Can a Dermatologist Diagnose Bed Bug Bites?

  • May 15, 2012

Can a Dermatologist Diagnose Bed Bug Bites?

Treating homes for pests is full of unique experiences. With the increase in bed bug infestations, Pest Control Operators have witnessed their fair share of stories. Some of these include phantom bite marks, spousal sleeping partners calling each other crazy etc. On one regular bed bug inspection, I met a lady who lived in a quaint, and well-kept, manufactured home. She had removed all her clothing from the home and repeatedly washed her bedding. Still she was plagued by mysterious bumps or marks on her body. She went to the dermatologist and he prescribed a steroidal cream for her “rash.” She thought she might have bed bugs but couldn’t find them herself. She was baffled. She exclaimed to me in tears that she is going to have to sell her home and move because of the mysterious issue! After performing a thorough inspection, I found signs of a bed bug infestation. I then began the first of three bed bug treatments which eventually rid her home of bed bugs and solved her crisis.

But what about that dermatologist prescription of a cream to solve her “rash?” This caused me to ask the question, “Can a dermatologist diagnose bed bug bites?” The short answer is no. It is almost impossible for even a pest control expert to diagnose a bud bug infestation by observing bed bug bit marks. This is due to the fact that each bed bug host reacts in a different way to bed bug bites. Some swell up and others don’t react at all. This is why spouses often report that one of the sleeping partners is getting bit and the other is not. In reality, one host is reacting to the bites, the other is not.

One way to diagnose bed bug bites is to witness bite marks in a line-pattern. This pattern happens because bed bugs sometimes bite the body along the line where the body lays on the bed. Even this is tough to do. Best bet is to have a pest control expert do a thorough inspection. The expert will look for live and dead bed bugs, bed bug feces, blood spots, egg casings and even a distinct bed bug infestation odor.


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