Signs of Bed Bugs on Your BodyBed bugs do bite, so you should monitor any spots that look like bug bits on you or your family members carefully, especially if they seem only to be occurring inside your home. Bed bug bites are red and itchy, much like those from fleas, but you’ll usually see them in a zig-zag pattern or cluster if they’re from bed bugs. Bed bugs will usually bite exposed skin before working their way through clothing, so if you notice that your feet, arms, or shoulders are getting more bites than your legs or stomach, you might have bed bugs.
Signs of Bed Bugs in Your HomeIf you do notice bites that appear to be from bed bugs on anyone in your family, you should start looking for signs of the critters in your home. Even if you have yet to see one, it doesn’t mean they’re not there; bed bugs are notoriously good at hiding. One of the most common places for these bugs to hide is, of course, in beds and bedding. You might be lucky enough to spot a bed bug or two scamper across the bed and back into their hiding spots once you turn the light on. However, a more accurate way to see if you have bugs in your bed is to inspect the mattress and bedding for reddish-brown streaks thoroughly. These are stains, usually from fecal matter, that bed bugs leave behind after they’ve eaten human blood. You sometimes can see bed bug shells, which they occasionally molt as they grow, in or near their hiding spots. The easiest way to check for any signs of bed bugs in your beds is to remove all bedding, thoroughly inspect each piece, and then search the mattress – especially its corners and underneath – for molted shells or fecal matter. Bed bugs don’t always hide in beds, though. They might also make their home behind dressers, in closets, in baseboards, or anywhere there might be dark cracks or crevices in the house. If you suspect a bed bug problem, you should move furniture away from walls, take cushions off chairs and couches, and check your baseboards with a flashlight for any signs. Bed bugs may also leave behind an unpleasant odor, which can be especially prevalent in small rooms where they hang out. You might notice a musty smell that mimics the scent of damp, dirty clothes.
How to Not Take Bed Bugs Home with YouOne of the most significant problems with bed bugs is that they’re happy to travel with you from somewhere else to take up residence in your home. It’s not uncommon for hotels, theaters, shopping malls, or other public places to have them. Bed bugs can easily get into suitcases or leech to your clothing when they want to move onto bigger and better things, like your home. Your child might even bring them home in her backpack. You might not always be able to prevent bringing bed bugs home with you, but there are a few things you can do to boost your chances of staying bug-free:
- When visiting a hotel, always do a thorough inspection of the room before bringing in your belongings.
- Keep your suitcases in a trash bag that you can tie closed to keep bugs from crawling in.
- Keep all bags sealed and stored on shelves, not furniture, and keep any hanging clothing away from furniture and bedding.
- Inspect all your belongings before you leave.