Getting Bitten At Night But No Other Signs Of Bed Bugs

Your bedroom is supposed to be more than just a place to sleep. It’s also your refuge from the world where you can relax and rest up for the next day. All of this is ruined when you have a bed bug infestation, which can lead to being covered in annoying, itchy bites and keep you from sleeping as well as you need to.

Getting bitten at night with no other signs of bed bugs is not uncommon, but there are several possibilities as to the actual cause.

For this reason, let’s take a look at how you can determine whether the marks you have are bed bug bites, or whether they’re a sign of something else entirely.

Bed Bug Bites

What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?

As you likely know, bed bugs feed on humans, or rather, on their blood. As such, they leave marks just as mosquitoes and other pests do when making a meal out of unsuspecting people. Bed bug bites have a particular look, mostly because of the small bumps that raise up on your skin when you’re bitten.

Bed Bug Bites

Swelling and itchiness are key signs of bed bug bites. You want to look not just for discoloration, but also for swelling or bumpiness, which can indicate a bed bug bite. But, since bed bug bites can often look very similar to other types of bites (or even rashes), you will need to look for other signs of bed bugs before you make a final determination that your home has been infested.

Check For Other Signs Very Carefully

When you have figured out that you may have bed bug bites on your body, it’s time to go down the list of other potential signs. When looking for these signs, you will need to use tools such as a flashlight and magnifying glass, as bed bugs and their eggs are very small:

CC Image courtesy of British Pest Control Association
CC Image courtesy of louento.pix
Bed Bug Eggs
CC Image courtesy of AFPMB

As gross as it may sound, look first for blood stains on your mattress or sheets. These bed bug stains won’t be obvious as the blood drops themselves are usually very tiny. You’re looking for what will appear to be very faint, red dots. If you have been bitten more in certain areas, such as your upper back, look at corresponding areas of your bed for blood splatters.

Fully-fed bed bugs can also burst in your bed if you happen to roll over them in your sleep, leaving larger, more visible blood splatters on your bedsheets.

Another gross thing you’ll need to look for is bed bug feces. This will often be very tiny black streaks that you probably would not even notice without a bright light and magnifying glass. This is proof that the bugs have been in the area.

If you’re worried about your mattress getting ruined, using a bed bug mattress encasement can help to protect it from possible marks and stains.

CC Image courtesy of AFPMB

Bed bug shells are another tell-tale sign of an infestation. Bed bugs shed their shells as they grow to maturity, and the resulting shells are a pale color and only perhaps half as long as a grain of rice, which is about the size of the actual bugs.

CC Image courtesy of louento.pix

Use all of your senses when looking for bed bugs. A peculiar smell that isn’t unbearable, but just seems “off” is also a pretty clear sign that you may have an infestation of some sort.

Check Common Hiding Places Very Thoroughly

Although bed bugs can make a home out of just about any area where they can find safety and rest until their next meal, there are certain places that they are more likely to locate themselves. Let’s take a look at some of those places:

Bed bugs often live inside of box springs, which provides them with a secluded area that is dark and away from humans. It also keeps them close to where you sleep for when they need to feed again.

CC Image courtesy of louento.pix

Under the mattress is another place bed bugs may place themselves for many of the same reasons. Keep in mind that they may also live around your bed frame, as well.

CC Image courtesy of louento.pix

Don’t take the name “bed bug” too literally. Bed bugs don’t have to live in your bed and may actually decide to stay in or around other bedroom furniture. Dressers, which provide lots of clothes to hide in and little cracks, are a popular place.

Using bed bug interceptors to prevent bed bugs from getting onto, or off of your bed/mattress can be a great way to slow down infestations. Not only this, but because they trap bed bugs with no way of escaping, they can help to 100% confirm a bed bug infestation if you happen to catch one in the trap upon checking.

In my experience, the best and most effective bed bug traps are usually the ones that are designed to work in the simplest of ways. I’ve used the Bed Bug Blocker Interceptor Traps extensively and I find they do the job better than any other trap I’ve tried. You also get a very generous 8 interceptors per pack. Place them directly underneath the bed/table/chair legs you’re trying to protect, and watch the bed bugs fall into the traps time and time again with no chance of escape.

