Do You Wake Up With Bites But Can't Find Bed Bugs? What to Do

Do You Wake Up With Bites But Can't Find Bed Bugs? What to Do

No one likes absentmindedly scratching only to find that what once seemed like a fleeting itch is actually an annoying bug bite.

This situation can become even worse when you do not even know the source of the bite since there are no bugs around. It can be easy to forget this instance when it occurs once, but if you regularly wake up with mysterious bug bites, that is harder to ignore.

Unless you like feeling itchy, the inevitable next step is to target the bugs and get rid of them. After all, no more bugs, no more bug bites, right? Well, this is much harder said than done when you can't find the insects in question.

Luckily, there are still steps you can take to make your itching feel better and hopefully get rid of this nuisance for good. Follow our guide on what to do when you wake up with bites, not bed bugs around you to speak of.

Are Those Actually Bug Bites?

This might seem like a simple step, but there is much more to consider than what could immediately come to mind. Sometimes, insect bites and other reactions can appear deceptively similar to the naked eye.

It is a possibility that you can't see any bugs because they simply are not there. If this is the case, there is likely another reason for your itchiness, welts, blisters, or other red bumps.

Sometimes, what we think are bug bites might not be bites at all. It's like your skin is throwing a masquerade ball, and everyone's invited — hives, allergic reactions, you name it. To get to the bottom of this mystery, consider the scene of the crime.

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Bug bites usually show up on skin that's out and about, not covered up. And they have a look about them — raised, red, and bumpy. But if your skin's reaction is moving around like it's got places to be, you might be dealing with hives. They're the nomads of skin reactions, never staying in one place too long, but they keep moving until healed.

There's also eczema, that shows up in spots like behind your knees or the crooks of your elbows. It has a knack for leaving your skin dry, itchy, and sometimes a bit weepy with puss.

It could also be contact dermatitis. That's your skin throwing a fit after touching something it didn't like. Imagine touching a hot stove and then blaming the poor, innocent bugs for the burn. It's red, rashy, and confined to where you made contact, unlike the freewheeling bug bites.

Scabies are like invisible mites deciding your skin is the perfect place to set up camp and start a family. The intense itching, especially at night, with a rash that looks suspiciously like bug bites but with a twist—tiny burrows where they've made themselves at home.

These could also be staph infections. They might masquerade as bug bites but are actually your skin's reaction to a bacterial invasion, needing more than just a slap of anti-itch cream to send them packing.

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Some bug bites can feel similar to hives. If a bite's defining characteristic is distinct itchiness, then the feeling can be almost the same as hives. You can distinguish between the two more easily by considering the bumps' appearance and how they behave.

Hives tend to be quite small and can vary in color from flesh-toned to deep red. Unlike bug bites, hives can migrate around the body. You might experience a reaction on one patch of skin one day and then an entirely different one the following day. This is different from bug bites, which tend to stay fairly localized to the sight of the initial bite.

Unfortunately, this gets a bit more confusing since you can also get hives from a bug bite. These hives often occur near the bite, but not always. 

Allergic reactions are like your body's mistaken identity crisis. It thinks it's under attack when it's really not. If you've introduced anything new into your routine — a daring dive into a different detergent, a test run of a trendy soap, or a culinary experiment with exotic foods — your skin might be throwing up the red flag. It's saying, "Hey, I'm not sure I'm cool with this." Keeping an eye on these changes can help you pinpoint the real troublemaker.

People can experience this and other allergic reactions due to insect bites, but The Natural Patch Co. has options.

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Our AllergyPatch Allergy Relief Stickers work their magic with the help of a cultivated blend of essential oils. These oils in the patch all work together to relieve allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and more. Try any of the specialized Health and Wellness Patches from NatPat and you'll notice the difference.

Have You Been Exposed to New Allergens?

When figuring out what is to blame for your itchy welts, think about if you have been around any new substances lately.

Have you tried a new soap or shampoo? Perhaps you are using new household cleaners or detergents, or you just tried a particular food for the first time.

It can be helpful to keep a diary of what you come into contact with just to jog your memory. You can also keep these diaries for children who might need a little help. Teaching your kids to be aware and alert of how they feel when interacting with new things is a great way to introduce the concept of mindfulness to growing minds.

How to Track and Identify New Allergens

A diary or log can be the best tool in cracking the case. Jot down anything new — foods, products, even places you've visited. You're connecting the dots but with allergens. This journal is also a great way to teach kids about being mindful of their environment and how it affects them. 

However, the devil's in the details. Don't just note what's new; pay attention to how your body responds. Redness, swelling, itchiness, or even digestive discomfort can be telltale signs of your body's raising the red flag. These reactions are the clues that point you towards or away from potential allergens.

For the little detectives in your home, this diary becomes a fun way to learn about cause and effect. It teaches them to connect the dots between what they touch, eat, or breathe in and how their bodies react. "Today, I tried strawberries and felt fine, but the new sunscreen made me itchy" can be an insightful entry, guiding both of you on what to embrace and what to avoid.

