Adult bed bugs are small, usually ¼ inch in length. They have flat oval shaped bodies and are reddish-brown in color. If a bug has just had a meal it will be quite round and red on the underside. Nymph (not adult) bugs are smaller and slightly lighter in color.
Although they are great at hiding, they are not great in hiding where they have been. Bed bugs leave behind many signs.
- You will find black dots along the seams of a mattress or box spring or in folds of the sheets. This is simply bed bug feces.
- The bed bug goes through 5 nymph phases before becoming an adult. At each stage it must shed its exoskeleton. They are a light brown in color and often many at one spot.
- There may be red dots on your sheets, pillows or pajamas. These are drops of blood left behind after a blood meal on the way back to their hiding place.
So carefully check your bedding. Take off the sheets one at a time slowly. Kill the ones you see. Do the same with pillow cases turning them inside out. If you find signs or bugs rolled up sheets place them in a plastic bag and seal it. Then wash it on high heat and dry it on high heat. Check the side seams of the mattress. Check the box spring. Check underneath the mattress and box spring. Check the frame especially if it is wood. Check behind the head board. Most bed bugs are found within 8 feet of the bed.
Bed bugs normally require 2 to 3 bites to make a full blood meal. They stab you with a pointy mouth appendage called a rostrum. A bite mark normally has a small red dot in the center. If it swells a lot the red spot may not be visible. The bites may be in a straight line or in a semi-circle. Some people don’t even realize they have been bitten and others have allergic reactions and the bite itch badly.
If you find these signs, you probably have bed bugs. But let us come and give you the full picture of what you are dealing with and what needs to happen next.