Residential Pest Control

Bed Bug Bites

Finding and Identifying Bedbugs

Image of a Bedbug (Cimex lectularius )| Rentokil Pest Control NZ

Adult bedbugs are 4-5mm long. Before feeding they are a flattened oval shape and light brown, but become rounder and a darker reddish brown after feeding.

They come out mostly at night and are attracted to the warmth of our bodies and carbon dioxide from our breath.

Bedbugs are usually found in bedrooms but hide away in cracks and crevices during the day.

The most common shelters for bedbugs are in the seams of mattresses, in crevices in the bed frame, behind furniture surrounding the bed (especially the headboard) or where the wall meets the floor. Bedbugs can also be found in bedding (pillows, sheets, duvets, blankets), carpets, underlay, under skirting boards, between timber floorboards, even inside electrical sockets and fittings.

A more established infestation of bedbugs is associated with dark or black staining of the mattress and surrounding area from bedbug excreta.

When bedbugs become well established they are also associated with an unpleasant, sweet & sickly scent that they secrete.

Identifying Bites from Bedbugs

Image example of bed bug bites to neck | Rentokil Pest Control

It is difficult to identify bedbugs just from their bite because our bodies can react very differently to them. Some people have no reaction, whilst others can have minor swelling and itching. There are however, a proportion of people who react very badly to bed bug bites. In general most people will respond to a bed bug bite worse than one from a mosquito.

It is far more important to look at the overall pattern and timing of bites and other factors to identify whether they are bed bug bites.

The information and bed bug bite pictures shown will help you identify if you have bedbugs in your home. Please take a look at our guide to insects that bite for advice on other insects that may be the cause of bites.

Bed bug bites

  Image example of bed bug bites to leg | Rentokil Pest Control

Bedbug bites are unlikely to wake the victim, as the bedbug injects an anaesthetic whilst drawing the blood from its host. They can occur anywhere on the body but are often close to blood vessels near the skin. The neck, hands, arms and legs are common sites for bed bug bites. 

Image example of bed bug bites to arm | Rentokil Pest Control

A single bedbug may bite more than once in the same area, if disturbed whilst feeding. There is also a tendency to find several bites in a line or row along an exposed area, such as an arm or leg. However, bites in different parts of the body can indicate being bitten by several different bedbugs.

Bedbugs - Image of Blood Drops on Sheets, these are one of the first visable symptoms of bedbugs | Rentokil Pest Control NZ

Early on with bed bug bites, the victim may not yet be sensitised to the bites and they may not feel itchy.

However, small droplets of blood on the bed sheets will indicate the presence of bedbugs. This blood spotting occurs when the bedbug has completed its feed.

For further advice on bedbugs and bed bug treatment or to arrange a visit from an experienced Rentokil technician, call us free on 0800 552 001.