Bed Bug Signs | Identifying and Treating Infestations

Written by Thomas Matthews

People are always paranoid when it comes to insects. If we see a small bite on our arms or legs, we immediately suspect there is an infestation, whether it’s bed bugs, cockroaches, or ants. But bugs are everywhere and as much as we hate them, some are more dangerous, and some are not.

How to know if you have bed bugs? Small, itch-inducing bites on your skin, typically on your arms or shoulders, could be the first indication that you have bedbugs. Things to watch out for include red, itchy bites, dark stains on sheets and pillowcases, odor, alive bed bugs, and insomnia. The easiest way to see if you have bed bugs is to locate their harborage.

However, there are other ways, which we’ll talk about in this article. If you’re suspecting that you have bed bugs somewhere in your house, we suggest taking a few minutes to read this article.

How to Know If You Have Bed Bugs? | Early Signs of Bed Bugs Infestation

Itchy Red Bites

Itchy Red bed bug Bites

If you’re like a majority of people, you won’t see the bed bugs as the first sign of the infestation. Instead, the first thing you will start seeing are parts of the body having red and itchy bites that can sometimes itch very badly. This is, in most cases, a clear sign of a bed bug infestation.

It can be a clear sign but in some cases, it isn’t! Cockroaches or mosquitos can also bite you and the bite will look almost the same. This is because mosquitos extract the blood the same way as bed bugs. They both have the straw-like ‘mouth’ that they use for blood extraction.

If we would look at it in the most literal way, bed bugs don’t bite you. They only pierce you with their straw and drink blood. One bed bug won’t do any damage but just imagine fifty or hundreds of them crawling on your skin and each of them taking a bite.

This is why their bites are concentrated in one place and they’re drastically smaller than the mosquito’s bites. A mosquito bites you once or twice a night and moves on, while bed bugs are attacking in packs, which is why there’s a higher number of bites.



We all had some type of insomnia. Having to twist and turn in your bed during the night is downright terrifying, obnoxious, and pointless. But, interestingly enough, bed bugs can also cause insomnia because of their bites.

You may also feel that you aren’t rested enough when you wake up in the morning. This is probably because bed bugs drank your blood during the night and your body, although sleeping, knew that something is wrong.

In rare cases, someone may wake up in the middle of the night with bed bugs drinking their blood. Remember that bed bugs are small, brown in color, and they’re hard to see during the night. This is why it can be terrifying knowing that something is drinking your blood, without knowing what it is.

Dark Stains on Sheets and Pillowcases

Bed bugs aren’t the tidiest insects. In fact, they’re very messy, sloppy, and dirty. This means that they often leave the traces somewhere close to their harborage, which is, in many cases, your bed. If you find the dark-brown stains and that they can be smeared when touched, it’s a sure sign that you have bed bugs.

These brown stains can be feces or dead bed bugs. If you find dead bed bugs, that’s even better because you now have the proof. We suggest removing all the bedding from your mattress and taking a closer look under the light. If there are bed bugs, you’ll see the signs right away.


Despite being so small, bed bugs are all but odorless. In this case, you should use your nose and smell around your bed or clothes. The bed bugs’ pheromones have a quite strong smell and many describe it as a musty odor that’s easy to feel.

Hearing about Bed Bugs in Your Neighborhood

If you suspect that you are having a bed bug infestation, ask around your neighborhood. Bed bugs must come from somewhere. Since they’re not used to living outside, these bed bugs are from someone’s home or your new piece of furniture. If your neighborhood is known for some bed bug incidents, chances are that some of your neighbors are responsible for the bed bug infestation in your home.

Another reason is throwing bed bug-infested clothes, carpets, or mattresses in the trash. When you discard a piece of furniture or any other thing infested with bed bugs, you need to call trash collectors to pick it up. If you don’t do that, you just postponed the infestation for a day or two, until bed bugs get into your house again.

Related: 8 Tiny Bugs in Bed but Not Bed Bugs | How to Identify and Eliminate Them!

Alive Bed Bugs

Alive Bed Bugs

If you see bed bugs in motion in their harborage, wherever it may be, you’ve confirmed that you’re a victim of bed bug infestation. If you’re eager to find live bed bugs, you need to inspect their most used place for hiding.

It could be your bed construction or inside the mattress. You need to remove all the bedding and sheets and start looking underneath it. Does your mattress have tears? Does your bed construction have holes? If so, the bed bugs might be hiding there. Other common places include:

How to Avoid Bed Bug Infestations?

Avoid Buying Used Furniture

Buying used furniture is one of the stupidest things you can do, especially since furniture isn’t that expensive. Of course, there’s the expensive furniture that can cost you as much as your salary but many of us don’t buy that. What we always suggest is buying your furniture at verified shops.

Thankfully, you have the internet and you can inform yourself about various manufacturers and shops. If you want to make sure that you’re buying only clean furniture, you can ask the personnel in the shop if they do something to prevent their furniture from being infested with bed bugs.

You can also request to talk to the manager and see if they offer some kind of warranty that could allow you to return the piece of furniture if you find bed bugs. Either way, be communicative and talk to your vendor about this topic.

Check Your Furniture Regularly

Even if your house is clean and you don’t believe you can get bed bugs, let us be honest – you can. Bed bugs are persistent and they will get into every home they want, despite its location or height. If you live on the 25th floor of the building, you can still get bed bugs and that’s the reality of the situation.

Luckily, by checking your furniture regularly, you can reduce the risk of bed bug infestation. Checking the furniture is relatively easy. You can start by removing all the blankets, sheets, and the whole bedding, then checking your mattress for holes and tears. Next, you can look under your bed and check the construction.

Be sure to conduct this kind of check once a month and you’re good to go. Also, don’t do it at night because it’s easier to see bed bugs during the day.

Don’t Stay in Hotel Rooms Frequently

bed bugs in hotel

Hotels are often a bed bug galore. Even the high-end and the most expensive hotels are targets for bed bugs, which is why staying in hotels often poses a certain threat. If you must stay in a hotel room, you can always check your room for bed bugs.

List of Sources

How to Find Bed Bugs. EPA.
How Do I Know If A Bed Bug Treatment Has Been Successful, University of Minnesota
Recognizing bed bugs and their signs, Texas A&M AgriLife.

Thomas Matthews
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