It used to be that bed bugs were only the stuff of nursery rhymes, but these parasitic pests have enjoyed a serious resurgence in the U.S. in recent years. From dorm rooms to hotels, bed bugs are an increasingly common pest. However, bed bugs are often mistaken for other pests and other pests are often mistaken for bed bugs. Without knowing for sure if you’ve really got bed bugs on your hands, it can be difficult to pursue the right course of action to eliminate them. So, here’s how to tell if it’s bed bugs in your Los Angeles County home.

Why Bed Bugs Are Hard To Identify

You’re more likely to see signs of bed bug activity than to spot a physical bed bug. The trouble is that several other common household pests bear a strong resemblance to bed bugs and are misidentified. Cockroach nymphs, carpet beetles, and fleas are all commonly mistaken for bed bugs.

But even the signs of bed bug activity can be confused with that of other insects. Bite marks, the calling card of an active bed bug infestation, can also be attributed to mosquitoes, fleas, or ticks.

What Bed Bugs Look Like

If you do manage to catch an adult bed bug, there are some traits you can look for to confirm its identity. These small parasitic insects usually measure between 3/16 and 1/4 inch, have flat bodies, a reddish-brown color, sort of resembling an apple seed with legs. However, since bed bugs are most active in the dark and are experts at hiding during the day, you’re more likely to find other signs of bed bug life than a mature bug itself.

Bed bug eggs measure about 1/16 inch in length, have an oval shape, and a pearly white color, resembling a tiny grain of rice. When the eggs hatch, juvenile bed bugs, or nymphs, emerge. As the nymphs grow, they molt and shed their skin several times, leaving lots of evidence of their activity. Bed bug eggs and shed skin are often found in the seam of mattresses and furniture.

Other Signs Of Bed Bugs

While bed bugs themselves can be tough to spot, the signs of their activity are much easier to notice. Some reliable signs of bed bugs in your Los Angeles County home include:

  • Bite marks – While other blood-sucking pests also leave small welts as a result of feeding, bed bug bites usually appear in clusters and patterns. They tend to be grouped together in lines, zig-zags, or other groupings on areas of exposed skin such as the neck, forearms, hands, and face.
  • Stains – As they feed, bed bugs become engorged with blood. This can cause them to defecate, resulting in dark stains on your sheets. However, bed bug stains may also appear from engorged bed bugs crushed while their victim sleeps.
  • Foul odor – Bed bugs produce a strong scent that’s said to resemble coriander. In severe infestations, this smell can develop into a musty odor akin to moldy or wet clothing.

It’s important to note that while they’re called “bed bugs”, these pests can be found throughout the home. Furniture, carpeting, curtains, and even electronic appliances are all places that bed bugs like to hide indoors.

If you believe that you’ve got bed bugs in your Los Angeles County home or need help confirming the identity of any mystery pests on your property, get in touch with the experts at HomeShield Pest Control. With 100% guaranteed services and environmentally friendly pest control options, you can trust that you’ll get the safest, most effective service possible when you work with us. We also offer trusted commercial pest management services. Contact us today.