Updated: February 3, 2021

Bed bugs are some of the most resilient and irritating pests. 

They cause a lot of stress to you and your peace of mind.

Whether you had to discard furniture or other belongings, it can feel impossible to target and remove a seasoned infestation.

They cause severe skin irritation, and red spots along your body when bitten.

These red spots often last anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks

And even 2 weeks with these symptoms can disturb your day-to-day life.

To accelerate the healing process..

You can use over the counter ointment such as calamine lotion or cortisone.

You should note that bed bugs can be anywhere. They can migrate from different places such as:

  • Homes
  • Work
  • School
  • Stores
  • Train stations
  • Airports

Those are just a few examples, as the list is truly never-ending.

Bed bugs are a hassle to deal with, especially when they make their mark on you or your loved ones.

So, it’s natural to be curious about the amount of time you have to suffer from your bites.

So How Long Do Bed Bugs Itch For?

Bed bug bites can itch anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks, however the time can vary depending on the person. Bed bugs not only cause itchiness and irritation, they too can cause skin inflammation or even hives.

If the symptoms go from itching to a rash, symptoms are likely to last up to a month, but again, it all depends on the individual.

For instance, if you’re allergic to bed bugs, symptoms can lead to long term health effects.

Keep in mind, other skin conditions or similar insects can lead to skin irritation, but this doesn’t necessarily mean bed bugs are the culprit.  

Bringing us to our next frequently asked question….

How Do You Know if Your Bites Are from Bed Bugs?

Bites from parasitic insects can look similar to one another. These bites are red, circular, and can be raised depending on the bite. Bed bug bites are unique in that they form a linear or zig-zag pattern, and typically occur around the upper body.

An insect like fleas for instance….

Will usually bite around the lower body, hovering close to the ankles or feet.  

In general, bed bug bites are: 

  • Red bumps or welts
  • In a cluster or straight line
  • Can range from a ¼ inch to 2 inches in diameter 
  • Are usually not dangerous

Keep in mind that bed bug bites,  although similar to other bugs…

 May not show up immediately after being bitten.

The bite may not show for hours or a few days until after the incident.

If you suspect that you have been bitten by a bed bug, you should inspect the bedroom for an infestation.

The thing about bed bugs is that they travel not only from public places, but can travel within the walls and foundation of your home or apartment.


Their small size allows them to crawl between neighboring units in an apartment building. In this case you should report the infestation to the landlord immediately.

Note: If you think you received bed bugs from your neighbor, in most cases the landlord is financially responsible. If the property owner does not deal with the situation accordingly you may have a case for a lawsuit.

If you discover bed bugs in your apartment, consider your neighbors and where they have been.

Bed bugs may attach to:

  • Luggage
  • Purses
  • Clothing
  • Backpacks

If you’re looking for positive identification, seeking medical attention can assist you in confirming or rejecting the notion of your bites.

Do Bed Bugs Bite Every Night?

Bed bugs tend to make your home their home.

They hide in certain areas and come together with other bed bugs.

These parasites also hide in dark areas.

This is why individuals may wake up in the morning and discover red spots on their back, arms, or neck.

Overall, these creatures have a knack for survival.

Note: According to exterminators, bed bugs are among the hardest to kill out of any other indoor pest.

If you have a severe infestation, it’s likely you will be bitten every night. Though that doesn’t mean each and every bed bug will need to feed every single night.

In fact…

Adult bed bugs only need to feed once per month.

Nymphs (baby bed bugs) will usually feed more often at once per week.  

Large infestations will have bed bugs in a variety of life stages, with hundreds of bed bugs that can live in a single room.

(Yes, it’s quite frightening).

Do Bed Bug Bites Spread When Scratched?

Bed bug bites will not spread if scratched, though scratching can make your bites much worse. Scratching can cause bites to bleed, cause inflammation, or serious scarring. In severe cases bites can be infected and become dangerous.  

