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How To Recognize Signs of Bed Bugs and Get Rid of Them

Woman sleeping alone in her bed bug free bed.

Bed bugs are often referred to when wishing someone a good night’s sleep but bed bugs are no joking matter. You might be wondering if you can treat them and how to recognize that you have them. Let our bed bug exterminators walk you through all the signs of a bed bug infestation that you should look out for and how to get rid of these pests if they have infested your home.

How Big Are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are small, brownish insects that are about the size of an apple seed. They have flat bodies and can squeeze into tiny spaces. This makes it difficult to spot them, even when they're right in front of you.

What do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Adult bed bugs are brown with a flat, oval-shaped body. Nymphs (young bedbugs) are smaller and lighter in color. They look like mini-adults. Bed bugs do not have wings and they cannot fly.

Early Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation

So how do you detect signs of bed bugs early on? Most times bed bug bites are often mistaken for other bites such as mosquitoes or fleas so knowing the signs that you have bed bugs is crucial in eliminating them. Sings of a bed bug infestation include:

Bed Bug Bites

If your home has been infested by bed bugs you likely wake up in the morning with red, itchy welts on your body. They often appear in a straight line across your skin. Bed bug bites aren't harmful to humans, however, they can cause itching and irritation to your skin.

Bed Bug Shells or Molted Skin

One of the big signs that you have bed bugs in your home is finding shells or molted skin from the bed bugs. These reddish-brown shells can be found where bed bugs are most prevalent - they look like an apple seed. 

Rust Colored Spots on Your Sheets

Bed bugs leave behind subtle signs that you may not even recognize. Bed bugs bite and draw blood so waking up with rust-colored spots of blood on your PJs or pillowcase may be a sign that you may have a bed bug problem.

Scents & Stains

These signs can be a little harder to detect but they will definitely tell you if you have bed bugs. When bed bugs are present they leave behind a pungent dank smell secreted by their scent glands when they feed and molt. They also leave fecal stains behind that look like dark black and brown spots. Bed bugs die every five to seven days and could lay up to 500 eggs in their lifespan so recognizing the problem right away is crucial to exterminate them from your home.

Where do you Look for a Bed Bug Infestation?

Here are a few places to check to see if you have bed bugs:

  • Headboards
  • Bedside tables
  • Wall corners/ crevices
  • Behind loose wallpaper
  • Mattress seams
  • Baseboards

Chigger Bite Vs Bed Bug Bite

Bed bug bites can leave behind a few different signs when they bite you. The most common being raised red welts on the skin. These bites are often mistaken for mosquito or chigger bites that cause a burning itching sensation. Often when bed bugs bite they bite in a straight line, unlike mosquitoes or chiggers who bite in random places. When bitten it often leads to a rash around the bitten area that spreads to about an inch in diameter. It is reported that 70% of people bitten by bed bugs will not have a reaction and for a long time, it was thought that they weren’t allergic to the bed bug's saliva. In recent studies, they have discovered that these people had actually been exposed multiple times to the bite and had built an immunity to these symptoms. The only way to get rid of the symptoms altogether, on the other hand, is to get rid of the infestation altogether.

Bed Bug Bite Treatment

If you have multiple bites or more severe signs such as pus or oozing blisters see a dermatologist and get the correct treatment. If not, completely wash the affected area with soap and water and get some type of corticosteroid cream to mitigate the itching and burning but be careful, sore from those creams can leave you weak and lightheaded so contact your doctor to make sure it is safe.

Get Rid of Bed Bugs For Good

So what kills bed bugs instantly? Unfortunately, there is no home remedy to get rid of bed bugs. They are among the hardest insects to detect and get rid of so if you think you have bed bugs make sure to contact a professional to ensure that they are taken care of correctly and permanently. A bed bug infestation can not only have an impact on your sleep it can ruin your furniture and develop into a bed bug infestation. Take action and call a professional pest control company at 617-404-9919.

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