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Bite Signs & Disease

Bed Bugs can carry up to 28 different pathogens; fortunately have not been proven to spread them via biting. Therefore, city and government officials view bed bugs not as a health issue but more as a nuisance problem.

Bed bugs must bite to feed on blood. They have pointed mouth parts, like mosquitoes, and feed for just a few minutes at a time. They must feed to grow and although they primarily feed at night, bed bugs will bite during the day if necessary.

The most common symptom of bed bug bites are itchy welts on the skin of most but not all sufferers. Reactions vary widely from person to person and bites alone cannot be used to confirm bed bugs.

Bites may develop secondary infections through scratching. Anemia has been reported in the elderly and very young in cases where homes are heavily infested. Asthma has also been linked to the presence of bed bugs in homes.

Bites are usually the tell tale sign of a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs feed only on blood. Each life stage feeds, except the egg. They insert the fine stylets from their beak directly into the skin in search of a tiny blood vessel, and may move and bite repeatedly until they find the right spot.

At each point the beak releases saliva into the skin. The saliva contains proteins and enzymes that can cause an allergic reaction in many people. Allergic reactions vary widely from practically no reaction, to small itchy red or white bumps, to blisters or large welts. Not every person in a household will react the same way and many times only one person will show signs of bites, leading others to believe that the problem can not be traced to the existence of bed bugs.

If you or someone you know has bites, consider the following:

  1. Bed bugs tend to feed on exposed skin, but can feed under loose clothing.
  2. Bites vary in shape, size and texture from person to person or even on someone’s own body.
  3. The most traditional bite pattern is in a row.
  4. Bed bugs carry diseases but have not proven to transmit them.
  5. Many people, especially men, don’t manifest the bites.
  6. A pet may be getting bit and the person will never know that there is a problem

Bed bugs typically feed at night in the dark.

Under stressed conditions bed bugs may feed during the day, including but not limited to the following:
  1. Bed bugs have no access to hosts because people are not sleeping nearby
  2. When bed bugs are disturbed by cleaning or pesticides they may move to other areas
  3. As the numbers increase, bed bugs may spread due to overcrowding
  4. Bed bug bite reactions can take a few minutes or as many as 14 days to appear.
bed bug bite on leg bed bug bites on face more bed bug bites
Bed bug bites on leg
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Bed bug bites on face
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Bed bug bites
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