Bed bugs. Just say the name and most people will make a face of disgust. No one wants to think about tiny little bugs living in their mattresses and other furniture, but unfortunately, you can’t always have a say in whether you have a bed bug infestation. If you live in an apartment, with roommates, or travel a lot, bed bugs might make their way into your living space.
If you know what to look for when it comes to bed bugs, you can stop them before they become a huge infestation. There are a few telltale signs that this pest has entered your house and as long as you’re on the lookout you can spot them quickly.
Here are 5 signs and symptoms of bed bugs.
Sign 1: Itchy Bites
This is one of the most obvious signs of bed bugs. If you find red and itchy bites on exposed parts of your skin, you might have bed bugs. While it can be difficult to differentiate bed bug bite from other bug bites, they do have a unique pattern. If the bites are in clusters or a zigzag pattern, this is a good indication of bed bugs.
Also, if you find that you wake up most mornings with bites or a new cluster of bites, you probably have bed bugs. Bed bugs are more active at night while you’re sleeping, so it is common to have more bites in the morning than at other times of the day.
Sign 2: Stains, Spots, and Other Debris
Bed bugs aren’t the cleanest of pests and will usually leave a visible trail. If you notice dark red stains on your mattress, sheets, or other bedding that is a sign of bed bugs. When bed bugs are crushed or squashed they leave behind a rust colored stain. Their waste also leaves behind tiny blood like stains that bleed like a marker would.
If you see tiny pale or yellow skins that are usually one millimeter in size, that is another symptom of bed bugs. After bed bugs lay their eggs and they hatch the larvae will spend time feeding and growing. Eventually, they will get too big for their skin and will shed it to grow. The skins will be left behind, usually around their hiding places like mattresses and other furniture.
Sign 3: A Certain Smell
Just like bed bugs will leave behind a lot of debris and waste, they will also have a distinct odor. In order to attract mates, bed bugs will release pheromones to let other bugs know where they are. These pheromones are often very pungent and if you have a lot of bed bugs, the odor will become very strong. It’s often described as a musky smell, so if your home has a new unpleasant odor bed bugs might be the culprit.
Sign 4: Sleepless Nights
If you notice that you have been tossing and turning a lot at night, it may not be insomnia. As stated before, bed bugs hibernate during the daytime and become more active at night. Bed bugs are parasites and they need to feed on blood in order to grow and move through the various stages of their life cycle.
During their most active times, when it’s dark, they will feed on you while you sleep. When you’re sleeping you’re an easy target and bed bugs will take advantage. You might not wake up completely while they bite you, but you can still feel them bite and toss and turn. If there is no other reason for you to have restless nights and you’re covered in bites afterward, it’s time to start looking for bed bugs.
Sign 5: Actual Bugs
This might be the most obvious sign of bed bugs, but if you notice tiny little bugs scurrying around they could be bed bugs. If you have all the other signs of bed bugs in your home, then it’s time to start looking around to see if you can find the bed bugs.
Start with your mattress and bedding because that is where they are most likely to be hiding. Take your sheets outside, preferably to an area that is well lit and light in color, and shake out the bedding. If little bugs or any other debris or waste fall out those are probably bed bugs. If you don’t find anything, start looking in other furniture. Places like the seams of couches or chairs, around doors and windows, and even electrical sockets can be great hiding places for bed bugs.
Once you notice even one of these symptoms, you need to act fast. The quicker you respond the better chance you’ll have of totally eliminating the problem. Call a professional as soon as possible so you can get your home and your life back on track.
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