Out of sight, NOT out of mind! After being nearly extinct in the developed world for the latter half of the 20th century, bed bugs have rapidly found their way back within the past two decades. They hide in and around your home and crawl out at night to feed as you sleep, making nighttime a nightmarish experience, literally! These blood-thirsty vermin can cause a lot of inconvenience and discomfort if not eliminated in time. But to do so, you need to first identify the signs of bed bugs and hire bed bug extermination professionals to get rid of the infestation.
How to Know if Your Home Has Bed Bugs
Contrary to what most people believe, bed bugs can infest any home, no matter how clean you keep it. Sometimes, all it takes is one vacation and they can hitch a ride back with you on your clothes and other belongings. Without your knowledge, they will become an unwelcome, long-term house guest. Or a neighbour may accidentally allow them into their home or apartment, giving them a chance to infest the surrounding apartments and homes, including yours.
They usually hide in and around their food source, which is your bed! Often, bed bugs are found hiding in the mattress seams and tags, box spring, headboard, wall cracks and crevices, furniture, carpets, rugs, in the seams of your sofas, and items near the sleeping area. Being small, nocturnal, and very good at hiding, these pests are not easy to locate. This is why bed bug signs typically go unnoticed for a long time.
Identifying bed bugs by their physical attributes
They are small, reddish-brown in colour and shaped like apple seeds, except that they are smaller. Adult bed bugs are 4 to 5 mm long as compared to an apple seed which is around 8 mm in size. Once fed, the brown and flat bugs turn plumper, almost dark red or deeper brown in color, and expand to around 7 mm, almost the size of the seed. Bed bugs have 6 legs, and 2 antennas, and cannot fly or jump. Bed bug nymphs are almost the size of a pin head, around 1 mm to 4 mm in length, and are white or golden in color.
Bed Bug Infestation: Signs to Look For
- Bed bug bites – Bed bugs bite areas that are not covered under clothes like arms, legs, neck, and face. They usually target the upper body, but that is not always the case. They leave behind small, itchy, and inconsistent bumps which appear in clusters, usually in a straight line.
- Blood spots – If you see small blood stains on your bed sheets, it is possible they are caused by bed bugs crushed under your body weight after biting you. Another reason for blood spots is the bleeding from the bite site that gets wiped on the sheets while one sleeps.
- Bed bug eggs – The eggs are around 1 mm in length (the size of a pinhead) and pearly white in color. They are oval and look like grains of rice, only much smaller.
- Brown or black stains – If you see reddish-brown stains on your bed sheets or mattress, chances are that they have been left behind by bed bugs crawling on your bed at night. The stains appear to bleed on the bed sheets and pillowcases just like markers. Black stains are usually made from bed bug waste.
- Cast skins – Bed bugs have a molting process and usually shed their exoskeletons. These casings are translucent with a yellowish tint.
- Musty odour – Bed bugs emit a sweet, musty odor that can become unpleasant when mixed with crushed bugs and their fecal excrement.
- Poor sleep – There must be a reason for the traditional nighttime greeting, “Goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bugs bite!” Bed bugs can cause restlessness and difficulty in sleeping. You may not know what is keeping you up at night, but if you are waking up with bite marks, chances are that it might be bed bugs. Be careful, having a bed bug infestation can even have an impact on your psychological and emotional health!
Can You Have Bed Bugs Without Any Signs?
Yes, though it’s hard to believe in something if you can’t see it! Even more so if your body does not react to their most telling sign, their bite.
Here are common reasons why you may not know that you have a bed bug infestation in your house.
- Bed bug bites can have different reactions in different individuals. While one person may get itchy, bumpy red marks at the site of the bite, some people don’t have any telling signs or symptoms when they get bitten. Also, most people are not sensitive to early bites but develop sensitivity to subsequent bites.
- Another reason that you may not know you have bed bugs is that the bite marks may be mistaken for mosquito bites or an allergic reaction to something else. Victims of bed bug bites often end up taking antihistamine tablets for allergic reactions as they simply don’t know what caused the bumps and rashes they might see.
- Then there are the deniers; people who don’t want to believe or accept that they have bed bugs in their homes. Though bed bugs can invade any space, there is a common misconception that they infest unclean homes. So, the tendency is more to deny than accept the reality.
Apart from the obvious discomfort like restlessness during sleep, anxiety, and itchiness, a recent study has revealed that these bugs produce potentially dangerous amounts of histamine. This is a chemical compound that can cause allergic reactions having side effects like rashes or respiratory problems.
While bed bugs are difficult to find, they can be seen if you are on a mission to find them! We are not suggesting that you wake up in the middle of the night to spot them in your bedding or mattress. However, with knowledge about the common signs of bed bugs, you can ensure timely pest control by professionals and stop an infestation in its tracks.
If you are a tenant, contact your landlord as soon as you see any signs of bed bugs before they invade other apartments as well. The landlord will then be required to take the necessary steps to get rid of them.
If you know or suspect that you have a bed bug infestation, the bed bug extermination professionals at Thermapro Solutions can help you. Instead of using harmful chemicals, we offer extermination by heat treatment, a very effective and eco-friendly way to get rid of these little pests for good.