5 Signs Your Home Has a Bed Bug Infestation

cartoon bed bug

According to the 2013 Bugs Without Borders Survey, conducted by the National Pest Management Association and the University of Kentucky, 76 percent of survey respondents cited bed bugs as the most difficult pest to treat.

These pesky little bugs can live in furniture, clothing, or bedding, often making them difficult to spot. They can infiltrate themselves into multiple rooms in a house or many different units in an apartment building. Their recent resurgence has even caused a number of five-star hotels to make headlines due to infestation problems.

How to Spot Bed Bugs

Suspecting your home has been infiltrated with bed bugs is a terrible feeling. Use the following five tips to determine if you do indeed have a bed bug infestation:

  1. You Have Itchy, Red Bites: It’s easy to panic and blame bed bugs for every little bite you have, but they certainly aren’t the only bug that bites. Bed bugs typically strike on the arms or shoulders, leaving straight rows of bites. So if you have one bite on your leg, one on your arm, and another on your back, bed bugs are probably not the culprit.
  1. Bloodstains on Sheets and Mattresses: Finding red stains or dark spots on your sheets is a very telling sign that bed bugs have infested your home. The blood stains are your own, as they’ve been feeding off you while you sleep. Dark spots can be caused by a number of factors directly relevant to these bugs, including dried blood, feces, shed skin, eggs, and dead bugs. The fecal spots will smear if wiped with a wet rag. Check both your top sheets and the edges of your mattress, where the fitted sheets pull across it for stains.
  1. You Find an Infestation of Bugs: There’s few better ways to determine you have bed bugs than uncovering their secret colony yourself. If you suspect your home may be infested, there’s a number of bed bug hotspots to check, including along the seams of your mattress, under the mattress tags, behind the headboard, along the wooden creases in the box spring or bed frame, and more. Basically, these tiny little bugs like to find dark, hidden places to congregate, so expect to find them lurking in areas near where you sleep.
  1. Smell of a Sweet Odor: Bed bugs produce scents to help them communicate with one another. Many people who have dealt with bed bugs reported smelling a sweet odor similar to berries. While this alone is not a clear indicator of their presence, it’s another warning sign if you already suspect they may be inside your home.
  1. Discarded Cast Skins: Bed bugs go through several developmental stages where they shed their outer shells, often after a feeding. The casings left behind can help to confirm their presence in your home. Some pest control companies will examine the shell for you to determine if it was left behind by a bed bug. If the casing is found to be that of a bed bug, you can hire a pest management company to treat the problem. They will provide instructions on preparing your home for the treatment, which will include laundering and cleaning impacted items. The company will inspect your home, take furniture apart, use vacuums, heat, and pesticides (there are also treatments that don’t involve chemicals) to rid your home of these bugs. You may be able to treat the problem yourself, but hiring a professional is typically the recommended route.

No one wants to have bed bugs in their home, but if you’re hit with an infestation, it’s important to take action immediately. The sooner you treat the problem, the less likely they are to spread to other areas of your home, causing even more extensive damage.