What Are Diseases and Disorders Can Cause Skin Reactions?

Other than allergic reactions, some medical conditions can cause intense itching of the skin and dermatitis. These skin conditions and disorders range from chronic issues to viruses that will go away with time.

Some of these issues include:

  • Rosacea
  • Dry skin
  • Chickenpox
  • Shingles
  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema

If you have any questions, or if your symptoms do not improve after a short period, it might be time to reach out to a medical professional or dermatologist.

Diving into skin conditions that mimic bug bites is like opening a medical textbook, but let's keep it simple.

Conditions like rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis have their own signature styles. Rosacea loves the limelight, showing up front and center on your face with a flush that doesn't fade, unlike the itchy, transient welts of bug bites.

Eczema and psoriasis, on the other hand, have more unique patterns and textures on your skin. Eczema shows up as patches of dry, itchy, inflamed skin, often oozing or crusting over in areas like elbows and knees, not the random assault of bug bites. Psoriasis has well-defined patches of red skin with silvery scales, preferring locations like the scalp, elbows, and knees, with a burn and itch that's more persistent than the fleeting itch of a bug bite.

And let's not forget the classics: chickenpox and shingles. Chickenpox shows up with itchy, fluid-filled blisters across the body, far from the singular, puncture-like marks of bug bites. Shingles often wrap around one side of your torso or face, a pattern you won't find with insect visitors. If you're playing a guessing game with your skin, and it's not getting better, maybe it's time to bring in a professional — a dermatologist can help you sort out the suspects and the guilty.

What Do the Bites Look Like?

If you are fairly confident that these are, in fact, bug bites and not different issues, it is time to move on to the next question. Though you may think you have the obvious culprit, when you wake up with bites, not bed bugs, it's time to dig a little deeper. Bites from various insects tend to share certain similarities, such as discoloration or causing a bump in the skin.

Some more specific details can clue you into what bug could be causing your problem. Inspect the bite further, and understand what attributes you should be looking for.

Mosquito bites are puffy, red dots that show up after you've been out enjoying the evening. Keep some mosquito patches for adults and mosquito patches for kids around to handle these. Meanwhile, fleas love your legs and will leave you with a bunch of itchy red spots, sometimes with a little halo around them. And spiders, well, most of the time they're chill, but if you get bitten, it's going to look like a red spot, maybe with some swelling.

What Do Mosquito Bites Look Like?

If you have recently spent time near standing water or had the absolute gall to want to play with your kids around dusk, you probably are familiar with mosquitoes.

Depending on where you live, this common bug is seemingly everywhere as soon as summer begins. An otherwise lovely day with family can quickly become an itchy nightmare if you are not adequately prepared to keep these pesky bugs at bay.

Mosquito bites are raised bumps that can range from white to red. A mosquito bite will appear just a few minutes after being bitten, and the bites generally look somewhat puffy. This puffiness is different from many other bite marks that result in itchy bumps. While annoying, this information can help decode which bug you are dealing with.

What Do Spider Bites Look Like?

Depending on the spider, a bite from this arachnid might have little to no effect at all. Typically, they will just present as a red spot on the skin, possibly with some inflammation and itchiness.

However, if the spider was a dangerous variety like a Widow or a Recluse, you should seek medical attention right away.

What Do Flea Bites Look Like?

Flea bites look a bit different from other bites. While they still cause red welts, a discolored halo might also appear around the mark.

Flea bites are also unique in that they typically appear on the lower legs. Fleas can only reach so high, so they often jump up to our ankles, calves, or feet.

What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?

Unlike fleas, bed bugs will bite any exposed skin they can access and bite humans in their sleep. This process is made even easier for these pests because of the nature of their preferred hiding places.

Bed bugs are remarkably tiny; they can hide in crevices in couches, beds, and other upholstered surfaces. Signs of bed bugs include brown or red marks on your pajamas and sheets, which can indicate stains left behind from their feces… Just when you thought a bed bug infestation couldn't get any grosser.

What Do Chigger or Mite Bites Look Like?

Chigger bites can look more similar to hives than many of the other marks on our list. However, the bite location on the body can be very telling when identifying. These bumps tend to get bigger and itchier as the days pass.

How to Feel Less Itchy, Naturally

Although you are currently in the process of discovering what is making you and your family uncomfortable, you still need relief from the discomfort now. The Natural Patch Co. has a natural alternative free of chemicals but still packs a major punch in terms of itch relief.

Our MagicPatch Itch Relief Patches use innovative Grid-Relief Technology to ease the itch. They are safe and effective for both kids and adults so that the whole family can sport matching stickers!

Additional Natural Remedies for Itch Relief

Alongside the MagicPatch Itch Relief Patches, several natural remedies can provide relief from bug bites. Aloe vera gel is renowned for its soothing properties and can be applied directly to the bite. A paste made from baking soda and water can also alleviate itching and swelling when applied to the skin. For quick relief, applying a cool, damp cloth to the affected area can soothe the itch. These natural solutions offer a variety of options to reduce discomfort from bug bites effectively.

