Can You Feel a Bed Bug Crawling on You?

Just thinking about a bed bug sharing your bed is enough to give even the non-squeamish people the heebie-jeebies. They suck your blood while you’re in bed, and they don’t have the charm of Dracula.

Can you feel a bed bug crawling on you? 

The answer is an astounding yes, you can feel a bed bug crawling on you. Ugh. But that answer comes with a few conditions. Whether you will feel a bed bug crawling on your skin depends on three main factors:

  • How sensitive your skin is
  • Where the bed bug is crawling
  • What you are doing (whether you are lying still or moving around)

Read on to learn more about these creepy crawlies and how to identify them, should you find one sharing your bed. 

Bed Bugs: The Low Down

Bed bugs are notoriously good at keeping out of sight and hiding, so you might not even know that they are there unless you have been bitten.

They are only a quarter of an inch long and hard to spot at first. Males and females look very similar, and both will drink your blood.

Identifying what bed bugs look like and the most common signs of an infestation can help you treat and get rid of these critters during the day is near impossible, so it would be best to begin your hunt at night. 

Bed bugs do not have “nests” as other insects do. While insects generally nest in groups, bed bugs will move around in small groups, moving to spots with ample warmth and moisture. 

Understanding their movements, the bed bug lifecycle, how they operate, and what they look like can help you control and rid your home of bed bugs. 

Can You Feel a Bed Bug Crawling on You?

As we have said, some people can indeed feel a bed bug crawling on them, but it depends largely on a few factors.

Let’s Explore bed bugs in more detail before we move on to how to identify them from any other bugs. 

1. The Sensitivity of Your Skin

When it comes to the ability to feel bed bugs crawling on your skin, some people have more sensitive skin than others. There is no real scientific explanation for this, and it depends solely on genetics and your skin’s overall condition and thickness.

Those with sensitive skin will be able to feel a bed bug crawling on their skin, while those with less sensitive skin might not.

Interestingly, the amount of body hair that you have will also affect the ability to feel a bed bug crawling on you as it moves through your body hairs on your skin, looking for the best place to sink its “beak” into.

Men tend to feel bed bugs more as they are typically hairier than women. 

Men tend to feel bed bugs more as they are typically hairier than women. 

2. Where the Bed Bugs Are Crawling

We all have those sensitive spots on our bodies. For many, it is their arms, neck, and back. Bed bugs will crawl on exposed skin areas, so spotting them should be easier.

Summer is the absolute worst time for a bed bug infestation, and wearing fewer clothes to beat the heat certainly exposes more of your body to these hungry bugs.

As they are resistant to most insecticides and bug repellants, creams and sprays will not help deter bed bugs from crawling on you in search of a tasty blood-smoothie. 

3. Your Current Activity

If you’re lying still in bed, possibly reading or dozing off, you are more likely to feel a bed bug crawling on you than if you were moving around.

Bed bugs are small, about the size of an apple seed. And depending on their age, can be hard to spot. In our next section, we will look into the identifying features you should look out for, so please follow along and read on to find out more.

One way to check if the bug currently crawling on you is a bed bug is to learn how to spot them. 

How To Identify Bed Bugs

As bed bugs are nocturnal creatures, spotting them during the daytime is near impossible. It takes a careful plan and a bit of a covert operation to catch bed bugs in the act, but it can be easier if you know what to look out for. 

The most common signs that you have an infestation are: 

  • Dark or rust-colored spots on your bed linen, mattress, or box spring. This is most likely from the bed bug feces
  • A musty or foul-smelling odor on your bedding or mattress from the oily exoskeleton of bed bugs.
  • Blood stains on your pillows and sheets. This can be caused by bed bugs that get squashed when you roll around in bed. 
  • Bite marks on your body. While bed bugs do not carry harmful toxins in their mouths, some do have a reaction to the bites. Bed bug bites are similar to flea bites but do not have that harsh redness in the center of the bite, as seen with flea bites. 

