A tricky thing about bed bugs is that you can share a residence with them for a long time before even realising that your home and belongings have been infested. As a matter of fact, the early stages of a bed bug infestation can go completely unnoticed if you haven’t got a bit of prior knowledge about what to look for.
Many of the symptoms of having bed bugs can be taken as a coincidence or confused with other health or hygiene problems. So, below, we will try to summarise the essential signs of having bed bugs and thus help you identify the issue before it evolves into a disaster.
Where Can Bed Bugs Reside?
First and foremost, don’t let the “bed bugs” term trick you into considering that these insects are found only in beds. The only couple of things they need to survive are a dark place to hide and warm blood to feed on. So, except for mattresses, they could form their colonies into headboards, bedside tables, wall junctions, wallpapers, closets, and all types of clutter of personal belongings.
Bed bugs are active only during the dark hours – they will come out to hunt for warm blood as you sleep. As a result, you won’t be able to see them immediately after they settle, and even weeks and months afterwards. Instead, you will start noticing some strange occurrences in your home, on your body, or both.
We can sum these up as follows:
#1 Skin Irritation and Bites
As we already mentioned, your blood will be the primary source of food for bed bugs. They will crawl out at night and feed on the exposed areas of your body – the face, the neck, the hands, the feet, etc. Logically, your skin will tell you that something’s wrong.
Classic bed bug bites look like lines or clusters of tiny red spots that feel itchy and irritated. Your body can react mildly or severely and even form an allergic response to bed bug bites. In that case, you can experience swelling, itching, and different amounts of pain.
At first, you can mistake these for mosquito bites, flea bites, or a coincident allergic reaction to an unknown irritant. The only difference is that bed bug bites will only get worse in time, as bed bugs will continue to grow, multiply, and attack you in your sleep.
#2 Little Blood Drops on Your Bedding
At first, a minor bed bug infestation will not generate visible amounts of blood staining on the mattress, the sheets, the pillows, or the pillowcases. Anyway, if you look close enough, you will probably notice some minute and oddly looking red dots that you haven’t seen before.
The longer the infestation goes untreated, the more complex the staining will become. Therefore, it would be wise to perform a regular inspection of your mattress at least twice a month to make sure everything looks clean and fresh. You can use a magnifying glass and pay special attention to connecting points between the mattress and the neighbouring items – the bed table, the tables, boards, or under-bed drawers.
#3 Dark Brown Stains on Your Bedding and Furniture
Besides their own blood and the blood they drank from you, bed bugs regularly drop tiny amounts of faeces. As you may suggest, these pile-up and form a rather repulsing brown staining on your belongings. Once again, the earlier you notice them, the better your chances to solve the problem swiftly and successfully, with the help of a licensed bed bug extermination team.
No matter if you notice blood drops, faeces stains, or both – make sure you request an immediate quote for on-site inspection. A professional will first determine the spreading area and severity of the bed bug infestation and then recommend the most efficient way to handle the situation with minimum discomfort and maximum efficiency.
#4 Egg Shells or Shed Skins From The Bed Bugs
As bed bugs continue to grow and multiply, they will go through various lifecycle phases. Each of them will leave signs for their “evolution”, and you will probably start noticing them sooner or later.
Some of these include tiny eggshells, exoskeletons, and shed skins near the areas where the bed bugs hide. They will look a bit like a bed bug itself but hollow and translucent. A bed bug will moult its skin about five times during its life cycle, meaning that this waste accumulates and becomes apparent pretty quickly. Especially if you know how to recognise it, of course.
#5 An Unnatural, Musty, and Repulsive Odor
Having your bedding and sleeping area smell strange and unusual can get you thinking about different problems – from altered body smell to the need to change your pillows and mattress.
In fact, the sweet, musty, and offensive odour is one of the most widely recognised signs of a bed bug infestation. That’s not surprising, given the accumulation of blood, excrements, and dead bed bug species that gradually accumulate in the debris of your mattress and furniture.
Put shortly – if your bed smells strange after it’s been cleaned and the sheets have been changed, it’s probably wise to make a call to your pest control provider and check if bed bugs have something to do with it.
When To Call Professional Pest Control?
Fortunately, the answer to this question is very straightforward: you are supposed to contact a bed bug control provider as soon as you have the first doubts of infestation in your home.
The earlier the problem is diagnosed, the better the prognosis for the treatment. You can successfully minimise the time and resources needed to treat the bed bug infestation by making a swift call.
So – the first tiny blood drops, the first brown spotting, or the first time you notice consistent skin irritation, do not hesitate to make the more and spare yourself the trouble of dealing with severe bed bug issues later.