How to Know If You Have Bed Bugs: The Signs Explained

how to know if you have bed bugs

From 1939 until 1972, folks in the United States didn’t have to worry about bed bugs, thanks to the pesticide DDT. However, the Environmental Protection Agency banned it in 1972 due to its hazards. From then on, bed bugs have continued to plague the US and most of the world. For that reason, you must learn how to know if you have bed bugs at home. This way, you can call a bed bug exterminator before their bites rob you of sleep or even cause infections.

We rounded up the top ways on how to tell if you have bed bugs, so be sure to read on.

Itchy, Red Patches on the Skin

Bed bug bites can start as bright red but small spots between 2 and 6 millimeters in diameter. In some people with more sensitive skin, the bites can be much bigger. Not all individuals develop these bite symptoms, but in those who do, the bites can be intensely itchy.

Bed bugs can also feed multiple times in one session, so a single bug can bite a host in several places. That’s why the bites can also appear in clusters or along a line. You may also notice a tiny puncture or hole in each bite’s centermost area.

Rust-Like Stains on Bed Covers

Check your bedding and mattress as soon as you develop bites that may have come from bed bugs. Small, rust-like spots on the bed covers are solid signs of bed bugs. These markings can be tiny droplets of blood (yours!) left by bed bugs after a meal.

Those stains may also come from bed bugs you crushed while you sleep. This can happen if you toss and turn in bed while these blood-sucking household pests feed on you.

Sesame Seed-Like Things Attached to Your Bed

Bed bug eggs, which are white and about one millimeter in length, look like plump white sesame seeds. If you look at an egg with a magnifying glass, you’ll notice two red spots on one end. These are the eyes of the developing bed bug; the redder the spots are, the closer it is to hatching day.

Female adults usually deposit eggs near a host so that when the eggs hatch, the nymphs have easy access to a meal. You might find these eggs attached to mattress seams and bed frame crevices.

Know What Baby and Adult Bed Bugs Look Like

The answer to the question, “What do bed bugs look like?” depends on whether they’re a nymph, an adult, or if they have fed.

Freshly-hatched nymphs, also called juveniles, look like their white eggs, except with legs. They’re a bit bigger than the eggs they hatch from, though, usually about 1.5 mm. Bed bug babies get redder each time they receive a blood meal.

Be careful not to confuse bed bug nymphs with baby roaches. As explained by, baby bed bugs look like baby roaches, even the way they change color. You don’t want either pest to infest your home, so as soon as you these tiny critters, contact a pest professional.

Baby bed bugs then undergo a molting process after they’ve received enough blood. They need to complete five molts before they turn into adults, and each time they do, they take on a redder color. So, you might find a bed bug nymph that’s half-translucent, half-red.

Once bed bugs reach full maturity, they will look like small apple seeds. They can be quite flat if unfed, but then they get really stout once they’ve had a blood meal.

Use This Guide On How To Know If You Have Bed Bugs

There you have it, the top ways on how to know if you have bed bugs. The most telling signs are bright red, itchy spots on your skin, as well as rust-like stains on bed covers. As soon as you see these, it would be in your best interest to call a bed bug exterminator.

Looking for more guides to keep your home pest-free, safe, and healthy? Be sure to browse our site for more resources like this!


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