Instead of scratching…

To avoid anything more than mild symptoms you should use one or all of the following remedies:

  1. Antihistamine Cream:

Antihistamines are typically used to treat hives, eczema, or inflammation, but it can also relieve the irritating sensation of bed bug bites. If normal antihistamines aren’t working you can try stronger applicants like corticosteroid cream.

  • Icepacks or Cooling Lotions:

A generic icepack from the freezer is super easy and will relieve the itching immediately.

For over-the-counter methods, you can pick up calamine lotion, or aloe vera gel to help calm the redness and irritation.

  • Oral Antihistamines

Oral antihistamines are pills that can dull the irritating sensations to prevent you from reacting to the bites. They’re most effective when taken immediately after bitten, but you can receive the benefits when taken anytime.

  • Antibiotics (only when infected)

Since bed bug bites do present the risk of infection, it’s important to mention this as a possible remedy. Antibiotics can help treat the infection and help the wound heal.

Some individuals experiment with home remedies to ease the irritation or remove bed bugs.

If you prefer to not use home remedies or over the counter items, seek advice from a medical or pest control professional.

Any of the methods above will work and let your bites heal. Remember bites take time, so be patient, and don’t give in to the temptation to scratch.

How Long Does It Take for a Bed Bug Bite to Heal?

Depending on the treatment route you go with, bed bugs usually take a little time to heal.

If you choose not to use any ointment or medication, the bite may take a couple of weeks to get better. This is not to say that you have to use any form of treatment as bed bug bites will heal on their own after some time.

However, if you decide to use pain medication or ointment, this may make the process of healing go faster.

Bed bug bites are a pain to handle, but, with the right process, these parasites can be dealt with in a speedy and efficient manner.

How Long Does it Take For Bed Bug Bites to Appear?

When a bed bug bites you, there’s a good chance that you won’t feel it right away. Bites don’t appear immediately so it’s common for people to not even notice when being bitten. Typically, a bite will appear anywhere from a few hours, to a few days after the incident.

However, in some cases…

The bites won’t appear at all.

You also won’t feel yourself being bitten because bed bugs have special saliva that contains an anesthetic (acting as a numbing agent). This is a critical component of their feeding process because it can take them about 10 minutes to feed.

The reason bites are itchy is that we are all mildly allergic to their saliva. Our immune system reacts by considering the saliva a threat, which triggers the redness, swelling, and sometimes intense itching sensation.

Keep in mind that the majority of humans have a very mild reaction to bed bug bites…

With mental/emotional symptoms often being worse than the physical ones. 

Do Bed Bug Bites Leave Scars?

9 out of 10 cases of bed bug bites will not leave a scar or a permanent mark of any kind. Though bites can be unsightly, especially when it comes to bites occurring on your face, neck, or arms.

If you scratch your bites, there is a better chance of them leading to permanent skin damage.

This is because scratching with sharp nails will break the skin and create an open wound.

And open wounds can be dangerous.

Leading to some of the following effects.

  • A higher likelihood of scarring (and in rare cases, Keloid scars).
  • Potential for infection.
  • Can delay the time in which bites will heal.

Obviously, the temptation to scratch can be hard to resist, so be sure to keep your bites covered and your mind distracted.

If you have to itch the bite…

Use the fleshy part of your finger and not your nails. Do whatever is necessary to avoid breaking the skin.

Consider a Bed Bug Lawsuit

Have you experienced an infestation in your apartment or hotel? If that’s the case, you may be able to sue the property owner for damages.

If you or a loved one suffered from physical injury or financial losses as a result of bed bugs, you may have a case for compensation.

Bed bug cases are growing throughout the nation, with reported infestations in every state. The value of those bed bug cases are going up as well, with some settlements reaching 6 or 7 figures.

Submit your case information here or give us a call at (855) 733-9217 to get connected with a lawyer. You pay nothing unless you win your case.

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Date Published: 2020-11-15

Written By Robert Brown

I'm a seasoned pest control veteran. I focus my time on writing educational content about the industry and helping people learn about indoor insects. When I'm not thinking about bed bugs I am spending time with my daughters or walking the dog.

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