“Good night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” For children who grew up between the end of World War II and the late 1990s, this cute rhyme was little more than a bedtime wish from parents that the children would sleep well. Thanks to the prevalence of modern pesticides, bed bugs in the U.S. were virtually eradicated. Still, these hard-to-treat pests have made a resurgence in American homes and hotels. The National Pest Management Association found that while only 25% of pest professionals had encountered bed bug infestations prior to 2000, a whopping 99.6% have handled an infestation today. Even today, most people concern themselves with bed bugs only when traveling. These bugs don’t just stay on vacation, though; they can hitchhike their way into your home on furniture, bedding, luggage, boxes, and even clothing. Bed bugs are nocturnal pests and extremely good at hiding; unless you have a large infestation, you probably won’t see them. So how can you tell if you have bed bugs? These are the top 3 signs of bed bugs that you should be aware of:
Top 3 Signs of Bed Bugs:
1. Itchy Bites? Not Necessarily an Indicator
When bed bugs feed, they leave behind bites that, for many people, can itch (although some people have no physical reaction at all). If you wake up scratching, it doesn’t mean you have bed bugs. It could be another bug bite – mosquito bite symptoms are similar – or it could be a rash. Unfortunately, a doctor can’t tell you whether a bedbug caused your itchy welts.
If you do wake up with new bites and can’t identify the source, you should look at some of the other signs of bed bugs.
2. Molted Skins
Actual bed bugs can be hard to find unless the infestation is a large one. One way to determine if there is a bed bug problem is to look for their skins.
As bed bugs proceed through their five lifecycle stages and grow, they molt, each time leaving behind their exoskeleton. These molted skins look similar to the bed bug itself, holding the same shape, and they are often translucent.
Look for molted skins in the following areas:
- On the bed: Along mattress seams and behind headboards.
- On other furniture: Along seams and between cushions.
- In the room: In ceiling/wall junctions and along baseboards.
- On personal items: Check luggage and other items where bed bugs may have left skins.
3. Fecal Spots
Bed bugs feed on blood and excrete the waste as a blackish liquid which is smooth to the touch. The small spot-like stains may look as though they’ve bled into the material, much like a marker would.
Even in smaller infestations, fecal spots are most likely found in the following areas:
- On the bed: Along the mattress seams, on the mattress tag, on the wood frame of the box springs, and behind the headboard.
- On other furniture: Along seams, on tags, and between cushions.
- In the room: Along the tops of baseboards, along the edge of the carpeting, in ceiling/wall junctions, behind pictures on the wall, at electrical outlets, and in curtain seams where they gather at the rod.
You may also find rust-colored stains on sheets or the mattress, which are the result of the bugs being crushed. Bed bugs are notoriously tough to get rid of, so getting rid of bed bugs permanently requires the right tools and knowledge. As a result, if you see warning signs of bed bugs, it’s time to call in a professional.
What Kills Bed Bugs the Best? Expert Pest Control!
Expert Pest Control, New England’s leading partner for commercial and residential pest management, helps homeowners and lodging professionals maintain the spread of bed bugs. We identify areas of concern and look for what causes bed bugs. In addition, we know how to prevent bed bugs from spreading, so we will treat for insects before a larger bed bug outbreak occurs. For more information, or if you suspect bed bugs are on your property, contact us and our experienced technicians will come out, assess your property, and begin the process of eliminating pests right away.