When checking for bed bugs, don’t forget to look within cracks and crevices along your walls. Your ceiling may also have cracks that bed bugs have gotten into.

Lastly, check out electric sockets, particularly if they aren’t being used. These little holes provide a place for bed bugs to hide or place their eggs.

Other Things That May Be Biting You

One thing that you must keep in mind when looking for bed bugs is that you may have actually been bitten by a different type of insect. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as many other types of bugs and pests are actually easier to get rid of than bed bugs. Let’s consider some of the other bites that can look like bed bug bites:

Fleas are the first and most obvious choice. There are a lot of similarities here. First of all, they are both very small types of bugs that are parasitic and prefer to infiltrate indoor environments with controlled climates. Furthermore, flea bites can look very similar to bed bug bites, especially when concerning the close clustering of bites.

Adult Flea
Adult Flea

Mosquitoes are another possibility, though less likely. Mosquito bites do have the same itchy feeling and bumpiness that bed bug bites can have. However, if you have been bitten by mosquitoes, the bites are likely to be located in different areas than with bed bugs, since bed bugs bite a lot in areas of your skin that touch your bed or furniture (your back, for instance). Mosquitoes are more likely to bite any area that is uncovered when outside.

Scabies are one last possibility. These nasty parasites are different from bed bugs in that they actually burrow into your skin and deposit eggs there. As such, scabies bites don’t really look like bed bug bites, since it’s more of an inside-out redness and swelling instead of an obvious surface bite.

If You Still Can’t Find Any Signs Of Bed Bugs

If you can’t find any signs of bed bugs but you still feel that your home may be infested, one of the best things that you can do is call an exterminator to have them do a quick check. They will likely check areas that you didn’t think to look in or be able to test more thoroughly.

You can also call a company that provides dogs specifically trained to sniff out bed bugs. We talked about the “off” scent earlier, well bed bug sniffer dogs are able to easily detect this smell and can let you know that you have bed bugs and where they are at, too.

How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs With DIY Treatment Methods

Hiring pest control professionals can be costly, and while it’s usually the best option, there are some preliminary steps you can take to get rid of bed bugs yourself.

1. Carefully bag and wash all of your bedding and clear any clutter around the room. Bed bugs love to hide in piles of clothes, so remove these and wash them before you start cleaning.

3. Use a high-powered vacuum to clean around the bed to take care of stray bugs and eggs. Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter is vital to ensure bed bugs cannot escape once captured. The Shark Navigator Upright Vacuum easily ticks all of the boxes while remaining lightweight and easily maneuverable.

4. Use a specialist, non-toxic bed bug spray to clean your bed-frame, headboard, and surrounding furniture. Bed Bug Patrol Bed Bug Killer is a completely natural spray that has a reported 100% kill rate against live bed bugs in controlled tests, and most importantly, it’s child and pet-friendly.

5. Pull your bed away from the walls and place bed bug interceptor cups under each leg. These will isolate your bed and help to prevent the spread of bed bugs. Additionally, interceptors can serve as tools to help you track progress. Ideally, the interceptors should contain fewer bed bugs every time you empty them. My favorites are these Bed Bug Blocker Interceptor Traps.

6. Using a bed bug mattress protector to encase your mattress will either help to save it if it’s yet to be infested, or otherwise keep bed bugs trapped in and around it until they eventually die of starvation. My favorite is the SureGuard Mattress Encasement which is thick, strong, and will help to stop bed bugs of all sizes from getting to, or from, your mattress. A SureGuard Box Spring Encasement is also available.

7. If you wish to be extremely thorough, specialist bed bug heaters can be purchased to raise household items to a temperature that is sure to kill all bed bugs and eggs. ZappBug is the most popular option, and is designed to automatically reach the all-important killing temperature to eradicate all stages of the bed bugs life cycle. Large and small versions are also available.

Summary

No homeowner wants to have to deal with the annoyance of a bed bug infestation, but if your home truly is being affected, it’s better to know so for sure. That way, you can begin taking the steps to rid your home of the bugs for once and for all.