Signs of Bed Bug Infestation
Bed bugs are a very common pest that can make any property owner’s life in Australia a living nightmare.
If you haven’t seen such insects - bed bugs are small, oval, flat, and feed on human blood. Happily, they don’t carry any diseases but are generally very annoying. In fact, they can affect your loved ones' mental health, by causing anxiety, depression or lack of sleep.
If you suspect that your property is infested by this type of pest but aren’t 100% sure, don’t worry. Normally, there are clear signs of bed bugs.
But what are these bed bug signs? Read below to find out.
Can you see bed bugs?
Short answer - yes, at some stages of their life cycle, bed bugs are easy to spot. Their eggs are almost invisible to the human eye (up to 1 mm in size), but when in the nymph stage and the adult stage, you will be able to see them.
A bed bug nymph is about 3-3,5 mm in length and light in colour. The adult one is 5-7 mm in size and red-brown coloured when not fed recently. The body of a just-had-its-meal adult is longer and more balloon-like. Adult bed bugs also have wings but don’t fly. They, however, are good jumpers, and that’s why many people mistake them for fleas.
More often than not, bed bugs are also confused with dust mites. Needless to say, the difference is quite big - dust mites are practically invisible. Also, unlike bed bugs, dust mites don’t bite but can cause allergies and skin rashes.
Read also: Flea Bites VS Bed Bug Bites
How to know if you have bed bugs
Now, let’s answer the question that concerns you the most:
“How do I know if I have bed bugs?”
Well, there are bed bugs infestation signs that you just won’t be able to miss. That said, here are the most common ones:
One of the early signs of bed bugs is bite marks. The insects leave a linear pattern of red bites, with a darker red dot in the middle, which you can find mostly on areas, such as your arms, hands, neck, and face. Usually, bed bug bites will go away on their own. We advise you not to scratch them and, if needed, go to the nearest pharmacy and ask for an ointment to calm your skin.
During their lifetime, female bed bugs lay a significant amount of extremely small, white, and grain-like eggs - between 250 and 500. Imagine that - the insects come unwanted, find a comfy place to stay, and lay huge numbers of almost invisible eggs. Okay, a single egg can be almost invisible but, happily, the insects usually lay in clusters, which makes the evidence of bed bugs easier to spot.
Excrements are one of the clear bed bugs on the mattress signs. If you see dark spots on your mattress or bed sheets, you are most probably dealing with this type of pest. The good news is that those stains are usually close to where the bugs have gathered in large numbers, so it will be easier for you to find an outbreak point. Bed bug excrements also have an unpleasant odour and smear easily when touched.
Bed bugs shed their skin as they grow, so another great piece of evidence is any presence of left behind shells. Bed bug skin shells are quite small, have the exact same shape as the insects, and are translucent, so make sure to look carefully.
Another sign to look out for are eggshells. They are white and husk-like. Since bed bugs prefer fabric and wood over plastic and metal, they can be found not only in your bed and mattress but also under furniture, between your sofa cushions, and others alike.
We know that it can be pretty shocking to wake up with blood on your sheets. We told you that bed bugs can affect your mental health as much as they can your skin.
The funny thing is that those blood spots are there because you have unconsciously squished the bed bug army while sleeping. So, if you wake up with small blood dots over your sheets, pyjamas, or skin - well, that’s one of the signs of bed bugs in the bed.
Keep in mind that the earlier you spot any signs of an infestation, the better - we recommend that you check your property regularly. That said, we’ve made a short step-by-step guide for you to follow to find any potential bed bug families in your property.
How to check for bed bugs
Now, let’s set your how to detect bed bugs plan into action. You don’t need any “armament”- just rubber gloves.
We recommend that you start with the bedroom. Bed bugs tend to have many hiding places, but their favourite ones are near their food source - you. Their preferences for “a place to stay” are all of those tiny nooks and crannies in your house, where they can find warmth and good humidity levels.
- Start with the bed sheets - First, take a closer look at your sheets for blood stains or excrements (the dark spots). Don’t forget to check the pillow cases. If they are all clear, remove the sheets, and continue with the mattress.
- Carefully eye-scan the mattress - As we’ve already mentioned - bed bugs like to live in mattresses. When inspecting yours, take a closer look at every hidden spot and fold. Here you’ll also be looking for the unpleasant dark spots, eggs, shells, bed bug skin, and even mature bed bugs.
- Inspect the bed frame - As we’ve said, bed bugs also like to hide, and one of their favourite spots is the bed frame. Eye-scan the bed frame and the bedside table for excrements, eggs, shells, and living bed bugs. If you are wondering how to spot bed bugs here, don’t worry, there is nothing specific - just make sure to be thorough.
- Go through any “high-risk” areas - Other areas where you can find bed bugs are drawer joints, curtain folds, loose wallpaper, and any fabric furniture with seams - make sure to inspect them as well during your bed bug expedition.
Read also: How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Things to remember...
- Bed bugs don’t spread diseases but they bite like to bite - a lot;
- The earliest signs of a bed bug infestation are bite marks, blood spots, and excrements;
- Create a habit of regularly checking for bed bugs when cleaning your house - this can save you from a potential bed bug infestation;
- If you suspect that you have fallen victim of a bed bug attack, your best option is to hire a professional pest controller to deal with the infestation.