So you woke up this morning and you feel itchy. You might have bed bugs, but it can be hard to tell. Some people react to bed bug bites and some don’t. The nocturnal pests prefer to snack at night when their prey — you! — is unconscious. Like mosquitoes, they inject an anesthetic as they puncture your skin so as not to disturb your slumber. This allows them to gorge for 5 to 10 minutes before scurrying away. It’s the salivary proteins that are injected when they bite that can cause an allergic skin reaction.
Bed bug bites are round, raised, red welts that can itch intensely for several days. Since bed bugs lay 200 to 500 eggs at a time, you can wind up sharing a bed with a whole horde of the creepy crawlies. You become the main course at a bed bug banquet. Some people develop a “sensitivity syndrome” from repeated bites and experience nervousness, jumpiness and sleeplessness. Visit our bed bug resources page to see bed bug photos and videos.
Since bed bug bites can resemble mosquito and other bug bites, you’ll need to look for other clues to determine whether you have bed bugs. Of course, small, brown or red oval bugs crawling on your mattress are pretty definitive; however, during the daytime bed bugs will hide in tiny cracks and crevices and may not be evident. Look for dark blood stains and fecal smears on mattress welts and seams, in carpeting near your bed, on walls behind headboards, in drawers and along baseboards in your bedroom. Click here for photos. If you think you might have a problem, call Stern today.