Now that you know what to look out for, let’s talk about how to identify an actual bed bug. We will look at three identifying factors:

1. Bed Bug Size

Bed bugs vary in size depending on their age. A baby bed bug is smaller than the head of a pin, so it will be extremely hard to spot. Adult bed bugs can grow to around a quarter of an inch, making them a bit easier to spot and then get rid of. 

As we mentioned above, they look quite a bit like an apple seed.

2. Body Shape

While it would seem that all bugs have a common shape, bed bugs do differ from their insect counterparts in appearance. Bed bugs are oval in shape and have flat bodies.

Lucky bed bugs that have managed to have a meal will be inflated and plumped up.

3. Color

Baby and adult bed bugs differ in size and color. Adult bed bugs range in color from dark brown to an almost cyan color after feeding, while their babies are a lighter brown to off-white color. Both adults and babies will feed in the same way and need to be removed as quickly as possible to prevent an infestation. 

How to Rid Your Home of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are really hard to get rid of on your own. If you’ve got an infestation, it’s almost always best to call a professional for help.

Bed bugs can live in vacuum-sealed bags for up to a year, so it’s really hard to tell when your infestation has finally subsided.

However, if you want to try to do it yourself, there are a few things you can try.

Diatomaceous Earth

Choosing the best repellants can be challenging, as bed bugs are resistant to most commercial insecticides and bug repellents. One of the most effective and proven ways you can remove bed bugs in your home is by using diatomaceous earth

Made from the sediments of fossilized algae known as diatoms, the powder acts as a desiccant and dehydrates the bud begs, which results in their demise. Sounds pretty brutal, but it is necessary if you want to keep your home bed bug free. 

Preparing your home for the use of diatomaceous earth is important and involves the following steps:

Step 1: Steam clean your home. Bed bugs are unable to withstand temperatures that exceed 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Make steam your best friend and steam clean your home or the affected room top to bottom. 

Note: if you’re renting a steam cleaner, inform the company that you’ve got a bed bug infestation. You don’t want to spread it to other people, and you want to make sure the steam cleaner is hot enough to kill bed bugs.

Note: if you’re renting a steam cleaner, inform the company that you’ve got a bed bug infestation. You don’t want to spread it to other people, and you want to make sure the steam cleaner is hot enough to kill bed bugs.

Step 2: Wash your linens on a very hot or very cold wash cycle. From sheets to pillowcases and duvet covers, give everything a thorough wash and hang out in the sun to dry. A hot setting on a tumble dryer is also an effective way of ensuring you have killed every last bug. 

You can dry clean your clothes, but often the washer is more successful.

Step 3: Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum.

Suck up as many dead bed bugs as possible before laying down the diatomaceous earth. Use the small, narrow nozzle of your vacuum cleaner to get into those hard-to-reach places between your carpet and the baseboards. 

Step 4: Sprinkle the diatomaceous earth using an applicator or with a gloved hand. Gloves are essential, and a mask can be helpful to prevent the inhalation of any dust into your lungs.

Step 5: Leave to stand. The Diatomaceous earth is more effective the longer it is left to stand and do its thing. Bed bugs will die within hours, but leaving the powder down for at least two weeks will ensure that every last bug has been taken care of. Simply vacuum the powder up when you are satisfied that the infestation is no longer a problem. 

Can You Prevent a Bed Bug From Biting You?

Unfortunately, there are no bug repellent creams, sprays, or plug-ins that will prevent bed bugs from making a meal out of you.

While we are all well aware that the option of prevention is always better than a cure, in the case of bed bugs, it is hard to control an infestation. 

It is important to remember that the cleanliness of your home has no bearing on whether or not you have bed bugs.

Even the cleanest and tidiest homes can fall prey to these nasty critters.

Even the cleanest and tidiest homes can fall prey to these nasty critters.

Using diatomaceous earth is a cheap and effective method of controlling an infestation, but it will not prevent it. 


Have you ever laid all snug in bed, about to fall asleep, and felt something crawling on your arms or legs? We don’t want to give you nightmares, but they could be bed bugs.

Depending on your skin’s sensitivity, you may be able to feel a bed bug crawling on you. Identifying, treating, and ridding your home of these bugs is the only form of prevention available, as even the most expensive repellents do nothing to protect you from bed bug bites.