ABC Blog

Can Bed Bugs Bite Through Clothes?

a bed bug on skin

Bed bugs are pests that can leave behind stains, skins and a sour odor. Some homeowners also worry that bed bugs can destroy their clothes. While bed bugs can travel on clothes and hide in laundry piles, they cannot actually bite through clothes.

However, bed bugs can still crawl under clothing to bite their hosts. It’s important for homeowners to understand the difference between bed bug bites and hives so that they can identify a bed bug infestation.

Bed bug bites also look and feel similar to no see um bites. Even though no see ums are flies, and these two insects are very different, their bites are similar. Keep reading to learn how to tell them apart and what you can do to control both pests.

Can Bed Bugs Bite Through Clothes?

Bed bugs can leave itchy bites on humans. However, it is a myth that they can chew through clothes. Bed bug mouths are not strong enough to break through the fabric.

Instead of teeth, bed bugs have a thin, sharp proboscis designed to pierce through the skin and suck blood. The proboscis protrudes from their head and looks and functions like a straw. Before taking blood, the proboscis injects an anesthetic solution that numbs the area. It also has an anticoagulant that stops the bleeding. This is why some people get bitten at night but don’t see signs of bed bugs.

Even though they do not chew through clothes, bed bugs can still crawl underneath clothing to feed on their host. While wearing long sleeves and pants to hide your skin may deter bed bug bites, it is not a perfect solution. If your clothing is loose enough for them to crawl under or shift as you toss and turn in your sleep, the bed bugs can still access your skin and bite you.

Additionally, bed bugs may still travel on your clothes even though they can’t bite through them. Bed bugs do not have wings, so they transfer from place to place by traveling on hosts, in suitcases or in secondhand items.

An advanced bed bug infestation will hide in piles of laundry on the floor or inside your drawers. Bed bugs also leave behind fecal stains you do not want on your clothes.

Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation

There are several ways to tell if you have a bed bug infestation. You may notice small bites on your skin. The bites might become red and itchy and may show up immediately or take two weeks.

You may also see blood stains or fecal spots on your mattress and sheets. Since bed bugs regularly shed their skins, there may also be discarded skins on or near your bed, which look similar to the bed bugs themselves.

Bed bugs eggs are another sign of an active infestation. They are oval eggs the size of a pinhead and white in color.

Finally, you may see the bed bugs themselves. They are small, round and flat reddish-brown insects. After a blood meal, their flat body enlarges. Even if you don’t see any bed bugs, you may notice a musty odor in your bedroom, which is another sign that bed bugs could be near.

There are several ways to deal with a bed bug infestation, but the best thing you can do is contact an expert pest control service. They will use professional-grade tools and methods to eradicate the bed bug population from your home.

If you want to help the pest control specialist, you can wash all of your bedding and clothing on high heat. You should also use a steam vacuum over your floor and mattress. Zipping your mattress in a mattress protector will also help suffocate any remaining bed bugs.


Bed Bug Bites Versus Hives

Since it’s rare to see bed bugs, especially during the day, it’s easy to mistake bed bug bites for hives. However, there are a few key differences that you can use to determine whether or not you’ve been bitten by bed bugs.

It’s important to identify bed bug bites as soon as possible so that you can deal with the infestation before it becomes more advanced. Bed bug bites also need specific treatment.

The first way you can identify a bed bug bite is by size. Hives may vary in size, but bed bug bites usually do not get bigger than a pencil eraser. The one exception will be when two bites are close together and form one larger lump. Bed bug bites are also consistent in size, whereas hives may vary.

Next, bed bug bites are red, and the skin around the bite may look white. Hives can vary in color, and the surrounding skin is usually darker.

Bed bug bites have consistent round shapes, while hives can take on several shapes. However, one similarity is that hives and bed bug bites are often raised.

You may be able to determine if you have hives versus bed bug bites based on their location on your skin. Bed bugs usually bite exposed skin that your bed clothes don’t cover, such as your arms and legs. Hives may appear anywhere on your body. However, remember that bed bugs can crawl under clothing, so you may still get bitten in covered areas.

If other people in your home also have random markings on their skin, it’s likely from bed bug bites. You should also inspect for bed bugs in your bedroom.

People react differently to bed bug bites, which is one reason they can be hard to identify. The best thing to do is call a pest control specialist to inspect your home. Even if you haven’t seen bed bugs, they can search common bed bug hiding places to discover an infestation.

bed bug bites

How to Tell the Difference Between No See Um Bites vs. Bed Bug Bites

Bed bug bites are also commonly confused with no see um bites. No see ums are a species of fly that bites. They are also known as biting midges, sand flies and biting gnats. These tiny pests are even harder to see than bed bugs, especially in between blood meals when they are smaller.

Unlike bed bugs, no see ums do not only eat blood meals. Female no see ums will seek out a blood meal so that they can lay eggs. Otherwise, male and female no see ums will feed on plant nectar.

What Do Bed Bug and No See Um Bites Look Like?

Bed bugs and no see um bites look very similar because they are both red and raised. However, these pests bite in different patterns. Bed bugs typically leave zig-zag or straight-line patterns on the skin. You can usually follow a trail of bed bug bites across the body.

On the other hand, no see ums leaves bites in clusters that are close together and much less uniform than bed bug bites.

Only female no see ums eat blood meals, whereas male and female bed bugs feed on their hosts. That means that you will see more bed bug bites on your body than no see um bites, which is another way to tell them apart.

Both bed bug and no see um bites should go away on their own in a few weeks, but bed bug bites usually heal faster than no see um bites. Everyone reacts differently to both types of insect bites, so it’s important to contact a healthcare provider if you have any issues.

How to Prevent Unwanted Bug Bites

There are several ways to prevent bed bugs and no see ums so that you do not have to deal with bug bites. No see ums are found outside, especially if you live near water or have water features on your property.

You can deter no see ums with sprays and carbon dioxide traps. Running your air conditioning system will prevent them from entering since they avoid cold temperatures.

Keeping your home clean and clear of clutter is one way to prevent bed bugs. If you buy secondhand items, such as clothing, used books or furniture, inspect them and clean it thoroughly before bringing them into your home.

If you already have a bed bug infestation, call a pest control specialist to control the population. Bed bug colonies grow quickly and become a nuisance, so it’s best to call in the experts to kick them out.

Kick Out Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are unwanted pests. Even though they can’t bite through clothes, they can do other damage that no homeowner wants to deal with. Contact a pest control specialist when you identify bed bug bites. The faster you act, the faster you can kick bed bugs out of your home.

ABC Can Control Your Bed Bug Problem

Bed bugs are annoying pests that are hard to control on your own. When you notice an infestation, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services for pest control services. We have multiple strategies to control bed bugs, so you and your family can be comfortable again.

Learn More

Comments are closed.