When it comes to household pests, bed bugs are some of the most difficult to eradicate, and the most difficult to spot.
In order to protect yourself, your family, and your home, it’s crucial to know the early signs of bed bugs so you can stop them before things get out of control.
Read on for a list of six signs you have bed bugs so you can sleep soundly and have peace of mind.
1. Look in Areas Where Bed Bugs Like to Hide
While the term “bed bug” is accurate in that these tiny pests enjoy living in mattresses and bedding, they can also hide in other areas throughout your home. Look near the legs of the bed and inside the box spring as well as your mattress.
Bed bugs are extremely small, so they may also be hiding in places like wall outlets and even picture frames! Some could also be in the seams of your pillows and blankets, or in the edges of sofa and seat cushions.
Check your closet and examine clothing and linens carefully. Look in drawers, drawer joints, and check all of your clothing. Bed bugs will also hide in appliances, so it’s crucial to check all of the “dark corners” of your home to make sure they’re not hiding in places you can’t see them with the naked eye.
2. Learn How to Identify Bed Bugs
Bed bugs feed on blood, so pests that have eaten will be reddish-brown in color and have a balloon-shaped body. Bugs that have not fed are flat and have a brown, oval-shaped body.
Most bed bugs are about five to seven millimeters long, approximately the size of an apple seed. These little insects have a segmented body, tiny golden-colored hairs, and six legs. They also have antennas, although you may not see them from a distance.
One of the biggest telltale signs of bed bugs is the stains they leave behind. The stains are comprised of blood and feces, and usually have a rusty color that’s visible on sheets, flooring, mattresses, and furniture. Bed bugs shed their skin, so be on the lookout for dried up skins, eggs, or even dead bed bugs.
3. Bites: Important Early Signs of Bed Bugs
Since bed bugs feast on blood, getting bitten is definitely one of the first signs you have a problem. Bites tend to appear on the arms, legs, back, neck, and hands where the skin is most exposed.
Some people experience groupings of bed bug bites in one location which can either be in a cluster, a straight line, or a zigzag shape. It’s important to pay attention to any unusual bites you see or feel so you can be aware that you may have a problem.
Itching, red or swollen welts, a slight burning sensation, and blistering are all common symptoms of bed bug bites. If you have blisters, it could indicate a serious allergic reaction. Not everyone will feel these symptoms, and mosquitos tend to leave similar marks so it may not be a bed bug issue for everyone who’s been bitten.
4. The Presence of Eggs
One of the early signs of bed bugs is the tiny eggs females lay. A single female bed bug can lay up to five tiny white eggs every day.
Over her lifetime, the female bed bug can lay between 200 and 500 eggs. That means without the right pest control, your home could easily become infested quickly.
Bed bug eggs are pear-shaped and resemble a small, sticky cluster. Eggs are around one millimeter in size, and they’re clear when first hatched. Check all furniture, rugs, bedding, and mattresses to see if you notice any of these egg clusters.
5. Strange Smells
Although they’re tiny, bed bugs can emit a pretty distinct odor. This smell has a slightly sweet and musty odor that could smell nutty or musty.
These odors are caused by the fecal matter that bed bugs leave behind. The stronger the odor, the greater the odds are that you have bed bugs (or some other pest) somewhere in your home.
A foul odor doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a bed bug problem. However, if you’re noticing musty smells in the bedroom, it may be a good idea to request a professional pest inspection just to be sure.
6. Unusual Sleeping Patterns or Physical Symptoms
Bed bugs tend to come out at night to feed, which is why many homeowners don’t realize they’re there. If you start to wake up suddenly or get the sensation that something is crawling on your skin, it could be a serious red flag.
Waking up with welts or itchy, red spots on your skin that weren’t there the night before could mean that the bed bugs have invaded your home and your bedroom. Pay attention to your skin and how it looks, as well as how you feel overall when you wake up.
While bed bugs tend to prefer humans over pets, monitor your furry friend and look for unusual behavior. If the bed bug bites your cat or dog, they may tend to scratch or nip at the site of the bite.
Say Goodbye to Bed Bugs
Once you’re aware of the early signs of bed bugs, you can take proactive steps to get rid of them before they overtake your home. Look for small egg clusters, reddish stains, or strong odors as well as the presence of sudden, unusual bites.
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