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Why Do Bed Bugs Bite in Threes? Answered (Updated)

Last Updated on February 21, 2024 by Alene Schill

Are bed bug bites always in a straight line or is there a deeper significance to some people claiming they can appear in “threes”?

Our team took the liberty of researching the answer to the query, “why do bed bugs bite in threes?”

Do Bed Bug Bites In Threes? (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Myth)

Bed bug bites on human skin

There is a common myth that the bed bugs’ bites you get each night depends on how hungry the bedbugs are at that particular time. The idea is that if bed bugs were well fed earlier in the evening, they would only bite you once or twice before going back to sleep. 

Moreover, if they go hungry for a while, they will consume all three meals available until sunrise.

Is It A Myth?

While a three-patterned bed bug bite is widely considered a myth, there are some instances that they bite in “threes” (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Still, there is no proven scientific explanation for why a bed bug’s bite appears in this pattern. But can bed bugs bite through clothing?

What Does a Bed Bug Bite Look Like?

Bedbug bites are visible on the back of a woman

Bed bug bites may appear red (which may, later on, turn into dark spots), bumpy, and itchy like a mosquito bite.

However, it’s exactly like when you’ve been bitten by a mosquito, where it injects saliva into your skin before sucking out the blood in your blood vessel. 

One bed bug pierces your skin with its mouthparts and then sucks out blood using its hypodermic-like mouthparts – it’s more like getting jabbed with a needle.

It’s often not easily visible, and in many cases, the marks left by their bites look similar to other live bugs’ parasitic bites. 

Multiple Bites

When bed bug infestations get out of control (i.e., when lots of bed bug feces are present), it can become very difficult for them to find enough food sources at one time to sustain themselves. This may lead a sleeping person to get bitten by bed bugs in multiple areas.

Usually in Straight Lines

Some signs of bed bugs feeding on you as you snooze could appear in a straight pattern. These bed bug bites can be one of the most distinctive signs to look for when identifying whether you have a bed bug infestation or not. 

Beware since these itchy bumps from the bed bug’s saliva may result in a skin infection if left untreated. [1]

How Often Do Bed Bugs Bite?

Bed bugs usually enjoy a bloodfest and feed every five to ten days. They are attracted to warmth and carbon dioxide and bite humans at night – usually in places near the blood vessel (like the neck). [2] But why do bed bugs bite your face?


Why do people think bed bugs bite 3 in a row?

Some people think that bed bugs feed 3 times in the same area on the human skin because they are unaware that these bites may have been caused by different bed bugs and not just 1. 

They may have been bitten 3 times in 1 area by several bugs, but they easily assume that a single bedbug caused these marks.

What could be mistaken for bedbug bites?

Other insect bites that can cause similar bite marks to bed bug bites are mosquito bites, flea bites, mites, and bat bugs. One bite from these other pests could easily be construed as a bedbug bite, but bedbugs will always leave telltale signs. 

Once confirmed that what bit your exposed area is a bedbug, you should get in touch with a pest control service to help you keep your house pest free.

In Conclusion

There are various assumptions on why bed bug bites occur in threes, but the truth is the breakfast, lunch, and dinner assumption is only a myth. 

Consider getting a professional inspection from pest control services once you’ve proven that this annoying and tiny insect has bitten you so you can address the root of your problems directly.



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