Too many of us have been in this situation: you wake up one morning to find itchy bite marks on your arm or leg. The first question might be, “is this a bed bug bite?” Since you can’t be sure, that’s likely followed immediately by, “how do I know if I have bed bugs?”
Before dousing your home with gasoline and lighting a match, you’ll want to prove whether your suspicions are related to bed bugs or not. The most common sign of a bed bug infestation – those itchy red bites on your skin – are simply confused with mosquito bites, spider bites, or an allergic reaction. Many other warning signs can be fake alarms as well. Let’s talk about identifying signs of bed bugs and confirming a bed bug infestation.
BED BUGS AND THEIR SIGNS
The first step in determining whether or not you have bed bugs is to inspect your home for signs of the critters. While bed bugs can be spotted with the naked eye, you’re most likely not going to find one out and about while you’re awake.
Instead, you’re more likely to come across something they’ve left behind while moving between their meal hosts (you) and their hiding place.
Bed bugs often leave blood stains on sheets, pillows, and furniture. These small red spots are caused by bed bugs spitting up a few blood they were drinking. Blood stains can also occur when a bug gets compacted by their host rolling over in bed.
Thin black streaks can occur where bed bugs have been active. These are bed bug feces, made up of digested blood and excreted by bed bugs on their way to their hideout. To confirm that a streak is from a bed bug, try dabbing it with a clammy cloth or paper towel. It should leave a red blur.
Bed bugs reach adulthood by progressing through five infant stages of development. Each stage is entered by digesting a blood meal and shedding their casing. These bed bug skins are clear, golden-tinted, and resemble the bed bug that discarded them.