they might not be bites, but an allergic reaction to something. I don’t believe that’s the case. Might there be something biting me that I can’t see? (I even spray myself with OFF before I go to bed)
Can someone give me advice, without having to call an exterminator? This just recently started since the monsoon season is here, could my pets be bringing something in? Help!!!!

74 Mirjana and Vladimir August 10, 2008 at 1:20 pm

My husband and I were on our vacation in Kill Devil Hills. After 6 days of staying there, we’ve noticed bites all over our bodies and at first, we didn’t know what these bites were from. When we came home, we realized that those were bedbug bites. Doctor confirmed that. So, we want to know, how long the bites will last?

75 nobugsonme August 11, 2008 at 1:03 am

There are other pests (like fleas and bird mites) which could cause itchy bites, as well as bed bugs. You need a pest control professional who has experience with all this to search your home. You should also rule out medical conditions. I know you want to do this without an exterminator, but that is difficult. Please come to the forums if you have further questions:

Mirjana and Vladimir,
They probably will not last too long (it’s best to avoid scratching). However, you need to carefully inspect your home and belongings to make sure you did not bring them home. (This may be hard to detect). If new bites appear, you must get professional treatment from a PCO who knows bed bugs right away. Please come to the forums if you have further questions:

76 Jen August 20, 2008 at 3:23 pm

Hi, I was reading some of the above comments to see if anyone had what I do, but none did that i can see, so I’ll ask my question now. Yesterday i noticed two strange bumps on my ankle and the back of my calf (one on each leg). They look like mosquito bites, which is weird since I haven’t had the chance to go outside. This morning i woke up and their were two more, distanced apart, on the leg with one of the original bites on my ankle. Currently, my mattress is on the floor since i am fixing up a bed frame. We are going to buy a new mattress anyways, but could it being on the floor have anything to do with the bites? I did find a hobo spider in my room Sunday, but their bites dont look like mosquito bites, plus, i dont think they would be making a return trip. Thank you very much,

77 nobugsonme August 20, 2008 at 11:43 pm


No one can diagnose your problem based on a description of the bites (or even on their appearance). Other insects, like fleas or mosquitos, may be inside and may cause similar problems.

You should read the FAQs and look at the page of bed bug photos (see top menubar for links to each one).

Come to the if you have further questions and you’ll find an active community.

78 robsie August 27, 2008 at 5:31 am

This is following on from Yobber’s thread. I think I picked up the nasty things this weekend from a (supposedly) good hotel in Interlaken in Swizerland. Since then I seem to be getting a few more bites a night but these are not as inflammed as the first lot and not as itchy. We have not found any signs of bedbugs in our house. I guess that the new bites could be a) because the bug travelled with us back to London, or b) old bites appearing later (I hope it is this). Is there anyway to tell if a bite is new or old (so I can tell if this is just a late reaction)? Also, my partner and I lie next to each other each night and he is not bitten at all, not even once yet I am carrying around over 50 bites at the moment. Is this also common?

p.s I am very sorry if these questions are dealt with already in the FAQs. I have spent the morning looking through these but couldn’t find anything but hopefully I didn’t miss anything.



79 Mica August 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm

For the past 4 to 5 weeks, I have been having increasing numbers of small red extremely itchy bumps appearing predominantly on my lower legs, though some are in my upper body as well. From reading your information forum & seeing pictures of common bites, I feel it’s almost certainly either flees or bedbugs. I also feel I may have been bitten at my workplace, as it’s a one on one special needs home, with very old/used couches in it, and I started working there around the time the bites first started to appear. I don’t want to alarm anyone, but I want to confirm my suspicions. Is there any way of testing for either of the bugs, aside from calling in a PCO? I can’t see any visible signs of either bug there, but I’m certain they are present.


80 nobugsonme August 28, 2008 at 5:11 pm


Residential homes are very much at risk. I would recommend getting an experienced PCO in to inspect. If a reputable bed bug dog is in your vicinity, this is also an option.

Even if the workplace is found not to harbor bed bugs (or fleas), the PCO will be able to recommend steps for staff and residents to avoid them.

81 jose September 13, 2008 at 1:57 pm

For the past week my wife and kids have been waking up at 3am with red mosquito like welts on her stomach and back.she requested that I check the bed but I found nothing. I have vacued the place over and over again but she keeps on getting bitten. like 3 days ago she woke up and found a bug on the bed. it was full of blood and when she hit its body the bugs head kept on moving. when I found this website(which has been super helpful) the bug she found was similar to a baby bedbug on this page.we are still doubtfull this was a bedbug but when we tore open the bottom matress we saw lots of droppings an eggs but no larve. we dont know what to do since we live on a apartment can you help us out?

