It’s common knowledge that bed bugs are nocturnal pests that feed on human blood. But can you feel bed bugs crawling on you so you have ample time to swat them off?
We’ll talk about this topic below.
Is It Possible To Feel Bed Bugs Crawling On You?
To answer whether it’s possible to feel bed bugs crawling on you: yes, it’s possible, but it’s highly unlikely.
Why is that?
Bed bugs are extremely light, roughly the size of an apple seed and the weight of an ant. So unless you are very sensitive, it’s impossible for you to feel them moving all over you. Some people have more sensitive skin (such as younger people), so they may be able to feel the bugs crawling on them more than others. 
Another point to consider is where they’re actually crawling. You might have a more difficult time feeling them moving on your back than, let’s say, the palm of your hand because our skin’s sensitivity differs.
On the flip side, they are visible to the naked eye, so if you notice one moving on you, you’ll be able to swat it off. The younger bed bug nymphs and eggs are slightly harder to spot.
What Does It Feel Like When They Crawl On You?
You probably won’t feel them moving all over you for the most part, but if you’ve ever experienced the crawling sensation of ants on your skin, that is roughly what it feels like.
If you’re wide awake and moving, there is a high chance that you’ll feel them moving on your skin, but it’s highly unlikely that they will. Bed bugs typically target hosts that are asleep or stationary.
You can also notice them if they are crawling through areas of your skin that have hairs, such as your arms or legs, or if you have a few bed bugs all over your body. But can bed bugs live in your skin?
Can You Feel Them Even If You’re Asleep?
You probably won’t feel them crawling on your skin when you’re asleep, which is when they’re most active.
Bed bugs associate nighttime with safe feeding hours because their food source (you) is most probably immobile. This is also when they’ll have the least chance of being disturbed while eating.
Do Bed Bugs Make You Itch?
You’re probably wondering if bed bugs can make you feel itchy by simply crawling on your skin. They won’t.
Like ants, you probably will feel nothing when the bugs are moving on your skin. Their bites, however, are a different story.
Most people don’t have visible reactions to bed bug bites apart from leaving behind itchy, red welts. Some people may not even get bite marks at all. On the other hand, some people get allergic reactions to the bed bug bite marks that may even escalate to an infection.
On a more positive note, bed bug bites are not known disease carriers, unlike other insects. But why do bed bugs feed on me and not my husband?
Can You Feel Bed Bug Bites?
Bed bugs’ saliva has numbing properties that make it difficult for the human body to detect when they’re biting you. Naturally, you may have difficulty knowing when a bed bug has bitten you. However, you can see bed bugs as they are visible to the naked eye.
Their bites don’t pierce the skin deeply and are fairly superficial because their mouths are small. Also, there is often a delay between when you’re bitten by bed bugs versus when it physically manifests.
Most people have an easier time noticing mosquito bites than bed bug bites.
Where They Usually Crawl
Walls & Ceilings
Contrary to their name, bed bugs are not only situated in your bed but anywhere near it, including the bedside furniture, smallest cracks, carpets, walls, and ceilings.
These pests are highly equipped to move along walls and ceilings in search of food or transport themselves from one place to another. They do not fly or jump.
Bed bugs have an affinity for smooth, exposed skin, so you’ll often see that one of their favorite spots to bite is the skin on your back. You’ll definitely notice bites on your back if you have a bed bug infestation on your bed.
Legs & Arms
Your leg and arm are also bed bug bite zones. You can opt to wear a long-sleeved shirt and pajamas when sleeping to minimize bed bug biting areas because they find clothing a nuisance and would not bother to bite someone fully clothed (not saying it doesn’t happen, of course).
Bed bugs don’t like latching on you when you’re wide awake and moving. Instead, they’ll hide out in your clothes or shoes and wait for the right moment when they can feed on you.
Other times, they’ll hide out in your clothes and move to a better hiding place, where they can build a nest and have constant access to a food source (you).
Bed bugs can crawl over your blankets and possibly even live on them, but they prefer the bed frame or box spring for additional safety.
If you want to eliminate bed bugs from your blankets, sheets, or beddings, you can run them through the washer with hot water. The high heat will kill them.
- Are Bed Bugs Attracted to Certain Blood Types?
- Will Bed Bugs Stay On Your Skin After A Shower?
- Will Bed Bugs Get In Your Private Parts?
How To Stop Bed Bugs From Crawling On You
Be Careful When Traveling
Most bed bug infestations come from travelers who have slept in an infested hotel room and unknowingly brought them home. It’s highly important that you thoroughly inspect the room whenever you’re sleeping somewhere unfamiliar to check for possible symptoms and signs of bed bugs.
It’s impossible to sprout bed bugs organically, and contrary to the myth, they are not the result of poor housekeeping.
Find Where The Bed Bugs Live
Most bed bugs living in your home are probably situated on or near your bed. Check your bed and nearby furniture regularly to find bed bugs and get rid of them.
Destroy The Infestation
Bed bugs are highly tenacious, and it can be difficult to eliminate them on your own. One of the best ways to destroy the infestation is to contact licensed pest control companies that can get rid of the insects. They have access to pesticides and repellents designed to kill all stages in the bed bug life cycle.
The mishandling of OTC bed bug traps and repellents might make your situation worse, so we strongly advise getting the help of experts.
Where do bed bugs hide at night?
You may find bed bugs out and about at night to bite humans. Although they’re not inherently nocturnal, they have learned to associate nighttime with feeding time because their food sources (you) are usually asleep at this hour. Bed bugs prefer to spend their day hiding out and come out at night when it’s time to feed.
Do bed bugs crawl on the mattress?
Yes, bed bugs crawl on the mattress, especially when it’s time to feed. You’ll also find adult bed bugs and eggs hiding in the seams, tufts, folds, and even directly inside it if it is torn or has holes.
So, Can You Feel Bed Bugs Crawling On You?
You probably won’t notice bed bugs crawling on your skin, just like how you wouldn’t feel ants doing so.
Their small size allows them to move all over your skin without you noticing it. It’s also highly unlikely that you’ll feel them piercing through your skin when they’re feeding because their mouths are too small (you’ll have better luck feeling a mosquito bite), and they prefer doing it at night when you’re in bed sleeping.
Aside from your body, they move along walls and ceilings to move from one place to another, searching for a body to feed on.
The best way to get rid of these frustrating parasites is to contact licensed professionals who have access to pesticides and bed bug treatments that can do the job efficiently.
Alene Schill is a property manager from Columbus, Ohio, who has dealt with numerous pest control agencies. She helps families find the perfect homes and knows very well that bed bugs are an ultimate deal-breaker. She enjoys cycling around Scioto Mile during her spare time.