Do you have fear of Bed bugs? Are you unsure of how to properly identify them? This article explains 7 Bed Bugs: Early Signs to look for when trying to point out a bed bug infestation.

  • Bed bugs
  • Insect eggs
  • Shells
  • Defecations
  • Bloody sheets
  • Bed bug bites
  • Mustiness
Bed Bugs: Early Signs

Bed bugs are notoriously hard to discover and get rid of, especially in Indianapolis. A watchful homeowner or apartment tenant can spot early bed insect indicators. The best approach to protect yourself and your family against these blood-sucking parasites is to detect and kill them early before they can multiply and spread. You can do this with our bed bug exterminators Indianapolis experts or a local pest control company near you.

Early Bed Bug Symptoms (7)

These bed bug indications are evaluated by how certain they are to indicate an infestation, especially early on. We’ll explain what each symptom implies and where to check, starting with scents and ending with live bed bugs.


If you suspect bed bugs, prepare yourself with these early warning signs. This essay can help you determine when to get an expert confirmation for bed insect indications.

7.) Odors


  • Musty odor for no apparent reason
  • Bed bug pheromones smell like raspberries, coriander, cilantro, or almonds. 
  • Bed bugs can smell like rust, damp towels, and rotting clothing.


Sometimes our sense of smell alerts us to problems. If you smell a musty stench in your bedroom that doesn’t come from dirty clothing, it might be bed bugs. When threatened, bed bugs release “alarm” pheromones. Pheromones can smell pleasant or musty. Some say it smells like raspberries, coriander, cilantro, or almonds.


Pheromones smell faint to the human nose. Unless you have a bed bug detecting dog, your odds of smelling the raspberry-like scent are limited. When a lot of bed bugs live together, their pheromones mingle with dead bugs, shell casings, and feces. The infestation worsens the rusty stench.

Odor is the least reliable early symptom of bed bugs. Bed bug stink is too weak for humans to detect when there are only a few. Most people aren’t familiar with the aroma of bed bugs or an infestation, so they may mistake it for something else.

6.) Bite


  • Nighttime red, itching bumps
  • Arms, hands, and legs are commonly bitten.
  • Sometimes in clusters of 3 or 4 nibbles (the “breakfast, lunch, dinner” pattern).


Bed bugs are often identified by strange insect bites. Bed bugs are nocturnal insects that eat at night. Their bites emerge on nighttime skin. Arms, hands, and legs are commonly bitten. Bed bug bites alone aren’t enough to detect a problem, say pest management experts. Because people react differently to bed bug bites, there’s no way to distinguish them from other insect bites. 30% of persons have no bed bug bite response.


Bed bug bites usually cause red, itchy pimples in tiny clusters. This pattern defines bed bug bites as occurring in little clusters or lines of 3 bites. Bed bug bites might be solitary or in random patterns.


As a side note, bed bug bites are typically not hazardous and do not carry illnesses. Bed bug saliva can cause allergic responses in certain people. If you’re bitten and have severe itching, painful swelling, blisters, fever, or flu-like symptoms, consult a doctor.

5.) Bloodstains

  • Blood stains in red or rust
  • Small splotches or streaks may form on bedding, clothes, or cushions.


Even though we don’t see bed bugs while they feed, they’re not always safe. A bed bug’s flat, seed-like look turns into a spherical, bloated shape resembling a little football when it gorges on blood. If you move unexpectedly in your sleep, you might crush a bed insect that just completed eating.


While it doesn’t kill them, it can cause some of the blood they recently ate to ooze out and leave a scarlet or rusty stain. If you discover a bloodstain on your bedding, clothing, or pillow, check for cuts or scabs on your body. A bed bug may have left the bloodstain if there’s no other reason.


Bloodstains can occur from bed insect bites. Bed bug saliva includes an anticoagulant that stops blood coagulation. After they eat, bites may bleed for a time.

4.) Fecal Stains

  • Brown or black dots the size of a pen tip.
  • Often seen in harborage locations, but also on linens and clothes.
  • After washing, cloth streaks resemble magic marker stains.


Unlike bed bug blood stains, fecal markings are smaller and darker. Small black patches resemble pen or marker ink dots. 2 to 4 times bigger than a period after this sentence.


Fecal markings are caused by bed bug droppings, which include blood. Digested blood appears dark brown or black and, since it includes iron, gives off a mild, rusty scent that contributes to a bed bug infestation’s disagreeable odor.


On sheets, pajamas, mattresses, headboards, box springs, walls, curtains, and other surfaces, bed bug feces can be found. You may often discover them around bed insect hiding locations and harborage regions.


On cloth, bed bug feces can be hard to remove. In water, they spread like magic marker stains.

3.) Eggs

  • 1mm-long pearly white ovals loosely attached to diverse surfaces.
  • Found around bed bug nests
  • Lightly attached to multiple kinds of surfaces

Female bed bugs deposit 1-7 eggs a day, which hatch between 7-10 days. Bed bug eggs are 1 mm long, white, and ovular. Pinhead-sized rice grains resemble them.


