The mere thought of bed bugs crawling around probably makes you a little itchy. Bed bug infestation reports are becoming more common, meaning the possibility of having one in your home is ever-increasing.
A single female bed bug can lay up to 12 eggs each day, totaling 200-500 throughout her entire lifetime. With such rapid life creation, an infestation can happen before you know it. When it comes to treatment, it is very difficult to know if you’ve found every single bed bug at every life stage as bed bugs are excellent hiders. Without the help of a professional, you’ll likely miss a few eggs at the very least…and so the infestation persists.
Below we take a look at five telltale signs of a bed bug infestation. If you think you have spotted any of these signs, or have seen the insects themselves or noticed bites on your body, contact your local Ehrlich Pest Control office today.
The following five signs are indications of a bed bug infestation and should not be ignored.
1. There are red, itchy spots all over me!
Bed bug bites are small and red, but not everyone reacts to them. Actually, about 30-60% of people do not have a reaction to bed bug bites – consider yourself lucky if you’re one of them!
Bed bugs usually feed during the night. People rarely wake up due to a bed bug bite because they inject an anesthetic when they bite you that prevents you from feeling it. Instead, you’ll notice the bites when you wake up. You’ll find bed bug bites in areas near blood vessels on the hands, legs, neck, and arms.
2. Your pillowcase and/or sheets are stained with blood.
When feeding on humans, bed bugs inject an anticoagulant to help the blood flow more freely. Doing so will cause a blood droplet to form at the feeding site which then transfers to your sheets. If you wake up to find mysterious blood spots in your bed, you might consider a bed bug inspection.
3. Your mattress is polka-dotted with rust-colored spots.
Besides the blood spots, bed bugs often leave behind fecal stains. These spots have an unpleasant odor and may smear if you touch them. Imagine writing on your sheets with a felt-tipped marker – the spot left behind is similar to what a bed bug fecal stain looks like. These stains won’t necessarily be limited to bedding — you may also find them on your walls, especially behind pictures or in corners. On hard surfaces, fecal stains may look more like small black spots similar to black pepper.
4. Old, discarded skins begin to pile up.
As a part of the bed bug life cycle, bed bugs shed their skin. Once cast aside, the skin is tan in color and often found in the areas you might find bed bugs themselves like mattress creases, furniture seams, and along baseboards.
5. The bed bugs show themselves.
Occasionally, you might see the actual bed bug itself and not just the signs they leave behind. Adult bed bugs are relatively flat and oval in shape. These light brown insects have six legs but, thankfully, no wings. After a blood meal, they usually become a bit swollen and darker brown. As far as size goes, bed bugs resemble an apple seed (about ¼ inch long).
Bonus! A strong smell
Bed bugs release pheromones, causing a scent that is quite strong if there are a lot of bed bugs. This produces a smell that can be musty, like a wet towel. Others have compared the scent to moldy shoes, ripe raspberries or even coriander.
There are a few bed bug imposters out there, and if you confuse them with bed bugs, it can be very troublesome. Bat bugs, fleas, booklice, spider beetles, and carpet beetles are all insects that are often mistaken for bed bugs and vice versa. If you are unsure about which pest is hanging around, give Ehrlich a call. One of our highly-trained bed bug experts will come to your property and identify the pest. Proper pest identification is key to developing the most effective treatment plan.
Where do bed bugs hide?
Since bed bugs are flat, they can easily hide in almost any crevice or space. They can hide in the creases in your mattress and within the mattress covers. Aside from the bed, there are other hiding places where bed bugs rest between blood meals:
- Headboards – Bed bugs can hide behind them, on the wall, and, if the headboard is wood, there can be cracks where they squeeze in. Eggs, fecal matter, nymphs, and shed skins can also be found there.
- Behind picture frames – Check anything that is hanging on the wall, especially above beds, sofas and chairs, where the little insects can gather. Some of the signs listed above might be on the floor beneath the picture.
- Electrical outlets – Remove the faceplates and check behind them.
- Sofas and chairs – Just because they are called “bed” bugs doesn’t mean they only hide out in your bed. If you spend time in a favorite chair or on the couch you might find these tiny pests in the creases of and beneath the cushions.
- Piles of clothes – Bed bugs like to hide anywhere that can provide protection and shelter, including a pile of your clothes on the floor.
- Dresser drawers – Check all of the nooks and crevices inside dresser drawers.
- Luggage – Bed bugs are notorious travelers and if you stay in a hotel and put your luggage on the bed, there’s a chance one could hitch a ride and end up at your home.
Seeing signs of bed bugs?
As you now know, bed bugs can be hiding just about anywhere in your home. If you spot any of these signs of bed bugs, the best thing you can do is call in an Ehrlich bed bug control technician. One of our technicians will conduct an inspection at your home or business by surveying all of the potential bed bug infestation sites. Your specialist will recommend the best bed bug elimination method for your property.
The first step is to call us for a FREE bed bug inspection by calling 1-866-518-6756 or contact us online.