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Bed Bug Detection

Blood spots are a strong indicator to the presence of bed bugs

Bed bugs are an extremely difficult pest to detect. They have survived, at least, since the days of Aristotle and hold a place within classical Greek literature and medieval European texts. Bed bugs are small, oval, flat insects that prefer to feed at night or in darkness. One unique feature of bed bugs is their shape changes after feeding. Once finished gorging, a bed bug’s body stretches to a longer, more cigar-shaped appearance which can cause them to be misidentified.

The bed bug is a very hearty pest. Adults can survive for over one year without a meal, and surprisingly, the young can last for months without feeding. Feeding, however, is the activity which often serves to reveal the bed bug’s presence. Many humans (80%) have an allergic reaction to their saliva which is why a rash or irritated area appears. Infestations may start small, so only a few bites are noticed. Often the bite of a bed bug is mistaken for the feeding of other pests. Bed bugs leave behind other signs indicating their presence, as well.

Bed bugs, like any living organism, must feed. When they do, it’s necessary to discharge the digested meal. This can happen while feeding and later once safely back in their hiding place. Blood spots are a strong indicator to the presence of bed bugs. This discharge may be found on bedding, sheets, and couch coverings where the pests feed or in areas around where the bed bug retreats to hide during daylight hours. Bed bugs prefer not to travel far, so they typically hide close to where feeding takes place (with the exception of heavier infestations). Fecal spots around hiding places may be many, so once identified, be sure to contact a professional for treatment options.

Bed bugs on a mattress: note the fecal, or blood, spots surrounding the cluster.photo of bed bugs on a mattress surrounded by droppings