Bedbugs and spider bites can both make you itch. Here's how to tell which one you have.

·4 min read
Bedbugs and spider bites can both make you itch. Here's how to tell which one you have.
woman lifting up shirt on back to reveal bug bites
It's important to identify if your bites are from bedbugs. Aleksey Boyko/Shutterstock

Your bites might be caused by bedbugs if you woke up with them.

sleeping
Bedbugs typically feed between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. iStock

According to a 2012 study by the American Society for Microbiology, bedbugs generally feed on human blood during the night because they're attracted to the carbon dioxide and body heat their host body emits during sleep.

Peak feeding time for bedbugs occurs between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.

If you're waking up with bites that you didn't have the night before, you may be dealing with a bedbug problem, which could spread to the rest of your house.

Bedbug bites often appear in a line, while spider bites are usually singular.

bug bite
With bedbug bites, there is usually more than one in a row. PARNTAWAN/ iStock

If you notice that your skin is sporting a line of red, itchy bites, bedbugs are the likely culprits.

According to Healthline, bedbugs frequently appear in a line or cluster because a single bedbug often bites its host more than once during a feeding session.

Bedbug bites are also most frequently found on the neck, hand, face, and arms, according to the UK's National Health Service (NHS).

Spiders, on the other hand, normally only bite once, and it can be anywhere. Their bites are usually unintentional or in response to a perceived threat.

Spider bites frequently leave distinct puncture marks.

close-up shot of red, inflamed bug bite
Spider bites are usually in the form of puncture marks. yurakrasil/Shutterstock

According to the NHS, spider bites usually leave tiny side-by-side puncture marks on the skin, which can often be seen with the naked eye.

In contrast, bedbug bites normally appear as small red dots with darker centers that may swell or itch — especially if you've been bitten by bedbugs before as symptoms don't always appear the first time.

Bedbug bites may be an ongoing problem, while spider bites are usually a one-time occurrence.

checking bed checking for bed bugs bedbugs
Bedbugs will continue to bite until you get rid of them. Terry Gilliam/AP

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of a typical spider might include red or inflamed skin around the bite site. The bite may also be itchy.

In most cases, common spider bites tend to heal within a few days and don't cause any further symptoms.

But with bedbugs, you may notice new bites each day or every few days. They continue to multiply and feed if you don't find and exterminate them.

Bedbugs aren't dangerous, but some spider bites can cause serious symptoms.

poisonous spider crawling on skin
Some spider bites can cause health problems. RHJPhtotoandilustration/Shutterstock

Bedbugs aren't known to transmit diseases to humans — although an infestation can cause significant psychological stress and lead to insomnia. But some spiders can inflict venomous bites.

According to the Mayo Clinic, of the thousands of spider species, only a few have long enough fangs and strong enough venom to inflict a dangerous bite on a human.

In the US, venomous species include the black-widow spider and the brown-recluse spider. Venomous spiders in the UK include the cellar spider, the woodlouse spider, and the false-widow spider.

Bites from certain poisonous spiders can cause severe abdominal, back, or chest pain. You might also experience fever, chills, cramping, or excessive sweating.

In very rare cases, the skin around the bite site may die within a few hours or the bite site may develop into an open ulcer. Some people also have an allergic reaction to a spider bite that compromises their ability to breathe.

You should seek immediate medical care if you notice any of these serious symptoms.

If you suspect you have been bitten by bedbugs, check your home for signs of an infestation.

Bed bug
If you find bedbug bites, there are steps you need to take in your home. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

A bedbug infestation can progress rapidly, so it's important to take aggressive steps to stop the problem early on if you notice bites.

If your doctor agrees that your bites are probably related to bedbugs, contact a pest-control group and check your home for signs of bedbugs. These can include brown spots or insect parts on mattresses, sofas, carpets, or curtains.

If you find signs of an infestation, your best bet is to employ professional help to fumigate your home rather than try to deal with the problem yourself.

Read the original article on Insider