Are you waking up in the middle of the night incessantly scratching or finding that your arms are covered in angry red marks in the morning? Bed bug bites are the most commonly reported sign of an infestation but by the time you’re itching a scratch, you could be dealing with a massive bed bug problem.
To avoid a severe infestation taking over your bedroom, there are some early signs of bed bugs you can keep a lookout for.
Keep reading to find out early signs of detection so that you can protect yourself, your bed, and your home from the nasty critters.
Early Detection of Bed Bugs
Many early signs of bed bug infestation are uncomfortable and difficult to ignore. The most obvious sign is red, itchy bites on your body. These bites will appear in zig-zag lines, clusters, or straight rows presenting as flat, red welts.
These bites are likely to appear on parts of your body that are exposed during the night, such as arms and shoulders. While fleas tend to attack the ankles, bed bug bites usually present on the upper body.
You don’t need to be concerned about bed bug bites causing you to become sick as these tiny critters don’t spread disease. However, the bites can be infuriatingly itchy, and over scratching may lead to creating open wounds and infection.
Of course, another obvious sign is having uncomfortable nights and restless sleep due to incessant itching. Bed bugs are most active at night and if you’re finding yourself unable to sleep due to itching, then the culprit is likely to be bed bugs.
One of the other noticeable first early signs of bed bugs is an unpleasant odor. The smell is akin to wet towels, musty and strong. This is due to the bed bugs releasing pheromones that smell less-than-pleasant to the human nose. If you notice your room taking on a musty smell, especially around your bed, you may be dealing with a bed bug infestation.
Spotting live bed bugs in your bed is uncommon but keep your eyes peeled nonetheless. Bed bugs only leave their hiding space to look for food (in the night) and if they are pregnant and trying to get away from males. Unfortunately, if you see live bed bugs then there is a high likelihood that you are dealing with a severe infestation.
Don’t panic at the sight of just any insect in your bed as people often mistake other harmless bugs for bed bugs.
Early Signs of Bed Bugs on Mattress
Bed bugs have tiny flattened bodies, allowing them to hide in tiny spaces undetected. Their most common hiding spaces are somewhere in your bed — hence their name. The mattress, box springs, bed frame, and headboard are the typical hideout places.
You may notice dark or rusty spots turning up on your mattress. Chances are that if you’re unable to detect the source of these stains, they are bed bug excrement.
Look for more fecal spots as well as eggs, eggshells, and shed skins on your mattress or between the mattress and bed frame.
Bed bug eggs are approximately 1 mm and ovular, white in color. You’ll find these in the nooks and crevices of wood and fabric. Look carefully for clusters of these tiny white eggs to indicate that you have a bed bug infestation.
Early Signs of Bed Bugs on Sheets
You will see similar signs on your sheet as on your mattress. Dark and reddish spots from excrement or squashed bed bugs may stain your mattress, seeming like marker bleeding on the fabric.
Again, look out for eggshells, skin, and live bed bugs on your sheets. If you have the slightest suspicion that you have an infestation, immediately remove all your bedding and inspect it carefully.
Bed bugs will shed their exoskeleton five times throughout their lives and they require the nutrition of your blood to do so – it sounds more sinister than it is. Look for translucent, hollow exoskeletons on your sheets and mattress. These are oftentimes more obvious to the eye than the bugs.
What to Do if You Have a Bed Bug Infestation
Whether you suspect you have an infestation or you’re certain you do, you need to act quickly. Your main focus needs to be treating your bed, the place where the bugs have made their home, and hiding spot.
You need to clean all your bedding, linen, and clothing in hot water and dry all the materials in a dryer on the highest setting to kill the bugs. Bed bugs can hide in a number of items in your bedroom.
Take all of these items, such as stuffed animals or shoes, that cannot be washed and put them in the dryer for at least 30 minutes. This process needs to be repeated regularly.
Use a stiff brush and scrub your mattress, focusing on the areas between the seams to remove and loosen bed bugs and eggs from their hiding space.
After brushing, use a vacuum cleaner on and around the bed and ensure that you dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag immediately and outside your home.
Unfortunately, if your mattress has a severe infestation it is recommended to dispose of the mattress and replace it with a new one.
To guarantee that you completely rid yourself of bed bugs, it’s safest and most effective to seek professional pest control services.
Keep a Lookout for Bed Bugs
Don’t wait until it’s too late to do something about bed bugs. Now that you know what the early signs of bed bugs are, you know what to look out for and what to do. Take note of strange stains on your sheet and unpleasant smells in your bedroom, and then take action.
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