Can’t Find Bed Bugs but Have Bites (2023)

Can’t Find Bed Bugs but Have Bites (1)
(Video) Can't find bed bugs but have bites?

If for some time, in your living space, you’ve been thinking that you have bed bugs, there’s a reason why. You can’t find bed bugs but have bites, and this has gone on for quite some time without you knowing for sure what’s going on. However, you should know that thinking you have an infestation doesn’t mean you do. If you can’t find bed bugs but have bites, a lot of other things may be responsible for that.

Check out the possible explanations for any bites you may have.

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Are There Small Bugs in the Cracks and Crevices Around Your Home?

You had those bites the previous night. Then you’ve seen several cylindrical-shaped insects all over your living space. Before you freak out, relax a bit. Some other bugs look like bedbugs and are often mistaken. German cockroach nymphs, for instance, look a lot like bedbugs, but in reality, they’re not. Bedbugs have an oval shape and shorter length. In contrast, German cockroach nymphs have a cylindrical shape. Of course, the two insects are active at night. Both are also primarily found in harborages. Except, cockroaches are usually around moisture and food. If you don’t see these insects around your bed or couch, then they’re likely not bedbugs.

Do You Have Bites Around Your Ankles?

Bedbugs hardly bite anyone around their ankles. However, if you can’t find bedbugs but have bites near your feet around your ankles, it may be another insect. If you have pets, it can possibly be a flea infestation giving you problems.

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Do the Bugs Around You Have Wings?

If the insects you see have wings, you can relax because they’re not bedbugs. You may be confusing carpet beetles for bedbugs because they’re in your bedroom. However, carpet beetles have noticeable wings.

Is Your Bed Clean?

Bedbugs cause visible damage to mattresses that you’ll easily notice. You probably don’t have bedbugs if you don’t see anything out of place on your sleeping spot. Signs of an infestation include black dots or small blood stains on your bedding. Look for markings behind and around your sheets to see if you have bedbugs. If there aren’t any stains, you have another type of insect biting you.

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Are You Itchy?

If your skin’s itchy, you may think you have bedbugs around, but that may not be the case. If you can’t find bedbugs but have bites, it may be other things. Skin irritations can be from medications, detergents, body soap, or an allergic reaction. Specific foods and pollutants can make you itchy.

Do You Have Bites Inside Your Elbows or Lower Body Parts?

If you can’t find bedbugs but have bites all over the lower half of your body, it could be flea bites. A pet may have brought in the fleas, and they’re the ones giving you those bites.

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Often, if you can’t find bedbugs but have bites, they’re not your problem. Bedbugs are easily noticed, and if you have them, you’ll definitely see them.


Can you have bed bug bites without bed bugs? ›

"Although bites acquired during the night can point to a bedbug problem, it can also mean that you're dealing with some other pests," Karen Thompson of, told INSIDER. "Anything from mosquitoes to fleas can leave bites while you're sleeping.

Can you have bed bugs but can't find them? ›

Has your research into those welts led you to believe that you might have a bed bug infestation, but you can't seem to find any bugs? Bed bugs, known scientifically as Cimex lectularius, have been living with humans for centuries and have learned how to hide from detection.

What is biting me that I can't see? ›

No-see-ums are tiny flying insects that are incredibly difficult to spot. Also known as biting midges, punkies, sand flies or biting gnats, these flying insects are small enough to fit through the mesh screens of windows and doors. They are also easy to overlook when they swarm around you or land on your skin.

What could be mistaken for bed bug bites? ›

Bed bug bites

Each cluster usually contains 3 to 5 bites that appear in a zigzag pattern. You'll seldom see bed bugs, so many people mistakenly believe that mosquitoes, fleas, or spiders bit them. Sometimes people mistake bed bug bites for a common skin condition such as an itchy rash, hives, or chickenpox.

Can blood spots on sheets not be bed bugs? ›

It's important to note that finding blood stains on your bed sheets does not automatically mean you have bed bugs. Blood stains can happen for several reasons. You could have itched a scab while you were sleeping or reopened a cut while tossing and turning.

Why do I have bug bites but no bugs? ›

Household products or environmental irritants could cause hives or rashes. If no pests can be found and the irritation doesn't seem to match any of the most common bug bite pictures, you may be experiencing a skin reaction to a household product or environmental irritant. Consider the location of the rash.

Is it hard to find evidence of bed bugs? ›

Detecting bed bugs can be difficult, as they are small in size and able to hide in tiny cracks and crevices. However, evidence of a bed bug infestation may be found in bedding and on mattresses. Live bed bugs leave clusters of dark brown or black spots of dried excrement on infested surfaces.