Use Natural Repellents to Protect Your Family

When we think about bug repellent, it can be easy to remember all of the chemicals that go into their formulas and then run in the other direction. Thankfully, there are natural alternatives that also work to keep bugs away.

The BuzzPatch Mosquito Repellent Patches specialize in deterring mosquitoes, but essential oils can also make other kinds of bugs buzz off too. Put these bug bite patches on you and your family's clothing before heading outside, especially if you are going somewhere that you know mosquitoes frequent.

While BuzzPatch Mosquito Repellent Patches are fantastic, it's worth exploring the wide array of natural repellents. Citronella candles are great for your backyard hangouts, and those essential oil sprays? They're your personal bug shield. There's a bunch to choose from, like lemongrass, eucalyptus, and lavender. It's all about finding what works for you and your squad, whether you're chilling at home or adventuring in the great outdoors.

When to Call a Professional

If you are still at a loss when it comes to determining what kind of bug is terrorizing your family, it might be time to call an expert for help. Sometimes, after all of the other options have been exhausted, professional pest control can be the only way to get rid of an infestation — once and for all (hopefully).

Professional-grade pesticides and insecticides are full of harsh, dangerous chemicals, so you and your family might have to relocate for a few days. This is far from ideal, so many parents prefer to try all-natural, kid-friendly solutions first. If the pest control company does come in, they should be able to tell you what kind of bug was causing the issue.

You can also call in an exterminator for a second opinion. Again, having clarity can be immensely helpful, and then you can regroup and figure out a plan of action going forward.

Guide to Choosing Pest Control Services

Sometimes, you've got to call in the big guns. If you're dealing with an all-out bug invasion, it might be time to hit up a pest control pro. Look for someone who has an impeccable reputation and is clear about what they're using around your house, especially if you're worried about chemicals. Lack of transparency, especially from exterminator services, is perhaps the biggest red flag, so keep an eye out for it.

They should be able to walk you through their plan and make sure you're cool with it. It's a matter of clear and honest communication and your ability to make an informed decision about what is okay and what isn't in your home.

Finally, this may seem like a no-brainer but read reviews. See what other people think of the exterminator and how trustworthy they are.

Preventive Measures for Common Household Pests

Preventing pests from making themselves at home in your space is just as significant as knowing how to deal with them once they've arrived. Cleaning and vacuuming thoroughly can go a long way in keeping pests at bay. Sealing up cracks and openings can prevent them from entering your home in the first place.

Also, keep around some natural deterrents, like peppermint oil for spiders or diatomaceous earth for fleas, which can be effective, non-toxic ways to keep pests out. But if the pests do decide to invade your personal space, have an itch patch handy, just in case. They can stop bites itching in seconds without exaggeration.

Another One Bites the Dust

Feeling itchy is off-putting enough, but feeling itchy for no apparent reason is downright creepy. If you think you have bug bites, it is worth considering some other possibilities. Once those have been ruled out, you can determine what kind of bug you are facing and form a plan.


Why am I waking up with bites but no bugs?

Waking up with bites but no bugs in sight is like playing a frustrating game of hide and seek where you're always "it." There are a few stealthy culprits that could be to blame. Sometimes, it's not the usual suspects like bed bugs or mosquitoes but rather fleas or mites, especially if you have pets.

Another possibility is that you're dealing with the aftermath of bites from a day in the park or an evening out that only shows up later, thanks to your body's delayed reaction. Don't rule out the non-bug-related causes like allergic reactions to detergents or fabrics, either. Those can mimic similar itchy welts.

What is biting me in my sleep, not bed bugs?

If it's not bed bugs giving you grief, then fleas or mites might be crashing your slumber party. Fleas jump on the bandwagon if you've got furry friends at home, while mites prefer to keep things low-key, hiding in your mattress or furniture. Both love a good midnight snack at your expense. And don't forget about the possibility of spiders. They're not out to get you, but an accidental rollover during your sleep can prompt a defensive bite.

Why do I have bites but can't find bed bugs?

When you wake up with bites - not bed bugs - it can be confusing to figure out the culprit. It's like being a detective in a mystery where the clues don't add up. Bed bugs are masters of hide-and-seek, tucking themselves into the tiniest crevices of mattresses, box springs, and even behind wallpapers. Just because you can't see them doesn't mean they're not there. They could be hiding out of sight, waiting for lights out to make their move. If you're getting bitten but can't spot the culprits, it might be time to call in a professional who knows exactly where to look.

What bug bites mimic bed bugs?

The plot thickens when other bugs start impersonating bed bugs. Flea bites are often mistaken for bed bug bites, as both appear as small, red, itchy welts. Mosquito bites can also join the lineup, especially if they're on areas of your body that were exposed while you slept. Then there are spider bites, which can vary widely in appearance but sometimes look similar to those of bed bugs. Each bug has its own modus operandi for biting, but the itchy, annoying aftermath is pretty much the same across the board.

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