Eggs are visible to the naked eye, although it might be hard to distinguish them. Bed bugs hatch from a hinged cap at the end of each egg. Eggs older than 5 days exhibit a darker eye spot, but only under a microscope.


Like feces, bed bug eggs are more prevalent in harborages. Female bed bugs tend to move when pregnant, spreading the infestation to new locations and apartments.


They employ a glue-like substance to lay eggs. You’ll discover these tiny, white eggs in fabric or wood gaps, but they might be everywhere.

2.) Shells

  • Bed bugs’ transparent exoskeletons are yellowish-brown.
  • Variable during the bed bug molting cycle.
  • Reliable bed bug indications.

Bed bugs are quite likely if you encounter bed bug shell casings, sometimes called husks or shed skins. Empty shell casings are an early indicator of a bed bug infestation.


Bed bug shell casings are transparent, hollow outlines of young bed bugs. They’re sometimes simpler to locate than the bed bugs themselves. You can find them in mattress seams, upholstered furniture, and wooden furniture holes, fissures, and crevices.


As bed bugs go through their 5 lifecycle phases, they lose their exoskeleton. From the 1st instar nymph to the 2nd instar to the 3rd instar to the 4th instar to the 5th instar to the adult, each stage molts.


We term the outcome “shell casings” or “shed skins” This makes recognizing shell casings challenging because most people aren’t familiar with bed bug nymph sizes and forms.


If you suspect bed bugs and find yellowish, transparent shells, contact a pest control specialist for an examination.

1.) Bedbugs


  • Reddish-brown flaxseed-sized bugs.
  • Prefer hiding in nooks.
  • Often mistaken for spider beetles, carpet beetles, etc.


Last & obviously, live bed bugs.


Unless they need to eat or are pregnant females evading aggressive males, bed bugs don’t want to roam. Bed bugs often hide in one spot. People seldom see live bed bugs until the infestation is severe. Only when their hiding places are disturbed, such as when moving, are live bed bugs found.


You’d think a live bed bug would be a smoking gun, but it’s not always that easy.


Many insects are mistaken for bed bugs. Most people mistake spider beetles, carpet beetles, and cockroach nymphs for bed bugs. Some believe bed bugs are the size of apple seeds. Bed bugs are smaller than apple seeds.


An apple seed is around 8 mm long, but bed bugs are about 4-5 mm long (although after becoming engorged with blood, they can temporarily reach up to 7 mm). Bed bug nymphs start at 1 mm.

How do bed bugs hide?

With their flat bodies, bed bugs may fit into any crack or crevice larger than 2 mm. Insects hide in mattress seams, furniture joints, wall cracks and crevices, electrical outlets, and curtain folds. Check these places for the early indications of bed bugs.

Bed Bugs: Early Signs

Here are some bed bug harborage places we’ve seen as Indianapolis bed bug exterminators:


  • Your Bed: pillows, linens, mattress seams, headboards, frames, and springs.


  • By the Bed: Nightstands, dressers, carpets, and storage bins flank the bed.


  • Furniture: sofas, cushions, bookcases, tables, desktops, chairs, carpets, and pet beds.


  • Walls – wallpaper, baseboards, window and door frames, curtains, photos, electrical outlets, smoke alarms.

Bed Bug Visual Inspection

A flashlight and thin card are needed to visually examine for bed bugs at home (could be an extra business card, playing card, or an old credit card).


  • Pillows and sheets for feces and blood.
  • Remove bed sheets and examine mattress edges and seams for bed bugs, eggs, and shell casings.
  • Remove the mattress and use a flashlight to inspect the bed frame and headboard.
  • Insert your card into small gaps and use the thin, hard edge to remove bed bugs or dirt.
  • Examine dressers, nightstands, and other wood furniture. Screw holes are another bed bug hiding location.
  • Remove furniture from walls to examine backs and baseboards.
  • Check sofas and upholstered furniture by removing cushion coverings and inserting a card in gaps and cracks.

Identify Bed Bugs: Clues

We wrote about how bed bugs look. Here are some suggestions for spotting adult bed bugs:

  • Bedbugs have a thin head and thorax and a flat, oval abdomen.
  • They have 2 black eyeballs that protrude from their flanks.
  • Six legs and two antennas. Their 4-segmented antennas extend out of their heads.
  • Bedbugs have vestigial wing pads but can’t fly. A bed insect can’t fly.
  • Nymphs are light, whereas adults are brown/rusty. Once nourished, they grow and turn crimson.
  • Interceptors (sometimes called monitors or indicators) capture and detect bed bugs.

Not sure whether you have bed bugs?

Whistler offers a free Pest Identification Service; email a photo of any of the above indicators and we’ll respond within a business day to assist you to determine whether you have bed bugs. We’re pleased to answer any inquiries (for free) and make recommendations.


Getting rid of bed bugs is a team effort and cannot be laid off and put to the side for another day. We hope you know when to contact our pest control Glen Park team at (317)943-4008 or visit our site for more on Bed Bugs: How To Check. We’re awaiting your call!

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