Where is the most common place to find bedbugs? ›

Bedbugs can hide in many places, including on bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind pictures and under loose wallpaper. Signs of bedbugs include: bites – often on skin exposed while sleeping, like the face, neck and arms.

What is biting me at night not bed bugs? ›

Besides bedbugs, numerous insects bite at night. These night biters can be mites, fleas, mosquitoes, lice, spiders, and ticks.

How do you get rid of invisible biting mites? ›

Take a hot, soapy bath and scrub your skin with a washcloth to get rid of the actual mites. Itching from mite bites can become very intense, but it can be relieved by using an allergy medication or applying hydrocortisone cream to the affected area.

Why is my bed itchy but no bed bugs? ›

Scabies mites: When microscopic scabies mites burrow into human skin, they cause rashes and itchiness. A scabies rash looks like a cluster of bed bug bites, which makes it easy to confuse mite bites with bed bug bites. Unlike bed bugs, you won't be able to see scabies mites on your skin or in the bed.

How many times will a bed bug bite in one night? ›

Often a single bed bug will produce more than one bite during the night so it is not always a one to one relationship where each bite represents a different bed bug.

What are early signs of bed bugs on sheets? ›

Rusty or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses caused by bed bugs being crushed. Dark spots (about this size: •), which are bed bug excrement and may bleed on the fabric like a marker would. Eggs and eggshells, which are tiny (about 1mm) and pale yellow skins that nymphs shed as they grow larger.

How long before I know if I brought bed bugs home? ›

How Long Does It Take To Realize You Have Bed Bugs? There's no surefire answer to this. Each infestation is different from home to home, but generally, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a month for signs of the infestation to show up. If the infestation is small to start, the signs won't be immediate.

What do bed bugs look like on hotel sheets? ›

Bed bugs will appear as reddish-brown ovals in these places. Also, keep an eye out for droppings the bed bugs might have left behind in the hotel room. They'd appear as small brown spots, possibly tinged with blood. Check the sheets and mattress for these tiny spots.

Do bites in a line always mean bed bugs? ›

While not always the case, bed bug bites are often grouped together in a small area and at times may occur in a line or a zigzag pattern. Bites normally look like small, flat or raised areas that may become inflamed, itchy, red or blistered.

What bugs are in my mattress not bed bugs? ›

However, there are more bugs that look like bed bugs than you might expect. While the complete list could be quite long, the short list is fleas, immature roaches, booklice, carpet beetles, bat bugs and ticks.

What keeps biting me at night? ›

There are three likely sources for bug bites at night — spiders, mosquitos or bed bugs. Spiders and mosquitos usually find their way into your home — and into your bedroom — during the warmer months.

How do you draw bed bugs out of hiding? ›

To lure bed bugs out of their hiding spots, you can use a steamer or a hairdryer to heat areas such as mattresses. Neither of these is hot enough to kill the bed bugs, but it can trick them into thinking a human host is near. You can also keep an eye out at night to locate their nests when they are most active.

Would you definitely know if you had bed bugs? ›

Signs of Infestation

Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases. Dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls. Bedbug fecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in areas where bedbugs hide. An offensive, musty odor from the bugs' scent glands.

How do you find a bed bug nest? ›

Closely inspect the grooves in hardwood flooring, especially beneath or around the bed. Look along the bottom and top of the baseboards. Pay special attention to any cracks in the wood or nail holes. Peel back the carpeting from the tack strip to look for the bugs.

Can you see bed bugs with a flashlight? ›

Flashlight to look in dark gaps and cracks and on dark surfaces. Sometimes the light startles bed bugs. They'll stop moving for a few minutes and then move quickly to get away from the light. Magnifying glass to make it easier to see and confirm that they are a bed bug.

What time are bed bugs most active? ›

Bed bugs are most active between midnight and 3 am. They are rarely active during daylight hours, and only come out when attracted by the warmth and carbon dioxide released from a body at rest.

Where do bed bugs hide in the daytime? ›

Bed bugs like to live in hidden areas around your bed where light doesn't reach them. That's why they most commonly live in the seams of your mattress and in crevices created by the bed frame and headboard. It's rare that you'll see them crawling on the surface, especially during daylight hours.

