Whether you associate bed bugs with children's nursery rhymes or with poorly maintained motels, you know that an infestation can mean property damage, skin irritation, and restless sleep. However, because bed bugs are rarely visible during daylight hours, many homeowners struggle to identify this type of pest problem.
Understanding the common signs of a bed bug infestation can help you identify and address the issue as soon as possible. In this blog, we list six warning signs that your home has bed bugs.
Like any other insect pest, bed bugs leave behind molted shells and excrement. Unlike larger pests, such as rodents, you may not immediately identify these types of debris by sight.
Both shells and droppings are quite small in size, sometimes as small as the tip of a ballpoint pen. The first few times you see these warning signs, you may brush them off literally and figuratively as crumbs or sand.
If the specks in your bed seem concentrated around folds and corners or appear to multiply no matter how often you clear them away, you likely have bed bugs.
In addition to the debris you can pick up or brush off, bed bugs often leave visible stains. Because bed bugs latch onto human hosts and feed off of their blood for long periods of time, these insects may cause you to leave blood on the sheets or may leech blood when they detach after feeding.
These stains can vary in size, but they will generally appear rusty, brown, or red in color. If you've ever woken up to a bloody nose, you may immediately recognize the shade of spots dirtying up your sheets.
Additionally, since bed bugs can hide in any type of upholstery, you may notice blood spots and the debris discussed in the previous section on couches and armchairs as well
As the bed bug population in a given infestation increases, the insects may spread out to find multiple hiding places. If you have an infestation, chances are good that you'll find the first two telltale signs on this list in multiple locations.
In addition to inspecting your upholstered furnishings, look over your clothing, carpet, and rugs. Bed bugs can also gather in other nooks and crannies, such as inside power outlets, beneath wall art or lifted wallpaper, and in woodworking or building joints like your baseboards.
Treating bed bugs can be a difficult prospect, so don’t wait to contact a pest control professional if you notice signs or evidence.
In many cases, you will not see live bed bugs. Bed bugs' “invisibility” is due to their nocturnal nature and skittishness, which combine to make these insects far more likely to feed after their human victims fall asleep for the night.
However, if the infestation is extensive, you work a graveyard shift, or your inspections outlined in the previous sections disrupted a nest, you may see small and fast brown insects cross your path.
Due to their need for warmth and safe close quarters, bed bugs will always try to return to a small crevice or a fold in fabric when exposed. These bugs do not fly and will appear smaller than most other insects with the same coloring, like beetles.
Even if you don't see the bed bugs themselves, you will likely see their effect on your body as soon as the infestation begins. Bed bug bites tend to appear on the arms, shoulders, or face, but can appear on any skin that is left exposed while you sleep.
The bites look like welted spots about the size of the mark left by a needle after you have blood drawn. Often, bed bugs feed in predictable patterns, leaving bite marks in straight lines, small clusters, or triangular patterns. Additionally, the bites tend to appear on the parts of the body that are against the mattress. These bites will likely feel itchy and may prompt more skin irritation around the site.
In addition to the previous signs, it may surprise you to know that many bed bug infestations can be identified by smell. Bed bugs release strong pheromones that are detectable to human olfactory senses.
Bed bugs can smell like coriander, dampness or mustiness. Once you eliminate any more obvious sources of an unpleasant earthy odor, look for the other signs on this list to determine the likelihood of a bed bug problem.
If you notice any combination of the warning signs listed above, have your property assessed by a pest control professional. Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to contain and eliminate, and the sooner that you begin to address the issue, the better your results may be.
For comprehensive and expert pest control services, trust the experienced team at American Pest Control, Inc.