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Early signs of a bed bugs infestation and how to get rid of them


Thu, 30 Jun 2022 13:29:05 GMT


Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius)are one of the worst things that can happen to your home or hotel. You might have a maintenance routine. But bed bugs can still find their way into your beds. And completely ruin your precious sleep time or institution's reputation. This is why catching bed bugs early is very important. 

Early signs of bed bugs on a mattress are usually not evident to the naked eye. Because immature bugs and nymphs are very small. And the white to transparent colour helps them camouflage between bed sheets. Therefore, early signs of bed bugs mainly involve detecting bite marks, stains, and other clues. 

Getting rid of menacing bed bugs can be tough. Because early signs of bed bugs are often missed. Therefore, you don't confront the problem before it becomes a full-blown infestation. So, let's have a look at how to deal with them at the earliest.

Bed Bugs Life Cycle: A Quick Overview 

To effectively fight off a bed bug infestation, it is helpful to know about their life cycle first. Their life starts as an egg. The female bed bugs' eggs are as minute as a grain and are usually found in secured cracks and crevices. Eggs hatch within two weeks of being laid. The babies go out hunting for blood immediately. 

The nymphs or young bed bugs are yellowish-white in colour. Plus, they are smaller in size than adults. They go through moulting stages to reach full adulthood. And these cast skins are an important part of early-stage signs of bed bugs on the couch, mattress, or sheets. Within five weeks, these nymphs would become sexually mature adults. 

Adult bed bugs are easily visible to the naked eye. They are flat and dark to reddish-brown. The blood of humans and other mammals (cats, dogs) is their main meal, and it is a requirement for the energy they need to change skin and lay eggs. Mature bugs have flat bodies. Therefore can easily reside in cracks and crevices.

Bed bugs have a lifespan of four to six months. But even without food, they can live well up to a year when the temperature is cool and favourable. This, along with the bugs being immune to average insecticides, makes it hard to get rid of them, especially in old apartment buildings. 

This is why live bed bugs can easily travel with guests and tenants via their dirty clothes. In hotels, they spread from room to room when guest luggage is delivered to guests with a luggage rack. 

Early Detection Signs Of Bed Bugs Sheets Mattress And Couch 

Early-stage signs of bed bugs on the couch, sheets, and mattress are important to detect to avoid a full-blown bed bug infestation. Visual inspection of the picture frame, mattress seams, bed frames, and other common hiding spots can be helpful in this regard. You can also look for the following clues of bed bug activity.

Bed bug stains 

One of the most important early signs of bed bugs on mattresses is the stain. You might detect dark brown or black spots on your sheets, mattress, and pillow covers. These are usually small dots that appear like an ink smudge. 

These stains are mainly bed bug excrement and crushed bugs. After feeding on a host, the bugs digest their meal and leave their bed bug dropping on the bed sheets. You might also roll over during sleep and crush a bug or two. This also leaves bloody stains on the sheets. 

You may also notice similar bloody stains on your clothes. Such as the pyjamas or garments you went to sleep in. And you see this and take action immediately. 

Bed bug bites 

For some people, the itchy bites of bed bugs are the first signs of a bug infestation. However, as it feels similar to mosquito bites, you might be unable to detect it specifically. But bed bugs are not affected by average mosquito repellents. Therefore, if you still feel the stings after spraying some aerosol, check for bed bugs. 

Everyone reacts differently to bed bug bites. Some might never feel the sting. However, bite marks will be present on the skin when they wake up. During sleep, you can usually find such marks on the face, arms, back, shoulders, or any other exposed body part. The bugs can also crawl under your clothes and attack the covered parts. 

Bedbug bites usually cause local irritation of the skin. The skin around the bites will become red, itchy and inflamed, and there might be a burning sensation. In rare cases, there might be a breakout of hives and blisters throughout the skin. This indicates a hypersensitive reaction to bed bug bites. 

Keep in mind that these reactions vary according to person. Plus, sometimes allergic skin reactions might produce similar symptoms. 

Cast skins And Eggs 

The young bed bugs change their skin five times before reaching adulthood. And each of these moulting stages requires a hefty blood meal. Therefore, if you notice bed bug cast skins alongside bloodstains on your sheets or blankets, be sure you have an infestation. These shed skins look like brown spots and are bug-shaped. 

As mentioned earlier, bed bug eggs are hard to find. These are very small, and the pearly white colour lets them blend in with the background. However, once you are sure there are bed bugs in your mattress, you can actively look for the eggs and destroy them. The mattress seams and box springs are the usual sites. 

Special odour

The odour can be helpful in bed bug detection. This is a sweet or musty smell. Bed bugs have glands in their body that produce this scent and play an important role in communication with other bugs. 

The chemical Histamine is responsible for creating this odour. It almost smells like wildflowers or herbs, in other words, quite different from other common insects that produce a distinct smell. You might catch a whiff of it during the late hours of the night or in the morning when you wake up. 

