Signs of Bed Bugs

Early Warning Signs of Bed Bugs Infestation  

Early Signs of Bed Bugs – Signs of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs feed on human blood and live in voids and cracks in places where people usually stay, sit or sleep for prolonged periods. Mature bed bugs are oval in shape and reddish in colour with flattened bodies that range from 3/16 to 3/8 inch long. A small bed bug problem can quickly turn into a serious infestation if left untreated. Therefore, it is very important for anyone who thinks they have a problem to be able to identify the early signs of bed bugs. The discovery of bed bugs can be very hard and bed bugs can easily go undetected during an inspection especially during the initial phases of an infestation when eggs or just even insects are scarce. Bed bug treatments are labour intensive and can be costly. Make sure you have are indeed dealing with bed bugs before you call exterminators. These insects can easily hide in crevices and cracks and crawl into the adjacent rooms through wall sections. Hire a professional for bed bug extermination. Call: 647-496-2211

Where Bed Bugs Hide

Bed bugs hide in an assortment of areas, when not feeding. Around the bed, they are able to be discovered near legs, under the mattress and box spring, inside wall outlets and even in gaps on the bed frame and headboard. They can also be found in the seams between pillows, of sofas and seats, in the folds of drapes. Clothing items can also hide insects. So be sure to check drawers, drawer joints after your remove all clothing. Appliances near sleeping areas can attract them as they can hide inside motors and casings.

Bed Bugs Hiding in Bed Frame
Bed Bugs Hiding in Bed Frame

Looking for Bed Bug Signs

Aside from finding the insect itself you can look out for blood stains in sheets, these will be red. Look out for black fecal stains or a distinct cherry odour. Finding dead or crushed insects will also point to a bed bug problem. Aside from insects and stains, you can also verify bed bug activity by locating eggs or eggshells around the bed area.

Bed Bug Monitors

The best way to make sure you are indeed dealing with the insect is to get a hold of a bed bug itself. If the infestation is advanced you will find them in bedding and also dead carcasses. If you are uncertain and are just experiencing bites, then it would be a good idea to set some sticky traps. Insect sticky traps or similar devices like bed moats or Clearview monitors. Several devices have already been specially developed for the tracking and detection of bed bugs. Apparatus which are now available contain bed bug interception devices which can be put under the legs of beds and couches and snares that use attractants including carbon dioxide or chemical baits.

A Bed Bug Monitor
A Bed Bug Monitor

Identifying a Bed Bug Infestation

Identifying and treating the bed bug infestation early on is much cheaper and easier than when it has become widespread or acute. Many people misidentify the infestation giving the bed bugs more time to spread. Looking for early warning signs such as live bugs, bites, stains and eggs is the best chance you have of spotting a low-level infestation and taking care of it before it becomes worse.

Bed bugs thrive in rooms with higher humidity for optimal development and can live for up to 7 months without eating and thus, they will not likely die of hunger. They usually feed when humans are asleep. They are primarily active at night and will have a swollen, elongated, dark red body after a meal. A single female can lay as many as 5 tiny, white and pear-shaped eggs in a day and between 200 to 500 eggs in her lifetime, which is the reason they quickly infest a home.

Severe Bed Bug Infestation in a Box Spring

Females lay eggs in areas such as small cracks and crevices, seams of mattresses, on carpet fibres, along baseboards and on nearby furniture where they mostly hide during the day. The eggs take from 6 to 10 days to hatch. Once they hatch, they can mature within 35 days under favourable conditions. Bites from bed bugs are relatively painless but could result in reddish, raised areas on the skin depending on the individual sensitivity to bite. They are not known to spread any disease but their infestation can greatly damage your reputation and make your home inhabitable. You will need to be very careful to detect them early as they are quick and good in hiding but some of the early warning signs of bed bugs infestation that you should look out for include:

1. Live Bugs

Signs of Bed Bugs - A Live Bed Bug
Signs of Bed Bugs – A Live Bed Bug

Inspecting the pest up close when you find it will give you clues as to whether you are dealing with bed bugs or some other kind of pest.

The bed bug may look different depending on whether or not it has fed. If recently fed, it appears reddish-brown in colour and balloon shaped. If it hasn’t fed recently, it has an oval-shaped, flat body and brown in colour.

The average bed bug is between 5 and 7 millimetres which are roughly the size of an apple seed. It has a beak with three segments, an antenna with four parts, wings although it doesn’t fly and golden coloured hairs. They have six legs.

You can recognize early bed bug infestation by looking for stains that they leave behind. The stains are mostly from feces and blood. Stains from feces have a rusty colour that is difficult to clean from bedding and linen. You can also look out for shedding that the bugs leave behind. The bugs will likely leave sheds of dried-up skin, eggs, dried-up larvae and dead bugs. The shedding can be anywhere where they live or travel.

2. Bed Bugs Bites

BED BUGS BITES
Bed Bug Bites

Bed bugs feed only on blood so an early warning sign of infestation is noticing bites. You typically find bed bug bites on exposed areas of the skin such as arms, legs, face, shoulders, neck and hands. Multiple bites may appear grouped together within a small area but may also appear in a zigzag shape or in a relatively neat line.  Symptoms consistent with a bed bug bite include;

  • Itching
  • Red welts
  • Slight burning sensation
  • Blisters (indicating severe reaction to bite)
  • Swelling

Some people do not experience any symptoms or marks after a bed bug bite.  Mosquito bites also leave similar marks so a bite alone may not be enough to diagnose a bed bug problem.

Bites are the earliest bed bugs infestation warning signs. They bite at night when the host is sleeping. The bites will unlikely awaken the host as they are relatively painless but the host will most likely have bite signs in the morning. The bites will usually have a red and raised area on the skin, which is similar to that of a mosquito bite. The bite may also be accompanied by an intense itching caused by allergic reaction to the bug’s saliva but, which depends on the individual sensitivity.

If bed bugs are detected, you should begin immediate measures to eradicate them as waiting for another day only allows them to lay more eggs making eradication more difficult. You should also follow a professional eradication guideline to effectively control the infestation.

3. Bed Bug Stains

bed bug signs
bed bug signs in an electrical outlet. Found during bed bug treatment.

Bed bugs leave a variety of stains in their wake including on walls, bedding, clothes and furniture.

Blood Stains: unexplained blood stains on bed linen may indicate bed bug bites.

Signs of Bed Bugs - Blood Stains
Signs of Bed Bugs – Blood Stains

Rust-coloured Spots: most likely bed bug excrement. The excrement may also appear dark or black in colour especially if the bed bug fed recently.

Exoskeletons: bed bugs shed their moult (skin) five times before adulthood. You may find evidence of clear-coloured shells or empty exoskeletons.

Signs of Bed Bugs - Exoskeletons
Signs of Bed Bugs – Exoskeletons

4. Bed Bug Eggs

Bed bug eggs look like a sticky cluster. The egg is about 1 millimetre and is almost clear in colour so it is very unlikely that you will spot them.

Bed Bug Eggs in Furniture
Bed Bug Eggs in Furniture

Why You Need an Exterminator

Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of even for a seasoned exterminator in Toronto. Treatment may require up to 3 sessions to eradicate the problem completely. You may need to speak to your building manager or call your local exterminator, preferably one with a warranty on his work.

If you would like a professional exterminator to verify activity please call 647-496-2211. We also feature a variety of bed bug related products such as mattress covers and bed bug monitors.

Article Updated on September 7th, 2018.

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Joe The Exterminator
Joe The Exterminator

Joe is a professional pest control exterminator with over 15 years of experience and enjoys sharing his knowledge about different pests and how you can deal with them.