84% of pest exterminators were called for what people assumed was another pest. The exterminators then identified the problem as bed bugs.
So you see, most people misidentify bed bugs. So how to tell if you have bed bugs? Read on for 8 things to watch out for.
1. Bed Bug Bites
If you’re wondering how to know if you have bed bugs, take a look at your skin. It can be hard to spot an actual bed bug – they are masters at hiding.
So one of the first signs that you have bed bugs is to look for bites. Bed bug bites are common if you have bed bugs.
They look like small, red welts that show up in a small group. They are usually itchy like mosquito bites.
These bites commonly show up on people’s neck, back, chest, face, hands or feet.
But, bite marks alone aren’t enough proof that you have bed bugs. For one thing, bed bug bites look a lot like mosquito and flea bites.
Also, some people aren’t sensitive to bed bug bites. They could have bed bugs at home but now have any visible signs on their bodies.
So while this is a good indicator, it’s not totally reliable. But if you have bed bug bites, see if you can see the following signs of bed bugs.
2. Skin Flakes on Your Hair or Skin
Bed bugs shed their exoskeleton as they grow bigger. This is called molting. Each bed bug sheds five times during its growth cycle. That means that if you have an infestation, chances are high that there will be dozens of empty shells in your bed.
You might find their skin flakes on your hair or skin. Keep an eye out for small, oval-shaped translucent casings. They will be different sizes based on the stage that particular bug is at.
They might also show up on your bed or other furniture, not just your skin.
3. Musty Smell
You might be surprised that a bed bug infestation comes with a smell. Bed bugs release a smell (pheromones) just like other creatures. When there is a big group of bed bugs, the smell is noticeable.
People describe the smell like a stinky, wet towel or the smell of a locker room. If you’ve noticed a funky smell in your bedroom, you should consider checking your bed for bed bugs.
If it’s not bed bugs, learn more about the methods for combating damp in your home.
4. Bed Bug Blood Stains
When you inspect your bed for bed bugs, you might not find bugs. But you may find blood smears.
Look for rusty-brown or red spots on your sheets. It’s gross, but these stains happen when you roll over and squish a bed bug that had just eaten.
These stains are easiest to see on light-colored sheets. Keep in mind that tiny red stains can be from any number of things. You might have scratched yourself while sleeping or had a pimple that popped.
Keep investigating to find out for certain if you have bed bugs.
5. Bed Bug Feces
Yes, this is gross to think about, but it can help you identify once and for all if you have bed bugs.
Examine your bed sheets and mattress for dark stains that look like they could be from a felt tip pen bleeding into your fabric. Check along the mattress seams and the corners of your boxsprings.
Take a wet wipe or wet cloth and wipe at any dark spots on your sheets. If the color smears as you wipe, it is bed bug poop.
At this point, you should call a bed bug exterminator. Find out more here.
6. You Stay in Hotels Often
Some of the signs of bed bugs don’t have to do at all with your home but rather where you’ve slept recently.
If you travel and stay in hotels often, you are more likely to get bed bugs. That’s because hotels are one of the main ways that bed bugs spread.
Bed bugs can come home with you on your clothes or luggage. Then just two bed bugs in your home can begin laying 10 eggs each day.
If you stay in a hotel, always check for bed bugs before you settle down for the night. If there are bed bugs, you can take bed bug precautions to make sure these critters don’t infest your house when you get back.
7. You’ve Just Purchased Used Furniture
It’s a great feeling when you find the perfect chaise longue or entry hall table for a killer price at a thrift shop. Or maybe you found something great on Facebook Marketplace or Kijiji.
The bad news is that bringing home used furniture could allow bed bugs into your home. That doesn’t mean that you should never buy secondhand items.
Just make sure to do a deep inspection of the piece before you agree to buy it.
8. Someone You Know Had Bed Bugs
Bed bug infestations spread easily from one home to another. Especially if you live in an apartment where the distance between homes is small.
If your friend, family member or fellow parent at the school has complained to you about having bed bugs, be careful.
You could unknowingly carry bed bugs into your house. Check your beds at regular intervals and be vigilant.
Final Thoughts on How to Tell If You Have Bed Bugs
There you have it. 8 signs that you may have bed bugs. If you’re not sure, contact an exterminator who can assess whether you have pests or not.
While you’re at it, consider hiring a professional cleaner. You’ll be able to breathe easier once you do.
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