No Signs of Bed Bugs But Have Bites?

It can be confusing if you wake up with itchy red marks all over your body even if you don’t seem to have insects in your home. And it’s easy to assume that you have bed bugs and you have been bitten by these nasty creepy-crawlies… But what if you have bites, but can see no signs of bed bugs in your home? Here’s everything you need to know…

Signs of bed bugs

First, you have to know the signs of bed bug infestations, so you know what to actually look for.

  • Live bed bugs, carcasses, and eggs. Bed bugs are reddish-brown insects that are about 1 mm to 7 mm small. They survive by sucking the blood out of people. Don’t let their name confuse you. They can live almost anywhere in your home, not just in beds. And wherever they are, you will also see their shells and carcasses as they grow, shed, and die. Their eggs look like milky white capsules that you will often find in clusters.
  • Black, brown, or red stains. Those with bed bug infestations have black, brown, or red stains all over their home. The black and brown stains are bed bug fecal matters while the red stains are blood they have sucked out of their victims. You will often see black and brown stains on areas where they live and red stains on areas where they can bite humans like beds and sofas.
  • Unclean feeling at home. Some bed bug signs are subtle, but you know your home better than others. If you have a general unclean feeling at home, treat it as a sign of some kind of infestation. Bed bugs release pheromones. You probably won’t be able to smell the pheromones from a single bed bug. But you will definitely be able to smell them if they are released by an entire colony.
Bed bug carcasses are some of the biggest signs of bed bug infestations.
Bed bug carcasses. Image source: National Center for Biotechnology Information

No signs of bed Bugs but have been bitten?

There are a lot of reasons why you have no signs of bed bugs but still have bites. You may have just missed the signs or you have other irritants at home.

1. You do have bed bugs and you have missed the signs

Unfortunately, bed bugs are very good at hiding. As small creatures, they can squeeze through the tiniest cracks and crevices in your home. It doesn’t help that bed bugs are more active at night, making them even more difficult to spot.

A good workaround is to know where to look for them. In beds, you will often find them in the corners of mattresses and cracks like zippers. Don’t forget your bed frames either. The bed bugs may be hiding in the corners, including those in the undersides.

You can also find bed bugs in carpets, other furniture pieces like cabinets, chairs, sofas, and nightstands, and walls. Stains can be very prominent on the walls.

2. You have other insects at home

If you have bites and still don’t have signs of bed bugs even after you have looked, you may have other insects in hiding. In this case, you should look for the other insects. There are many different kinds of insects that can hide in your home. Insect bites also often look the same — they are itchy red marks that sometimes swell.

Bed bug bites are a little different from other insect bites. They often come in straight lines. When bed bugs bite, they often get dislodged. They will try to bite again in a different spot, forming a cluster or a straight line.

Other insects that can bite you at home include fleas, lice, mites, spiders, and ticks.

3. You have non-insect irritants

The “bites” you have may not even be bites at all. They may come from other irritants. Irritants can come in many forms, like household products and environmental factors.

Household products that can irritate you include cosmetic products, detergents, and soaps. Basically, anything with active ingredients that touch your skin can be an irritant. Environmental factors inside your home that can irritate you include the development of molds, dryness, low humidity, and the presence of allergens and pollutants like fiberglass shedding and tobacco smoke.

4. You are confusing other medical conditions with insect bites

Certain medical conditions, especially those that affect the skin, can also look like insect bites. If you seem to have bites even if there are no signs of bed bugs, maybe you are suffering from such a condition.

Allergic reaction symptoms like rashes are often confused with insect bites. Fungal infections, hives, and other skin conditions like dermatitis herpetiformis and miliaria should also be considered.

You can have bites even if you have no signs of bed bugs at home.
Bed bug bites. Image source: Pine Belt Dermatology

What you can do

  • Treat the bites with traditional medications or natural remedies. If you have insect bites that are making you uncomfortable, go to your local pharmacy and buy some topical anti-itch creams or oral antihistamines. You can also try home remedies like baking soda pastes and ice packs. If you think your condition is something beyond your control, don’t hesitate to consult a medical professional.
  • Conduct a general cleaning of your home. Clean your home to remove irritants that are causing rashes and other skin conditions that you can confuse with insect bites. Focus on the areas where you usually sleep or lie down. But don’t forget the areas you don’t often disturb, such as the deep corners of your cabinets and the often uncleaned spots under your sinks. Dark, moist, and undisturbed areas are perfect hiding spots for pests.
  • Call pest control professionals. If you think you are really suffering from some kind of insect infestation, call pest control professionals. They will be able to diagnose your problem properly and come up with a solution that is effective for your specific case. In the case of bed bug infestations, it may take about 3-6 weeks of treatment with about 2-4 treatment sessions.

Having bites without insects can be confusing

Waking up with bites even if you don’t have signs of bed bugs at home can be confusing and frustrating. Treat the bites as soon as you can and diagnose the problem at home. If you think you have insects, get help from pest control professionals, as most DIY solutions are not worth the hassle of learning them.

But if you think the problem is not insects, try to look for the irritants that are giving you skin conditions that you confuse with insect bites. These irritants are usually household products or environmental factors.

2 thoughts on “No Signs of Bed Bugs But Have Bites?”

  1. So many people have spent thousands and hundreds for a pest control company and to no prevail they don’t work and the company won’t make it good so instead telling people to spend hard earned money that they don’t have tell them what will work the best , don’t be a spokes person for rip off companies.

    • Hi Dave,

      Thanks for your comment. Our article was not intended to be a mouthpiece for pest control companies. The article was about bed bugs in general and we only mentioned pest control companies as one of three ways to tackle bed bugs in the home.

      Many thanks,
      Deal With Pests


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