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How to Tell If You Have Bed Bug Bites

By Renee Kristi ; Updated July 27, 2017

Bed bugs are nocturnal parasites that hide in the cracks and seams of furniture and mattresses. At night, they emerge to feed on victims. The risk of bed bugs is highest in places (hotels and hospitals, for example) where there's a high turnover in the number of people who sleep there. Symptoms of bed bug bites can take as long as nine days to appear; however, the more a person is bitten, the quicker symptoms will appear. Bed bug bites are sometimes mistaken for mosquito or flea bites. However, there are a few signs you can look for to distinguish bed bug bites from those of other insects.

Check Your Body

Examine your body for raised welts indicating new bed bug bites. Pay careful attention to your face, neck, shoulders, hands and other areas usually uncovered at night; these are the areas bed bugs often attack.

Check your body for the emergence of red, itchy bumps. Avoid scratching these bumps to keep them from getting infected.

Check the pattern of the bumps and welts. Bed bug bites are often in groups of three or four and arranged in a straight line or cluster.

Check your body for signs of new symptoms or additional bites each morning.

Check Your Home

Check your home for signs of bed bugs. Perform a daytime inspection and a nighttime inspection; nighttime is when the bugs are active.

Check your mattress and bed linens for the presence of small blood smears. Look for traces of blood left behind from crushed bugs.

Check your bed linens and the seams of your mattress for bed bug feces. Look for a trail of black specks. Also check your pillows, cushions and baseboards for feces.

Check your bedding, pillows, cushions, furniture and baseboards for the presence of bed bug exoskeleton. Look for thin, light-brown shells.


Check hotel mattresses for signs of bedbugs before lying down. Additionally, place your luggage on top of a table or luggage rack rather than the floor.

Inspect secondhand furniture carefully before bringing it into your home.

Wear long pajamas to bed to protect against bed bug bites.

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