National Pest Management Month
In the battle against bed bugs, identifying signs of an infestation is critical in reducing the spread of these pests. Bed bugs are hitchhikers and the more difficult we make it for them to hitchhike in our belongings and on our clothing, the greater chance we have of not bringing these bugs home. Here are six signs that bed bugs have infested.
If bed bugs are crawling around, this is a good indication that there is an infestation, especially if you're seeing more than one; but be aware that a single bed bug may have crawled off someone who came before you, and there may not be a full infestation. Regardless, you should always err on the side of caution when it comes to bed bugs. That one bed bug may be the only warning sign you're going to get.
These bugs leave their jet black feces everywhere, and in large quantities, for their tiny size. When these bugs are infesting a mattress, black patches of feces can be found on the corners or along the seams. If they have infested a piece of furniture, black residue can be found on stitching and in the creases or folds.
Bed bug feces are sticky. For this reason, they can often be seen as tiny specks stuck to wood, cloth, carpeting, or walls. On paint, there should be staining around the feces and, often, trails running down the wall.
When bed bugs are infesting a wall outlet, you may see streaks on the outlet cover or streaks on baseboards. These streaks will also be noticeable on sheets and pillowcases if bed bugs are coming to feed at night.
When bed bugs infest, there will often be blood stains on sheets, pillowcases, and areas of infestation. Bed bug feces have blood in them, and the spots that are made by feces can have a dark brown or red discoloration around them.
Blood stains on sheets may also be made by bed bug bites that have been scratched. This is a hard sign to go by because stains like this could be made by any bug bite that has been scratched or some other type of wound on the skin, but when blood stains are accompanied by black feces, it is no longer a mystery what made those stains.
Bed bugs go through five stages of development (instars) before they reach adulthood. As they pass from one instar to the next, they shed their cuticle. These shed cuticles, also referred to as casings, can be found littered on the floor, lying on sheets, or stuck to feces.
Bed bugs release a pheromone scent that some describe as a locker room or a wet, dirty towel smell. This smell will be stronger as more bed bugs infest.
Identifying bed bug bites may save you from bringing these bugs home if you happen to notice them on someone staying where you're staying. We hope you don't get them yourself or see these bites on anyone in your family, but if you do, they are definitely a good sign that bed bugs are infesting.
Bed bug bites have three characteristics that help make them easy to identify:
Bed bug bites will appear in rows or clusters. Bed bugs feed multiple times a night. So, rather than having several single bites appearing randomly on the skin, bed bug bites will be grouped together.
Bed bug bites will often have a rash around them. This rash may even make a cluster of bed bug bites look like hives rather than bites from insects. However, not everyone has an immediate rash from bed bugs; for some, it may take several bites before their body begins to have an allergic reaction.
Bed bug bites make the skin rise into a bump, similar to a mosquito bite; but these bumps can be worse for some and slight for others.
Bed bug bites are most often characterized by a bright red coloring, but this is not always the case.
Recognizing bed bug signs could save you from a traumatic experience that is becoming far too common here in the United States. When you're out and about, be safe and be aware of the signs bed bugs leave. Life is better without bed bugs.
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