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What Do Bed Bugs Feel Like When They Bite? Explained

Last Updated on April 21, 2024 by Alene Schill

Waking up to find bedbug bites on your body is certainly not a pleasant experience. These bites can lead to uncomfortable sensations, potentially causing skin issues such as itching, swelling, and redness.

Our team researched and developed a comprehensive guide to help you figure out what a bed bug bite feels like.

Bed Bug Bites: What Do They Feel Like?

human hand with multiple red spots

Bedbug bites may seem painless at first, but they can definitely cause too much itchiness and may even cause severe allergic reactions, blisters, or hives if not treated immediately [1].

These insects love to suck human blood and bite the exposed skin while we are asleep.

Bedbug bites are often located on the face, neck, arms, and hands. They look like inflamed spots with a darker spot located in the middle. 

It also causes red bumps like a mosquito bite which can last for days.

Can You Feel It When They Crawl?

bed bug in the forehead

Yes, it is possible for you to feel bed bugs crawling on your skin, especially when numerous bugs are feeding simultaneously. 

These nasty pests usually attempt to bite human flesh when lying in bed. Most of the time, people who experienced a severe bed bug infestation can still get a “crawling sensation” even after the bed bugs have been exterminated. 

Can You Feel Bed Bugs While Feeding? 

It is impossible for you to feel the bedbugs feeding on you when you are sleeping deeply. 

However, if you are wide awake or are sleeping lightly during their attack, you may feel a sensation as they crawl and slowly bite on your skin. But why do bed bugs bite me and not my partner?

Why is Bed Bug Bite Itchy?

child scratching her hand

Bedbug bites are itchy because of the bug’s saliva, which causes a histamine response on your skin [2]. This reaction varies among adults and children and may cause a limited or no reaction at all. 

Moreover, bedbugs are known to have needle-like mouthparts with anticoagulant properties. It is the primary reason why a bed bug bite has a severe effect on the skin. Do remember to avoid scratching the bites to avoid making the situation any worse.


Do bed bugs bite only when they are hungry?

Yes, bed bugs bite only when they are hungry. These insects often attack while you are asleep or lying on infested areas like sofas or mattresses. It also takes them about 2 to 3 days to get hungry and strike again. But can bed bugs bite through clothes?

What is in bed bug saliva?

A bed bug’s saliva has a mixture of anesthetic and anticoagulant, which helps them suck human blood out until they are full. Immediately after feeding, the bites remain unnoticeable until the skin reactions occur. 

If the bed bug feeds from the same person again, that person may become more sensitive to the bug’s saliva and develop an allergic response.

Final Thoughts 

Bed bug bites are certainly itchy, annoying, and in some cases, dangerous. They often attack their targets when sleeping or lying in an infested area. 

Their bites are not painful but can cause skin reactions like allergies and extreme itchiness. Later on, it starts to look like a mosquito bite and develops into red bumps. 

Small spots of blood on your sheets can be an indicator of their presence in your space. Once this happens, make sure to contact a professional bed bug exterminator to help you deal with this problem before it gets any worse.



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