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Are you wondering if you've been a meal for bed bugs? Have you found mysterious red welts on your skin? That is usually the first sign. These bugs are small, skittish, and adept at hiding. Though they are not nocturnal, bed bugs don't usually come out until the conditions are right. Like the mosquito--another blood eating insect--bed bugs are attracted to heat and carbon dioxide. So, that means "the right conditions" are a prone human, heating a large section of mattress, and expelling rhythmic gusts of CO2.

Not all humans experience red welts at first. As many as 30% of people living in bed bug infested dwellings report no sign of swelling or irritation. But prolonged exposure to the anticoagulant bed bugs inject, produces increased reactions over time.

Okay. So, what does a bed bug bite look like? First off, as mentioned above, there can be no reaction at all, and a bed bug bite might look like a tiny, red puncture wound. But you'll usually find these dots in a row. Some entomologists jokingly refer to these as breakfast, lunch, and supper. Gotta love that entomologist humor. Bites typically appear on the face, neck, hands, and arms. And, if there is a reaction, the welts can be quite large and swollen.

Some people immediately think bed bug bites are mosquito bites, because they can't imagine how a bug could have bitten them so many times without waking them up. Actually, a large number of bites, especially in a row, is a good indication of bed bugs. Although a bed bug can feed up to five minutes, they go undetected, because the anticoagulant they inject into your blood makes your blood thinner, and easy to suck out, without discomfort.

If you want to know if you have bed bugs, here are a few things you can look for--besides the bites.

  • Peel the sheets back in the morning and look for little brown bugs that look like an apple seed, or like a tick when engorged with blood.

  • Look for tiny, brown blood stains on the sheets or pillow case. Bed bugs are sloppy eaters.

  • Check the corners of the mattress and boxspring for black fecal matter.

  • Use a flashlight to check the backboard and surrounding furniture.

If you find bed bugs, don't try to get rid of them on your own. 76% of pest professionals say this is the most difficult pest to control, and they have the gear and knowledge to get the job done right. All it takes is one female bug to re-infest your home. It's not worth the stress. Get rid of the bugs professionally, and sleep easy, knowing they are completely gone.