Home Bed Bugs What do Bed Bug Bites look like? Pictures & Identification Steps

What do Bed Bug Bites look like? Pictures & Identification Steps

Knowing what bed bug bites look can help a lot in finding ways to treat the bites. It is also important as it will help detect an infestation. Find pictures, how to identify plus how these bites differ from pimples and mosquito bites.

What do Bed Bug Bites look like with Naked Human Eye?

Bed bugs survive on blood. When they get in contact with your skin, they bite and suck blood from your skin. Generally, bed bugs must feed on blood at least once during their mature stages, so that they can get to the adult stages.

When bed bugs bite you, they inject their saliva as well as an anticoagulant into your skin. It is this anticoagulant that determines how your skin reacts to the bite.

The bites that are left on your skin can be seen with your naked eyes even though they are really small. Although the bed bug bites do not appear immediately you are bitten, it will only take at most a day before you start seeing strange marks on your skin. In most cases, the bite marks are red.

Bed bug bites appear to be small, raised or sometimes flat. The bites appear in a zigzag pattern or even in a line. These bites look different on different people.

People have varying skin types and these skin types react differently to bites.  The size of bed bug bites varies as well. While most people have small sized bites, some will have large sized bites.

At first, you may not be in position to tell which insect has bitten you. This is because; the bites by bed bugs resemble those from other insects.

It is only after finding out that your house is infested with bed bugs that you can conclude the marks are bed bug bites.

After sometime, you will realize that the bites become inflamed and they may redden more. The bites are also likely to become very itchy and blistered. The more you scratch your skin, the more inflamed it becomes.

As illustrated above, bed bug bites begin as small red marks which may later change to firm papules with a central puncture mark.

After these marks heal, you are likely to be left with a scarring especially if you scratched your skin especially with dirty fingernails. Children, when bitten by bed bugs, are likely to end up with permanent scars.


pictures of  what bed bug bite looks like
Picture #1
bites from bed bugs image
Photo #3

Identification Steps

You cannot directly attach bites on your skin to bed bugs unless you are sure there are bed bugs in your house. In the case where you are not aware of bed bug infestation in your house, you may confuse bed bug bites for bites from other insects. Below is how to determine whether the bites on your skin are from bed bugs.

Examine the bed bugs

You will require doing a number of things during the examination aimed at determining if you were bitten by bed bugs. First of all, carry out an inspection of the bites on your skin.

Check whether the bites appear slightly colored and raised red dots. Look also whether the dots are of a diameter 0.2 cm to 0.5 cm.

Secondly, examine if the bites increase the following morning. When you go to sleep then wake up to small bites that are red and slightly swollen, you are likely to have bed bugs in your house.

You should also check whether the fresh bites appear in random groupings or in a line. Such appearance is expected from bed bugs since they bite you severally around the same place.

If fresh bites appear during the day, you can comfortably conclude that they are not bed bug bites. Bed bugs love the dark and bite mostly at night.

You should check what area of your body has been bitten. If the bites are on parts of your skin that are exposed, you can conclude that the bites are likely to be bed bug bites.

Unless you wear very loose clothing, bed bugs only bite on exposed skin. If the bites are on the area surrounding the sole of your feet, they are not likely to be bed bug bites. Normally, bed bugs avoid your feet.

Finally on examining the possibility of the marks being bed bug bites, you are advised to search for signs of an allergy. If you are allergic to the bites by bed bugs, you may develop rashes similar to a fungal infection or eczema.

Other common signs of an allergy to bed bugs are oozing of pus and a painful swelling. Where these two come with the bed bites, you should seek medical attention.

Inspect your bed

When you have fully examined the bites, you need to check your bed. It is likely to give you the next hint on whether what you have are bed bug bites.

Find out whether there are wingless and red brown insects on your bed. Check especially on the edges. You may find them dead or alive. Check the mattress and sheets as well.

Look also for exoskeletons that may have been shed by bed bugs. Apart from that, check whether you will see white eggs or eggshells. The eggs are tiny and you must be keen when checking. Use a flash light.

Spread your bed sheets in the open to check if there are some red stains. Such stains may be bed bugs that were accidentally crushed or their fecal matter.

If you find the red spots on the sheets, wipe them to see if they smear. Bed bug excrement will spread when wiped. The United States Environmental Protection Agency points out the physical signs of bed bugs as dark or red spots on bed linen which can either be blood spots or feces.

Check for other signs of bed bug infestation

The bed bugs do not only hide on your bed. They can also be on your other furniture around the house. You must check drawers, couches and all chairs.

Check for bed bugs hiding on cushions as well. You should also try smelling areas where you suspect that bed bugs have hidden. The smell from bed bugs is usually similar to that of coriander. It is a musty odor. The smell is like that of an old damp house.

Do bed bug bites look like mosquito bites

Bed bug bites are similar to mosquito bites. Even that, a close study differentiates the two. Mosquito bites appear as reddish bumps which are also puffy white.

Mosquito vs bed bug Bites
Mosquito bite

The bumps begin a short while after the mosquito bites you.  Mosquito bites are not only irritating but also painful.

Bed bug bites on the other hand appear as small red bumps that are inflamed. The skin bitten by bed bugs begins to itch after sometime.

The bites from bed bugs are rarely painful. In fact, you may take some time before you realize that you were bitten by a bed bug. Bed Bug vs other Insect/Mite Bites

Below is a video explaining how bed bites differ from tick, spider and bee bites/sting

Do bed bug bites look like pimples

If you have not studied the differences between bed bug bites and pimples, you may confuse the two since they have some similarities. Some people confuse bed bug bites on the face for acne. To differentiate pimples from bed bug bites, the following will be helpful;

  • While bed bugs are lumpier and hard, pimples appear to form smaller lumps and they are softer.
  • It is easy to pop a pimple. As for bed bug bites, you cannot pop them.
  • Pimples come to head in a few days. This leads to a clear pus filled opening on the pimple. Bed bug bites on the other hand do not come to head. It is only when the bed bug bites are scratched that they may become pus filled.

Further Reading


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