Early Signs of Bed Bugs

early bed bugs signs

They are small, wingless insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. They usually come out at night to feed, which is why they go unnoticed for a long time.

They typically live in bedding, mattresses, furniture, and other places where people sleep or spend a lot of time.

The small, flat shape of bugs makes them difficult to spot, and their tendency to hide in tight areas means they can go unnoticed for months.

They tend to be most active at night, so this is when homeowners may first spot them. They are also attracted to body heat, so they may be found in areas where people gather.

Many homeowners first become aware of them when they find bite marks on their skin.

In the United States, They are a widespread problem, whether the pests have traveled from a nearby hotel or have just found their way to a damp sleeping spot.

The life cycle is so long that it may go months without food. Based on the environment, They may spend up to 400 days without a blood meal.

Nymphs in their latter phases of development have a greater capacity for fasting than their younger peers, and adults may go without food for almost 400 days in the experiment at cold temperatures.

How to Identify them?

how to check

Check in areas such as mattresses, headboards, and furniture that may have rusty patches. They may leave tiny, black stains on sheets, pillows, duvets, and curtains. They hide in gaps and crevices. Bedbugs seek dark, warm places like radiators and electrical outlets.

Although they can be difficult to spot, there are a few signs that they may be present. Here are the steps for checking your home:

  1. Inspect the bed and other places where you sleep for signs. Look for rusty-colored spots (their droppings) on mattress seams, headboards, and other furniture. They also leave behind shed skins as they molt, which can be observed in crevices or mattress seams.
  2. Examine your linen and other fabrics in the bedroom for signs. Check sheets, pillowcases, duvets, and even curtains for the presence of small, dark spots that could indicate an infestation.
  3. Check all crevices, cracks, and other hiding places. They are attracted to dark and warm areas like behind radiators and in electrical outlets.
  4. Check in other parts of your home. They can travel long distances and infest multiple rooms, so it’s important to inspect other areas, such as the living room or kitchen.

7 Early Signs of Bed Bugs

There are 7 early signs that you must know, including Live bugs, Shell Casings, Eggs, Blood spots, Bites, Feces, and Odors.

Despite the fact that discovering them is never pleasant news, it is preferable to discover them early rather than later. If not addressed or identified in time, a little issue may escalate into a big infestation that is difficult and expensive to fix.

However, if you know what to look for and how to do a thorough inspection, you may stop an infestation before it starts. Since you can’t see a rising issue with these insects because they are most active at night, they may quickly become a severe nuisance.

But there are red flags that might help you identify a problem before it gets out of hand. Although, certain indicators of infestation are much more obvious than others.

We have evaluated these cautionary early signs according to how confidently they can identify infection at its earliest stages.

1. Live Bed Bugs

A clear indicator is the presence of live bugs.

They are nocturnal insects that often only venture out of their hiding places when searching for food or when pregnant females try to escape impulsive males. They habitually stay put once they’ve discovered a suitable hiding spot.

This is why many individuals don’t notice a problem until it’s terrible and the bugs are hiding in their sheets. Unfortunately, They may only be found alive if their hiding locations are moved, such as during moving preparations.

They are commonly mistaken for other insects and likewise. Spider caterpillars, carpet ladybugs, and cockroach nymphs are indeed the bugs most often mistaken.

It’s a frequent fallacy that they are no bigger than apple seeds. However, this is not quite accurate; they are much smaller than apple seeds.

  • Mature bugs are approximately 4-5 mm in length, whereas a typical apple seed is around 8 in size.
  • However, they may grow to be as long as 7 mm for a short time when swollen with blood.
  • Nymphal they are even tinier than adult ones, measuring between 0.5 to 1 mm at birth.
  • Tiny, flaxseed-sized, reddish-brown bugs.
  • Like to scurry into tiny spaces
  • Little insects are often misidentified as spider larvae, carpet beetles, or something else entirely.

2. Shell Casings

There is an almost 100% chance that you carry them if you come across their empty shells, also called husks or shed skins. Cases left behind are a sure symptom of a burgeoning infestation.

It is crucial to inspect the nooks and folds of your mattress and other textile items, as well as any wooden ones you may have, for these bugs here. They will lay their eggs.

They undergo five development phases before becoming adults, and during that period, they will drop their exoskeleton multiple times.

