It is hard to identify bed bugs when they get into your home. First, bed bugs are tiny. An adult bed bug is only 4.5mm long. Nymphs can be as small as 1mm. While they're not so small that you can't see them, they're small enough to be hard to detect. Second, bed bugs have natural tendencies that make them hide, such as their nocturnal nature and the love of very tight spaces. It is possible to do a detailed inspection of your bed and not see a single bed bug even though there are many. So, how can you know if bed bugs have gotten in? Here are five bed bug signs to watch for in your Columbia South Carolina home.

a bed bug on a sheet
a bed bug on a mattress

1. Bites

There are many bugs that can bite you. It can be difficult to tell a bed bug bite from other bites. But it isn't impossible. Here are some criteria to consider when inspecting bites.

  • Were you bitten at night? If you're waking up with bites on you, those bites might not be from an outdoor insect.

  • Do you have lots of bites? Bed bugs feed in the same area, and each individual bug feeds more than once.

  • Are your bites near your feet? If you have itchy bites near your feet, they're more likely to be flea bites. Bed bugs tend to feed toward the upper part of the body because they are attracted to the carbon dioxide that we breathe out.

  • Do your bites run along your beltline or an area where your clothing was pressed against your skin? Those are likely to be chigger bites.

  • Do your bites follow a pattern? Since bed bugs feed in a group and feed multiple times (often three times in a line or slight zig-zag pattern) you may be able to distinguish these bites by looking for this pattern. If one bug bites you, you'll have three bites close together. If several have bitten you, the bites will look like they follow a path across your skin.

  • Do your bites have a rash around them? Bed bug bites are associated with a rash. This rash can encompass all the bites and make them look like they're only a rash, and not insect bites.

2. Stains

If you see black or brown stains on linen, bedding, or upholstered furniture, it is a warning sign that you have a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs can leave stains when they come out to feed at night. They will also be found where bed bugs are nesting. You'll have to look for these stains in compressed spaces or in gaps, seams, stitching, and crevices.

  • The feces of bed bugs are black. They can appear as specks, spots, or blotches.

  • Blood stains are likely to be brown or dirty brown. This is because the blood turns tan to brown when it dries, and it may be mixed with some fecal matter.

3. Skins

Bed bugs shed their skins as they develop. These skins can be pale to tan in color. While you might find them along carpet edges or on surfaces, they're more likely to be found where bed bugs are nesting. We recommend dragging a debit card along mattress seams to dislodge this material and bring it to the surface.

4. Eggs

When you do an inspection with a debit card, you may dislodge white eggs. Bed bugs lay these eggs in seams and tight spaces. They may also be found in a compressed space, such as between your mattress and box spring. Keep in mind that these eggs are only 1mm long. That's pretty small. You can find dozens in a small space the size of your thumbnail.

5. Pheromones

Bed bugs communicate with excreted chemical smells called pheromones. If you have enough bed bugs in an area, you may start to notice an unpleasant aroma. Some compare this smell to the scent of a moist, locker room towel.

What To Do When You Find Bed Bugs In Columbia, SC

Bed bugs are difficult to exterminate, and it can be very frustrating to attempt to do so. The best option is to contact Go-Forth Pest Control and get professional bed bug extermination services for your Columbia home. Reach out to us today if you need questions answered, or if you'd like to schedule a service visit.

 

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