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What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?

  
  
  

what do bed bug bites look likeWith New York having been deemed the “bed bug capital of America,” any decrease of bed bug activity in the state is a good gauge that the problem may also be diminishing on a national scale. According to a January 1, 2012 article in Crain’s New York Business, New York’s bed bug blight is, indeed, abating. Further proving that bed bug bites are on the decline in New York are statistics, which illustrate that the state’s efforts to help residents and tourists understand what to look for and how to avoid and treat the problem may be working. The article noted the following findings:

  • In fiscal 2011, bedbug violations in apartment buildings declined by 344 instances, to 4,481. Queens was the only borough to report an increase, with 17 more violations, for a total of 610, according to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. A violation occurs when inspectors find at least one bedbug. 
  • From January through November 2011, the city's 311 help line received 22% fewer calls about bedbugs compared with the same period a year earlier, said the city's Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications, which tracks complaints and queries.

In New York and elsewhere, reducing the incidence of bed bugs involves being vigilant and knowing what bed bugs and bed bug bites look like as these are sure signals that treatment is needed immediately before the infestation exponentially multiplies. In fact, the bites of bed bugs are often mis-interpreted as mosquito bites or completely disregarded.

Identifying Bed Bug Bites
Here are some signs to look for that might indicate that you have been bitten by bed bugs:

  • The bites are small but numerous and usually appear in a cluster pattern on arms, hands, neck, and the face. 
  • The appearance of the bite is similar to the shape of a welt mark. 
  • They can be itchy or give off a burning sensation, depending on your reaction to it. 
  • Typically, they do not appear right away and may take a few days, which may be a tip-off that it is a bed bug because mosquito bites appear very soon after being bitten. Also, if you have not spent extended time outside might be another indication these are “indoor” bug bites. 
  • Some bed bug bite reactions may be stronger and if you scratch them too much, they can become infected and ooze some white or yellow pus-like substance. This may require some anti-bacterial ointment to reduce the risk of an infection.

If you have been bitten by bed bugs, use warm water and soap to cleanse the area. If you have stayed in a hotel a few days’ prior to the bite marks, you may want to report this to the place where you stayed. If you have had this happen in your home, apartment, or dorm room, you should want to undertake a careful inspection of your bedding, mattresses, and other areas like cracks and crevices, drapery, and upholstered furniture.  A bed bug dog inspection company can help identify, with certainty, if you have a bed bug problem and where they are nesting, feeding and breeding.

In Review
The key points in this blog post are:

  • Despite the reported decrease in bed bugs in New York, vigilance is important, especially knowing what bed bugs look like and identifying bed bug bites.
  • These bites are small welts that are in clusters around arms, hands, faces and necks.
  • They can be itchy but try to avoid scratching them so as to not create an infection.
  • If you do identify bed bug bites, it is important to contact the hotel you stayed at or start inspecting your residence immediately.
Photo Credit: japharl via Flickr

About The Author

Jeremy EckerJeremy Ecker has worked in the pest control industry for the past 17 years. The last 8 years was spent as a Vice President of one of the most well respected regional Pest Control Companies in New York. He is part of a NESDCA Certified Dog Team

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