Every stage of development requires a molt, beginning with the first nymph and continuing through the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth instars until reaching the adult stage.

The resulting products are shell casings, also known as shed skins, which come in a wide range of sizes.

However, since most individuals are not acquainted with the sizes and forms of larvae, it might be challenging to detect shell casing.

But suppose you have a preexisting suspicion and find yellowish, transparent shells in popular hidden areas.

In that case, you may consider calling your local pest management specialist for an assessment.

  • Nymphs have transparent exoskeletons that are yellowish brown.
  • They come in a variety of sizes due to the shedding process of the

3. Eggs

Females may lay anywhere from 1 to 7 eggs every day during their time of fertility, and those eggs will hatch in about a week and a half.

Bed bug eggs are oval in form, around 1 millimeter in length, and have a pearly white tint. When shrunk down to the size of a knucklehead , they look like microscopic grains of rice.

Each female may produce over 500 eggs throughout her lifespan.

Although eggs are plain to see, not everyone has the experience or knowledge to identify them. Each bed bug egg has a hinged cap at its end, from which the freshly born insect rises.

  • Adult bugs may be distinguished from their eggs by the darkening of the eye spot, which requires a microscope to be observed.
  • Bed bug eggs, like fecal spots, are more abundant in and surrounding hiding places.
  • Unfortunately, pregnant female bugs have a habit of wandering, which may transmit an infestation to adjacent rooms or even buildings.

In order to secure their eggs to surfaces, females produce a glue-like substance.

Therefore, these small, white eggs will usually be found clinging to the cracks in textiles or wooden structures. However, they might be found in just about any place.

  • Ovals of a pearly white color, about 1 millimeter in length, and the size of a knucklehead.
  • Adheres haphazardly to a wide variety of substrates
  • Commonly located near bed bug colonies.

4. Blood Spots

They rarely get away untouched from their blood meals on humans, even though we rarely see them often.

When a bed bug feeds on human blood , it expands until it looks like a little football rather than the flat, seed-like shape in which it begins.

Therefore, it is possible to accidentally kill a bed bug that has completed feeding if you quickly move or alter your position while sleeping.

Although this does not generally result in their death, it might cause the blood they have just consumed to flow out, leaving a scarlet or rusty mark.

Whether you detect what could be a bloodspot on your linens, clothing, or mattress, you should first look for a cut or lesion on your body to determine whether it is the source of the stain.

Bed bug bites may sometimes cause noticeable blood spots. While feeding, They use their anticoagulant-filled saliva to keep blood from clotting. Even after they’ve done it, the bites could keep bleeding for a long.

  • Reddish or rust-colored stains that don’t seem to have a clear cause
  • Possible manifestations include sporadic dot-like marks or streaks on fabrics (such as those used for bedding, clothes, or cushions).

5. Bites


The first thing that comes to mind is often being bitten by unknown insects while sleeping.

They are little, bloodsucking insects that are most active at night. As a result, they tend to bite at night when the skin is most vulnerable. Victims usually sustain bites to the arms, hands, or legs.

Although bites may indicate a bed bug infestation, experts in the field believe they are insufficient for making a definitive diagnosis.

Given the wide variation in responses to bed bug bites across humans, there is currently no reliable means to tell them apart from the bites of other insects.

In addition, about a third of the population shows no sensitivity to bed insect bites on their skin.

  • Bites often cause red, itchy pimples to pop up in groups, but reactions vary.
  • Bed bug bites often develop in little lines or groups of three, a pattern known as breakfast, brunch, and dinner pattern. However, bed bug bites don’t often cluster together.
  • Additionally, there are no illnesses that a bed bug bite may transmit. Other individuals, nonetheless, may have an allergic response to substances found in saliva.

Therefore, you need to contact a doctor if you’ve been bitten and suffer extreme itching, painful inflammation, sores, temperature, or common cold symptoms.

  • Red lumps that itch and form overnight.
  • Bites often occur on the arms, wrists, and legs.
  • Breakfast, brunch, and dinner method consisting of clusters of three or four bites in a row.

6. Feces

Bed bug fecal markings, also known as fecal markings, are far smaller and thicker than the brown stains that we discussed before. These stains are also referred to as fecal spotting.

