Signs of Bed Bugs in Your Property

Bed Bug Casings and Other Ways to Tell if You Have a Problem

Picture of 5 Signs of Bed Bugs in Your Property
Bed Bug Casings and 4 Other Signs You Might Have Bed Bugs. Joel Carillet/E+/Getty Images

The signs of bed bugs can be difficult to detect if you don’t know what you are looking for. Bed bugs are only about the size of an apple seed, so you may not realize you have a problem at your property until you have a complete infestation. A bed bug bite could be mistakenly attributed to a mosquito, spider or other less menacing insect. Here are five signs which can help you determine if you have bed bugs.

5 Signs of Bed Bugs

Despite their small size, bed bugs do leave behind some distinct signs that they have made a home in your property. Some of these signs are more obvious than others, but they are all helpful in identifying the little pests. These signs could appear on your property or on your person.

1. Live Bed Bugs:

The most obvious sign that you have a problem is spotting an actual bed bug. These insects are not very large. There eggs measure less than 0.1 inches and full size bed bugs come in under 0.2 inches. They have six legs and are oval in shape and rather flat, unless they have just eaten, in which case they will become engorged. They range in color from a deep reddish to a brown.

2. Bed Bug Casings:

Another sign that you have a problem with bed bugs is that you discover bed bug casings. These are the shells that the bed bugs shed when they are going through their life cycle, from nymph to adult.

Bed bugs go through five life cycles and will shed their casing at the end of each cycle. The casing will be reddish or brown in color, will be hollow and the size will vary based on the age of the bed bug, the larger the size, the older the bed bug. 

3. Bed Bug Droppings:

A third sign of a bed bug infestation is seeing bed bug droppings.

Bed bug droppings will look like little black pen marks. They will release these droppings after feeding. They are easiest to see on cloth, such as on bedding or mattresses. 

4. Reddish/Brown Stains:

Another sign you may notice are reddish or brown stains on fabric. This is basically dried blood where the bed bugs have been crushed.

5. Bed Bug Bites:

Another way you can tell if you have bed bugs is, you have bites. This can be difficult because bed bug bites resemble bites of other insects such as mosquitos and spiders. In addition, some people have no reaction when they are bitten by a bed bug or it looks more like a rash than a bite, so it can be a difficult way to account for the presence of bed bugs.

A typical bed bug bite will appear as an itchy red welt on your body. These bites will often occur on your upper body, usually on your arms and shoulders. The bites are often in a straight line.

Where to Look for Bed Bugs

Bed bugs love to hide in cracks and crevices, so you must examine every square inch of the object when looking for an infestation.

When examining any of these pieces, you should look underneath the piece. Check in any seams or other folds.

Search for bed bugs in any holes that may exist in the piece. You can use a credit card and glide it along seams to help unearth the presence of bed bugs or bed bug casings.

Check for Signs of Bed Bugs In:

  • Mattresses
  • Box Springs
  • Headboards
  • Sofas
  • Chairs
  • Areas within 10 to 20 feet of mattresses, sofas and chairs- including furniture, curtains, electrical outlets, picture frames, clusters of objects, door and window casings, moldings, wall cracks, cracks in flooring.
  • You can extend this search from 20 feet to your entire home if you are concerned you may have a serious infestation.

Tips for Tenants Who Have Bed Bugs

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