Bed bugs are probably the most sneaky and hard-to-find pests. Once you are sure your home is infested, they’re just as difficult to eradicate. But there are tell-tale signs that give away the beginnings of an infestation so that you can crack down on these home invaders before the problem is out of your control.

To learn more about the first signs of bed bugs, this blog outlines all the signs and symptoms to look out for.

What Are Bed Bugs?

They are small, very small. That’s why it’s so difficult to spot them in the first place. But despite their size, bed bugs can become a real nuisance. They are also oval in shape and have flat bodies — adult bed bugs are approximately the size of an apple seed. They are a brown-reddish color and live off the blood of animals and humans.

They are insects that scurry and bury themselves in the smallest of spaces. Female bed bugs are known to lay hundreds of eggs throughout their lifespan, which are smaller than a speck of dust.

Bed bugs develop to full-size adults in less than a month. Immature bed bugs are known as nymphs and shed their skin at least five times before they reach adulthood.

They reproduce quickly and can produce three times the size of an original infestation in less than a year. That’s why it’s so important to know the signs of bed bugs and how to get rid of them, fast! Check out Seattle bed bug heat treatment for more.

Where Do Bed Bugs Hide and When Do They Feed?

No matter how clean your home is, a bed bug infestation can happen without you even knowing it. Bed bugs can get into your home in numerous ways — through luggage, your clothing, a second-hand mattress or furniture purchase, etc.

Due to their minuscule size and flat bodies, bed bugs can fit into just about any space, undetected. Bed bugs don’t form nests, per se, however they do hide in groups in small crevices throughout your home.

The most typical place you’ll find a group of bed bugs is in the folds of your mattress, bed frames, box springs, cracks in your headboard, cupboards, and drawers. They can also congregate in the folds of your curtains and furniture. Bed bugs can easily spread from one room to the next if you don’t get a hold on the infestation.

Feeding Patterns

Bed bugs are most active at night and tend to feed off the blood of humans and animals while sleeping. By piercing the skin, they withdraw blood through a long, thin beak. They tend to feed for 10-minutes at a time.

It’s important to note that while bed bugs are a nuisance, they do not carry or spread disease.

Identifying the First Signs of Bed Bugs

In order to nip a bed bug infestation in the bud, keep your eyes peeled for these obvious first signs:

1. A Collection of Itchy, Red Bites

Unfortunately, most people don’t realize they have a bed bug problem until they’ve been bitten. Bed bug bites show up in particular pattern, generally in straight, zigzag lines or small clusters of red, itchy bites.

Depending on how sensitive your skin is, they may even show up as welts. These bites are generally quite itchy and irritating but pose no further risk to your health.

You’ll most commonly find bites on your arms and shoulders, as these are areas of the body that are the most exposed while sleeping. This is a good way to differentiate from flea and chigger bites, as they tend to show up on the feet and ankles.

2. Rust-Colored Stains and Streaks

One of the second-most obvious signs to look out for is evidence of feeding on your sheets or mattress. Bed bugs leave behind blood stains which show up as rust-colored dots and streaks. You can usually find these stains near the corner or edge of your mattress.

3. A Pungent, Musty Odor

If you notice the presence of a strong, musty odor in your bedroom each morning, this is another sign of a possible bed bug infestation. Bed bugs release pheromones while they feed and reproduce.

If you have a large number of bed bugs congregating in one room, this produces a pungent smell much like a wet towel, or wet dog.

4. Streaks or Spots on Your Walls

Bed bugs are small and nimble and can hide just about anywhere, including under your wallpaper and in the skirting of your walls. They tend to leave behind fecal stains on your walls which show up as brown streaks and spots.

If you suspect you have a bed bug problem, but can’t find them hiding in your bed, do a thorough check of your curtains, wall skirting, and behind wallpaper.

5. Exoskeleton Remnants

This might sound more macabre that it actually is, but immature bed bugs tend to shed their skin at night. So if you find a collection of their exoskeleton remnants, this is a sure-fire sign of an infestation. Look for brown, flat shells, or white husk-like specks.

You can usually find these remnants inside or underneath your mattress, along your headboard, between sofa cushions, and in the folds of furniture. Bed bugs tend to prefer fabric rather than plastic or metal pieces of furniture.

6. Bed Bug Eggs

Finally, bed bug eggs are far more difficult to spot because of their miniature size, but this another sign of a serious infestation. Bed bug eggs show up as small, white spots which are usually found in the joints and folds of furniture, or the dimples in your mattress.

As soon as you spot a collection of eggs, do a thorough inspection of all other items of furniture, especially the crevices of your bed. You may even need to peel back the fabric stapled to the bottom of furniture. Make sure to use a flashlight to help your search!

Prioritize the Health and Wellness of Your Family

Once you notice the first signs of bed bugs, don’t hesitate to call in the help of a professional to ensure you take control of any possible infestations in your home. Bed bugs do not pose a serious health risk, but they can become a real problem if an infestation is left unchecked.

Make the health of your family and home a top priority. Be sure to explore the rest of this website for more as we offer a plethora of articles on keeping your home environment a clean, safe, and happy place.

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