82 Bughater! September 25, 2008 at 12:02 am

I recently stayed at a hotel and left with bites all over my body. I did not realize until the next day or 2 what they were. How do I know, this soon, if I might have brought them home with me? I have not seen any bugs at all and I still notice a bit or two new a day but it has only been 2 days since I stayed at the hotel. Is there any precautionary measures to take to make sure I do not let an infestation begin? I have washed all my clothing that was at the hotel, my bags, and shoes but it again, was a day after leaving the hotel.

83 nobugsonme September 25, 2008 at 11:42 am


The FAQS on travel contain suggestions on how not to bring bed bugs home. It may be too late for most of the ones you have not done, but have a read anyway since you may realize there’s something you can do.

I suggest coming to the forums (click the blue button at top right), where you will likely get some suggestions on how to detect bed bugs, which is something you should work on–trying to see if you have any. It’s not easy.

84 Lisa October 13, 2008 at 12:25 pm

How do I know if I have them? I have lived in the same apartment for 3 years. It is actually part of a house – my landlord lives on the two floors below. I woke up with a bite on my stomach. I got a couple of bites yesterday, but they occurred during the day while I was watching tv. How do I know if they are bedbugs? I have never been bit while sleeping until last night. I took all of my bedding off and went to the laundry where I washed on hot and dried on high for over an hour. I sprayed my bed down with a spary I purchased. I did not see any bugs or any SIGN of bugs uopn inspection. Will I only know if I go to sleep and wake up with bites?

85 nobugsonme October 13, 2008 at 6:00 pm

You cannot be certain you have bed bugs unless you positively identify a sample. There may be fecal stains or bed bug castings which are also signs. However, they are hard to find in the early stages. Bed bugs bite once a week or so each. (They may make two or three bites at one time, for example, if disturbed during feeding, though it is also possible for them to bite just once.) Getting bites on subsequent days or in different locations on your body indicates you have multiple bed bugs.

It is possible to get a bed bug k9 to detect bed bugs, and some PCOs will inspect very thoroughly (others not so much). I suggest trying to jot down exactly how many bites you have been noticing, when and where. If it’s possible, a good bed bug sniffing dog might help determine if you or your landlord have bed bugs.

Keep in mind, bed bug bites can take hours or days to appear (sometimes as many as 9 days).

It’s possible you were bitten at a workplace, restaurant, subway, cinema, etc. and they are appearing later. Make a note of any places you’ve been and see if you can detect a pattern.

Talk to your landlord. Entomologists tell us as many as 70% of people are bitten and do not react. It is actually possible for the landlord to have them and not know.

Please come to the forums if you have further questions:

86 scared of bugs October 20, 2008 at 2:16 pm

So a couple of days ago I was walking in my hallway and saw a weird insect on the wall. small flat shaped, dark brown/rusty color, didn’t know what it was. so i killed it and threw it out. Today i was changing the sheets and saw the same thing on the sheet!! slowly crawling i took it and flushed it down the toilet. it looked the same as the one last week. But the weird thing is me and my husband never had any bites! nothing not even once. Not even today no bites. Is it possible that it wasn’t a bed bug??

87 nobugsonme October 21, 2008 at 1:02 pm

scared of bugs,

It is possible it was not a bed bug. But it sounds like one. Look at the photos here:

Also, many people (maybe even most) aren’t allergic and get no response to bed bug bites. Don’t assume your husband was not bitten too.

88 Dawn October 25, 2008 at 1:33 am

I seem to be waking up with bites across my shoulders, on my belly, and once in a while my legs and hands. I sleep on my side because my newborn sleeps with me so I also don’t move around much. The majority of the time the bites are where my clothing is and my daughter and my husband are not getting bit. I don’t know what is going on. I have also sleep in my other daughters bed with her and she didn’t get bit either, and that morning I woke up with a bunch of bites between my upper abdomen and breast line. This if I remember correctly started at some point after coming home from the hospital with my daughter, probably about a few weeks later. Just wondering if it’s possible to have bed bugs and me be the only one to get bit?

89 nobugsonme October 25, 2008 at 2:53 pm

Read more of the FAQs. Lots of people are bitten but do not react to the bites. I would suspect this is the case with your husband and baby, since you are all in the same bed.

See a doctor to rule out other conditions, and get a professional who knows bed bugs to come in and search carefully. Don’t start cleaning or tossing things: they need to inspect it as is. And after reading the FAQs, come to the forums if you have additional questions (blue button, top right).

