Imagine you are sitting at home, sleeping on your bed, relaxing on a chair or a couch. This is when they come to feed. After they have bitten you and have gotten their fill of blood, they hide, mate, nest and continue their species in your home.
This all usually happens without you noticing because when bed bugs bite they inject an analgesic or anesthetic type secretion that causes you to not feel when they bite. The only evidence they leave behind are itchy bite marks (that don’t always appear) or sometimes you will continue to bleed after they have bitten, leaving small stains on clothes or furniture.
Like other creatures that feed on blood, bed bugs release an anticoagulant agent that keeps the blood from clotting, allowing them to get the most out of their meal.
The bites may look similar in appearance to other insect bites like mosquitos. Bites generally form in patterns or groupings on your skin. They will be incredibly itchy. However, their similarity in appearance to other bites makes it almost impossible to distinguish a bed bug bite from the bite of another insect like a mosquito. This is why bites alone are not conclusive proof of a bed bug infestation.
Some people will have an allergic reaction to the anticoagulant released in the bite. This can cause redness and swelling in the area as well as general irritation. If someone is allergic to bed bug bites, in rare cases their bites can cause anaphylactic shock. Though the bites aren’t known for causing disease or other health issues, an infestation can cause mental symptoms like fear, anxiety, inability to sleep, and paranoia.
If there are only a few bed bugs in your home, bites may not appear on a nightly basis. Bed bugs can survive for a long time without feeding but generally only feed once every three to five days. If there is a pattern of bites happening week after week, and you have ruled out mosquitoes, then it could very likely be bed bugs.