Sleeping problems 

Problems with sleep can easily occur when you have a bed bug problem. This is one of the important early signs of bed bugs. However, they are often less obvious than bite marks or bloodstains. 

Bed bugs usually feed in the deepest hours of the night. And the movement of the bugs and stings from their bite will wake you up. But most people wouldn't attribute this to bed bugs. Instead, they might consider other common causes of sleeping problems. As a result, this can give rise to further sleep and psychological complications. 

Behaviour of Pets 

If your cat or dog is showing signs of irritation or is agitated,, it might be because of a bed bug infestation. Because bed bugs are not exclusive to humans, they can also feed on the blood of other mammals although humans are most preferable. Because the lack of fur on the body's's surface makes it easier to bite and draw blood. 

However, bed bugs shouldn't be your primary diagnosis if your pet behaves peculiarly. Consider fleas first and approach accordingly. 

Live Bed Bug Detection In All Stages Of Life

Besides the early signs of bed bugs mentioned above, you might also see them directly crawling around. However, it is easy to mistake them for other common and harmless insects. As a result, you might fail to take the appropriate preventive measures. So, learn how to detect bed bugs through a naked eye examination. 

Adult bed bugs: A full-grown adult bed bug has six legs and two antennas. Their body is dorsoventrally flat. These insects have no wings and, therefore no power of flight. The colour is dark brownish-red. On average, the adult bug can become as big as 5mm. Consequently, it's easy to detect adult bugs visually. 

Young bed bugs: Young bed bugs are smaller, and the colour of their body is translucent or yellowish-white. This makes them harder to spot. Although, after a recent blood meal, they look darker and therefore easier to detect. 

Bed bug eggs: The eggs are usually only 1mm in size or even smaller and oblong-shaped. Therefore, quite impossible to detect with the naked eye. However, the female bed bug lays its eggs in clusters, and this might create some amount of visibility. 

Where To Look For Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs hide in cracks and crevices. Keep this in mind whenever you check for them—for example, the cracks in your bed frame, headboards, and baseboards. You will also check the mattress seams, box springs, and screw heads. 

You should also check for early-stage signs of bed bugs on the couch and other furniture. Plus, any area with clutter are ideal places for these bugs to reside and multiply. Check behind loose wallpapers and wall crevices. You most likely have a full-blown infestation if you find adult bed bugs or nymphs crawling in this area. 

How To Get Rid Of Bed bugs?

Whether you have successfully detected early signs of bed bugs or have a full-blown infestation and are already suffering from clustered itchy bites, it is essential to get rid of them as soon as you are aware. You can either do it yourself or get professional integrated pest management services to do it for you. 

Heat is the most effective bed bug treatment. Immediately after bed bug detection, remove the infested bed sheets, clothes, or curtains. This will prevent the further spreading of bed bugs. Then wash them in hot water and dry them using the highest possible heat. 

To rid the items not washable in water from the bed bugs, place them in the dryer and dry wash with high heat for thirty minutes. For infested mattresses and furniture, keep them out in the sunlight for a day or two. 

This heat treatment will hopefully help you get rid of the bugs. After that, you have to regularly and frequently clean these items and always check for eggs or new infestation. Try to vacuum the susceptible areas every day. 

Besides cleaning, you must also encase your mattress and box spring in a tight cover with zippers. This will keep bed bugs from getting in. Plus also kill any remaining insects from spreading out. However, it might be the best to dispose of it altogether and get a new one. 

Heat treatment might help you get rid of the bugs if you detect them at an early stage of a bed bug on the couch. But a full-blown infestation will require chemical treatment by pest control professionals. So, don't waste time and get professional pest control services when you see the situation is out of hand. 

Most Modern Bed Bug Solution: The Valpas Protocol 

For hotel managers, bed bugs are not only about losing a good night's sleep. Rather, bed bug infestation can significantly blow the hotel's reputation and destroy the business as a whole, leading to reduced tenants. Bed bugs are definitely the bane of short-term rental companies. 

Valpas brings you the ultimate solution for hotels - smart bed legs. The idea is to detect the bed bugs at the earliest moment possible. Valpas smart legs will capture the first bugs when they crawl to your bed and notify you through an email. And as you know already, early bed bug detection is the most effective prevention.

Valpas also has a web app. You can log in and check the cleanliness of your rooms in real time. And for you to do that seamlessly from the centrally controlled system without any additional layer of technology. As a result, your staff can focus their energy more on other important business matters. 

This technology also helps you prevent bed bugs without spraying pesticides and chemicals in your rooms which is usually the case for professional extermination. Therefore, it saves you a lot of money. And most importantly, it protects your reputation by preventing an infestation in the first place. 


Hotel managers and homeowners must detect early signs of bed bugs. With the right technology, such as Valpas, you don't have to spend every day checking for these culprits. Rather, you will get notified through email when the first one shows up. 

So, install Valpas at your hotel and home today. Thanks for reading till the end, and have a nice day!


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