Bed Bug Signs

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If you are reading this article, you may already have good reason to believe that you are living with bed bugs. To verify that bed bugs are the reason for the itchy bumps on your skin (and not fleas, or some other pest), here are some tell-tale signs to look for. It’s best to do this at night using a flashlight and magnifying glass.

What are the Signs of a Bed bug Infestation?


  • Bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or other parts of the body
  • Delayed responses may occur anywhere from a week to two weeks after
  • Bed bug exoskeletons after molting
  • Bed bugs in the folds of furniture, fabrics, or cracks and crevices in bed room
  • Bed bug droppings are extremely small and are commonly hard to see. The more prevalent the infestation or population the more clusters of feces that can be seen better with the naked eye.
  • Rust colored or blood spots or fecal matter in the areas of bed bug hiding places
  • Also the presence of a sweet musty odor

Signs of Bed Bug Infestation:
1) tiny black spots (excrement) on linens or other objects
2) small red stains from crushed bed bugs
3) translucent light brown skin casings
4) live bed bugs that rusty-red in color, about the size of an apple seed.

Signs of Bed Bug Infestation:

Some of the signs of bed bugs include small blood stains or small, light brown skins found on bed sheets, headboards, walls, and other areas of a room. Look for these physical signs:

  • Tiny black spots (excrement) on linens or other objects that when wet will turn red, small red stains from crushed bed bugs, translucent light brown skin casings, live bed bugs that are rusty-red in color, about the size of an apple seed.
  • Typically, bedbugs like to stay as close as possible to their human hosts.  Look for dark fecal spots — digested human blood — or even the bugs themselves on bed sheets, in the seams of a mattress, between the mattress and box spring, in the crevices of a box spring, and in the corners of the mattress by the headboard.
  • To thoroughly inspect your bedding, dismantle the bed and stand all of the components on edge so that upper and lower surfaces can be examined.
  • Nightstands and dressers should be emptied and examined inside and out, then tipped over to inspect the woodwork beneath. Often, the bugs will be hiding in cracks, corners and recesses.
  • Heavy infestations may have a musty or "buggy" smell, but the odor often isn't apparent and shouldn't be relied on for detection.

Where to Look For These Signs:
1) Linens, bed sheets, and pillowcases
2) Upper and lower mattress seams, zippers, and around tags
3) On and around bed springs
4) On and behind the head board and bed frame
5) Inside drawers
6) In cracks in the floor and walls
7) In the folds and creases of furniture, and on the underside
8) Behind wall pictures and hangings and on the underside of lamp shades.

What is the difference between a bed bug and flea bite?
A bed bug bite starts out painless and later becomes an itchy, red welt. These welts may occasionally bleed. The main difference between bed bug and flea bites is that a flea bite has a red dot in the center of it, while the bed bug bite does not have any red dot. While they can be uncomfortable, bed bug bites are not known to cause disease.

See more frequently asked question about Bed bugs.

What to do if you find signs of bed bug infestation
The following articles can help you to perform your own bed bug inspection and treatment:

How To Do Your Own Bed Bug Inspection
How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Bed Bug Mattress Covers
Pesticide-Free Bed Bug Control

When to call in a professional
If you feel at all uncomfortable performing your own bed bug inspection and treatment, or the infestation is already at a very progressed state, it may be best to call in a pest control professional.

For more information and products, see our Bed Bug Control page. Also see our Bed bug kits.


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