90 pleasenobugs November 5, 2008 at 4:09 pm

Last week I had found a bug bite on my calf while showering, and assumed it was a mosquito bite as I had seen one in the apartment a few days before.

My boyfriend then found two on his arm (in a non-linear pattern).

This morning I found another one on the same leg, but different place.

Could this be bed bugs? I was wearing pajama pants that would have covered the areas bitten. Additionally, my boyfriend was wearing a shirt covering the bitten areas on his arm.

I have yet to check the mattress for any evidence, but I will today!

91 helpme November 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm

-i dont know what i have
-but me & my sister have been bitten for the past couple of weeks
-it was really itchy
-we thought it was skin problems at first
-so we went to the doctor
-but the doctor said it was bug bites but she dont know what kind of bug
-and the bites look like those bug bites
-and she gave us some cream
-it helped the bites
-and they didnt bite for a few days
-and now whatever it is is back
-i checked the bed; i dont see the signs of bedbugs
-and a few weeks b4 we saw a lot of mosquito lookin like things flying
-but now its all gone
-is there anything i can buy to kill it?
-or any other way of findin out what it is

92 nobugsonme November 5, 2008 at 5:52 pm


Sure. It could be bed bugs. You can’t diagnose on the bites alone, though. You need a careful inspection. Sometimes an inspection by a reputable bed bug k9 can help (eg if you have not had bed bugs long and evidence is hard to find).


Did your doctor mention what the cream was for? If it was prescribed for scabies and seemed to help, then perhaps you need more treatment. I would check with the doctor to see whether they think the original diagnosis was correct, and to make sure they know you still have a problem.

On the other hand, doctors cannot identify bed bug bites on appearance, and it is possible it’s bed bugs. They can and do bite under clothing (though some experts have claimed they don’t). I suspect this is more likely with loose clothing they can walk right under, and many sleeping garments fit the bill.

If you rent, call your landlord (depending on your location they may be liable for treatment). Get a professional in to inspect. As I said to pleasenobugs, sometimes a bed bug k9 can find bed bugs where a human may not.

Come to the forums if you need support or have more questions:

93 helpme November 5, 2008 at 7:03 pm

-the cream was to make my skin stop itching
-maximun anti itch
-but sometimes i see a flying thing that looks like a mosquito but isnt flying in my apt. and when i kill it clood comes out
-but i only get bitten every like 5-7days
-so i think it might be a bed bug
-do u know anything else i can use to kill bed bugs or w.e the bug is
-and thx anyways btw

94 helpme November 5, 2008 at 7:04 pm

-btw do u know any1 i can see to figure out what kind of bug bit me?

95 nobugsonme November 6, 2008 at 1:13 am


Bed bugs do not fly. If you are sure the insect biting you is flying, it is not a bed bug.

Skin tests can apparently be done by a doctor to confirm an insect has bitten, but not that a bed bug has bitten.

If you have additional questions, please post them in the forums as I suggested above. I am more or less the only one answering questions here most days, but there are many people in the forums who will weigh in.

96 Helpme November 6, 2008 at 4:22 pm

i dont know if the insect biting me is flying or is it a bedbug.
i also dont see red blood dots on matress
and there is no bugs on the sides of my matress
does that mean i dont have any bedbugs?
and btw which forums should i comment on? and where?

97 nobugsonme November 6, 2008 at 4:29 pm


As I said in response to your first post:

Come to the forums if you need support or have more questions:

The reason I suggest this is that I am pretty much the only one responding to you here. The site has an active user forum, and you will get many more responses there. You can copy and paste your question there.

98 tp : P November 15, 2008 at 11:23 am

hello everyone

i woke up this morning really itchy. i looked and on my back i had two bites and nearby on my upper arm had another bite. i also had one on my other forearm i had a bite and on my face below my eye had one too! now i’ve never had bed bugs before and during the summer i’m used to having lots of mosquitoes, but its fall and the mosquitoes have been gone for quite some time. i looked all over for blood spots, or for their bodies to no avail. any tips on further identifying if these are in fact bedbugs? i’m totally panicked!!!

99 I hate bugs November 27, 2008 at 11:47 am

Teo evenings ago I was laying on my comforter with just a night shirt on. I got up a little later and my husband noticed a bunch of “bites” on me. Some are in a group, some in a line, and some are single. However, they do NOT itch, they just look like misquito bites (which I do find very itchy). He doesn’t have any bites. Since then, I don’t seem to have anymore bites (I actually circled the ones I have with a pen so I could determine whether I was being bitten again). They really do look like bites but I don’t know how to tell if they are from bed bugs. Should I have my house treated or does anyone think these non itchy bites could be from something else?

