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Bed Bug Infestations - How to spot the signs

Posted by Chris Voyce on

Whether its in a domestic home or an accommodation facility, a suspected bed bug infestation is bad news. But before you hit the panic button and start throwing out your mattress, base, pillows and bedding it is important to ascertain that you do indeed have bed bugs.

Firstly, a thorough inspection should be carried out to all possible bed bug harbourage areas on and around the bed including mattress, base, headboard, bedside furniture, skirting boards, carpet edges, timber flooring, electrical sockets, wall hangings, photo frames, etc.

Bed bugs are flat and small in size, allowing them to hide easily in cracks and crevices during the day when they are not active. They are most commonly found in the seams of mattresses or inside box springs. However, it is not always necessary to locate a live bed bug to identify an infestation. 

Here we explain the signs you should look for that indicate a bed bug infestation.


Spotting is the faeces or 'poo' of bed bugs. It looks like a grouping of black or dark grey dots or 'ink spots' around 0.5-1mm in diameter and is the digested blood.

These spots are most evident in areas where bed bugs are harbouring such as mattress seams, carpet edges, joins between timber on bed frames, slats, headboards, etc.

The image below shows bed bug spotting around the seams on a mattress.

Bed Bug Spotting

Eggs, Cast Skins & live Bed Bugs

Bed bug infestations can be identified by evidence of bed bug eggs, skin casts and live bed bugs in various life stages including nymphs and adults.

As bed bugs grow they moult and shed their skin, leaving behind a cast skin at each developmental stage.

The image above shows bed bug eggs as well as live bed bugs in various life stages.

Blood Spots

Blood spots on sheets and other bedding can be an indication that there is a bed bug infestation. Blood spots could also be caused by a number of other factors so a thorough inspection should be carried out to find other signs of bed bugs.

Bed Bug Bites

Bed Bug Bites

Bites can also be an indication of bed bug presence. Not everyone reacts to bed bug bites and the level of reaction can vary between individuals.

Bed bug bites often appear in a grouping or a line (see image below). Bed bug bites most commonly occur on the arms, legs and torso.

Bed bug bites don’t always appear immediately after you’re bitten. They sometimes take a few days to begin causing symptoms. It should also be noted that bed bugs don’t come out to feed every single night. In fact, they can go several days without eating. It may take a few weeks to notice that your bites are part of a larger pattern.

Bed bug bites are often very itchy. You may experience a burning sensation on the skin several days after you’ve been bitten. You won’t feel the bugs bite you because they excrete a tiny amount of anesthesia into your body before they bite.

If you scratch the bite, you may cause a secondary infection that can lead to swelling and bleeding.

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