No signs of bed bugs but I have bites, what is it? Although they are called bed bugs, they can be present anywhere. Bed bugs are also present in chair cushions and sofas, as well as in furniture crevices.
You are concerned that you have bed bugs after noticing red, itchy areas on your skin. The bites, however, could be difficult to recognize until you find bug evidence in your house. They may look similar to other bug bites or skin disorders.
A bed bug bite cannot be diagnosed with a test, but a doctor may be able to help you by ruling out other ailments like hives or fungal infections.
Depending on your skin type, bug bites and rashes can appear differently. They typically appear red on light skin and pink or purple on dark skin, for example.
No signs of bed bugs but I have bites
Bed bugs come in more than 90 different species, but only 3 kinds usually bite people. The 3 kinds of bed bugs that feed on people are C. lectularius, C. hemipterus, and L. boueti—Insider. The majority of bed bugs are oval-shaped, flat, and reddish-brown. They typically measure approximately a quarter of an inch long, have six legs, and no visible wings.
The following will help you determine if the bites are caused by bed bugs or other factors:
1. Bed bugs are hiding
Bed bugs are sneaky creatures that hide during the day and come out at night to feed. Therefore, even if you do not see them, they might still be present. Check for signs such as small black spots (bed bug feces), blood stains, and shed skin near your bed. Also, bed bug bites are usually in a line or cluster and are more common on parts of the body that are exposed during sleep.
Bed bug bites will typically appear in a line on exposed body regions such as your face, arms, hands, or neck. The bites from bed bugs can be similar to those of other insects. The bites are extremely irritating, being smaller than a quarter-inch.
Bed bug bites typically look red on lighter skin and can seem faintly pink or purple on dark skin—the bite also turns darker brown as they stay longer on the skin.
The bites can grow into big weals, which measure over 2 inches and are itchy and always filled with fluid. In the human body, bed bugs usually attack the parts left exposed during sleep. These parts include:
The bite marks more often than not appear in collections of 2-3 bumps, commonly referred to as the breakfast, lunch, dinner pattern.
2. Bites from other bugs/insects
Bed bug bites might look like those of other bugs. The following pests have been observed to be active at night and with bites that may feel like those of bed bugs:
The bite of a brown widow spider is similar to other spider bites, with the local skin reaction usually reddish and swollen. Systemic symptoms, which can include headaches, nausea, and muscle spasms, among others, are noticeable in the case of the bite.
Different spiders are most active at night. It is relatively rare to get bitten by a spider when you are asleep but spiders will bite when they feel threatened. Most varieties of spiders have venom. The majority of spiders only cause little injury and lack the venom to harm humans.
The following symptoms are usually a result of a spider bite:
- Red or purplish welts
In contrast to bed bugs, spiders do not consume blood. Bed bug bites frequently occur in groups, whereas spider bites are more likely to occur alone.
Mosquito bites cause red, itchy welts. They do not show up in a line or regular pattern. A mosquito will pierce your skin with its long, tube-like mouths and are mostly active at night and during the dusk hours than during the day. Mosquito bites can transmit significant illnesses, including:
- West Nile virus (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Dengue fever
Mosquito bites are mostly itchy welts that bear a close resemblance to pimples. Typically, it tends to go away after a few days.
Although mosquito and bed bug bites might look similar, mosquito bites are more likely to have a random pattern and are larger—a straight line or zigzag pattern is more typical for bed bug bites.
The majority of the time, it’s difficult to identify an oak mite bite. You’ll see intense itching and many small, red bumps, like pimples. Burrows may also be seen, appearing like thin, wavy lines—Cedars Sinai.
Mites live on animals such as rodents and birds. The following symptoms are typically experienced in mite bites:
- hard or inflamed bumps that are red on light skin or dark purple or brown on dark skin
- a rash
- swollen skin
A mite bite is small and doesn’t leave noticeable bumps like bites from other bugs.
