8 Signs of Bed Bugs

Even the thought of bed bugs can inspire utter disgust, mild panic, and phantom itching. The idea of little creatures crawling over our sleeping bodies is a truly disgusting one. Unfortunately, bed bugs can live anywhere from five-star hotels to hostels, in every corner of the globe and may even be camping out in your bedsheets at this very moment. Bed bugs are a common phenomenon and travel from place to place on clothing and inside suitcases. It’s important to properly wash and disinfect your clothing and belongings if you think you’ve had a run in with these insects during your travels. Since bed bugs can spread so quickly and are difficult to detect and dispose of, they are a common and irritating pest.

Bed bugs can also be dangerous in certain situations. Interactions with bed bugs can, and do, range from mildly annoying to medically concerning. It’s not uncommon for people to develop allergies to these little critters, so it’s important to understand the symptoms of bed bugs, their telltale bites and when you should seek medical care.

1. Appearance of Small Bumps

The bite of this insect manifests itself in a small bump that’s generally bright red in color. You’ll find these small bumps wherever your bare skin was exposed to your bedsheets; so your extremities (feet and hands), legs, ankles, neck and even face. You’ll notice these bites right away because of their vivid color and the fact that they will appear so suddenly. Small bumps are one of the most telltale signs of bed bugs and often one of the first symptoms you’ll see. If you wake up with this affliction, you might have some unwanted bedtime guests!

If you see one or two small red bumps on your skin, it’s probably nothing to worry about. These creatures tend to inflict many bites over the course of a night, so gauge your symptoms accordingly to avoid panicking over something that might not be a big deal. If you have children and notice several small bumps on the skin that’s been exposed to the mattress or sheets over the course of a night, you should immediately check the sheets for other signs of these nocturnal insects. The size of these bites will often vary, but they will be generally uniform in shape and on the smaller side.

2. You Will Experience Tremendous Itchiness

Another key sign of unwanted nighttime visitors is itchiness. When the bed bug first bites you, you won’t wake up or have any pain. This is how they’re able to inflict so much damage over the course of a single night! Only later will the itchiness manifest itself on areas of your body that have been plagued by these insects. Many times the bites will transform into horrible rashes. Of course, you can get rashes from a number of different other factors including laundry soap or illness, so make sure you look at the other factors on this list before making a determination.

3. You Might Have Redness In The Afflicted Area

These bites usually transform themselves into vast areas of rashy redness. If you are allergic to these types of bites, your redness will be even worse. Try not to itch it and apply a topical cream to relieve the symptoms. If this doesn’t work, or the symptoms persist and get worse, it’s important to seek medical attention. Insect allergies are unpredictable and could lead to very serious medical consequences, like anaphylaxis.

4. You Could Experience Swelling

Swelling could indicate an allergic reaction to the bed bug bite and is a reason to consult with your medical professional. If the swelling is a result of scratching, apply cream to help ease your symptoms and try to refrain from interacting with the infected area. This swelling is a result of being injected by the bed bug’s venom, which they secrete when they bite you.

5. Your Bites Could Appear As A Series Of Bumps In A Line

Bed bugs bite multiple times over the course of a night, so expect to see a number of bumps, generally manifesting as a rash but also often appearing as a series of bumps in a line. You might see both straight lines and zig-zag patterns after an attack by these insects. This is where bug bites differ from the marks of other pests, like fleas, spiders or mosquitos. Many other insects only bite once or twice and do not attack in this type of pattern. Bed bug bites also don’t have the white center that is symptomatic of many other types of bites, irritations or blemishes.

6. You See Fresh Bites In The Morning

It makes sense that since bed bugs feed at night that you’ll see the results first thing in the morning. If your sheets are full of bed bugs, you will find your exposed skin covered in fresh bites in the morning. You won’t have to search too much to find these bites, as they will be unfortunately very evident by the rashes on your skin. If you see bites on your skin in the morning that were not there the night before, you could be suffering from bed bugs. It’s unlikely that your skin had contact with anything other than your mattress and your sheets, so it’s a sure sign that something could be off.

7. You Notice Blood Stained Sheets

If you notice bites on your skin, check your sheets. Blood stained sheets are the calling cards of bed bugs. Often these insects leave tiny blood splotches where they fed on your skin. You’ll want to examine your sheets completely, including the folds and crevices near corners. If you see unexplained blood spots on your sheet, and especially if you find residual evidence of bed bugs, like fecal matter or shells, you need to exterminate immediately because you have an infection.

8. You Notice A Sudden Offensive Odor

A bed bug infestation produces a disgusting smell. It’s powerful and unique, a combination of mold and coriander. People who are plagued by bed bugs often complain that their homes and clothing begin to stink. Taken alone, an unpleasant smell could be the product of any number of different things, but in conjunction with other items on this list should be a sign of unwanted nocturnal guests. If a sudden smell is coming from your bedsheets or permeating your home, do a little investigation to see if you can find blood spots anywhere. If you do, you know you have a problem.

Bed bugs aren’t just disgusting, they’re a health hazard and if you’re allergic to them, they can be dangerous. If you find yourself the victim of bed bugs and start exhibiting some of the more drastic symptoms on this list, like swelling or intense redness in the afflicted area, see your medical professional immediately. If you are the unwilling host of these little menaces, don’t worry, you’re not alone. You can take immediate steps to get your home professionally fumigated or get rid of the insects yourself.