If you’ve been bitten during the night, identifying the bug that bit you can be difficult. You can help to narrow things down by figuring out where bed bugs bite you on the face and body. You may also be able to cover up the most vulnerable areas as bed bugs can’t bite through clothing.
Bed bugs like to bite the hands and feet, neck, and shoulders, upper arms, and lower legs. These areas are the most exposed during sleep. But bed bugs can bite elsewhere if other areas are exposed.
There are some places bed bugs don’t bite. You can rule out bed bugs if you have lots of bites in those areas. We’ve detailed each part of the body and how likely bed bugs will bite you there. Here’s some advice on how to sleep in a bed with bed bugs without getting bitten.
Where Do Bed Bugs Bite?
According to Lab Medicine, bed bugs are largely indiscriminate with where they bite. But their favorite places to bite are the neck, face, hands, and arms of their host.
If they find a patch of exposed skin, they will head there and bite it. That’s why bites are frequently clustered in the one area that was exposed. You may find a row of bed bug bites.
The primary way that bed bugs determine where to bite is based on where they live. They usually live under your mattress. But they may exclusively live underneath the top left corner, for example. This would make it more likely that they bite your right arm.
The same goes for anywhere else they might live. Say they live in furniture at the foot of your bed. They would climb up the legs of your bed and reach your feet and legs first.
Do Bed Bugs Bite Your Scalp?
Bed bugs won’t bite your scalp, provided that you have hair. That’s because bed bugs don’t like body hair. They are too big to clamber through it easily.
If you don’t have hair, then the scalp is an excellent place to feed. That’s because the blood vessels in your scalp are close to the surface of the skin. This allows them to find a biting site more easily.
But if you shave your head, the stubble will stop them from feeding. It’s difficult for them to walk over. Bed bugs also prefer standing flat rather than at an angle when they feed. The angle makes the scalp tricky to feed on.
Do Bed Bugs Bite Your Face?
Your face isn’t a frequent bite site. It’s uncovered by the blanket, or by clothes. There is lots of blood close to the surface of the skin. It’s also accessible for them by climbing on the pillow.
However, you have more nerves in your face than other parts of your body. It’s more likely that you will wake up and kill them if you feed there. Through natural selection, bugs that pick safe feeding sites live and continue breeding, essentially ‘teaching’ future generations where to feed.
Also, your face moves more than other parts of your body during sleep. Your breathing and rapid eye movements may only be small movements, but to a bug, they are big. Bed bugs associate movement with danger.
Do Bed Bugs Bite Your Neck and Shoulders?
Bed bugs frequently bite around the neck. It has an adequate blood supply, no hair to get in the way, and is usually exposed.
It’s also the first part of your body many bed bugs will encounter that they can feed on. Bed bugs that climb from the upper part of your mattress will reach your head, face shoulders, and neck first. Of these body parts, the shoulders and neck are the best for them.
Your neck is especially tempting for them as it is exposed. It sits outside the blanket, or just underneath it. Even if you wear pajamas, the collar will be loose enough to allow them easy access. Your shoulders are at least somewhat hidden.
Do Bed Bugs Bite Your Arms?
Your arms aren’t as easily exposed as your hands and feet. But you will still get a lot of bites there. That’s because when they’re at your side, they’re one of the first places bed bugs reach.
Also, your arms have veins and arteries that are close to the surface of your skin. Failing that, there are again lots of capillaries that run to your arms and hands. This makes it easy for bed bugs to feed there.
The only exception is if you’re wearing pajamas. Clothing makes it hard for them to bite your arms, your upper arms, especially.
Do Bed Bugs Bite Your Hands?
Your hands are similar to your feet, in that they’re often exposed. You don’t wear anything over them to bed. They also often come out from under your comforter or blanket. Your hand and arm will also be at your side, meaning the bed bugs encounter them before other parts of your body.
They may also bite your fingers. When you’re asleep, your hands and fingers don’t move that much, so that isn’t a problem. Your fingers have lots of capillaries close to the surface of the skin for them to feed on.
However, they aren’t a perfect feeding ground. You may have them by your face, supporting your head while you sleep. Here they would be inaccessible to any bed bug, because they’re under your head. You may also keep them under the blanket.
Your hands also have lots of nerves in them. This makes it more likely that the bug would wake you up by feeding there. They may look to feed somewhere else if available.
