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How Long Do Bed Bug Bites Last?

bed bug bites

Bed bugs may be tiny, but they can ingest up to six times their body weight in one feeding, which takes only around 12 minutes. If you’ve discovered a suspicious-looking bite mark on your skin, you’re probably wondering, “How long do bed bug bites last?”

How Long Does It Take for a Bed Bug Bite to Appear?

Bed bug bites don’t appear immediately. When a bed bug bites, it injects an anticoagulant and anesthetic into the skin layer, preventing you from feeling the bite. It can take up to 14 days for bed bug bite marks to show up. The average time it takes for bite marks to appear is three days. Bites usually clear up within a week without treatment but may last up to 14 days.

Bed bug bites are often mistaken for mosquito bites, so you might not know that you have a bed bug problem until you see infestation signs.

Infestation signs include:

  • Remains of the bed bugs, known as exoskeletons
  • Live bed bugs inside the stitching and folds of mattresses and bedding. Bed bugs also hide inside chairs, thick loungers, headboards and bedframes.
  • Tell-tale dark spots of fecal matter expelled by the bed bugs.

As the infestation grows, bed bugs hide in loose wallpaper, curtain folds, window frames and even electrical outlets.

What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?

Bed bug infestations are common. One in five Americans has had a bed bug problem or knows someone who has a bed bug problem. Bed bugs invade most living spaces, including homes, hotels, motels and other accommodations.

Once bed bugs are inside your home, they will likely settle into your mattress as it gives them easy access to their food source. They will bite any part of your skin that is left uncovered while you’re sleeping. These include your face, neck, hands and feet.

Bed bug bites can look like swollen red spots or bumps that may become itchy. Bites may look different on your skin compared to someone else. You may notice a zigzag pattern of red bumps if you’re bitten more than once.

Some people have no noticeable reaction to bed bug bites other than itchy skin. However, for some, bed bug bites result in an allergic reaction.

If you notice any of the following symptoms after a bed bug bite, you may be having an allergic reaction:

  • Swollen tongue
  • Fever
  • Itchy hives
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

A doctor should treat an allergic reaction that produces the above symptoms.

It can be challenging to implement your own bed bug control plan. You should contact a pest control specialist for assistance at the first sign of an infestation.

two bed bugs

Can Bed Bugs Live in Your Hair?

Many people wonder, “Can bed bugs live in your hair?” Fortunately, the answer is a definitive no. Bed bugs won’t take up residence in your hair. There is a slight chance that a bed bug may walk over your hair to get your scalp. Even so, they don’t have the appendages required to cling to hair strands.

What Conditions Do Bed Bugs Thrive In?

Bed bugs like dark spaces and a temperature between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. That is why they prefer hiding in mattresses and furniture crevices in bedrooms. These conditions will allow a bed bug infestation to grow. Female bed bugs can lay up to seven eggs a day. Eggs develop into full-grown bed bugs in just three weeks.

How Can I Make My Home Less Appealing to Bed Bugs?

The best way to prevent bed bugs and make your home less appealing to them is to do the following:

  • Clean up unnecessary clutter in your house. Clutter is a paradise for bed bugs because it provides many hiding places.
  • If you buy secondhand furniture, inspect all the pieces thoroughly for any signs of bed bugs before you bring them inside your house.
  • Keep encasements on mattresses and box springs to ensure that bed bugs stay out of the seams and crevices.
  • Vacuum your home at least once a week.
  • If you use public laundry facilities, don’t fold your clothes there. Instead, remove them from the dryer, place them in the bags and fold them at home.
  • Multi-family homes and apartments often have cross-infestations. If you live in an apartment building or with other people in a large house, install door sweeps and seal all cracks in the walls. This will help restrict bed bug movement between rooms.
  • If you travel frequently, check for bed bugs in your hotel, especially if you notice bite marks on your skin. Inspect any items you bring home from the hotel for signs of bed bug infestation. Use a luggage rack at the hotel to keep your items off the floor.

Don’t try and freeze out bed bugs by leaving your furniture and other items outside during winter. Also, raising the indoor temperature to unbearable levels won’t make much difference to bed bugs.

If you discover a bed bug infestation in your home, you don’t have to try to treat it yourself. Instead, contact a professional pest control company to help.

essential oils

Essential Oils for Bed Bugs: Do They Work?

As with other bug infestations, there are loads of home remedies said to rid houses of bed bugs. One such remedy is the use of essential oils. This has led to dozens of oil-based products sitting on store shelves, promising a quick fix.

An in-depth study from Purdue University revealed that essential oils might repel bed bugs. However, it is only when they are combined with other pest control products that they have a noticeable effect.

If you use essential oils in your home, the place will smell wonderful, but it won’t control a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs can live up to 400 days without blood. Some essential oils won’t deter them.

You can try a few methods to minimize a bed bug infestation in your home. The first thing to do is keep the infestation from spreading to other rooms or areas in the house:

  • Identify all infested areas in your house. Don’t transfer items from an infested room into a room that is not infested. You could possibly transfer the bed bugs, too.
  • Wash all your bedding in one day with the washing machine in a high heat setting. You’ll kill bed bugs and their eggs on your sheets this way. However, this will not control the infestation because more bed bugs are probably hiding in small spaces in your bedroom.
  • Move all beds at least six inches away from walls to prevent bed bugs from crawling onto them.
  • Vacuum any areas where bed bugs may be hiding. This includes your carpet, mattress, headboard, furniture and any other large items. Wash any items that cannot be vacuumed on high heat.

Controlling a bed bug infestation is not easy. Even if you wash all the bedding in your house, some eggs may be hatching in unseen spots in your bedroom. It is easy to become overwhelmed by trying to rid your home of these nasty little critters.

The best way to manage bed bug infestations, and reduce your stress simultaneously, is to get help from a pest control specialist.

The Bottom Line

Bed bug bites can be tough to deal with, and an infestation even more so. If you ignore the problem or try to use ineffective methods like essential oils, bed bugs can infest your entire house in weeks.

It is an unpleasant situation, but you don’t have to work on it alone. The best thing you can do is contact a pest control professional with the expertise and tools to manage the situation. Reach out to the pros today, who know how to inspect for bed bugs, find the appropriate solution and restore peace in 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. Our professionals can help you identify bed bug hiding places. Then, we can implement a bed bug control plan, so you and your family can be comfortable again.

Holt Myers

Holt joined ABC in 2021 as the Electrical & Appliance Operations Manager before transitioning to Division Manager for Pest Control. Before ABC, Holt worked as a Project Manager and Superintendent in Construction. Holt also served in the US Marine Corps from 2003 to 2007. Holt is a member of NPMA’s PestVets, Stewards of the Wild and Texas Wildlife Association. Holt is an avid outdoorsman, who loves to travel and spend time with his wife and daughter.

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