Updated: February 3, 2021

Experiencing bed bugs is nothing short of a nightmare.

Not only are bed bugs difficult to get rid of…

But they are hard to spot as well.

These insects hide during the day, and only come out to feed at night.

If not detected early:

One bed bug can spread to a severe infestation in less than 2 months.

Bed Bug Signs

One of the keys to preventing a bed bug infestation is being able to identify the first signs of a bed bug presence.

And to differentiate bed bugs from other similar looking insects.

Here are PROVEN methods to identifying bed bugs in your home.

To reiterate:

Early detection is crucial…

Especially toward preventing an infestation from turning your life upside down.

11 Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation

1. Skin Irritation

If you wake up in the morning and experience an itchy sensation in areas that didn’t exist before sleeping…

This could indicate that bed bugs are present.

Especially if you recently purchased or rented a bed or other type of used furniture shortly before bed bug bites occurred.

2. Brown Spots

If you see dark or rust-colored spots on your mattress, bedsheets, clothing, or walls…

You likely have an infestation.

These could either be the result of bed bug feces or exoskeletons from bed bug molted skin.

3. Bloodstains

Often times when bed bugs feed, they don’t do a great job of cleaning up after themselves.

If you’re receiving bites regularly:

You may see little drops of blood on your sheets, pillowcases or blankets.

4. Dead Bugs

Especially If you undergo some DIY treatment methods, you may see some dead bugs around your bedroom.

Whether it be rubbing alcohol or diatomaceous earth, sick bugs may come out in the open before they die.

5. Musty Smell

Bed bugs emit a sort of unsettling sweet smell from glands within their bodies.

This is actually how bed bugs communicate.

(A chemical called Histamine)

People often describe the smell as a mix between coriander and an old locker room.

6. Red Bumps or Welts 

If you’re waking up in the morning experiencing bites on your body…

You’re likely experiencing some sort of insect infestation.

Bed bug bites typically occur in clusters around the upper body.

Click here for more information on what bed bug bites look like.

(and how to differentiate them from other insect bites)

7. Disturbed Sleep

If you find yourself waking up multiple times in the middle of the night, it could be a symptom of bed bugs.

You might unknowingly feel slight movement on your skin, or quick instances of itching/burning.

Since bed bugs primarily feed at night, they could absolutely interrupt your sleep.

And in severe cases:

Cause long term psychological problems.

8. Adverse Skin Reactions

Bed bugs usually come in the form of red welts, but if you have sensitive skin…

You may react in a different way.

In rare cases, bed bugs can cause allergic reactions, hives, or even blisters.

9. Pet Behavior 

Bed bugs tend to prefer humans, because they’re easier to bite over a furry pet.

There are cases however:

Where bed bugs can infest your pets and cause significant irritation.

Keep in mind that…

If you suspect your pet has insects on them it’s usually fleas, but they may also experience bed bugs as well.

10. Nymphs or Eggs

In moderate to severe infestations…

You will find bed bugs in all life stages. This can be in the form of eggs

(female bed bugs lay up to 12 eggs per day)

or baby bed bugs that are crawling around looking to feed.

11. Adult Bed Bugs

This is the most common and of course most obvious way of identifying an infestation.

Seeing actual bed bugs in your bedroom or around your home is a clear signal…

That you have got a big problem on your hands.

How To Check For Bed Bugs

Any one of the above signs indicates an existing or potential infestation.

If you believe an infestation is present in your home or hotel room…

One of the first steps to take is to remove all bedding and carefully examine it for these signs.

You should remove the mattress and box spring to thoroughly inspect all seams in the wood framing.

Then you can peel back the fabric stapled to the wood frame and check it for evidence of bed bugs.

You should also check other areas around your home.

These include:

  • Inside nearby appliances
  • Along carpeting
  • Under furniture
  • Along baseboards
  • Behind wall hangings
  • In your closet
  • Around dirty laundry

Also check any other dark areas where these pests are likely to hide.

If you are having trouble locating bed bugs but still suspect an infestation, consider calling a professional for a proper inspection.

If you live in an apartment…

It may be the landlord’s responsibility to schedule an inspection.

For more information learn about the landlord-tenant duties when it comes to bed bugs.

Getting Rid of Bed Bugs

If you identify bed bugs or evidence of their presence, it’s important to take steps to eliminate them.

You can accomplish this by cleaning all bedding, linens, and other fabrics that might be infested using hot water and the highest dryer settings.

Other DIY steps include:

  • Brushes to scrub the seams of the mattress
  • Vacuuming around the bed
  • Sealed mattress cover
  • Repairing any cracks in your walls

For severe infestations:

You should consider a professional heat treatment to fully eradicate bed bugs in one session.

Knowing the signs to look for and how to eliminate bed bugs can help keep you and your family safe.

Either while at home or during your travels.

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Date Published: 2019-08-14

Written By Robert Brown

I'm a seasoned pest control veteran. I focus my time on writing educational content about the industry and helping people learn about indoor insects. When I'm not thinking about bed bugs I am spending time with my daughters or walking the dog.

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