According to the 2013 Bugs Without Borders Survey, 99.6 percent of pest management companies in the U.S. encountered a bedbug infestation within 12 months. The survey also stated that bed bugs continue to be tougher to treat than ants, termites, and cockroaches. Although preventative measures can help you avoid a bed bug infestation, one can still occur when you least expect it.

Here are four signs your Clearwater, Florida, home has a bed bug infestation.

You Wake Up With Itchy Skin

The first sign of bed bug bites is waking up with an itch you didn’t have when you went to sleep. Although bed bug bites are painless (even if you’re awake), most people have an allergic reaction to the saliva the bug injects while it feeds. Check your legs, arms, and other exposed body parts for swelling and red bite marks. While they resemble mosquito bites in their earliest stages, bites from bed bugs usually appear in small groupings or in zig-zag patterns (mosquito bites are sporadic).

You Find Blood Stains on Your Sheets and Pillowcases

One of the more visually apparent bed bug signs is finding blood stains on your sheets and pillowcases. Wash all your sheets and pillowcases in hot water and dry them on the high heat setting. Repeat this for all other drapery, cushions, rugs and household textiles, too. Ensure the heat penetrates all layers of these items before deeming clean. Before putting everything back in its place, remember to make sure all other infested areas are clean to avoid cross-contamination and another bed bug cycle.

You Smell an Odor

One of the bed bug symptoms to be mindful of when you suspect an infestation is the odor. Similar to other bug species, bed bugs release odors called alarm pheromones. When something disturbs a group of bed bugs, you might get a whiff of this odor. At lower concentrations, some say it has the pleasant smell of coriander. At higher concentrations, it has the odor of a stink bug. To avoid any concentrations whatsoever, make sure you’re taking the steps to prevent a bed bug infestation.

You Find Molted Skins, Fecal Spots, and Egg Shells

Of all the bed bug signs, this one could very well be the most grotesque (hopefully you won’t ever have to be the firsthand judge). In addition to blood stains on your bedsheets and pillowcases, you might find other visual evidence of bed bugs in the form of molted skins (yellow), fecal spots (dark spots), and egg shells (about 1mm). Around the bed, you’ll find these in the seams of the mattress and in the cracks of the bed frame and headboard.

Here are other places you should inspect:

  • Between cushions
  • Seams of couches and other upholstered furniture/li>
  • Electrical receptacles and appliances
  • Folds of curtains
  • Under loose wall hangings
  • Where the wall and ceiling meet

Contact a Bed Bug Professional

Many homeowners who come face-to-face with a bed bug infestation resort to do-it-yourself measures to rid the bed bug symptoms. Please be aware these come with risk. Many bombs and foggers emit toxic chemicals that are harmful to your health or the health of your pets and family. Considering how hard it is to get rid of bed bugs, never trust a product that promises to work instantly. These are a waste of money and also harmful to your health.

For the best treatment of bed bugs, contact an experienced professional who knows how to handle a difficult problem step by step. At J.D. Smith Pest Control, we have more than 40 years of experience in pest control. For more information about how we can help you treat your bed bug problem or any other pest issue – inside or outside – call our Clearwater, Florida, office at (727) 483-5797.

Image via Flickr by USDAGov

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