6 Early Bed Bug Detection Signs, Including Blood Stains on Sheets

As you grow up, you realize the comfort provided by your bedroom is unmatched. You can take a month-long trip to the Bahamas, but nothing compares to the familiarity of your own home. Any time something disturbs this comfort, you’re filled with rage. We completely understand your frustration and hope to help you feel more in control.

After all, seeing a bug or two in your home isn’t usually alarming. However, it’s a completely different story if they’re bed bugs. They are some of the most stubborn household pests to get rid of. They’ll enter your house without a peep and crawl into the darkest of crevices without anyone noticing. 


If you’re concerned about bed bugs, you should know that the most common early detection sign is blood stains on the sheets. The two most notable other early detection signs of bed bugs are fecal stains and bed bug eggs.

In this article, we’ll also go over the following:

  • The best products to get rid of bed bugs
  • Things they hate

Continue reading

bed bugs on white cloth

Bed bugs might be annoying, but they’re not the smartest, especially when faced with a vigilante homeowner. The best way to get rid of these bugs is to finish them off in the early stages. Before they take over your favorite sheets, try to kill them. Once you get through to them before they can reproduce, you might just win the battle.

We understand that a bed bug infestation can be a big nuisance, so we will tell you how to outsmart these bugs and identify them early on. After all, who wouldn’t want to lead a life free of bugs and all the stress they bring along?  

Table of Contents

Bed Bug Blood Stains on Sheets & Early Detection Signs

Bed bugs are quiet pests that slowly make your mattress their haven. Even so, you can identify an infestation in its initial stages with enough vigilance. All you need to do is put on your detective hat, and we’ll tell you what to look for. Here are early detection signs besides bed bug blood stains on the sheets.

1. Blood stains

Blood stains are the most obvious way these pesky creatures leave proof of their existence. Bed bugs are fast-moving creatures that can’t fly, which leads to accidental crushing. The digested blood spills over the sheets if they’ve just recently been fed. These stains become quite obvious if your sheets are light-colored, as they leave a rusty-red stain behind.  

Usually, the bites are quite itchy. You might even scratch them in your sleep unknowingly. This unconscious scratching can tear the skin and make the bite bleed. The blood stains on your sheets might be from the bites too. So it’s safe to assume that any time you see a blood stain, you must divert your attention toward an infestation. 

2. Fecal stains

Like all living creatures, these creepy critters excrete too. The worst part is they use human beds as their toilets. As gross as that sounds, they even leave behind small dark posts on sheets. These stains are caused by the blood digested by these bugs. They can seem brown to black, depending on how old they are. 

Sometimes, these stains fade to a more yellowish-tan color as crushed bed bug eggs and excrement get moved around. Usually, you’ll find these stains where the creepers’ nest is. Good luck finding the hiding place because it could be anywhere from the cracks in your bed to the space in your sofas.

3. Live bed bugs 

Bed bugs prefer to live close to their host and nest in places where humans like to sit. Other than your sheets and duvet covers, they also reside within:

  • sofas
  • carpets
  • chair seams
  • and sometimes even curtains.

Besides tremendous hiding skills, the critters have neither super speed nor flying skills. The lack of any additional skill leaves them vulnerable. As a result, they developed the one quality that makes them more deadly – their hurried ability to crawl away from danger. Most of the time, this isn’t the best solution. But often, they can make a clean getaway.

You’re more likely to notice these bugs if you’re a night owl, as the bugs are most active at night. Check inside every crevice and crease, and fold in whatever furniture you like to sit on. 

Places where bed bugs hide
Hardwood floors (cracks)Brick walls (holes)Curtains
BooksLight fixturesBox spring
person looking for bed bugs

4. Eggs 

If you have a keen eye, then you might even be able to notice the remarkably tiny eggs. These eggs are barely 1 mm and translucent, making them hard to spot. But an adult bed bug lays about 250 eggs in its life, enough to make them somewhat noticeable. Usually, they can be found stuck to hard surfaces. If you have wooden furniture, you may be able to detect them easily. After these eggs hatch, they leave behind hollow shells. From what it seems, they leave behind clues to help you finish your quest against defeating the pesky creature.

