It’s hard not to feel paranoid about bed bugs. They’re terrifying, tiny, and they only come out when you’re sleeping. Who’s to say we don’t all have them? Worst of all, once you think you might have bed bugs, you start seeing signs everywhere… “Was that lump in my mattress there last night? Am I losing it?!”
Before you know it, even the suggestion of bed bugs will ruin your good night’s sleep. Don’t let that happen. Here are four of the major signs that you have a bed bug infestation, covered in detail. If you ever find yourself losing sleep because of phantom bugs, stop worrying and look for these signs.
It’s important to note: finding blood stains on your sheets does not automatically mean you have bed bugs. Blood stains can happen for several reasons. You could have itched a scab while you were sleeping, or reopened a scratch while tossing and turning. The blood stains you’re looking for are primarily small, dark, and either roundish or smeared. Bed bug-related blood smears usually occur near the foot of the bed, where you spread your legs while sleeping.
Bed bug-related blood stains usually happen when you inadvertently crush the bugs feeding on you while sleeping. Bed bugs feed continuously for up to an hour, until their bodies are fully engorged with blood. If you crush them while they’re feeding, therefore, this blood seeps out and creates a red smudge or stain. You may also find partial remains of the crushed bug near these stains. Most bed bug-related stains are quite small and look like they spread outward from a single location.
Rusty Smears or Stains
Bed bug excrement is a rusty red, brown, or black color. It tends to bleed into bed sheets, almost like a felt-tip pen or marker would. Excrement stains are quite small and look dot-shaped or splotchy. Over time, these stains can diffuse to cover a larger area and fade to a lighter brown. Remember: bed bugs have surprisingly flat bodies, and they can squeeze into tiny, confined spaces.
As nocturnal pests, bed bugs spend most of the day hiding in nooks and crannies. The majority of the stains they leave behind will be found in these nooks and crannies. Check under the bed and sheets, around the box spring, in joints and folds, and even behind the headboard. Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs don’t just reside in beds. Look for fecal stains on curtains, furniture, wall hangings, wallpaper, and ceiling corners, too. Bed bugs often enter homes via traveling bags, so they may also be in your closet or wardrobe.
Shed Skin and Eggs
Bed bug eggs and shed skin are tiny and almost totally see-through, so they can be difficult to find. Bed bugs’ eggs are quite sticky, so the pest can lay them on nearly any surface, including walls or ceilings. They’re usually laid in pods or clusters in hidden locations, such as the lower sides of beds. Crushed or hatched eggs may leave behind faint, small yellow stains on fabric.
Bed bugs have to shed their skin five times before reaching full maturity. The skins they leave behind are slightly smaller than the bug itself, translucent, pale yellow, and slightly crusty. Bed bugs require a full blood meal before molting. It takes bed bugs 24 hours to digest blood meals, and they need to remain stationary while they do so. Look for shed skin husks in places where bed bugs might hide, like under the bed or behind the head board. Keep in mind that over time, these skins may break into small, dry flakes.
When crushed or threatened, bed bugs release an “alarm pheromone” from their scent glands. This odor smells quite similar to a stink bug’s odor; it may smell musty, woody, rotten, or sweet to you. Many people compare it to the smell of concentrated coriander. Whatever you think it smells like, chances are you won’t like it. Excretions of this pheromone can also leave behind yellowish stains on fabric.
Worst of all, this smell tends to hang around, especially if it stains fabric. Bed bug infestations also continually produce this scent. If you can’t tell whether or not you have bed bugs, try thoroughly washing and replacing your bed sheets. If the smell reappears right away, chances are bed bugs are actively producing it. Remember: bed bugs don’t just hang around beds, either. If you smell a musty scent near old furniture, fabrics, or sheets, check for bed bugs.
Bed bugs are the worst. We totally understand the paranoia. If you ever need some help figuring out whether or not you have bed bugs, give us a call anytime. We’re always happy to help make sure you can get your beauty sleep.BACK TO BLOG