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Typically, the first sign that someone has reason to believe that they might have a bed bug problem in their home is the presence of a bite (or bites). It’s the one thing that most frequently results in customers initiating a bed bug inspection, and with good reason. Catching a bed bug infestation early has always been the key to successful remediation.
What we find is that most often, a person who is bitten by a bed bug received that bite when he or she was sleeping. A person goes to sleep without a bite, and then wakes up with that bite (or bites). While a bed bug is a master at concealment, its bite is often very noticable, and will be located in areas on a person’s body that are very easy to see: arms, legs, hands, and feet. During your sleep, a bed bug is taking it’s quickest path to you, biting you as quickly as it can, and then leaving you as quickly as possible in favor of a hiding place, usually very close to you (ie. underneath a box spring). A bed bug’s quickest access to you is usually that part of your body that is easiest for them to reach as you sleep, and then, that part where they’re able to get the blood meal they’re seeking.
The idea of the presence of a bed bug is not anything the majority of people are willing to tolerate, especially when infestations often get worse before they get better. Fortunately, the bite itself transports no disease, are painless, and the bugs themselves will not linger on a person’s body.
People have become very familiar with the “3 bite pattern,” which typically occurs when a bed bug has to initiate more than one bite because it’s hasn’t yet successfully been able to obtain the blood its seeking. Occasionally, 3 bites can be 3 bed bugs moving together in search of a meal, but this would be an exception & not the rule. Three bites received in a straight line, or in a right or left angle, is usually a telling sign that bed bug(s) are present. If you see bites on your skin in the morning that weren’t there when you went to sleep, there’s reason to be concerned, and a bed bug inspection is a sensible next step.
Because a bed bug bite is almsot always painless & unfelt at the moment you’re receiving it, it doesn’t mean it won’t irritate you the next day. Sometimes bed bug bites will itch, yet sometimes you’ll feel nothing at all. There’s a % of people who won’t have a reaction to a bed bug bite, which is unfortunate, because it may take a visual identification to realize there’s a bed bug presence (and that often happens when the numbers have grown in presence). When you do have a bite, it will appear red in nature, and if you run your finger over it, you should be able to feel a slight bump on your skin. This will be where the bug was able to withdraw blood.
Not all bite are bed bug bites, though, which can obviously be of great relief to someone believing they may have contracted a bed bug problem. We often conduct bed bug inspections where the result is negative – no bed bugs are present. This could mean that the bite received was from another insect, such as a mosquito or spider, or that maybe mites are present, creating the sensation of a bite as they press upon & hop on your skin. Also, typically with a bed bug bite, there will not be a noticable prick at the bite’s center, as is often the case with a mosquito bite. And, bed bug bites don’t typically cause a scab, or any crusting of the skin, after the fact.
In regard to dermotologists & their assessment of your bites, we’ve learned from a lot of experience that the best advice they can give you would be to offer an opinion, rather than a factual statement. We’ve had customers tell us that their dermotologist said the bites they’re receiving are not bed bug bites, only to inspect that person’s home & find plenty of bed bugs. Conversely, we’ll often find no evidence of a bed bug infestation when a person’s been told they’re receiving bed bug bites. As qualified as a dermotologist is to treat your skin, their best answer to your possible problem could be, “It looks like bed bug bites, (or, “I don’t think it’s bed bug bites”), but I’m not 100% sure.” Then, turning to an experienced bed bug inspection company becomes a very viable action to take.