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Bedbugs (cont.)

What Causes a Bedbug Infestation? How Common Are Bedbugs?

Bedbugs are found in temperate and tropical climates worldwide. The insects are most commonly found in living quarters where their host resides. Bedbugs generally hide in the seams and crevices of bed mattresses and box springs, bed frames, headboards, upholstery, old furniture, closets, and in spaces underneath baseboards or behind loose wallpaper. Clutter and disarray also provide additional hiding places for bedbugs. Bedbugs may be transported from one location to another via luggage, furniture, clothing, and used mattresses. Although they are often associated with unsanitary living conditions, bedbug infestations also occur in clean, well-maintained living quarters, including five-star hotels and resorts. Bedbug infestations have been increasingly reported in hotels, dormitories, homes, apartments, nursing homes, cruise ships, shelters, jails, and hospitals. There have been several cases in the U.S. involving litigation because of infestations of bedbugs, and thus bedbugs are considered a public health pest by several agencies.

Prior to World War II, infestations of bedbugs were common; however, after the widespread introduction of the use of the insecticide DDT in the mid-20th century, bedbug infestations became much less common. The recent resurgence in infestations of bedbugs worldwide is thought to be related to several different factors, including the increase in international travel, dense urban living conditions, insecticide resistance, and new, ineffective pest control measures.

What Are Symptoms and Signs of Bedbug Bites?

The symptoms of a bedbug bite are usually mild when present, and often individuals will not experience any symptoms at all. Bedbug bites can occur on any exposed part of the body, with the face, neck, arms, and hands being areas commonly affected. The signs and symptoms can appear from minutes to days after the initial bite. Affected individuals will usually complain of localized itching and reddish-colored skin lesions, which may look like a flat welt or a raised bump. Sometimes, the lesions can be found in clusters or in a linear pattern. Typically, these skin lesions will go away after one to two weeks.

Individuals who experience repeated bites over time may have more pronounced symptoms. Some people may also develop scarring or a skin infection from intense scratching of the skin. Rarely, a more severe systemic allergic reaction to a bedbug bite may develop. Some individuals may develop insomnia and anxiety from serious or repeated bedbug infestations.

Bedbug bite picture
Bedbug bite picture
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/21/2017

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