Bed bugs are an uncomfortable reality for many homeowners, renters, and travelers worldwide. Like mosquitoes, they feed on your blood and make life very uncomfortable. Unfortunately, they are notoriously hard to find until it’s too late and they’ve already reached the adult stage of development. After all, they’re only about as wide as a credit card!
According to Reader’s Digest, there are currently more reported cases of bedbugs in America now than ever before! Here are five signs that these pesky little bugs have “set up shop” in your sheets.
1. You Find Molted Skins and Shells in Your Bed or Furniture
Bed bugs molt five times as they grow larger–they leave their molted skin behind on sheets and on the mattress itself. They’re easy to identify–they’re translucent and look almost exactly like a bed bug. These skins are typically only about 1 square millimeter in size. If you want to learn more about the physical evidence of bedbugs, the Environmental Protection Agency has a handy section on their site.
2. Blood and/or Fecal Spots Appear on Mattresses, Furniture, or Throughout the House
You’re obviously considerably larger than a bedbug–when you sleep in a mattress that plays host to a colony of bedbugs, you’re likely going to crush many of them. This leaves blood stains with red/rust coloration.
Like all living creatures, bed bugs leave behind waste. Despite the fact that they feast on blood, their poop is dark brown and/or black. Since their waste is liquid, the stains that they leave behind are usually smears and streaks. These are one of the tell-tale, 100% verifiable signs that your bed is home to an infestation.
3. You Notice the Following Signs on Your Skin
Although there’s a classic saying, “don’t let the bedbugs bite,” their bites aren’t the best metric to discover them. Instead, you should look for the following on your own skin:
- Raised welts (typically red in color)
- Itching and burning sensations
- Straight lines consisting of multiple bite marks
- Skin Flakes on Your Clothing and Bed
4. You Know Someone Who Has Bedbugs
Move over Anthony Bourdain–bedbugs are some of the most accomplished travelers on the planet!
They can easily spread and “set up shop” in new homes and apartments, moving through carpets, attaching themselves to clothes, and finding all sorts of innovative ways. It’s important to wash any secondhand clothing and furniture before bringing them into your home.
5. You Frequently Visit Hotels and Motels
Even the cleanest homes are at risk of bedbug infestations, so it’s no surprise that hotel rooms are a breeding ground for them. Some have taken to bringing their own bedding, but this doesn’t help; bedbugs don’t only live “in bed.” They frequently inhabit couches, chairs, drawers, and even the wallpaper of rooms.
If you have bedbugs, it’s very hard to get rid of them–it’s not something you’re going to be able to accomplish on your own (unless you happen to be a licensed exterminator). CNN even recently reported on a variety of “thick-skinned” bedbug that can survive repeated exposure to high-potency bug spray!
Here are things you should know about bedbug behavior and life cycles if you want to identify, avoid, and hopefully stop the spread an infestation before it begins:
- Bedbugs are mostly active during the nighttime
- They need to feed as often as possible to live
- Female bedbugs typically lay up to three eggs each day
- The lifespan of a bedbug can last between 6 and 12 months
- There are tropical and common bedbugs–climates don’t really have an effect on them (unless that temperature is above 113 degrees Fahrenheit, which kills them when reached internally)