Do bed bugs bite under clothes? ›

Bed bugs are drawn to the CO2 released from humans breathing, so typically bite exposed areas on the arms, face and neck. And yet, they can burrow through clothing, so bites can also appear on the rest of the body. Some people report they get bitten under the elastic waistband of their PJ bottoms or underwear.

What are the signs of mites? ›

Exposure to mites can lead to patches of small, red bumps on the skin accompanied by the following respiratory symptoms:
  • nasal congestion and sneezing.
  • itchy, red, or watery eyes.
  • itchy nose, mouth, or throat.
  • a cough.
  • chest tightness.
  • difficulty breathing.
  • wheezing.

What does mite bites look like? ›

Mite bites.

Intense itching and many small, red bumps, like pimples, are seen. Burrows may also be seen. These look like thin, wavy lines.

How can you tell if you have mites? ›

In most cases, the bites of these mites cause an itchy skin rash, which may feature small lumps or pimples. “The skin might be very itchy or red for a few days, but then that will taper off,” Merchant says of mite bites. Ice and anti-itch creams like hydrocortisone can help control the swelling and itching.

How long can you have bed bugs without noticing? ›

Most people do not realize they have been bitten until bite marks appear anywhere from one to several days after the initial bite. The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea — a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. The bite marks may be random or appear in a straight line.

How do you know if bites are from bed bugs? ›

Most bedbug bites are painless at first, but later turn into itchy welts. Unlike flea bites that are mainly around the ankles, bedbug bites are on any area of skin exposed while sleeping. Also, the bites do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites do.

Why do I wake up with itchy bumps but no bed bugs? ›

The cause of itchy, red bumps may not always be due to bed bugs and mosquitoes. Other potential culprits include: Fleas: Fleabites can appear in clusters, similar to bed bug bites. Flies: A fly bite can itch and blister on the skin.

What skin conditions look like bug bites? ›

While they resemble bug bites, hives (also known as urticaria) are different in several ways: Hives can appear on any area of the body; they may change shape, move around, disappear and reappear over short periods of time.

What do bedbug bites look like on skin? ›

small red bumps or welts in a zigzag pattern or a line. small red bumps surrounded by blisters or hives. papular eruptions or areas of skin with raised or flat patches that may be inflamed. small spots of blood from bites often dried or stained onto sheets or bed clothing.

What is the most common place for bed bugs to bite? ›

Bites are commonly found on the parts of the body that are more likely to be exposed to bed bugs during sleep - the hands, neck, face, shoulders, legs and arms. While not always the case, bed bug bites are often grouped together in a small area and at times may occur in a line or a zigzag pattern.

Why do I have bites but no bugs? ›

Household products or environmental irritants could cause hives or rashes. If no pests can be found and the irritation doesn't seem to match any of the most common bug bite pictures, you may be experiencing a skin reaction to a household product or environmental irritant. Consider the location of the rash.

How did I get bed bugs when I haven't been anywhere? ›

The bed bugs travel in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else where they can hide. Most people do not realize they are transporting stow-away bed bugs as they travel from location to location, infecting areas as they travel.

How do I know if I have bed bug bites or chiggers? ›

Both bed bug and chigger bites appear as raised, red, inflamed spots on your skin. Bed bug bites appear most frequently near areas of exposed skin and may appear in lines or in random clusters. Chigger bites are grouped together in locations near tight-fitting clothing.

How do I know what kind of bites I have? ›

Flea bites leave an itchy welt on the skin, often on the ankles and legs. Mosquitoes leave a raised, itchy pink skin bump or in rare cases a severe allergic reaction. Spider bites cause minor symptoms like red skin, swelling, and pain at the site or very serious symptoms that need emergency care.

Can stress bumps look like bug bites? ›

Stress hives can look a little like bug bites: both are red, puffy, and itchy, and may appear initially as individual bumps, says Stevenson. However, hives are more often irregular in shape and can join together in larger patches, especially if you scratch them.

Where do bed bugs hide on your body? ›

Where Do Bed Bugs Hide on Your Body? Bed bugs do not typically hide on the body. They prefer to feed, then move back to their hiding place until they are hungry again. In some cases, they may hide in your clothes or the soles of your shoes.

Are bed bug bites bumpy or flat? ›

Bed bug bites cause itchy red bumps. They are usually less than ½ inch (12 mm) in size. Some are larger (like a hive). These are normal reactions to a bed bug.

What are bites that look like pimples? ›

Chigger bites are itchy red bumps that can look like pimples, blisters, or small hives. They are usually found around the waist, ankles, or in warm skin folds. They get bigger and itchier over several days, and often appear in groups.


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