Bed Bug Bites vs Pimples: How Can You Tell?

Bed bug bites and pimples are very similar in appearance! For most people, it is hard to tell the difference between them.

So, you’ve got something that looks like a pimple, but is a bit more sus. Could it be a vampire bed bug bite?

In this article, we’re going to do a comparison of bed bug bites vs pimples and give you some tips to figure out if you’re dealing with a breakout or an infestation!

You can tell the difference between a bed bug bite and a pimple through three major areas:

  • The pattern of the bumps
  • Presence of white or blackheads
  • The level of itchiness

This article compares bed bug bites and pimples in detail and thus provides a great read for anyone looking to distinguish the two.

Read on to learn more.

How Similar are Bed Bug Bites and Pimples?

What do you think those are, pimples or bed bugs? We’ll tell you at the end of the section.

As you can see, bed bug bites and pimples are very similar in appearance. Both pimples and bed bug bites appear in the form of red, swollen spots. They are both small and usually appear in the morning when you wake up.

Also, they both take some time to disappear and can stay up to about two weeks. Additionally, severe scratching of pimples and bug bites can open up your skin for infection.

Those red splotchy bumps are bed bugs, unfortunately!

Bed Bug Bites vs Pimples

When you wake up in the morning with red, swollen spots, you can’t always tell what they are. They can be pimples infection or bed bug bites.

But how do you know it is the latter and the former?

Although the two may look completely the same in color and size, they have some differences. 

1. The pattern and the location of the bumps

One thing that should help you to distinguish between pimples and bites is their pattern. Usually, bed bug bites appear in clusters, often in a line or a zig-zag, while pimples appear in scatters and do not take any particular form.

Secondly, bed bugs appear anywhere on your body, including your legs and hands, but usually where your skin is exposed when you’re asleep. In contrast, pimples will mostly appear on your face, upper back, and chest.

2. Presence of white or blackheads

Pimples can be in the form of spots with a black at the center — a blackhead, or a red and swollen spot with a whitish dot, a whitehead. The presence of a white or blackhead will tell you that the red or pink bump is a pimple.

The presence of a white or blackhead will tell you that the red or pink bump is a pimple.

On the other hand, bed bug bites are red or pink swollen spots and are generally just spots. Unlike a pimple, they neither have dark spots nor white heads in the center.

3. Itchiness of the spot

Bed bug bites are allergic reactions to the saliva used by the bugs to numb the area. Thus, these red welts are extremely itchy in most cases and can make you restless.

On the other hand, pimples are less itchy, and unlike bed bug bites, they can be painful when touched or pressed.

Do Bed Bug Bites Pop?

The answer is no.

Bed bug bites are allergic reactions to the saliva from the bed bugs used to numb the area. And so the swell results from anti-bacterial cell regeneration and not excess fluid underneath your skin, as seen in pimples.

Thus, bed bug bites have no pressure build-up to cause them to burst.

Instead, bed bug bites are small solid lumps that will not pop even when squeezed. 

How Do You Treat Bed Bug Bites?

In most cases, bed bug bites do not cause a severe condition that requires medical treatment. However, where the bites cause a serious allergic reaction resulting in extreme itching, you can apply an anti-itch cream or take an antihistamine.

Otherwise, you can easily treat mild bites with soap and water.

It is vital to avoid scratching the bites on your body as this opens up your skin to infection that might call for further medical attention.

How Do You Know You Have Bed Bugs in Your Home?

So, how do you know that the red, swollen lumps on your body result from bed bug bites? How do you know you have bed bugs in your house? Here are the signs to look out for

What Brings Bed Bugs into Your Home?

Bed bug infestation is one of the great nightmares that most homeowners dread.

It deprives you of the safety and comfort of your home and makes you anxious, especially when you have guests in your home. You’re terrified you’ll transfer the bed bugs to your guests just by visiting!

And you’ll have no safe place to sleep at night.

It’s a nightmare infestation to deal with. Oh, and did we mention that bed bugs can survive for up to a year? Yeah.

It’s a good idea to hire a professional if you’ve got an infestation. Managing bed bugs is very challenging unless you get a hold of what is bringing them into your home.

