Do you think you might have bed bugs? We have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that it is possible to think that you have bed bugs when you actually don't. The bad news is, if you have bed bugs, it is sometimes difficult to positively confirm that these are the bugs you're dealing with. We have a lot of bugs in Honolulu. Let's take a moment to break down the signs so that you can better figure out what pests are causing you misery.
Warning Sign 1: Bite Wounds
The first sign you're likely to notice is that you'll have itchy bites on your skin. You might think that this is all you need for a warning sign. Sadly, this sign can be misinterpreted.
Do you know that you can mistake bites from outdoor pests as bed bug bites? It's true. When you're bitten outside, you may not notice the wound for hours - or even days. This is because it can take a while for a bite wound to swell and develop an itchy rash. Keep in mind that, just because you notice bites when you wake up, it doesn't necessarily mean that an indoor bug is biting you.
The converse is also true. If you notice bites later in the day while you're outside, they could be bed bug bites. When a bed bug bites you, it can take days for your body to have an allergic response.
There are many things that can cause you to have a rash. Sometimes a rash is just a rash. You probably know this. So, when bed bug nymphs bite you numerous times and you find a large rash with lots of little bumps on your skin, you might just think you've had a reaction to something. You may not realize you're looking at bug bites at all.
Bed Bug Bite Characteristics
- When one bed bug bites you, it is likely to bite you three times. The wounds may appear in a tight line or zig-zag.
- When several bed bugs bite you, they will do so in a group. This will cause the bites to look like they travel across your skin because that is basically how they were created.
- Bed bug bites can be minor bumps (like the bumps of a prickly rash) or they can be welts. They will never have an ulcer or pustule at the center.
Warning Sign 2: Feces
Bed bugs leave their black excrement in many places. Often, these places are hidden. You may have to dig into the seams of your mattresses and box springs. You may have to examine the compressed spaces between your mattresses and box springs.
There are a few places bed bugs might leave fecal spotting. If they do, you may also notice a brown coloration. This is because bugs sometimes excrete blood when they do their business. Sorry. There's no way to explain this without being a little gross. Unfortunately, it gets grosser.
Here are the places you may find fecal and blood spotting:
- Duffel bags
- Sleeping bags
- Couches and chairs
Warning Sign 3: Shed Skins
As a bed bug develops, it will shed its skin several times. These molted skins can be found in gaps, seams, compressed spaces, and in other hidden spaces. They will be light tan to light brown in coloration. Since bed bugs are only between 1mm and 4.5mm in length, their skins won't be much to look at.
Warning Sign 4: Pheromones
Bed bugs excrete chemicals to communicate with one another. These chemicals have an odor. If you have enough bed bugs in your home, you may notice this odor. Some describe it as the scent of a damp, used locker room towel.
Warning Sign 5: Bugs
You might see a bed bug. While these insects prefer to stay hidden, it is possible to uncover them - literally. If you pull your covers down and find bugs in your bed, or you uncover them in some other way, here's how you can tell them apart from all the other bugs we have in Honolulu:
- Bed bugs have six legs, two antennae and three body parts - though it is easy to think that they only have two. The head and the thorax of a bed bug might just look like one big head to you. You can distinguish the thorax because it has legs coming out of the sides.
- Newly hatched bed bugs are pale and about 1mm long. If a newly hatched bed bug has had a meal, it will have a bright red abdomen. If it is not currently filled with blood, you should see black feces in its abdomen.
- A developing nymph will be tan. It may have a black or red color depending on how long it has been since it fed.
- An adult bed bug is the shape of an apple seed and about the same size as one. It has a rusty red coloration but may appear more red or more black.
I have been using Pest Tech for the unit I manage and my personal property for the last 3 years. They are always on time, makes sure to follow up before regular service, cost efficient and always friendly.