If your skin started to crawl when you read the title of this article, you’re not alone. Bed bugs rank high on the list of creepy crawlies that usually create a negative emotional reaction in people. From a psychological perspective, they are fairly disturbing creatures. From a physical perspective, bed bugs are hard to get rid of and their bite can cause itching and an allergic reaction in humans.

Bed bugs are tiny little brown bugs that live where humans and pets are, and they like nothing better than to crawl onto your body when you’re sleeping and have a meal of your blood.

Of course, by the time you’re bitten, it’s too late, so we’ve compiled five signs that you may have an early infestation of these little bloodsuckers. If you plan on traveling this holiday season, this article will also give you some peace of mind about the next hotel room you’ll inhabit.

Signs of an Early Bedbug Infestation

Bed bugs are a tiny parasite found all over the world, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). They are common in areas where people sleep, from homes to hotels, and they are difficult to eradicate. While these creatures do not spread disease, they are simply gross, and their bite can cause a red welt or rash that can be irritating.

Because bed bugs are experts at hiding in bedding or in the folds of the bed, it’s hard to know if you have an infestation until you’ve been bitten. Unfortunately, sometimes these bites can take up to 14 days to show up, and by then you will have probably vacated the hotel room you were staying in. In the home, 14 days can mean the difference between a solo bug and an infestation.

Here are five ways to spot these creatures before you lay down to take a nap:

  1. Bed bugs are messy eaters. If you have small bloodstains on the pillow or sheets, you may be infested.
  2. You may also see dark specks on your sheets or rusty dots; that could be bed bug excrement. (Sorry.)
  3. Bed bugs grow by shedding their exoskeletons. Check the corners and seams of your mattress for tiny yellow skin flakes, or even, for the bugs themselves.
  4. You may also notice a smell on your sheets that is slightly musty.
  5. Even check the walls or nightstand around your bed; bed bugs can flatten themselves to the width of a credit card and they are expert at hiding. But you may spot rusty stains that signify they’re hiding nearby.

 What to Do If You Find Bed Bugs

 Typically just washing the sheets will not kill the bugs, because they can infest carpets, clothing, stuffed animals, and even suitcases. They are expert at hitching a ride, which is why you should never put your suitcase on the bed in a hotel room.

Washing all of these items in hot water and drying them on high heat in the dryer may help. But if the infestation is severe, we highly recommend calling Preventive Pest to ensure the pests are eradicated.