Bedbug bites are a clear indication of the presence of bedbugs. Visually, you can quickly confuse them with those of other pests. But there are special features for identification.

bug bites

Although bugs (heteroptera) have stingingly sharp jaws, they don’t actually have any spines like wasps or mosquitoes, for example. They are mainly to be distinguished between plant, ground and house bugs. The latter are also known as bed bugs (Cimex lectularius). They are the ones who are predominantly involved when bedbug bites are detected.

bite activity

Bugs usually hide in a sheltered spot during daylight hours. They are usually only active at night. Bed bugs then have an easy time biting the sleeping person in order to feed on their blood. To do this, they follow the path shown to them by body heat, consumed oxygen (carbon dioxide) through exhalation and body odor. The bite is mostly painless, which is due in particular to a type of anesthetic that the insect secretes with its saliva before the bug bites the skin.

biting behavior

One of the most typical signs of bug bites is the so-called bug street. In most cases, when looking for a source of blood, they have to bite several times until they finally find it and hit a blood vessel. This results in strings of bug bites, from which the term “bug street” is derived. This indication is considered to be the most meaningful for recognizing whether it is a bug bite.

Reddening of the skin after a bug bite

The pointed mouthparts, as small as they are, injure the skin and the “anaesthetic” can also cause a skin reaction. Depending on the sensitivity, larger or smaller, strongly or weakly colored roundish reddened skin around the bite sites appear quickly after the bite. It is not uncommon for a slight swelling to form as a result of the wound developing. Small skin blisters can develop, which present themselves as so-called wheals and fill with water within a day.

Tip: In the case of reddened skin, an aloe vera cream can be used to soothe and cool the skin so that it quickly subsides. In addition, aloe vera has a disinfecting effect, which prevents any resulting inflammation.

bite marks

Typical bite sites are only those parts of the skin that are uncovered and therefore easily accessible to bugs. They prefer to use the places that “get in front of them”, so the chance of crawling into pajama bottoms is very small – especially if they contain/prevent body odor from escaping. Thus, classic bite sites can be found on the feet, neck, hands and, if necessary, on the arms. The bite itself can usually only be seen with a large magnification. It can be recognized at most by a slightly darker reddened point in the middle of the round reddened skin. Sometimes a small spot of blood is also visible.


In many cases, itching only occurs after one to four hours from the time of the bite. But not everyone is affected because it depends on the amount of saliva that triggers it. If scratched, it usually behaves in a similar way to a mosquito bite: the itching increases because the scratching irritates the skin and the saliva effect can intensify as a result.

Recognition through typical presence characteristics

In addition to bedbug bites and skin reactions, the presence of the unwanted parasites in the bedroom can also be recognized by other characteristics. Typical signs of existing bugs are:

  • Feces on bed linen, but especially on bed sheets
  • small droplets of blood on bed linen
  • Remnants of skin left after pupation
  • dead, dried up flat bugs
  • with very heavy infestation: odor similar to coriander

Typical hiding places for bugs, where the pests retreat and should be searched for when there is light:

  • between mattress seams
  • in bedsteads and bed frames under the mattress
  • behind wall coverings/wallpaper
  • in and behind curtains/curtains
  • behind baseboards
  • between floorboards and any kind of cracks

infection risk

Normally, bed bug bites do not increase the risk of infection. Serious health risks, such as a tick bite, are therefore not to be feared. However, scratching when itching can also injure the skin and thus increase the risk of infection.

Tip: In the event of itching, countermeasures should be taken immediately to avoid damaging the skin and thus increasing the risk of infection from scratching. Cortisone-containing ointments against itching are available in pharmacies. Rubbing with a sliced ​​onion can be recommended as a home remedy.

risk of confusion

In order to be able to take effective measures against a bedbug infestation, it is important to distinguish them from other parasites/pests and annoying insects, with which one can easily confuse a bedbug bite.


  • usually bite more often, but more offset and not in “street form”
  • are also active during the day
  • are more flexible in their choice of location – bedbugs mostly stay where they regularly expect food

mosquito bites:

  • usually only occur between spring and late summer
  • prefer a humid environment during the day
  • are primarily attracted to light when it is dark
  • do not form a “cul-de-sac”
  • maximally slightly reddish or whitish skin coloration around the sting
  • Swelling is the rule
  • immediate itching

tick bites:

  • usually no swelling
  • lack of itching
  • often extensive reddening of the skin
  • Often a tick stays on the skin for a long time and sucks blood
Note: If there are any particular abnormalities in terms of physical reactions after a bedbug bite, and especially tick bites, you should see a doctor as soon as possible to rule out an infection or to be able to initiate the right medical measures immediately if there is an infection.

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