5. Shells 

As these creepers mature, they shed their old skin and leave behind exoskeleton shells. They’re usually translucent, yellowish-brown in color, and the same shape as a bed bug. You might confuse them for a live bug.

6. A distinct odor 

Does your bedroom smell different all of a sudden? Well, that could also be a subtle sign of an infestation. If the odor seems to have no apparent cause, it could be the dreaded creature’s pheromones in the air. When these bugs feel threatened, they release alarm pheromones that might make the room smell musty. 

The scent can differ from house to house. Some say the scent is acidic. Some say it’s almost sweet-smelling, like almonds. 

6. Blood stains

With light-colored sheets, you’ve to be extra cautious when drinking or eating in between the sheets. Such covers are quick to stain and require additional care. However, it helps in identifying a potential insect infestation. If you wake up to spots of dried blood, you may want to search for these foul-smelling bugs thoroughly.

What do the eggs look like?

Bed bug eggs have the tiniest size out of the whole life cycle. They’re only 1 mm, which is the size of a pinhead. They’re pearly white in color. Once they’re five days old, an eye spot appears on them. They hatch after just a week, leaving behind a translucent shell. If you thought identifying adult-sized critters would be an issue, this is an entirely advanced problem. 

Usually, these eggs are found in mattresses or cushions since they need a dark place where they’ll remain undisturbed. However, you can also find them inside the cracks of a wall, floorboards, or small dark crevices. You’ll rarely find a single egg in a place because they are always laid in clusters. These eggs also produce a foul smell wherever they’re laid. Nearby, you might even find small white nymphs crawling around. 

bed bugs

As if these qualities weren’t already gross enough, these eggs are sticky too. That’s also why bed bug eggs don’t move around on a mattress. The female bed bugs use a glue-like material to ensure the eggs stick to all sorts of surfaces. You might even see small white cylinders on the edge of a mattress seam or the back of the headboard.  

If you’re still having trouble finding these eggs, try using a black light as they glow under it. 

What do they look like on sheets?

Mysterious bites on your hands and legs don’t always mean you’ve got a bed bug problem. Sometimes, it could just be mosquitoes. And if you do want to investigate a bed bug infestation, you need to be aware of what they look like. Bed bugs go through about three stages in their life and look incredibly different in each one. 

An adult bed bug is very small, almost the size of an apple seed. Their bodies are oval-shaped and have no wings despite having wing pads. They also have antennas, six legs, and all other parts that make a “true bug.” If you see one crawl on your sheets, you’ll notice that they’re brown in color. If it has recently fed, it won’t be flat but bloated with blood. Adult bugs are slow enough for you to catch them in the act. 

Young bed bugs or nymphs can be hard to notice since they’re barely the size of a sesame seed. If your sheets are light-colored, it’s more obvious to see recently fed nymphs. Nymphs are sometimes confused with young cockroaches, especially if they’ve just fed. When they haven’t fed, they appear translucent or whitish-yellow in color. 

How to get rid of bed bugs permanently on a mattress

bed bug in petri dish

Harris Egg Killer Liquid Spray

Bed bugs like your bed just as much as you do, which is a huge problem. However, you can reclaim your bed using the Harris bed bug and egg killer liquid spray! Just use the spray all over your sheets, frame, and mattress, and let it do its magic. It dries in just a few minutes without any residue, so you can use it on top of your sheets without worrying. 

Additionally, the spray remains effective for 7 to 10 days after application! In the beginning, you should use it more frequently in a week. Once most of the critters are gone, you only need to use them 3-4 times a week. Unlike most extermination processes, you don’t have to empty your house. This spray is even safe for pets and children!

The product is manufactured by a reputable company with responsive customer service. So if you ever find yourself in a bug-infested pickle, you can call their helpline for guidance!

