What Are The Signs of Bed Bugs?

What are the bedbug signs that will tell you that you have the little critters living with you in your home? How do you know you have bedbugs and not some other insects?

Bedbugs are extremely small and are hard to spot because they only come out of hiding at night and then disappear into impossibly small cracks and crevices, the thickness of a credit card, until they need another feed. The places bedbugs find to hide and lay their eggs are not easy to spot either and you need a strong light and even a magnifying glass to be able to find them. Because these parasites only need to feed once a week or so, they spend more time in hiding than out in the open, making it even harder to find them.

It can be difficult to identify bothersome insects just by their bite; there are several types of insects (mosquitoes, fleas etc) that bite warm-blooded creatures, like humans, and suck their blood for food. Luckily, there are some points that help to identify bedbugs correctly so that you can take the most appropriate action and get rid of them before they increase in numbers.

  • Bedbugs come out to feed in the early hours of the morning, just before dawn, so if you are being bitten in bed earlier in the night, you are not being attacked by bedbugs.

  • Bedbugs bite a host in one location and then go back into hiding. You might find a row of bedbug bites on your skin but if you have multiple insect bites on different parts of your body, it is unlikely you have bedbugs.

  • Bedbugs sometimes leave drops of blood on the skin as they withdraw the tiny tube that sucks the blood.

  • You might find a row of blood spots on the sheets if you have been bitten by bedbugs. Normally you would only see a smear of blood if you have squashed a mosquito or similar.

  • Rusty-brown smears might also be seen on the sheets, which are hard to get off. This is actually excrement left by the bedbugs as they crawl back to their hiding places.

  • If you suspect bedbugs have taken up residence, try sticking a row of double-sided tape on the floor around your bed. The bedbugs will cross the floor to your bed and will get stuck on the tape. If you find tiny bugs on the tape after a few nights, you will probably be bedbugs.

  • If you have been traveling overseas and discover that you are being bitten after you get home and are sleeping in your own bed again, you may have picked up a few bedbugs from hotel rooms or airports along the way.

  • You may find dried skins of bedbugs that have been left behind after the insects molt. These could be on the floor or other surfaces but you will see them if you locate any bedbug hiding places in cracks, creases in the mattress or joins in woodwork.

  • Bedbugs can’t fly and so any signs of them will be within a hundred feet or so of a bed.

  • Check pet’s beds as well as your own.

Bed bug bites on the back of a person’s neck. Red, itchy, clustered. A painful itch.

What Are The Symptoms of Bed Bugs?

The thought that you might have bed bugs in your house creates negative emotions and unpleasant feelings. This is why people ask about bed bug symptoms – what are they? Many people hope that they don’t really have bedbugs but some other insect has been biting them in the night.

To find out whether you have bed bugs, you need to know the signs and symptoms of these annoying little insects so you can correctly identify them. Bedbugs need a targeted approach to get rid of them, so you need to know what you are dealing with.

Bedbugs are tiny insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals. We think of them as pests to humans but they may also bite pets and rodents. The main requirements of a bed bug are a host to feed from and a safe, dark place to hide.

They are known as bed bugs because they are most commonly found in mattresses, bed bases and bedroom furniture, carpets and woodwork. Bed bugs cannot fly but they can crawl distances of up to 100 feet for a feed, so their nests can be found within a 100 foot radius of human’s or pets beds.

These parasites are active in the early hours of the morning, just before dawn. This differentiates them from mosquitoes, which are more commonly active in the evening, and fleas which can be active at any time. They cannot bite through fabric, so bedbug bites are normally found on exposed skin like the arms, neck and face.

Bed bug signs include droplets of blood on the sheets which are usually in a line or a cluster, brown smears on the sheets where the insect has crawled away from the host towards their hiding place and nests of bedbugs which include the parasite, their eggs and skins of molting bedbugs.

Bed bug bites may look similar to the bite of other insects but there are several specific differences that indicate a bedbug has bitten you. The bed bug injects saliva that has anti-coagulant features and then inserts another tube into your skin from which it draws blood.

This results in a small, flat area that is red but then the surrounding skin and tissue may swell and become irritated, resulting in a bite area that is a small swelling with a red centre. The bite of a bed bug can become very itchy, causing you to scratch; this in turn creates a larger inflamed area on the skin surrounding the actual bite.

Another feature that differentiates a bed bug bite from that of a mosquito or a flea is the pattern of bites that is typical of a bed bug. Bedbug bites are usually in a line or a cluster, whereas mosquito and flea bites are more random, on different parts of the body. A bed bug will feed for about 20 minutes, from the one area, only moving on from the initial bite area if disturbed – usually by the host moving in their sleep or as a reaction to the initial bite.

Most people experience nothing more than mild itching symptoms from the bites of a bed bug which either go away without treatment or respond quickly to the application of an antihistamine cream. Some people suffer more serious symptoms from severe itching, which can lead to infection caused by scratching the bites, to an allergic reaction which requires medical intervention.

