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Signs of Bed Bugs

Learn about bed bug signs Bed bugs are tiny insects and experts in the art of hide and seek. For this reason, it can be difficult to identify the presence of bed bugs in your home.

However, in spite of their size, it is possible to see them with the naked eye - once you know the signs to look for!

Ehrlich’s FREE Bed Bug Inspection

As part of Ehrlich’s FREE bed bug inspection, we will thoroughly inspect your home for any possible signs and well known hot spots, to confirm their presence and to provide a customized solution.

Early detection is key to bringing any potential bed bug infestation quickly under control and understanding the visible signs of bed bugs in your home plays a critical role.

Call Ehrlich at or contact your local office for further advice about bed bugs.

How To Spot Bed Bugs

Before you reach for your flashlight to try and spot this nocturnal pest in the dark, it is worth noting other clearer and more obvious signs in your home, which could point towards an infestation.


Bed Bug Bites

Bites are usually the first indication of the presence of an insect in your home - though not necessarily from a bed bug.

Getting bed bug bites is usually the biggest fear amongst most people and the anxiety and insomnia, which results from them, is usually much harder to treat than the bites.

Reactions to a bite will vary from one individual to the next.

A single bed bug bite may not always reach a blood vessel and the pest may need to venture to other points along your exposed skin for a successful bite and blood meal. This means bite marks often appear in a more regimented straight line on your body, which is different to fleas and mosquitoes.

Blood Smears

If you notice small red blood spots on your bed sheets, mattress or pajamas (night shirts), it could also be a sign of bed bugs in your home.

The aim of a bite is to draw blood, so it is natural for a tiny amount to drop onto your clothing or bedding. When bed bugs bite they inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant, which prevents you feeling the bite and also helps to clot your blood, so that any blood that does escape will be minimal.

Fecal Droppings

Another indication of bed bugs is the evidence of dark or black staining found on a mattress and in other known harborage sites, which results from their excrement.

The fecal matter itself is tiny (less than 1mm) but as it builds up over time the overall stained area could be much bigger and therefore easier to notice.

Molted Bed Bug Skins

A bed bug must molt (shed) its skin in order to grow and move onto the next life stage. Each bed bug does this five times as there are five stages in their lifecylce. Once they have fully matured into an adult, they no longer shed their skins.

In a heavy infestation, evidence of cast skin will be far more evident than at the start of a problem.

Piles of cast skins may be found behind headboards, along baseboards and in mattress seams.

Bed Bug Odor

In homes with a heavy infestation, homeowners have reported noticing an unpleasant and slightly sweet smell.

When they are disturbed, bed bugs will release alarm hormones, giving off this smell, which is similar to that of stink bugs.

Hiding Spots

Bed bugs like to make a home in, or as near to, our own beds as possible so that they don’t have far to crawl for their feed. It is therefore common to find them in our bedrooms.

As they are nocturnal creatures, during the day bed bugs spend their time hiding in dark, warm, sheltered spots, such as:

  • headboards
  • bed frames
  • dresser tables
  • behind wall paper
  • box springs
  • seams of mattresses
  • baseboards
  • any cracks and crevices (for example where the wall meets the floor)
  • any furniture / clutter located near a sleeping area

Identifying Bed Bugs

If you discover insect bites soon after waking up in the morning, suspicion often falls on the bed bug. However, the source of an insect bite is often difficult to identify and other signs need to be examined in the home to confirm the presence of a particular insect or pest.

Questions about the Appearance of Bed Bugs

As a homeowner, you have a right to be concerned about bed bugs in your home. Bed bugs are difficult to treat and control, and the fear of bed bug bites is almost as distressing as the bite itself.

● What does a bed bug look like?


Bed bugs are tiny oval shaped parasitic insects. Their body is very flat, which allows them to hide in small cracks and crevices, usually close to where people sleep or rest, such as seams of mattresses, box springs and dresser tables.

● What color are bed bugs?


Bed bugs are light brown in color. Recently hatched nymphs are much lighter in color, almost translucent.
After a blood meal, a bed bug, at any stage of lifecycle, will develop a bright red color abdomen, which will fade to brown and eventually become almost black as it digests its meal.

● How big are bed bugs?


They can vary in size and adult bed bugs are approx 4 -5mm long, and 1.5-3mm wide. In spite of their size, it is possible to spot them, unlike mites, which are microscopic.

● Do bed bugs have wings?


No. All bed bugs are wingless but they are skilled at crawling and can travel up to 100 feet in one night.

● Where do bed bugs come from?


It appears that bed bugs have existed almost since the dawn of time. It is said that they originated from tropical climates, but due to an increase in international travel, they can now be found in significant numbers across the globe.

As a popular holiday destination, the U.S has witnessed an alarming increase in bed bug infestations in early 21st century, with complaints to public health organizations originating from communities throughout the country from Columbus to Baltimore.

Have You Spotted Signs of Bed bugs In Your Home?

If you have noticed any of the common bed bug signs in your home, then contact Ehrlich straight away. Call us NOW at or contact us online to schedule your FREE pest inspection. Immediacy is key when it comes to controlling this secretive and resilient pest.

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