NameToughest Bed Bug Killer
Item FormLiquid,Spray
Item Volume128 Fluid Ounces
ManufacturerCentral Garden Distribution
Material FeatureUnscented, Nonstaining


  • Several potent, active ingredients.
  • It will help keep your family safe.
  • It’s better than most other products.
  • It’s cheaper than hiring an exterminator.


  • It must be used according to the instructions.
  • It can leak if not closed properly
Get this spray from Harris.

Formula 4 detergent

One of the joys of being an adult is decorating your bedroom with expensive sheets and comfortable throw pillows. But the pesky creatures can ruin just owning sheets in a jiffy. You can use Formula 4 detergent to wash away all those gross stains and bugs. 

This detergent doesn’t just get rid of the pesky critters but also kills mites and fleas! Generally, you would have to waste a lot of hot water to exterminate them for good. But Formula 4 washing powder works at any temperature!  

Getting rid of these critters is a tedious and repetitive process, regardless of how effective your choice of bug repellent is. The same goes for this detergent, except you can use it for 50 loads. It is more than enough to get rid of those bugs forever!

BrandFormula 4
Formulation TypeConcentrated
Item Weight5.74 pounds
Package Dimensions10.98 x 9.61 x 4.57 inches


  • It’s another step in the right direction to protect your family.
  • It’s better than normal detergent.
  • It smells good.


  • We wish there was more product in the container for the price.
  • Some people have said it isn’t foolproof.
Formula 4 Detergent
We love this detergent.

What do they hate?

Laundry is difficult. Sometimes, you just want to throw your dirty clothes across the room in a little pile. Unfortunately, this dirty laundry pile is a bed bug hotel. The first thing you must do is get rid of that pile. After that, you can make use of the following to deter bugs: 

  • Essential oils
  • Lemon juice
  • Basil

Essential oils

Yes, the oils that heal us can kill these evil beings. But their effectiveness depends on which oils you’re using. Take lavender oil, for example. It’s one of the best natural remedies to repel bed bugs. They hate the smell and taste too. Thankfully, for humans, it indicates relaxing properties!

Another essential oil the critters despise is tea tree oil extracted from Melaleuca alternifolia’s leaves. Recently it gained popularity as a skin care product thanks to its antibacterial qualities. It doesn’t just kill bacteria. It also shoos away bed bugs. Besides its scent, tea tree oil can dissolve the pesky creature’s exoskeleton and suffocate them. 

Lemon juice

adult bed bug

You might like the citrusy scent of fresh lemons and oranges, but insects hate it. Juice a few fresh lemons, mix them with a bit of water. Then spray them around your house. Nature brings you a solution for everything. 


You might think that basil goes well with everything. Still, your uninvited roommate (aka the creepy critter) doesn’t share the same sentiments. Basil contains a compound called linalool which is also produced by over 200 species of plants. This compound is also used in pesticides because bed bugs and many other insects hate the scent of it. Though it’s not powerful enough to kill them, it can drive the critters out of their nests and into other traps or insecticides you might have used. 


Vinegar might do the trick if you’re looking for something more powerful to kill the nasty creature. Vinegar is an acid. Even though it’s a wild one, it still has corrosive properties. Its powerful scent repels the bugs by overwhelming their nervous system. The acidic properties corrode their exoskeletons and even dry them out from the inside out.

Despite its immediate effects, it’s only a short-lived solution. Moreover, the vinegar needs to come in contact with the critters directly. It also doesn’t kill the bed bug eggs as its protective casing is strong enough not to let the vinegar penetrate. 

Rubbing alcohol

The infamous disinfectant can get rid of germs, but it can also deter bed bugs. Once the pesky creatures come in contact with rubbing alcohol, their bodies start to dry up and eventually die. Spraying this in places like your bed, couch, and even carpet guarantees certain death for the bed bugs. 

These natural remedies might work, but they’re not completely effective enough to eradicate a whole infestation. For that, you might need to use insecticides and thoroughly disinfect the whole house. 

bed bug hanging on to paper

Getting rid of these critters includes scouring the places where they may hide, including:

  • Sofas
  • Beds
  • Drawers
  • Luggage
  • Light Fixtures
  • Shoes
  • Chairs

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