Home Bed Bugs How do you know if you have Bed Bugs-Symptoms & Signs

How do you know if you have Bed Bugs-Symptoms & Signs

Bed bugs are a real menace in many homes and a good number of people remain unaware of their presence. Read on to learn how you can know if you have them including signs and symptoms of both active and passive infestation. Eventually, this will aid in eradicating them early enough.

Why is important to find out if you have bed bugs or not?

It is key and really important to find out and know if you have bed bugs within your surroundings. It is necessary to find out their presence because it will firstly give you the assurance of good and peaceful sleep.
how to know if you have bed bugs
Bed bugs
After that, once you know that you have bed bugs, you will be able to manage the likelihoods of occurrence of diseases like anemia. You will also reduce the chances of other infections coming from bed bug irritation. Digging deep into available research, a recent New Jersey study found these creepy-crawlers live in 12 percent of low-income homes and about 50% of people were not aware of the bed bugs infestation. The most disturbing of all findings is that inasmuch as 68 percent of people with bed bug infestations had symptoms, about 50 percent of the bed bug infestations took place in living areas where their inhabitants did not know they had these parasites. It is clear that bed bugs like occupying the places where human beings find comfort. They come out and then bite you when you are sound asleep. [1]

Signs & Symptoms-How do you know if you have Bed Bugs?

It is hard to know whether or not you have bed bugs. They are nasty, uncomfortable and hard to detect. It is even trickier to treat them. When you look at them with a naked eye, you can confuse them with other biting bugs. It not surprising that bites from bed bugs in most cases go unnoticed. They are mostly confused with bites from mosquitoes and fleas. They are also confused with rashes as a result of underlying diseases.[2] The bites from bed bugs do not show immediately after you are bitten. They will take some time at times even days after which they begin showing the symptoms. It would even take you weeks to discover the patterns of their bites. You will have some burning sensation some days after the bite. It is believed that the reason the bites take time to show is because the bugs induce some anesthesia once they have bitten. Here is an outline of the signs that will help you know that you have a problem with the bed bugs.

Red and itchy bites & markings on body

It is often hard to know when you have been bitten by bed bugs, until they have left a mark on your skin. The marks of the bed bug bites appear flat, red and in zig zag lines.
bites from bed bugs image
They could also form clusters on your skin. Besides that, the bugs could leave bites in straight rows. Despite the fact that the bugs do not spread diseases, they are irritating and if you scratch them, you could introduce bleeding and later infections. Unlike other biting insects, bed bugs bite exposed surface of your body like the arms and shoulders. They end up leaving markings.[3] Always ensure your arms are covered so as to avoid encountering the bites. In the event that you are overwhelmed and you cannot identify bed bugs in your home, then contact the professionals from the pests control company near you.

Uncomfortable nights

Bedbugs terrorize the bedding more than any other place. This is because these are areas where human beings spend a great deal of time. Since they are nocturnal animals, they will only come out when you retire for bed. Whenever you find out that you are developing itchy welts while in bed, it is more likely that you have an infestation of bed bugs.

Strange and Distinctive smell or odor

Bed bugs have a nasty, strong and musty odor. If you encounter this kind of smell on your towels and any clothing, then be sure bed bugs are within. The moment your bedroom starts smelling like an old locker room, you may be wise the suspect the their existence. This smell is however subject to different personal judgement. Surprisingly, some people say that bed bugs have a sweet musty smell. In fact, some claim that the bugs smell like over ripe raspberries, almonds and coriander. This somehow an advantage to the bugs since the smell does not give the predators a chance to detect their hideouts. All in all, the smell is a pointer to heavy infestation by the bugs.

A buggy bed

The bed bugs find a lot of comfort in your bedding. After they have had a blood meal, they will leave some blood stains that resemble the small rust spots. You will in most cases notice them at the edges of your mattresses and joints of the bed. As bed bugs mature, they shed off their exoskeleton. In that regard therefore, you will find oval and brown looking skeletons signifying the bed bugs.

Passive & Active Infestation Signs

In addition to the above signs, there are other things that bed bugs could leave behind which would give you an indication of their presence in the present(active) or in the past. Passive indicators include;

Their feces and fecal stains.

Once they have had a blood meal, they defecate almost immediately. This leaves impressions in form of stains. The stains are the first physical signs of the presence of the bugs. Bed bug poo leaves dark stains which resemble the marker stains. Your bedding acquires stains that look like the stains left behind by a boiled pen. The fecal stains could be traced in their harborages.

Bloody smears and stains.

You will see spots of blood on your bed sheets and mattresses. The stains resemble the blood-filled bed bugs that are from crushed bed bugs. The crushing happens when you turn in bed and roll over your pillows. The pillowcases and the sheets are the commonest areas you will find the stains. You will also find the stains on your pajamas. The more restless you become while sleeping the more the number of stains you will find. You will also see the blood stains on the edges of your bed and mattress. Cast bed bugs skins. When a bed bug grows from one stage to another, it sheds its skin up-to a total of about 5 times before reaching maturity. The skin casts appear lighter and as empty skins. You will find these casts in the hideouts of the bed bugs.


The appearance of the eggshells are a sign of the growth and reproduction of the bed bug population. They have very small size and their length is about 1mm. You can easily see these shells using your naked eye but a magnifying lens makes them more visible. They are located at the hideouts of bed bugs especially the rough surfaces like the woods and fabrics. Indicators of an active infestation of bed bugs include the following

Bed bug eggs.

They appear shiny and pearly white. They are found in the hideouts as well as the areas that are away from the main populations. Their surfaces have a sticky film and feel.
signs symptoms of bed bug-eggs and shells
Eggs and shells
The sticky films help them to stick or adhere to the surfaces they are laid on. The sticky film also gives them a shiny appearance. The length of the bed bugs is about 1 mm long. They are majorly found in woods and fabricated areas rather than plastics and metals.

The presence of the nymph(baby bed bugs)

Young or baby bed bugs are called nymphs. Their size is smaller and have a lighter color. They often look clear unless they are fed with blood which makes them to turn red. Their sizes vary ranging from the size of a pin or a poppy seed at birth to about ¼ an inch when mature. You will frequently encounter the nymphs compared to the adults because they feed more often than their adults.

Adult bed bugs.

This is the final confirmation you ought to have so as to make a conclusion of an active presence of bed bugs. Their color is rusty brown and they have a flat body unless they have had a blood meal. Their size is about the size and shape of an apple seed. The length is approximately ¼ an inch. The bugs increase in size after a blood meal. Sources [1] http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0136462 [2] https://www.medicinenet.com/bed_bugs/article.htm [3] https://www.terminix.com/bed-bug-control/human-symptoms/ Further Reading