People you know have had bed bugs
Akos-Nagy/ShutterStockBed bug infestations can spread from home to home, especially in apartment buildings where they don’t have far to travel. "We have more people affected by bed bugs in the United States now than ever before," says Ron Harrison, PhD, Orkin Entomologist and Director of Technical Services. "They were virtually unheard of in the U.S. 10 years ago." If you know someone who has had a bed bug problem, be safe and check your home for intruders.
There are small, itchy bites on your body
noppawan09/ShutterStockBed bugs can leave small itchy and inconsistent bites on your body. If you’ve found clusters of bites, especially if they are in straight lines of three, checking for bed bugs might be worth it. It isn’t a sure sign, though. Some people won’t show any signs of being bitten by bed bugs. "People may have bed bugs and not know it because many people have no physical reaction to bed bug bites," Dr. Harrison says. "That’s why it’s important for people everywhere to inspect for bed bugs regularly."
There are dark stains on your sheets or pillowcases
Because bed bugs are messy, they can leave behind small stains in places they’ve lived. Any odd stains on your pillowcases or sheets should be inspected and not written off. If you find stains and you spot bed bugs, check out our 16 expert tips on how to get rid of them altogether.
You frequently stay in hotel rooms
Hotel rooms are one of the primary ways that bed bugs spread. Orkin recommends that people who use hotel rooms often use the S.L.E.E.P. method to inspect for bed bugs. The method involves surveying the hotel room for infestation signs, checking the bed before you use it, and examining luggage when repacking.
There are skin flakes on your bed or clothing
Vitalinka/ShutterStockSkin flakes from bed bugs are small, brown, and oval, and they are one of the signs you have bed bugs. If you find any of these small casings around your home, you might have bed bugs. Don’t be too discouraged, though, by the presence of bed bugs because they can happen in even the cleanest homes. "Anyone can get bed bugs in their home. They are not a sign of uncleanliness. Bed bugs only need blood to survive," Dr. Harrison says. "We have treated for bed bugs in everything from million dollar homes to public housing."
You’ve only looked for bed bugs in your bed
Despite their name, bed bugs can thrive in multiple locations outside of a bed. According to a 2015 "Bugs Without Borders Survey" by the National Pest Management Association, nearly all (99.6 percent) of pest professionals nationwide have treated bed bugs in the past year, up from five, ten, and 15 years ago, and many of these cases did not involve beds at all. If you’re looking for bed bugs, check the seams of chairs and couches, drawer joints, and areas of loose wallpaper too.
There are brownish red stains on your sheets that smear when wiped
momente/ShutterStockAs gross as it is, bed bugs can leave clusters of their poop on sheets, and these clusters can be how to know if you have bed bugs. If you find small stains that smear when wiped with a wet rag, it might be evidence of bed bug fecal matter. If you find this alongside mattress seams or box spring edges, you might have a bed bug problem. Find out how bad it is not to wash your sheets weekly.
You’ve recently purchased secondhand furniture without washing it
Getting a great deal on furniture is awesome, but secondhand furniture can invite unwanted pests like bed bugs into your home. Orkin recommends thoroughly inspecting any furniture that comes into your home for bugs before agreeing to purchase it. Check out our advice on how to prevent bed bugs altogether.