Do Bed Bugs Bite Your Chest?
If you wear clothes to bed, bed bugs won’t bite your chest. With the area covered, and other parts of your body more accessible, it’s unlikely. They wouldn’t want to go that far into your pajamas.
Also, if you have hair on your chest, this will make the area unappealing for them. They will move either to your shoulders or your stomach, wherever there is less hair.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for them to bite there. People that don’t wear pajamas are more susceptible. Where your chest touches the mattress, you might get bites.
Do Bed Bugs Bite Your Stomach?
What applies to your chest, applies to your stomach too. Normally hidden under pajamas, it’s difficult for bed bugs to safely access. But if you don’t wear any, it will be easier for them.
Men with hair on their stomach likely won’t get many bites there. They would rather move to your side, or your arm. They will wander until they find somewhere less hairy and more suitable.
Do Bed Bugs Bite Your Back?
The answer depends on how you sleep at night. If you sleep on your side, your back will be somewhat exposed. If you sleep on your back, it won’t be.
Bed bugs tend to bite at the point where your body meets the surface of the bed. They don’t clamber all over you searching for a spot. That’s why bites often appear in lines. You will have more bites along your sides than in the middle of your back.
When your back is exposed, it is one of the bed bug’s favorite places to bite. It has big, wide open patches of skin with no or little hair. There’s more than enough room for several bed bugs to feed at once. Their bites may form a line or cluster, as many feed there.
Do Bed Bugs Bite Your Bottom?
Bed bugs will rarely bite your bum. There are two reasons why.
Your bum is usually hidden behind underwear or pajamas. Bed bugs don’t burrow under clothes unless they have to. They much prefer open skin. This means that if they do bite your bum, it will only be on the cheek.
And before they get to your bum, they will likely reach another exposed area. That could be your hands or feet, or your arms and legs. They will stop at the first exposed place they find, provided there aren’t lots of other bugs there at the time.
Do Bed Bugs Bite Your Legs?
Bed bugs frequently bite people’s legs. Again, they’re easily accessible.
Even if you wear pajamas, your legs will still be accessible. Pajamas are loose. A bed bug can climb into one of the folds at the bottom and access your leg that way.
Better still is that your legs won’t be moving. While your chest continually moves from your breathing, you will only infrequently kick or move your legs. The less you move a body part, the more likely a bed bug will feed there.
When you wear socks to bed, your legs are the first part of your body that they may bite. That’s why there may be bite clusters where your sock ends, and your leg begins.
Do Bed Bugs Bite Your Feet?
Put yourself in the shoes of a bed bug. Where would you bite? One of your primary considerations should be safety, because if you’re found, you will be squashed.
That’s why feet are an excellent bite site. They are the first body part that bugs will encounter if they climb up the bottom of the bed. If your feet are available, the bed bug won’t bother finding somewhere else.
Another reason they’re safer for a bug is that they’re usually exposed. If your blanket isn’t long enough, or gets moved in the night, your toes and feet are exposed. Bed bugs prefer not going under your comforter/blanket.
If you wear socks, though, they won’t bite your feet. Bed bugs can’t bite through clothes. They can only feed on exposed areas of skin. Above your feet are your ankles. If you wear socks, there will be clusters of bites around here.
Where Don’t Bed Bugs Bite?
There are few places that a bed bug won’t bite. The main one is your scalp, provided that you have a lot of hair. There’s no way for them to climb through your hair because their bodies are too wide.
- Genitals. It’s highly unlikely that bed bugs will bite here because they aren’t exposed. If you don’t wear any clothes to bed, there will be other parts of your body that they reach first.
- Armpits. While bed bugs are attracted to the smell of sweat/people, they can’t bite your armpit. They are unlikely to be exposed. You may be bitten on your shoulder, close to your armpit.
- Internally. Bed bugs don’t burrow to feed. They won’t bite the inside of your mouth, the inside of your ears, the inside of your genitals, or your anus. Any bed bug bite-like symptoms here are the result of something else.
These aren’t hard-and-fast rules. It’s possible for a bed bug to bite you anywhere. But some places are more likely than others.
If you think you have a bed bug bite, try to find the source of the bugs. They are likely underneath your mattress or nearby furniture. Catch a bug if there are any and show it to a pest controller. But here’s some advice on how to identify bed bugs.