There’s no question about it – bed bugs are freaky creatures. After all, they like to live in your bed and feast on your blood while you’re sleeping. While we can probably all agree that bed bugs are undesirable, a recent study by Rutgers University published in the Journal of Medical Entomology found that nearly 50% of people with bed bug infestations in their homes are unaware of it. In addition, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has seen a 71% increase in bed bug infestations since 2001, mainly due to international travel.
If you’re worried you may have brought home some blood-sucking souvenirs from your summer vacation, don’t panic. Bed bug treatment is an effective way to remove them. However, to be able to solve the problem, you first have to identify it. Here are 7 tell-tale signs of a bed bug infestation.
1. Bed Bug Bites
Because bed bugs are so tiny, you can live without every seeing a single one. However, they’re messy creatures who alert us of their presence. One sign that you may be sharing your sleeping space with bed bugs is the sudden appearance of bed bug bites. These are usually red, raised or flat welts that are sometimes itchy and appear in groups on the back, neck, hands, feet, or face.
2. Bed Bug Blood Stains
It’s easy to dismiss a small trace of blood on your pillows or sheets, thinking that you may have scratched yourself in your sleep. However, these reddish stains will also occur if you move in your sleep and unknowingly squash a bed bug with an undigested meal in its belly. Gross, right?
3. Bed Bug Fecal Matter
As if it’s not enough that bed bugs occupy your sleeping space and feast on your blood, they also relieve themselves in your bed, as well. Bed bug fecal matter will create a dark or black stain, similar to the marks of a felt pen, on your bedding and/or mattress. If you spot a few small dark or black spots in your bed, try to wipe them with a with a wet rag. If it smears, there’s a very large chance you need to call a bed bug exterminator.
4. Bed Bug Eggs and Empty Eggshells
For such a little pest, bed bugs can lay a lot of eggs. A single female bed bug lays up to 5 eggs per day, totaling an average of over 500 eggs in her lifetime. Hence, if you’ve got a infestation, there are going to be a lot of eggs. Bed bug eggs are shaped like a grain of rice and are very tiny. Empty eggshells look like the live ones, except less shiny and a little deflated. While they are visible to the human eye, using a magnifying glass can help give you a closer look.
5. Bed Bugs Shed Skin
Once a bed bug hatches from its egg, it begins life as a nymph, or young bed bug. They look like adult bed bugs, except they’re smaller, lighter-colored and sexually immature. As they make their way into adulthood, they’ll pass through a total of 5 molts, once at each new stage of development. That’s a lot of shed skin that ends up – you guessed it – in your bed. Keep your eye out for clear, empty exoskeletons that look similar to smaller and thinner popcorn kernels.
6. Adult Bed Bug
The 5 signs we’ve identified so far are a pretty good indicator of a bed bug problem – but how do you really know you’ve got an infestation? Seeing a full-grown, apple-seed-sized adult bed bug with your own eyes is the gold standard of bed bug identification. Since the nocturnal parasites do a great job of staying out of site, this is harder to do than you may think. Fortunately, you don’t have to go looking for them. As their main source of nourishment, they will come to you. Catching even one of these buggers will give you confirmation that it’s time to call in the professionals.
7. Bed Bug Scent
Bed bugs have scent glands that release alarm pheromones, which has a musty odor similar to the smell of coriander, spoiled raspberries, or moldy clothes. This odor is actually how bed bug sniffing dogs detect bed bug infestations. Unless you have a very advanced sense of smell, it’s not likely that you’ll notice the smell when it’s just a few bed bugs; but if you get to the point that you can smell them – you might have a pretty severe bed bug infestation in your home.
Buzz Kill Pest Control Is Your Bed Bug Exterminator
Whether you’ve woken up with itchy bites or have caught one of the brown, oval-shaped critters, hiring a pest control professional is the best way to handle a bed bug infestation. While you may be tempted to burn your sheets and throw away your mattress, this will not solve the problem. Pest control experts like Buzz Kill Pest Control are knowledgeable in bed bug biology and habits, which allows them to eliminate them effectively. Contact us today to learn more about our bed bug extermination services.