What are the common signs of bed bugs?

Bed bugs are one of the most enormous problems the world is facing and eradicating them permanently is not possible in near future. However, there are ways to distinguish the bed bugs bites before getting severely affected form it. One of the common signs is red blemished bite that is also like a bump. You can see the blemishes on your skin and this is common in many cases. The next sign is blood smears on your linen and bed cloth. Often during blood sucking time they get crushed wile feeding on you and this makes the blood patches and smears. Next sign of bed bugs is the foul smell. Like many insects, when bed bugs get crushed they give off a foul smell. This smell is like rotten raspberries. Bed bugs signs also include cast skins. Like exoskeleton creatures, bed bugs shed their skin while growing. This process goes for six times before they are fully grown. These skin sheds are like empty shells and are one of the most common signs of bed bugs

sign and symptom:

A sure sign and symptom of a bed bug infestation is the bites. The bites are often found in clusters or a line on your body. They induce a severe itch – bite reactions very differently from person to person. The time between a bite and the bite’s appearance and itch also varies. You could be bitten at 5am in the morning and not notice or feel the itch until 1pm that same day. Some lucky individuals have no reaction to bed bug bites (we all envy them).

Another symptom of bed bugs are their fecal stains, their eggs, and physically seeing them (obviously). Their stains are a dark black color and most often are found directly on your bed mattress or sheets (where they love to hide), or on furniture nearby to you, such as chairs, your bed frame, a night stand, etc.

Bed bug fecal stains on mattress.

Another key sign of bed bugs are their eggs, which are nearly undetectable by the naked eye. Bed bug eggs are sticky in nature and adhere to surfaces. They are small and tube shaped, with a milky/white consistency and color. Watch the video below to get a great idea of what they look like unhatched and after (not for the faint of heart).

Another visual cue, which is often found with eggs or fecal stains, are cast skins. Cast skins are the skins that bed bugs leave behind every time they molt (and get bigger). Think of a snake shedding its skin – bed bugs do the same thing. Below is a great photo of what a cast skin will look like – just think of a dry transparent bed bug.

Sign of blood socking:

One morning you wake up and find you have a rash on your arms or legs is one sure sign you have bed bugs. They normally come out a night for a feast on your body parts.  Their little bites leave what looks like a rash, but is actually a bunch of bites where they have bitten you many times.

You may also notice that you feel like there is something crawling on you. In fact, they are crawling all over your body. Mostly you’ll climb into bed and start feeling like there is something in bed with you besides your other half.  Bed bugs hide in the mattress, pillows, under the sheets and elsewhere in your bed. You might even see little spots of blood or notice brown “leavings” in certain areas. You might also notice a strange odor or a buggy smell. That usually occurs if you have a heavy infestation of bed bugs.

Since bed bugs are only less than a quarter inch long all you see of them is their leftover skin they shed as they grow.  

They usual bite in a row of two or three bites – they may or may not itch right away. Some people only notice the welt looking rash while other itch for several days.

Bed bugs go for people who produce more carbon dioxide than other people.

What that actually means to a bed bug is not known, but they are a little picky on the people they bite.

So, for those who produce little carbon dioxide you don’t have to worry as much as others who do.

The Infestations of Bed Bugs:

Common Infestation Areas:

Bed bugs are small and flat creatures, enabling them to hide in any cracks. A crack that is large enough to slot a business card in is big enough for bed bugs to settle inside.

They usually hide away from the daylight, so it’s possible for them to hide in mattresses, furniture, carpet and bed frames. Bed bugs usually stay close to their host and will only move as far as 100 feet away from their hideout to feed.

Detection of Bed Bug Infestations:

They can be found when you see black stains on your bed, which are usually their poo. You can also spot them if there are red stains because some of them may be accidentally crushed by you, leaving the blood stains it has sucked previously.

When they are crushed, you can even smell a sweet scent in the air. Bed bug bites usually happen in a straight row of 3 or 4 bites. This can be caused by an interruption when they are in the process of sucking. It will then have to continue in another area near to where it previously sucked.

How To Control Infestations?

It is hard to control their growth. Once you bed bugs decide to stay in with you, they can be hard to find and even harder to get rid of.

They can practically hide around anywhere that is large enough to accommodate them. Although their name is bed bugs, but they can stay in places away from beds too, such as the floor cracks, wall panels, behind wallpapers and closet places.

A good practice would be frequent vacuuming of the house, especially in hard to reach places. Pay special attention to any cracks or crevices when vacuuming. Seal them up if possible to reduce the possibility of them moving inside the cracks and staying in.

If your house has already been infested, it is advised to consider experts in pests extermination. If it is a bad infestation, the neighbour’s house should also be included. This is to prevent from spreading to even more households.

Bed bugs are bad parasites. They may not cause any direct danger, but the frustration they cause can lead to lots of spending money to get rid of them.