100 Marlena December 26, 2008 at 4:17 am

Aren’t bed bugs good for you though ? I mean , dont they feed on the dust from your bed? ( Dead skin cells) In one of my classes my teacher explained that bed bugs are only a problem when they start feeding on your skin cells that didn’t die yet. Other than that , their actually helpful.

101 nobugsonme December 27, 2008 at 5:27 am


I think you are confusing bed bugs with dust mites (though as I understand it, while dust mites do feed on dead skin cells, they are an allergen and not considered in any way “good for you”).

I suggest you read a bit of our website, so you can be alert should you encounter bed bugs. You might want to educate your teacher about them as well.

102 AJ January 1, 2009 at 3:28 pm

Is it possible for 2 people sleeping on the same bed to receive different treatment. I do no thave any rashes/ itching but my wife is developing red nodes every other day.
I am not able to find any bug, and doc has advised anti-allergy.
Pl suggest

103 Renee January 1, 2009 at 11:50 pm

AJ, yes, it is. There is a FAQ just on that issue you should read.

See: FAQ: Why am I being bitten and my housemate / partner / friend isn’t?

You should read the other FAQs, like this one, to get some suggestions about how to detect the problem. Get someone who is experienced in to inspect.

104 afraidtosleepinmybed22 February 18, 2009 at 4:27 am

So then it is possible. It surprised me that one night I made sure to go to bed completely covered, socks, sweatpants, t-shirt, and sweatshirt over the t-shirt. How did they feast on my thighs? Then I must have bedbugs. I thought the cause may have been fleas, mites, spiders, mosquitoes, or gnats. *Sad* One last thing, how long does it take for the diatomaceous earth to work?

105 afraidtosleepinmybed22 February 18, 2009 at 4:30 am

I hear ya…. It’s so nerve wracking not to know the cause of the bites. I too am in limbo just wondering. I have overturned the sofa and bed looking for those cruel jokes of nature and have yet to find any evidence at all.

106 nobugsonme February 18, 2009 at 10:11 pm


Diatomaceous earth takes 10 days, we are told, to kill bed bugs ONCE they come in contact with it (by walking through it).

If they don’t come in contact with it, then they will never be killed. While many have told us they found it a useful tool, on its own, it often is not enough to get rid of bed bugs — and certainly isn’t often enough to get rid of them quickly — for this reason.

107 Lizz March 2, 2009 at 12:36 pm

I wish I had found this site sooner!! My mom was getting bites like crazy a month ago or so and yes shame on me I scoffed at her a couple times telling her she probably had a rash or something. She used a fogger if I had known I would have told her not to but she did and the bugs have spread. I am getting bitten after doing some research I am convinced it’s bedbugs, bummer. I thought it was a spider bite at first they weren’t round lie normal bug bites but odd shaped like spider bites. We were so upset we fogged the whole house and we weren’t getting bitten fora couple days then this morning I wake up and low and behold I’ve been bitten 5 times by the cheeky little pests and I found one in my comforter was too freaked to even think of saving it (I have a serious fear of anything with more than 4 legs) I don’t know how to go about convincing my mom to call exterminator (money is a big issue) but really anything is worth eliminating the vile critters. Also I have a lot of yarn and such how do I go about cleaning it? I am so distressed and annoyed I can’t sleep too creeped out I don’t even want to sit on soft surfaces in my house. How do I convince my mom not to fog again? I do not want to just push them about.

108 Notsoworriednow April 15, 2009 at 1:57 pm

I am glad I found this website. on the windowsill I thought I had found a bedbug but after looking at your bedbug pictures, it was not that but a carpet beetle. I found another one in a tissue box later. But the bug I found was IDENTICAL to the carpet beetle. Anyone know how to make sure no more carpet beetles take over my house?

109 Notsoworriednow April 15, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Oh and I did check the bed sheets for signs and saw no fecal matter or casings and noone has gotten bitten (and I react to every bug bite known to man 🙂 )

110 1tworeal April 16, 2009 at 11:30 pm

I have lots of stains on my mattress. The stains look like dry blood, The tag on the bottom of the mattress has that same brown color. I thought it was rust, but could not figure out how it could have gotten there. DO YOU THINK THAT IS BEDBUGS. I had this mattress for 15 years, is that a factor in getting the bedbugs. I do not see any bites, but I am afraid.

111 nobugsonme April 17, 2009 at 12:59 am


The length of time you had the mattress is not a factor. Bed bugs are a transmittable pest. Anyone can get them.

The marks you mention may be a sign. Please read the FAQs and come to the forums if you want to discuss this further.

