7 signs you have bed bugs and how to get rid of them quickly

Bed bugs are most definitely unwelcome visitors, especially as these tiny insects bite and their bites can cause allergic reactions and even secondary skin infections. While their bites are usually harmless, dealing with an infestation can be a major headache.

Female bed bugs can lay up to 500 eggs in just two months, leading to a rapid increase in their population if left unchecked. To help you identify and eliminate these pests, experts at Bed Kingdom have shared seven signs to look out for and various tips to banish them.

Strange Smell

One of the early signs of a bed bug infestation is a strange, musty scent in your bedroom. This smell is caused by the alarm pheromones that bed bugs emit when they feel threatened. It has been described as having a faint smell of raspberries, coriander, or almonds. In severe cases, the smell may be mixed with the odour of dead bugs and shell casings, creating a rust-like scent.

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Waking up with “red, itchy bites” is a common sign of bed bugs. These pests feed on blood during the night and tend to bite areas like the arms, hands, and legs. The bites often appear in clusters, but they can also show up as single bites. While bed bug bites are usually not dangerous, some people may have an allergic reaction. If you experience extreme swelling or other severe symptoms, it’s advisable to seek medical help.


Bed bug eggs are tiny, measuring only 1mm in length. They can be difficult to spot but can resemble small grains of rice. Look for them in the seams and joints of the mattress or behind the headboard. These eggs are loosely attached to different surfaces.

Shell Casings

Bed bugs shed their exoskeleton several times during their lifecycle, leaving behind shell casings. These casings can come in different sizes, depending on the stage of the bed bug’s development.

They are yellow and translucent in appearance and can be found in the seams, folds, and crevices of mattresses. They may also be present in cracks in walls and furniture.

Blood Stains

If you squash a bed bug while sleeping, the blood they have fed on may leak out and leave stains on your bedding. These blood stains are a clear indication of a bed bug infestation. If you notice these marks and cannot identify any other cause, it’s likely that you have bed bugs.

Dark Brown Marks

Bed bug droppings can leave dark brown marks about the size of a pen tip on mattresses, sheets, headboards, and even walls. These marks are smaller than blood stains and can be harder to spot. They may also give off a faint, rusty smell, contributing to the overall unpleasant odour.

Live Bed Bugs

Adult bed bugs are approximately 5mm long and tend to hide in various places, including the bed and its surroundings. In severe infestations, you may be able to spot live bed bugs and take action to eliminate them.

If you suspect a bed bug infestation based on these signs, it’s important to take immediate action to prevent the problem from worsening. Here are some tips to help you get rid of bed bugs:

Thoroughly clean and vacuum your bedroom, paying close attention to the mattress, bed frame, headboard, and other furniture. Dispose of the vacuum bag or empty the canister immediately after use to prevent the bugs from escaping.

Wash all bedding, curtains, and clothing in hot water and dry them on high heat. This will help kill any bed bugs or eggs that may be present.

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Use a stiff brush to scrub the seams and crevices of the mattress to dislodge any bed bugs or eggs. Vacuum again to remove any debris.

Consider using mattress encasements designed to trap bed bugs and prevent them from infesting your mattress. These encasements should be left on for at least a year to ensure all bed bugs are eliminated.

Use a bed bug spray or powder specifically designed to kill bed bugs. Follow the instructions carefully and treat all infested areas, including cracks and crevices.

If the infestation persists or is severe, it may be necessary to call a professional pest control company to eliminate the bed bugs.

Remember, prevention is key to avoiding bed bug infestations. When travelling, inspect hotel rooms for signs of bed bugs before unpacking. Avoid bringing used furniture or mattresses into your home without thoroughly inspecting them first. Regularly clean and vacuum your bedroom to minimise the risk of an infestation.

This article was crafted with the help of AI tools, which speed up Express.co.uk’s editorial research. A news editor reviewed this content before it was published. You can report any errors to [email protected].

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