No one wants to find out they have bed bugs. These critters usually bite people at night, leaving itchy, red welts all over the body. And once they infest your home, getting rid of them can be a real challenge.
Despite their name, bed bugs can be found anywhere in your home, not just in the bed. One of the easiest ways to detect them is to look for signs of fecal matter or blood stains on your sheets, pillowcases, and mattress.
These look like small, dark spots and can sometimes be challenging to spot. But if you look closer, you should be able to see them.
Different Ways to Inspect for Bed Bugs
Experts at hiding, sometimes, it’s difficult at first to tell if you have bed bugs. You’ll often realize that you have an infestation if these pests start waking you up in the middle of the night, leaving red, itchy welts all over your body. But if you want to be proactive and check for bed bugs before they start biting, there are a few ways to inspect your mattress and other belongings for these critters.
Understand Where These Bed Bugs Usually Stay
Before you start your inspection, it’s important to understand where bed bugs like to stay. Coming in at about the size of an apple seed, these pests are experts at hiding. They’re often found breeding and hiding in your home furniture, mattresses, couch, and other places where people sleep or take naps.
You’d also find them in clothing, luggage, and other personal belongings. So if you’ve recently traveled or stayed in a hotel, there’s a chance you might have brought some bed bugs home with you without even realizing it.
Because they can keep their bodies flattened, fitting into the smallest holes won’t be an issue. Once they’re in your home, it won’t be long before they start to multiply. In just six months, a few bed bugs can turn into hundreds of these pests. A single infected room can quickly lead to an infestation in your entire house. They’ll travel to other areas of the home in search of food, which is you and your family.
Bed Bug Bites
One of the fastest and easiest ways to tell if you have a bed bug at home is, unfortunately, when you or one of the members of your household gets bitten. Bed bugs usually bite people at night as they sleep. The bites often appear in a line or cluster and are red, itchy, and raised.
Some people might not have a reaction to the bites at all, while others might experience mild to severe allergic reactions.
Once you’ve confirmed the presence of these bugs, you can check the above-mentioned areas for bed bugs and their eggs.
Blood Stains on Your Sheets
As mentioned earlier, one of the most common signs that you have bed bugs is finding small, dark spots on your sheets or pillowcases. These stains are usually caused by bed bugs getting squished during the night.
When this happens, their insides, which contain your blood, will be left behind on the fabric. These spots are usually brown or red in color and can sometimes be difficult to spot, especially if they’re on a vibrant-colored fabric.
To confirm that these spots are, in fact, bed bug stains, use a flashlight to get a closer look. You might also want to put a white piece of paper under the fabric to make the stains more visible. If the spots rub off easily or turn red when you apply pressure, it’s likely that they’re bed bug stains.
Fecal Spots on Your Mattress
In addition to finding blood stains on your sheets, you might also notice small, dark spots on your mattress. These are usually bed bug fecal spots, which contain digested blood from their previous meals.
Like with blood stains, spotting them can be quite difficult unless you take a closer look. These spots are usually about the size of a period and can be found on the corners or edges of your mattress. They might also be on your bed frame, headboard, or anywhere else where bed bugs like to hide.
As bed bugs grow, they’ll shed their skin. These discarded exoskeletons look like small, white shells and can often be found near where bed bugs are hiding.
If you find any shed skin, it’s a sure sign that you have an infestation. While it might not seem like a big deal, shed skin can actually cause allergic reactions in some people. So it’s best to remove them as soon as possible.
Carefully lift the bedding and see if you can spot any bed bugs or eggs on the mattress. Make sure that you mark any areas where you see any signs of an infestation. These include blood stains, fecal spots, or shed skin. This way, you’ll know where to focus your efforts when it comes to treating the infestation.
An Offensive Odor
Another sign of a bed bug infestation is an unpleasant, musty smell. This odor is caused by the bugs’ natural scent glands and is often compared to the smell of coriander. Their scent glands are used to communicate with other bed bugs and will become more potent as the infestation grows.
If you notice this odor, unfortunately, it’s a pretty good indication that you have an infestation.
To get rid of the smell, you’ll need to get rid of the bed bugs. As long as they’re in your home, the odor will continue to get stronger.
Cluster of Eggs
Bed bugs usually lay their eggs in small clusters. Where can you find them? You got it right – you’ll see them in the same places where you’ll find the bugs themselves. While they may not be invisible to the naked eye, they are tough to spot as these eggs (and bugs) often hide in dark spots, crevices, and cracks.
Eggs are usually a white or light-yellow color and are about the size of a period (1mm). It’s rare that you’ll only find a single egg. Usually, they’re laid in batches of anywhere from 2 to 50 eggs.
If you find a group of small, white spots, there’s a good chance that they are definitely bed bug eggs.
Does a Bed Bug Infestation Mean Your House is Dirty?
Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are not attracted to dirt and grime. In fact, they can be found in both clean and cluttered homes. What they’re most attracted to is food. For them, it’s human blood – so bed bugs will stay in areas where there are people.
This means that you can get bed bugs even if your home is spotless. All it takes is for one of these critters to hitch a ride into your home on someone’s clothing or luggage, and you’ve got an infestation on your hands.
Bed Bug Extermination
It’s true that regular cleaning significantly helps reduce their numbers, but the truth is cleaning won’t get rid of them completely. The only way to be 100% sure that your home is bed bug-free is through extreme temperatures or steam or with the use of chemicals.
A more severe infestation might require the help of a professional exterminator. Depending on the areas infested, the professionals will perform a thorough inspection before starting the extermination process.
This usually involves using a combination of pesticides and freezing or heating treatments to kill all the bed bugs (and their eggs) in your home. While this might sound like overkill, it’s the only way to be completely sure that you’ve gotten rid of the problem.
While there are no special tools required to check for bed bugs, it’s important to be thorough when inspecting your home. These pests are tiny and can be difficult to spot, so it’s important to look in all the right places.
Start by checking any areas where you think you might have seen them before. This includes the bed, sofa, chairs, and any other furniture in the room. Once you’ve checked all the furniture, move on to inspecting any cracks or crevices in the walls, floor, and ceiling.
Don’t forget to check any areas where you store clothes or luggage as well. Remember, these bed bugs like to feed on humans, and any clothing or luggage that’s been in contact with an infested person is likely to have bed bugs.