Detecting the Signs and Finding Bed Bugs

Traces that Lead to the Discovery of Bed Bugs

With their flat, oval bodies measuring only a quarter-inch long, adult bed bugs are roughly the size and shape of apple seeds. These tiny insects sustain themselves on the blood of humans and animals. Newly hatched bed bugs, called nymphs, are smaller light tan and translucent. 

After latching onto a host and feeding, the bugs become swollen and enlarged, turning a brighter red as they fill up with blood. Though minuscule, these parasitic pests leave telltale signs that reveal their disturbing presence.

Bed bugs often bite at night while people are sleeping. Even though these pests are tiny, visible signs indicate their presence. 

Here are some of the most common signs of a bed bug infestation.

The Signs of Trouble

Bed Bug Bites

Suspicious insect bites are among the first signs that may alert someone to a bed bug problem. However, bed bug bites can sometimes be challenging to identify because they resemble mosquito or flea bites. Bed bug bites typically appear as small, red, itchy welts on exposed skin. The lumps are similar to a mosquito bite but are often clustered or appear in zigzag lines.

Blood Spots on Sheets

After feeding, bed bugs will leave behind blood stains from their crushed bodies on sheets, mattresses, and other soft surfaces. These small dark red spots indicate that bed bugs may be present.

Black or Rust Colored Stains

Bed bugs produce large amounts of dark stains, often black or rust-colored, from their dried feces.

Sweet, Musty Odor

Large populations of bed bugs release pheromones that give off a sweet, musty odor. The smell is often described as smelling like coriander. The scent may be noticeable in heavily infested areas.

Shed Bed Bug Skins

As baby bed bugs, called nymphs, grow, they shed their exoskeleton five times before adulthood. These small skins look like popcorn kernels and are about 1/16 inch long.

Where are Bed Bugs Found?

During the day, bed bugs hide in dark, protected sites close to where people sleep. Their flat bodies enable them to squeeze into tiny cracks and crevices. Favorite hiding places include:

  • Along and under the edge of mattresses and box springs. Bed bugs can live for months without feeding.
  • Behind headboards and inside bed frames.
  • Inside cracks and crevices in furniture.
  • Behind wallpaper and electrical switchplate covers.
  • Inside electronics like clocks, phones, and smoke detectors.
  • Under loose floorboards and baseboards.
  • Inside picture frames and furniture joints.
  • Inside, wicker and rattan furniture.
  • Under clutter like piles of books, papers, shoes, and handbags.

What Attracts Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are attracted to dirty laundry, used towels, and clutter. They follow carbon dioxide and body heat to find a food source. Travelers often pick them up in hotel rooms. Used furniture, especially mattresses and box springs, are at high risk for carrying bed bugs. Crowded living conditions also allow bed bugs to spread rapidly between people.

Inspections and Prevention

To confirm an infestation, inspect crevices along baseboards, mattresses, box springs, and other areas for any signs of the bugs. Also, look for wingless bodies, blood stains, black specks, pale yellow skins, and distinctive odors. Check luggage and clothing after traveling and before bringing items into your home.

Prevent bed bug infestations by keeping sleeping areas free of clutter, vacuuming regularly, and not bringing used furniture into your home. Catching infestations early makes treatment easier before populations multiply. If signs of bed bugs appear, contact a pest control professional immediately for identification and elimination.

If you reside on the eastern shores of Delaware, Virginia and Maryland and see the signs of bed bugs, contact Wilkins Wildlife Bedbug 911 immediately. We will come to rescue you and eliminate the bed bugs quickly.