Bed bugs have the ability to feed on you without waking you, as they inject a numbing agent into your body, preventing you from feeling their bite.

Symptoms of bed bug bites vary from person to person. Not everyone will react from a bed bug bite, whereas, others will suffer from itchy red bumps one to nine days after being bitten. Bed bugs bites are often found on the face, neck, hand or arm.

If there is a bed bug infestation, people often become increasingly sensitive to their bites. If you are being repeatedly being bitten then the itchy welts may appear in seconds.

Unlike lice and the mites that cause scabies, bed bugs do not live on humans. Instead they come out of hiding and feed on human blood for 4 to 12 minutes.

Bed bugs bites are often confused for mosquito bites. However, mosquito bites are usually random in pattern, whereas bed bugs bites frequently occur in straight lines.

How do you know you have bed bugs?

  • Do you have an unexplained skin rash or itchy bump?
  • Are there any black spots on your mattress? This could be their dried faeces.
  • Can you see mottled shells that bed bugs could have shed?
  • Eggs and eggshells, which are tiny (about 1mm)
  • Have you noticed red spots on your bedding where you may have squashed a bug?
  • Can you see any live bed bugs?
  • Is there an unpleasant, musty odour from the bugs’ scent glands?

How do you check for bedbugs?

Follow our step by step guide for how to check for bed bugs.


The first sign of bed bugs may be itchy, red bites on the skin, usually on the arms or ankles. Most people don’t know they have been bitten until the next day when they notice one or more of the following:

  • Several welts, often appearing in a line that zigzags
  • Welts that itch intensely
  • Specks of blood on the bedding

The bites may not itch right away, as it can take time for your body to develop a reaction to the bites. Some people develop itchy welts within a few days of the first bites, but it can take as long as 14 days before the bites itch.

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For more information and advice about bed bugs and other sleep issues, visit the SlumberSlumber sleep clinic.

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