Top 25 Signs of Bed Bugs

Creepy crawlies that skitter about in the night are enough to give anyone shivers. Bed bugs are serious pests that can not only destroy your property, but they can make an impact on your life.

These tiny insects – it takes three-to-four to cover just Lincoln’s head on a penny – can be a major headache for anyone experiencing an infestation, and no matter where you live, it’s possible to encounter these little creatures.

If you are concerned that you may have a bed bug infestation or want to be sure one doesn’t get out of hand, here are the top 25 signs you might have bed bugs.

Bed Bugs small on a penny
How many bed bugs can fit on a penny?

#1 – You see bugs!

This should be the most obvious sign of a pest problem, but bed bugs are very small (between 5-7mm in length) and have several life stages making it difficult to pinpoint them. What’s worse is they could be just about anywhere.

#2 – You have recently encountered someone or a place that has reported bed bugs

While this is no guarantee that you will get bed bugs, if someone you know has had them or recently discovered they have had them, it’s a good idea to check around your own home to be sure you didn’t pick up a stow-away.

#3- Shells or molted skins

While living bugs can be elusive, they manage to leave behind a little present. Bed bugs shed their exoskeleton as they molt to the next stage. You will find these “leftovers” in cracks, under furniture, or anywhere they may be nesting.


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#4 – Fecal spots on bedding/mattress

Liquid fecal spots on your bedding is a sure sign of bed bugs. These small, liquid waste spots can be scattered across your bed depending on how often the bugs have fed.

#5 – Blood stains on your sheets/pajamas

If you are a host for a family of bed bugs, another sign would be blood stains. The primary diet for bed bugs is blood from humans or other warm-blooded animals. Seeing unexplained spots of blood on your sheets could be a warning flag.

#6 – Dark spots on the walls or upholstery

Sheets aren’t the only place for bed bugs to hide. These little creatures can easily slip behind your wall paper or into other enticing spots they can hide away during the day.

#7 – Multiple bug bites

Maybe it’s not mosquitos! If you find yourself waking up with multiple little red dots, it’s likely that you have bed bugs. The problem is, however, you may not actually feel the bed bug bite. The bites are painless, but they may cause you to have a reaction.

Top 25 sings of bed bugs
Bed Bugs are extremely small

#8 – Painful, swollen bumps with a dark center

If you aren’t 100% sure you have been bitten by a bed bug, one way to tell is by looking at the bite. They are often swollen with a dark center. In some cases, they can have a white center as well

#9 – Raised, red welts

Often, if you have bed bugs, you will have multiple bites. They often appear on your skin like a rash across a localized area. They are often raised and have the appearance of hives.

#10 – Burning and itching

While the initial bite may not hurt, bed bug bites tend to leave victims with a burning and itching sensation.

#11 – Fever, nausea, or a swollen tongue

Bed bug bites can cause a severe reaction in certain individuals. Coupled with the other signs of bed bug bites, such a reaction could be a sign of an infestation.

#12 – Marks on exposed skin

If you have rash-like patches, bites in a straight line, or burning hives on your exposed skin, you may have bed bugs. Depending on the clothing you wear to bed, bed bugs will latch on to exposed skin for an easy meal.

#13 – Not everyone displays symptoms; others have a strong reaction

It’s common for people to have different reactions to bed bug bites, even within the same household. Keep an eye on your skin, and the skin of small children, because it can be difficult to spot the sign without a reaction.

#14 – Uncomfortable nights

Another sign of a bed bug infestation is an uncomfortable night’s sleep. While you may not feel the bites, your body may react in response to any interaction with these pests. They are quick and often run across your bed at night to feed. While you may not be aware of the presence, your body may experience restlessness as a reaction.

#15 – Musty smell

Bed bugs have a particular smell. Much like the scent of a dirty, wet towel, where there is an infestation, there is often an overwhelming damp scent.

Bed Bugs signs on sheets
Signs of bed bugs on sheets

#16 – Rusty spots on the bedding

Much like seeing spots of blood, a common sign of bed bugs is in the rusty spots from expelling blood and fecal matter.

#17 – Flat, reddish bugs

If you do happen to see a bed bug, they are about 5-7mm in length and they are no bigger than a sunflower seed. These small oval bugs are so tiny they can fit almost anywhere and are so light it’s hard to tell when one is on you.

#18 – Bug exoskeletons or bodies

A sure sign of bed bugs is finding dead bodies throughout your house. These little creepers can find various spots to nest in your home, so don’t limit yourself to just the bedroom and mattress.

#19 – Egg shells or eggs

Bed bug egg shells are about 1mm and are a pale yellow. Like the exoskeletons or dead bodies, spotting eggs could mean you have a nasty infestation.

#20 – Shells in drawers

Much like your bedroom, it’s possible for bed bugs to house themselves in your clothing drawers. They can hide between the cracks, underneath, or even in the clothes themselves.

#21 – Spots near electrical receptacles and appliances

Another spot you may find black and rust colored spots is by electrical sockets. While it’s more common to find bed bugs in your mattress, it’s possible to find them just about anywhere in your home.

#22 – Box spring nightmare

If you have any bed bugs, the most likely spot you will find them is within your box spring. Bed bugs can squeeze themselves flat and fit in just about any little space.

#23 – The head of a screw

While the most obvious places may give you difficulty, consider this possibility: bed bugs in a screw head. Depending on the severity of the infestation, bed bugs can fit themselves in some of the strangest places.

#24 – Bites on your animals

If you have any warm-blooded animals, like cats or dogs, you may want to inspect them. Bed bugs don’t just bite humans!

#25 – Overall decrease in personal well-being

If you find yourself covered in welts, having a rough night sleep, and can’t stand the smell of your bedroom, it’s likely that your well-being is suffering. Not knowing the signs of a bed bug infestation can lead to poor quality of life.

Bed bugs are a pest that no one wants to encounter. If you see any signs that may indicate an infestation, take care of it as soon as possible. Your skin, pets, and furniture will thank you for it.

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