Because they’re excellent hitchhikers, bed bugs tend to go wherever we go. Knowing the signs these pests leave behind will do more than protect you while you’re on vacation. It can protect you when you’re at work or riding public transit, keep your adult children from bringing bed bugs home from college, keep your young children from bringing them home from a sleepover, help you detect these bugs if they come in a package through the mail, and more.
What to Look for When It Comes to Bed Bugs
Bed bugs, like most insects, leave evidence of their presence. Whether you’re at home, in the office, or a hotel on vacation, here are six signs bed bugs will leave behind.
Bed bugs leave feces everywhere they go, which makes it one of the first tell-tale signs that you have a problem. When staying somewhere overnight, look for black streaks or small black droppings on surfaces like bedding, sheets, and upholstered furniture such as couches or chairs. In addition to the traditional hiding spots in the bedroom, bed bugs can be found in many public venues like theaters, libraries, and daycare centers.
Bed bugs go through five developmental stages before they reach their adult size. As they transfer to the next stage, they shed their skin. These skins can be found everywhere bed bugs travel—but especially in the areas of infestation. Examine mattress seams, the stitching on upholstered furniture, and carpet edges. When examining luggage, look in any crease, seam, or pocket. These casings might also be on seat cushions in everything from a taxi to an airplane.
When bed bugs infest, they will leave bloodstains. These stains will look red when fresh and brown over time. Look for these stains in areas of infestation, as well as on sheets, pillowcases, and bedding.
Bed bugs communicate with the scent of their pheromones (a chemical signal released by animals). If there are enough bed bugs infesting or an infestation is in a closed space, such as the interior of a taxi, you may be able to smell it. Some describe this smell as a moist locker room towel. So, as you can imagine, it is unpleasant.
The most obvious sign will be when you notice these bites on yourself or other people. If you stay in a hotel, motel, resort, or at the home of a friend or relative, it is important to look out for bites that are small, red, and rashy with no swelling. They will also appear in a line or cluster. Individual bed bugs feed multiple times, so their bites don’t appear random on the skin like bites from multiple insect bites.
Bed bugs leave their eggs wherever they infest, often among other evidence. Bed bug eggs are white and tiny—the size of a pen tip. When traveling, carefully search your luggage, clothing, and other belongings that have been on a trip. In addition, be aware that they may make their way into your home through package delivery.
Dealing with Bed Bugs
Even if you look out for these warning signs, the best evidence of bed bugs is seeing them crawling around. If you’ve seen any signs of bed bug activity (including the bugs themselves), McCall Service has the education, experience, and state-of-the-art equipment to get rid of them. If you live in our Northern Florida service areas, contact us today for immediate service.