Bed bug infestations are a prevalent problem. Even if you keep your home spotlessly clean, you still run the risk of enduring an infestation if you were to bring the bugs into your house from other places, such as a movie theater or hotel room. Not only do the bugs bite you while you sleep, but they can also transmit Chagas disease via the transmission of a parasite.
Even if you have not seen any bed bugs in your house, they could still be lurking around. Be on the lookout for the signs below that indicate that you may have the beginnings of a bed bug infestation in your house.
1. You Wake up With Itchy, Red Bites on Your Arms and Shoulders
One sign that you have bed bugs in your house is when you start waking up with itchy, red bites on your arms and around your shoulders. These bites represent where the bugs are feeding on you to get the blood they need to mate and grow.
If you have not seen any of the insects, you may think that these bites were caused by fleas or chiggers if you had been outside in tall grass. However, these types of bites are typically found around the ankles and lower legs. Bed bug bites can be all over your body but are most often around your arms and shoulders.
2. You Detect an Odor in Your Bedroom Reminiscent of a Gym Locker Room
Another sign that you may have the start of a bed bug infestation is when you start detecting a musty odor in your bedroom. This odor may remind you of the musty smell that is present in gym locker rooms that have wet towels laying around.
If you are detecting this odor in your bedroom and you know that there are no wet towels laying around, it may be caused by bed bugs. When the insects go through their mating cycle, they release pheromones that smell musty.
If the odor is faint, there may not be too many bed bugs yet, but they will start to multiply rapidly. However, if the smell is strong, the infestation may be larger than you may think, even if you do not see the bugs themselves.
3. You See Small, Rust-colored Stains and/or Granules Around the Corners of Your Mattress
If you are waking up with red bites and your bedroom smells like musty socks, the next sign you should look for can be found by inspecting the corners of your mattress. Since bed bugs like to congregate in hidden areas, small, rust-colored stains and even small granules can often be found in these spots.
Remove the sheets from your bed, and lift up the top and bottom folds of the mattress, paying particular attention to the corners at the top. If you see stains, these are made by the fecal matter of the bugs. If you find rust-colored granules, these are the eggs of the bugs. At this point, you may even see one or more of the insects, which warrants immediate action.
Even if you do not actually see the bugs at this moment if you notice one or more of the signs above, an infestation in your house may be imminent. Before the problem gets out of hand and you start seeing bugs crawling all over your house, contact a pest control service to have them determine the extent of the infestation and to take action to get rid of it. They'll be able to rid your home of bed bugs and help you take preventative action against further infestations.