Of all the things you shouldn’t wish upon even on your worst enemies, bed bugs are the nastiest.
Bed bugs are the worst of all the pest. They breed fast and die-hard. And many people aren’t even able to tell if they infestation has started until they are all over your home. They are so quick to hide, you can’t even find them within microseconds of the bite. People keep blaming poor little mosquitoes. Once they realize what they are up against, it is already too late.
So, you need to make sure you can identify your enemy as soon as possible – but before we talk about signs, here is what you need to know about bed bugs in general.
Things to Know About Bed Bugs Before Looking for Signs
Bed bugs blood-sucking insects that only prey on mammals and birds. America was almost free of these bugs after the Second World War because of improved hygiene, but they have made a bigger comeback since the Sydney Olympics.
Bed bugs have a small flat body. They have six easily visible legs. Their babies are so small, they are almost invisible. Younger ones are even lighter in color while grown-up bugs are medium to dark brown. Knowing how they look like is the first step towards identifying your infestation problem.
Although bed bugs are known for their hiding speed, they cannot be detected easily. You have more chances of catching a mosquito sitting on your body than a bed bug. Yet, they will bite you more frequently and more ferociously than any flying insect. And contrary to popular belief, they don’t just bite at night.
There are now studies that suggest that bed bugs can actually carry numerous diseases and must be eliminated as soon as possible.
Now, let’s look at five signs you have a bed bug infestation.
1. Focus on the Bite Mark
The reason people confuse these bugs with mosquitoes is that the mark and itch are somewhat similar. However, if you pay attention, both the size of the bump and the intensity of the itch is bigger. The itch will last longer than a mosquito bite. And if you scratch the bump, it might leave an ugly mark.
Moreover, bed bugs often leave marks in clusters or straight line. Unlike mosquitoes, they don’t stop at one spot.
2. Mosquito Repellents aren’t Working
Your regular mosquito repellents aren’t effective on these bugs. If you notice bites and itch despite your best mosquito repellent at work, there is a high chance that there is a bed bug infestation. And the reason they will bite you at night is that mattresses make for the perfect hiding place.
Bed bugs don’t like roaming around in the open, even at night. They will come out when it’s dark, suck some blood and go back to the hiding place. That makes them extremely difficult to catch. This is also one of the reasons people can’t identify them because they never catch them in action.
3. The Bloody Stains of Bed Bugs
If you can’t catch a single glimpse of the enemy you are sleeping with, go back to the crime scene. Sometimes bed bugs drink too much or bite so hard that they spill some blood out. You can see blood stains on the bedsheet if you take a closer look.
Other than own your blood, you might also notice somewhat browner stains that are likely to be their excrement. Sometimes you might find these stains on your own clothes. If you suspect bed bugs, it is best to use lighter colored clothes and bed sheets. This will make it easier to see stains.
4. The Bed Bug Shell
Once bed bugs reach a certain age, they shed their exoskeleton before they can enter the next growth phase and become bigger. One bug may shed around five times in its lifetime. Inspect your mattress thoroughly, and you might find a light brown shedding that is somewhat like a popcorn kernel.
5. The Strange Stench of Bed Bugs
If you think you can identify a cockroach by its smell, you won’t have any trouble identifying bed bugs. Bed bugs release pheromones that have an unpleasant musty smell that is stronger than that of cockroaches. It smells like a wet towel left the corner for a while. People also describe it as the smell of dirty locker rooms.
The smell increases as the infestation get worse and at one point becomes almost impossible to ignore. However, our noses tend to get used to the smell we are always surrounded by. Therefore, it is best to bring in a friend and ask them if they smell something unusual.
If All the Signs of Bed Bugs Are There
If all the signs are present, you need to call for an inspection as soon as possible. These bugs don’t make hives or nest, they just form groups and hide. Dark corners are their preferable places to hide, and that is why they are most likely to be found in your mattress.
Look carefully in the corners of your mattress and even your bed. If you can’t find bugs, look for their eggs. They look like rice and are stuck to the surface, usually under the bed or around the inner corners.
Even if you can’t find any of the physical evidence, but the signs are there, you need to make your home bugproof to prevent further infestation. Just make sure you are using organic products that aren’t harmful to your health.
We have said it before, and we will say it again, bed bugs are the worst. If the infestation reaches a critical point, it becomes almost impossible to get rid of these bugs. People even suggest setting the building on fire as the last and most effective resort. However, if identified early, it is easier to get rid of bed bugs without compromising your home or health.