These little black specks are about the size of an ink dot that might come off the end of a pencil or highlighter. Their typical size is somewhere between two and four times greater than a full stop. Bed bug feces are responsible for leaving behind fecal stains since they are composed of decomposed human blood.

The absorbed blood has a dark brown or black appearance, and since it includes iron, it will emit a mild rusty scent. This stench is one of the factors that add to the generally disagreeable odor associated with a bed bug infestation. 

Bed bug feces may be seen on a wide variety of surfaces, including blankets, pillowcases, beds, dressers, bed frames, walls, drapes, and more. This can happen everywhere in the home.

In most cases, you will discover them congregated in huge numbers close to spots where they hide and where they dwell. Bed bug feces are notoriously difficult to remove from fabrics after they have been deposited there. They take on the appearance of stains made by a magic marker when wetting, enabling them to spread in a particular manner.

  • Approximately pencil-tip-sized brown or black dots.
  • Commonly spotted in aggregations around harbors and sometimes on bedding and laundry.
  • Fabrics with dark streaks, like those left by a magic marker, even after being cleaned

7. Odors

An unpleasant odor may be the first indicator that anything is wrong. A telltale symptom is the presence of a musty stench in the bedroom that can’t be pinned down to anything more visible, like dirty clothes. The presence of a potential predator triggers the release of alarm hormones by them.

Some of the aromas these hormones emit are somewhat sweet or musty. Those who have smelled it directly compare it to the aroma of berries, mustard, basil, or walnuts.

Pheromones often have a very subtle scent, hardly perceivable by the human nose. Very few people, outside of those with specially trained dogs, can smell the raspberry-like chemicals that they emit.

The signals of a huge population combined with the stench of their dead bodies, shells, and feces. The resulting rusty stench becomes more offensive as the infestation worsens.

Bed insect smell is usually the least dependable of the early warning signs. This is because whenever there are just a few of them presents, their stench is too subtle for us to detect.

It’s also not common knowledge that these bugs (or an infestation) have a distinct odor. Therefore even if you pick up on it, you may not know what it is.

  • An odd, musty smell with no obvious source.
  • A major bed bug invasion may accompany smells like rust, damp towels, and mildewy clothes.

Early Signs on Sheets


Look for small brownish-red stains on sheets, which may indicate the signs on sheets.

Stains are made from digested blood and excrement. If you notice any of these stains, you may need an inspection. They may also leave behind molted exoskeletons on sheets.

Early Signs of Bites


If you wake up with bite marks on your skin, this could indicate bed bug activity.

They feed on human blood, and their bites can cause itching and irritation. Note that not everyone reacts to bed bug bites, so it’s essential to look for other signs as well.

Bite marks are not the only sign; other signs include fecal spots, eggs, eggshells, and a musty smell.

Early Signs on the Couch

They can hide in couches and other furniture. Look closely at the seams and crevices of sofas, chairs, and other upholstered furniture.

This includes small brownish-red stains, eggs, and eggshells. You may also be able to spot small insects or their molted exoskeletons.

Early Signs on Walls


When inspecting them on walls, keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • Dark spots on walls, which are actually bed bug droppings. These can look like smudges or black or brown spots.
  • Live bugs on the walls may be seen moving around from time to time.
  • Bloodstains on walls result from them biting a person and leaving behind droplets of blood.
  • Eggshells or shed skins are evidence that a bed bug has gone through its molting process.
  • A sweet, musty odor given off by the pheromones.
  • Feeling of something crawling on the walls; this is due to the presence of bugs or their nymphs.

Early Signs on Mattress


The early signs of on mattress include a musty smell, small black spots or stains, and tiny red dots (bed bug bites). If you notice any of these signs, you could have a bed bug infestation.

Early Signs on Skin

The most obvious sign is bite marks on the skin. These may appear in lines or clusters, and they typically have a red, itchy, swollen appearance.

Some people may also experience a mild fever or other allergic reactions to bites.

Your skin may also be covered in small, red bumps that may itch or sting. Some people may not notice any symptoms at all, while others may experience severe reactions.

Early Signs on Body


If you’ve been exposed, some early signs may indicate these pests’ presence. Itchy red bumps and welts on the skin are one of the most common signs that have bitten you.

These bites may be small and appear in lines or clusters. Swelling, redness, and itching are all common symptoms of bites. In some cases, the bumps may be filled with fluid or pus and may even resemble hives.