Bed bugs are tiny, oval, wingless insects that feed on human blood and other warm-blooded animals. There are two species of bed bugs: Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus. Both of these species prefer humans as their hosts. The earliest record of bed bugs dates back to the ancient Egyptians, approximately 3,500 years ago.
Over the years, bed bugs have become nest parasites. They thrive in birds’ nests and bats’ roosts found in trees, caves, and underground sites. Unfortunately, they also learned how to survive in the human environment. They usually settle in sofas, clothing, cushion, and bed mattresses. They also feed on humans while they are asleep between 12 midnight to 5 am, hence the name, bed bugs. Bed bugs can be found in dark, narrow, and moist places, including cinemas, dormitories, cruise ships, trains, restaurants, and barracks. The uncontrolled growth of bed bugs has become an ongoing problem worldwide. In fact, more than 50% of households have dealt with bed bugs at least once.
Bedbugs painlessly draw blood, so hosts won’t be able to feel anything while they feed. So instead, they inject a small amount of saliva-containing chemicals into the host’s skin. As a result, the bites won’t show up right away. Instead, it may take two weeks for the bites to become visible, usually in exposed areas like the face, hands, arms, legs, and neck. The scars might even lead to skin infection and asthmatic reactions. This is why it is essential to be familiar with the symptoms of bed bug bites.
This article talks about the most common symptoms of bed bug bites.
Sweet and Musty Odor
One of the earliest signs of the presence of bed bugs is a distinctive musty and sweet smell. When bed bugs sense danger or get excited, they release pheromones. Pheromones are substances secreted by an individual as a message or warning and received by another individual from the same species. When bed bugs release these pheromones, they release a sweet and slightly acidic smell similar to coriander, raspberry, cilantro, citronella, almonds, or dark cherry. This is what an individual bed bug smells like under stress.
On the other hand, invasion or infestation of bed bugs has a different scent. The sweet and musty odor is usually overpowered by the smell of dead bed bugs and feces. Since bed bugs feast on blood, they essentially digest food that is rich in iron. Because of this, an invasion can smell unpleasant and rusty. A bed bug invasion resembles the smell of dirty shoes, dried blood, wet towels, and damp laundry.
However, relying on bed bug odor alone is not enough to control their invasion. Since a single bed bug only produces little traces of pheromones which are not enough to be sensed by the human’s olfactory sense. By the time the scent becomes noticeable and distinctive, it means bed bugs are already thriving and reproducing in the area.