Pest Resources

Can Bed Bugs Make You Sick? [3 Interesting Facts]​


Are you wondering if bed bugs will make you sick? 

We aim to answer that question for you in this article. 

In this guide you’ll learn a few new things: 

  • What are bed bugs?
  • Bed bug signs to look for
  • Can a bed bug bite cause illness?
  • What happens to your skin when bed bugs bite?

Bed bugs are one of those nightmare pests. It’s far from ideal when any pest invades your home, but especially invading your bed. That’s enough to drive anyone insane and look for ways to end this itchy pest. 

Not only are bed bugs annoying, but they can be costly to dispose of once they plague your home.

One of the most popular questions we get asked is whether bed bugs can make you sick.
It’s quite common for people to assume that all pests and insects carry diseases. If you think about history, pests such as rats, mosquitoes, and bats have led to significant loss of life.
Back in the 14th-Century, the Black Death aka the Bubonic Plague killed around 75 million people at a time when there were around 360 million in total.
Malaria is the most deadly disease carried by mosquitoes, and causes around 400,00 deaths each year.
While it is true that there are some pests and insects that carry diseases fatal to humans, not all insects carry a disease.
So what about bed bugs?
Can they make people sick? Read on to find out.

What are Bed bugs?

Bed bugs are tiny red insects around 7 millimeters in length and 2.5 millimeters wide. They hide away from humans such as behind loose wallpaper, in old furniture, and in mattresses.
They don’t like to be too far away from their next blood meal, which is why they are often found in mattress seams, stitching, and piping.
Bed bugs are nocturnal, so will come out at night while their unsuspecting host is sleeping, fueled by their thirst for human blood.

What are the signs of bed bugs?

 A bed bug infestation can be quite tricky to spot, due to these insects being both tiny and nocturnal.
At a glance you’ll completely miss the infestation, yet you could be in for a shock if you take a closer look!
Here’s a few signs to keep an eye out for:
  • Red colored marks on your bedding
  • Egg shells, fecal spots, or bed bug skins
  • A strange, musky odor from the bed bugs’ scent glands
  • Small red welts in clusters
Top tip: We recommend using light-colored bedding, as this helps highlight any infestation.

What are the symptoms of a bed bug bite?

 Bed bugs tend to bite in small clusters or lines. Their bites or welts are swollen red areas with a small dark spot in the center.
These welts are a human reaction to the saliva used by the bed bug to numb the area before taking it’s next blood meal.
Some people are prone to an allergic reaction from being bitten by a bed bug. These cause increased swelling or hives around the bite, made worse by scratching.

Can bed bugs make you sick?

 Simple answer is yes, yet we want to make something clear:
Bed bugs are not carriers of any known diseases. Thus, it’s unlikely people will become ill from being bitten by a bed bug.
Even though bed bugs are not considered to be dangerous, their bites can cause an allergic reaction. If this happens, it is imperative to seek medical help.
Bed bugs are known to affect your health in the following cases:
  • Many bites after some time can cause potential weakness.
  • Allergic bites can cause asthmatic attacks in susceptible individuals.
  • Hypersensitivities to the bite, brought about by bed bug spit, can trigger hives, rashes, burning or itching
  • Bites can get contaminated, causing other issues.
  • Scarring can happen and persevere for quite a long time.
  • In rare cases it’s even been reported that bed bug bites have affected breathing

Can bed bugs kill you?

 We are often asked if bed bugs can kill you, the simple answer is: it’s very unlikely.
To date there has only been one reported death in the United States linked to a bed bug bite. It happened in 2011, but it was a result of overusing pesticides and underlying medical conditions. It was not caused by the bed bug bites.
Bed bug bites are not known to cause illnesses or death.
Bedbugs are thought to transmit infectious parasites, yet no reports have shown any diseases.

Wrap up

 Impacts of bed bug bites can cause health problems like lack of sleep and weakness from loss of blood. They can also trigger an allergic reaction. The bites are irritating, and need over-the-counter treatment to diminish the irritation.
Learn more about Bed Bugs 

If you are looking for other bed bug related articles – be sure to check out our other pest guides to help rid you of your pests.

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each control method, product and process to prevent infestations effectively. 

Read more here.

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