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Signs of bed bug infestations

Many people do not realize they have a bed bug infestation until they start noticing bites. Even then, bites may go unnoticed as people react to bed bug bites in different ways. Due to their elusive nature, professional expertise is necessary to spot the signs of bed bugs.

Bed bugs are notorious travellers. Nearly every province in Canada has some presence of bed bugs. They love to hitchhike in suitcases, clothing and furniture. Once they find a new home, they look for places to hide that have access to an undisturbed blood meal.

It’s important to know what bed bugs look like and the areas they hide to avoid an infestation in a home or business. If you need help identifying a bed bug issue, contact the experts at Rentokil today by calling us at 877-690-2115 or contacting us online.

Bed bug infestations: what to look for

There are several signs that your home or business might have a full on bed bug infestation, including the following:

  • Shed skins - Bed bugs will molt and shed their skin before each new life stage. Often you can find these shed skins lying around areas of infestation such as in the creases, edges and crevices of the mattress that serve as hiding places for bed bugs.

  • Fecal matter - Bed bugs leave fecal deposits after they consume a blood meal. They are often black dots as small as the tip of a pen, that you can see on fabrics like that of a mattress or mattress cover.

  • Blood - Since bed bugs insert an anesthetic and an anti-coagulant into their host’s skin when they feed, a person may bleed a bit. You can also find blood spots on your mattress, sofa or chair.

  • Eggs - Although very small and hard to see, you can see the small, whitish eggs. They are translucent and narrow. They can be found in mattress creases and other places where the insects can be found.

  • Nymphs - Bed bugs go through several life cycle stages. Until they reach adulthood they are known as nymphs. During their first cycle, these nymphs are white-coloured, but they get darker as they grow.

  • Live adult insects - Although they prefer to be active at night when you're sleeping, you can see live bed bugs if you search for them. They can be tough to find, however, which is why it is highly recommended to contact a pest control professional.

  • Odour - In a building that has a heavy bed bug infestation, there is often a unique odour. Bed bug dogs can detect a small number of bed bugs by their scent, but a heavy infestation leaves a much more noticeable odour — one that many describe as being like coriander.

Bed bug appearance

  • Bed bugs are around 5 to 6mm long before a blood meal, extending to about 7mm when fully engorged.
  • They are oval-shaped and flattened from back to underside with thick, well-developed legs. Bed bugs do not have wings.
  • Their mouths are pointed for piercing and sucking.
  • Adult bed bugs are rusty red-brown in colour.
  • Bed bug eggs are whitish cream, getting darker as they hatch into larvae.
  • Their shed skins are lighter brown and look like flaky exoskeletons.

Bed bug lifecycle

  • Bed bugs lay 200-500 eggs over a 2-month period in batches of 10 to 50.
  • The adult female requires a blood meal to lay eggs.
  • The eggs are usually laid in cracks and crevices and can be attached to items of furniture or fittings in clusters by a transparent substance.
  • There are 7 stages in the lifecycle from egg to fully grown adult. The full cycle can take anywhere from 45 days to a year.
  • The typical lifespan of a bed bug is about 50 days to over a year depending on the availability of favourable conditions.
  • They can survive for weeks to months without feeding.

Bed bug habits

  • Bed bugs feed on human blood and are attracted to body heat and CO₂ from sleeping humans.
  • They inject an anaesthetic when they pierce the skin, so the bite can go unnoticed at first.
  • Bed bugs usually visit their host for a blood feed just before dawn. When alarmed, they move quickly and emit an odour.

Where do bed bugs hide?

Bed bugs are flat and can easily hide in almost any crevice or space. They can hide in the creases in your mattress and within the mattress covers. Other than the bed, there are additional hiding places where they rest between blood meals, including:

  • Headboards - They can hide behind them or on the wall. If the headboard is wood, there can be cracks where bed bugs squeeze in. Eggs, fecal matter, nymphs and shed skins can also be found there.

  • Behind picture frames - A good quiet place to hide. Check anything that is hanging on the wall, especially above beds, sofas and chairs, where the little insects can gather. Some of the signs listed above might be on the floor beneath the picture.

  • Electrical outlets - Remove the faceplates and check behind them.

  • Furniture - Just because they are called “bed” bugs doesn’t mean they only hide out in the bedroom. You can also find them in the creases of upholstered furniture in other rooms.

  • Cluttered areas - Bed bugs can hide in piles of clothes on the floor, in drawers or anywhere there is clutter. A dirty home or business does not mean you will automatically get bed bugs, but one that is cluttered may hide them more easily.

  • Desk and dresser drawers - Check all the nooks and crevices inside the dresser or desk drawers.

  • Luggage - Bed bugs are notorious travellers, so if you stay in a hotel and put your luggage on the bed, there’s a chance one could hitch a ride and end up at your home.

Call the experts in bed bug removal

If you spot any of these bed bug signs, the best thing you can do is call in a Rentokil Bed Bug Technician.

Our Technicians will show up to your home or business to conduct an inspection and survey all of the potential bed bug infestation sites. We will then recommend the best bed bug elimination method for your property. The first step in solving your bed bug problems is to call us at 877-690-2115 or contact us online.


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