And the question is: What brings bed bugs into your home? 

1. Secondhand furniture

Furniture creates a wonderful spot for bed bugs to live and breed. And we’re not just talking mattresses, here! Wood furniture too!

If your second-hand sofa is from a bed bug-infested house, it will bring them into your house. And It will not take long before your beds and closets are also infested.

This is because as you sit on that furniture, a bed bug will crawl on you, and then you might take them into your bed or closet.

2. Furniture exposed to bedbugs in transit

If you’re moving and your furniture is stored or transported for some time along with the furniture of other people, that can generate an infestation of bed bugs.

And if you love to go to thrift shops and second-hand shops, then it goes without a doubt that your goods can come with bed bugs.

3. Public chairs or loungers

Another agent of bed bug spread is public chairs and loungers, even movie theater seats. Like the furniture in your home, they create a great hideout for bed bugs. So, bed bugs crawl onto you whenever you sit or sleep on them.

Then, you will carry them to your next resting place: your house.

4. Hotel and Hostel beds

Another hot spot for bed bugs is the hotel and hostel beds. Every night a new person sleeps on them, and out of ten, you will not miss a person carrying bed bugs.

And since beds and mattresses create a place for the bed bugs to hide, they will multiply, and if you are the next person sleeping on that bed, they will crawl onto you. The next thing you know, one of them is crawling on your sofa.

How to Prevent a Bed Bug Infestation?

So, how do you control bed bug infestation in your house? The first thing to do is to avoid anything that will expose your house to bed bugs, and this includes:

  • Any form of second-hand furniture (or at least inspect it very closely)
  • Sitting or sleeping on public seats or loungers
  • Hotel rooms or hostels with a history of bed bugs
  • Buying furniture from yard sales
  • Transport means being exposed to bed bugs

Also, you want to seal cracks and crevices in your house that create a hideout for bed bugs. In addition, select furniture void of notches and made of materials that repel bed bugs, such as plastic, metal, and high-weave textile.

Getting Rid of Bed Bugs

Sometimes, even with all precautions, you still find bed bugs in your bedding or furniture. So, what do you do in this case?

Managing bed bugs can be difficult, and getting rid of them before they multiply is important.

If it all possible, hire a professional. It’s a big job, and you’ll need the support.

So, how do you get rid of bed bugs?

1. Wash and dry your bedding at the highest heat setting

High heat not only kills bed bugs but also destroys their eggs. So, by washing and drying your bedding in the highest heat setting, you kill any bed bugs or eggs.

Because you might not catch all the bed bugs at first, it is good to do this at least once a week.

2. Regular vacuum cleaning

Another way of eradicating bed bugs is through regular vacuum cleaning. Vacuum cleaning helps you remove bed bugs and their eggs from hideout places.

So, you want to use a powerful vacuum cleaner on your pillows, mattress, sofa sets, and crevices on your bed and furniture. Ideally, a vacuum cleaner pulls out bugs from their hiding places, preventing them from multiplying.

Don’t forget to throw out your vacuum bag outside!

3. Steam cleaning

If you have a severe bed bug infestation in your house, calling in a steam cleaner will help. A steam cleaner allows you to reach deeper into your upholstered item and any luggage at your house.

Also, passing a steam killer on crevices in your furniture kills bugs and any bugs inside it. A steam cleaner is the most effective way of dealing with bugs, especially if you are consistent.

Just make sure you inform the rental company that you’re using the cleaner for bed bugs. They will want to disinfect it afterward.

4. Get rid of heavily infested furniture

When the infestation gets out of hand, destroying the infested items is necessary. This includes beds, sofas, and any other upholstered items.


Sometimes you are not sure you have bed bugs in your home, so when that red or pinkish swell appears on your skin, you cannot tell if it is a bed bug bite or a pimple. Although they may appear similar at a glance, they are distinct features that tell them apart. And looking out for signs of bed bug infestation in your home will confirm your suspicions.

Bed bug bites are more of a frustration than pimples! You’ll be in for a long war against the little vampires. We hope they are pimples, you can fix them with some medication or skin care!