112 Allie84 April 20, 2009 at 11:38 pm

I found out this morning that the apt. next to me has a bedbug infestation from the previous tenants. It’s been vacant for a week or so. The pest professionals came and did a walk through, checked matress, etc. They told me to move everything away from the common wall, which I did. They also said that they were spraying the apt. that is infested and that the bugs might migrate through the wall into my apt. I am freaked out and wishing that they would just spray my apt. to help prevent possible infestation. I haven’t seen anything and have no bite marks. But I am so worried. Should I demand that my landlord spray my apt. anyway? I hate the idea of having to “wait” for the bugs to come and get me to do anything proactive.

113 nobugsonme April 22, 2009 at 12:35 am


The City of Boston Inspectional Services Division orders landlords to inspect the entire building and TREAT all units adjacent to an infested one. You may be able to use this to help convince them to treat.

That said, in some areas it is illegal to treat if they have not found evidence of bed bugs.

And evidence can be tricky to spot.

If they will treat — especially with a dust — it may catch any migrants. It is best for pros to do this since they will do it safely and effectively. We hear people often do not follow safety precautions and often misapply or overapply dusts.

Keep in mind also that although your stuff is moved away from the common wall, bed bugs can walk, far. If they get to your side of the wall, they will infest your home.

I hate to sound negative also, but keep in mind you may not react to bed bug bites and signs may be difficult to spot at first. Try to get the PCO to set you up with some Climbup Insect Interceptors (which are little traps you put under the legs of the bed or chair) to help you monitor. More effective than more commonly used glue traps…

Please come to the forums if you need more support:

114 nobugsonme April 28, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Added new section:

Detecting Stealthy Bed Bugs

If you think you have bed bugs but the Pest Control Operator cannot find obvious signs, they may use an active bed bug monitoring tool like the CDC 3000 (which can be purchased by anyone, but is running about $950 as of 4/2009). Read more about the CDC 3000 here [link to CDC 3000 review].

Your PCO may also decide to employ a passive bed bug monitor. Right now, the most common is probably the Climbup (TM) Interceptor. You place disks under the legs of beds, sofas, chairs, etc. They run about $60 for a dozen, and so are affordable. Anyone can purchase them.

Climbup (TM) Interceptors will not necessarily trap a bed bug sample — bed bugs have to leave or climb onto the piece of furniture in order to be caught. However, they will be a helpful detection device in many cases. And they are great for people who don’t have bed bugs yet, as they would detect bed bugs which come in to feed on you via attached apartments or houses. You can read more about this product here. [link to Climbup TM review.]

Finally, dogs are now being trained to sniff out bed bugs. Canine scent detection can be an effective option. They are not 100% effective, but can be better than a human visual search. It is crucial to understand that training methods vary. Canine dog handlers should know how to carefully search for a bed bug or egg in the vicinity after a dog alerts. Otherwise, you have no way of verifying whether you might have a false positive.

If you are looking for a canine scent detection unit, please come to the forums [link to forums], though keep in mind that competing schools of dog training may have different perspectives; bedbuggers who have hired dogs in your area may be able to make suggestions about reputable firms.

115 boomer May 3, 2009 at 9:06 pm

How long does it take for bed bugs to die in a controlled enclosed area at 120 degrees?

Does any one know the answer.


116 nobugsonme May 13, 2009 at 1:26 pm


All stages of bed bugs are killed by 7 minutes exposure to temperatures of 114.8 degrees F (46 degrees C) (Quarles 2007). (You can find the relevant article — “Bed Bugs Bounce Back” — by searching on the Armed Forces Pest Management Board,
Defense Pest Management Information Analysis Center Literature Retrieval System,
with the input “Quarles 2007 bed bugs.”)

Here’s the problem: this temperature must be reached and maintained throughout the item (at its core). So a room temperature of 114.8 F will not do it in seven minutes. Only close monitoring of the core temperatures of the densest items will ensure bed bugs are killed.

The Packtite is often used to heat treat small items. The manufacturer recommends heating the contents to 120 degrees F at their core (using a temperature probe) and then leaving the unit running for an additional hour. (You can read more about that in our Packtite FAQ.)

We understand that professionals undertaking thermal treatments of a home or apartment quickly get the temperature up to 120 degrees F and keep it there or higher for hours longer, in order to ensure bed bugs do not remain in the space. (Reaching the temperature quickly appears to be important.) We caution anyone against trying to treat their own home with thermal heat, because of the difficulty of ensuring all bed bugs and eggs are killed, and for safety reasons.

Comments are now closed. Please post a message on our Bedbugger Forums if you have questions or need support. If you have suggestions for improving the FAQs, you can contact me here.

Comments on this entry are closed.

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