Fleas commonly bite your feet, ankles, or lower legs. If you own animals or keep them in your bed while you sleep, your risk of being bitten by fleas is higher.
You may also mistake flea bites for bed bugs since both bites cause lines or clusters, which are typically itchy. Usually, fleas bite:
If you ever spot bites around your face or upper body, then it is likely you were bitten by a bed bug and the infestation is just starting.
3. Skin conditions
There are several kinds of skin conditions you may mistake for big bites:
Hives are reddish welts or bumps that appear on your skin as a result of an allergic reaction. Typically, the lumps are raised and quite itchy. They come in both red and skin-toned.
Hives may be the cause of skin lesions that quickly get larger or spread to other areas of the body.
b. Fungal infection
This type of infection usually targets the moist areas of the human body such as:
- beneath the breasts
Having a fungal infection can cause an allergic reaction that develops an itchy and bumpy rash on your body, making you think they are bug bites.
Miliaria also referred to as heat rash, is a common skin ailment caused by an inflamed or blocked sweat duct.
Newborns and those who live in hot, tropical settings are more likely to experience it. Symptoms can differ, but red, itchy pimples are one of them.
d. Dermatitis herpetiformis
An extremely rare autoimmune skin disorder. Dermatitis herpetiformis on skin develops itching blisters and redness; on dark skin, it results in purplish coloration.
Celiac disease affects the majority of patients with dermatitis. This condition usually appears in:
- lower back
Other pests that may be biting you
Some of these common pests that bite people include:
These insects usually reside on your hair and bite your scalp. Extreme itching and the appearance of sores are signs of lice bites.
A variety of mites can be transmitted through sharing bedding or clothing. The typical symptoms of scabies include rashes and severe itching that worsens at night.
Ticks bite warm and moist areas of the body, such as the groin or armpits. After biting, ticks can cling to your skin for up to a week.
Chiggers are arachnids, a group of insects that reside in berry patches, woodland places, and thick weeds and grass. Humans are only bitten by the larvae. They tend to bite warm, moist parts.
Chiggers leave behind pimples. There could be a big red dot in the middle and the bumps resemble pimples, welts, hives, or blisters.
Read also: you probably also have fleas
How to stop the bites (especially at night)
You may not see the bed bugs but it doesn’t mean they’re not around. It could be that the infestation is not full-blown yet, making it difficult to find them. The bites could also be other causes though—do the following:
1. Look carefully for bug evidence
Finding signs of bed bugs in your house is the simplest way to determine whether the bites you have are from them. You may have picked the bug from your car, a friend’s house, while at work, or a visiting friend somehow migrated them to your home.
Bed bug evidence includes:
- Rusty or reddish stains from crushed bugs on your bed sheets or mattress.
- Tiny feces-covered dark patches.
- Blood stains on your bed or furniture.
- Eggs with a diameter of around 1 millimeter.
2. Check the possible hideouts
Bed bugs are most active at night and like to hide during the day in small cracks. They tend to hide in places including:
- between cushions and in the folds of curtains;
- the seams of chairs and couches;
- around the edge of drawers;
- under loose wallpaper;
- in electrical outlets;
- at the corner of the wall and ceiling; and
- in small cracks in your bed and furniture.
3. Contact a doctor about the bites
It might not be practical to look for bed bugs if you just noticed your bites after returning from a trip. Consider contacting a physician in this situation. In addition to seeing and identifying bites, a doctor can also rule out other possible skin disorders.
4. Contact a pest control agent
Whether you’re certain that a bed bug or other pests you can’t find is responsible for the bites, you need a pest control expert to inspect your home or workspace.
Bugs can be challenging to find, so consult a professional if you are having problems determining the biting insects or where they are hiding. Pest control agents can exceptionally identify warning indicators and even the most hard-to-reach hideouts. When an exterminator pinpoints the location, they can determine what control measures to take to eliminate the bugs and prevent future infestations.