Home owners unanimously agree that bed bugs are one of the worst pests that can invade your property! They are not destructive or immediately damaging as other household pests. But aside from physical health concerns, bed bugs can severely affect your emotional and psychological well-being!
This creepy crawlies survive solely on the blood of warm-blooded animals, with two species feeding exclusively on human blood. Adult female bed bugs can lay up to 1-7 eggs daily. Bed bug eggs hatch after 10-15 days. And the newly hatched bed bugs can reproduce in as little as six weeks!
Given the rate at which bed bugs spread, pest control experts recommend exterminating an infestation in its early stages. Yet, minor bed bug infestations are challenging to find and correctly identify. But don’t sweat it! Here are 3 signs you might have bed bugs.
3 Signs You Might Have Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are small insects, about the size of a flattened apple seed. They are easily identifiable by their oval shape, brownish color, and flat bodies. Unfortunately, these sneaky pests are notoriously good at hiding. Even the most vigilant apartment renter might not immediately know if they have been infested.
However, here are three early warning signs of a bed bug infestation, according to the pros.
Waking Up with Red Itchy Spots On Your Skin
Bed bugs are nocturnal pests, meaning they perform their vampire acts at night. Once a host is fast asleep, the little devils dig their long beaks (proboscis) into the skin and withdraw blood. These bugs feed for 3-10 minutes to become fully engorged and then crawl back into their hiding spots.
Bed bug bites are usually painless at first. But they later turn into red, itchy bumps. The bites are commonly found in small clusters of 3 or 4 bites on the exposed areas of the skin, such as hands, arms, and legs.
But pest control experts concur that bites alone are not enough to conclude that you have a bed bug infestation. As it turns out, people react differently to bed bug bites, with at least 30% of victims not exhibiting any reactions to the bites.
Unexplained Blood Stains On Your Sheets
Waking up to find unexplained blood stains on your sheets is petrifying and may be a sign of a bed bug infestation. As mentioned earlier, these little devils can feed for 10 minutes, during which time their original flat bodies swell into a round, bloated shape.
If you turn in your sleep, you may unintentionally crush or squeeze the just-fed (or feeding) bug enough to leak out some blood. Bed bug blood is noticeable thanks to its red or rust color. It can appear on your sheets, pillow, pajamas, or body.
Bloodstains can also come directly from the bitten area. That’s because bed bugs inject saliva with anti-coagulant properties into their host to prevent blood clotting when feeding. Hence, a bitten area may continue to bleed for a short while after the bug has fed.
A Strange Musty Smell
Bed bugs communicate using a chemical signal known as a pheromone. Freshly emitted pheromones tend to have a sweet or acidic smell commonly compared to raspberries or almonds. But unless you’re a trained bed bug professional, your chances of noticing the faint pheromone odor are very low.
However, bed bug scent glands also produce an unpleasant, musty odor often likened to coriander. If you start noticing a strange musty smell in your home, especially around your mattress, it may be an early sign of a bed bug infestation.
As the infestation grows, the smell of bed bug excrement, bed bug shell casings, and dead bed bugs combine with that of their pheromones. This results in a rusty, offensive smell like that released by wet, moldy shoes/clothes. This smell is often a sign of a severe infestation.
There are many other telltale signs of a bed bug infestation, such as:
- Fecal marks that look like tiny black or dark brown spots on fabric. Bed bug feces consist of digested human blood, which tends to have a dark brown or black color.
- Small bed bug eggs that resemble tiny grains of rice. The eggs are usually pearl white, oval-shaped, and about 1mm in length.
- Bed bug shell casings. These translucent or yellowish-brown casings are often found in places where bed bugs hatch, like mattress seams and in cracks and crevices of wooden furniture.
What to Do If You Have Bed Bugs?
Once you have confirmed that you have an active bed bug infestation, your main goal should be to exterminate it as quickly and effectively as possible. Unfortunately, bed bugs have become resistant to commonly used pesticides, making it hard to control them using the DIY approach.
To successfully exterminate bed bugs, you must engage a professional pest controller. The experts are knowledgeable and trained to inspect your entire home and determine the level of the infestation and the specific bed bugs species infesting. They will then customize a treatment method that effectively gets rid of the bed bugs while minimizing the chances of future infestations.