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Bed Bug Poop: How To Identify Droppings (2022 Updated)

One of the common signs of bed bugs infestation is bed bug feces, but what exactly is bed bug poop? Where does a bed bug poop, and how do you identify the bed bug’s fecal matter? 

Our team spent 15 hours of intensive research to know more about bed bugs’ fecal matter, so continue reading. 

How To Identify Bed Bug Feces

How To Identify Bed Bug Feces 

If you want to know if there’s a bed bug infestation in your home, look for bed bug feces. But how can you identify bed bug poop? Bed bugs waste is composed of digested blood because they only feed blood, and with this, bed bug droppings are in similar shape, size, and color. 

Bed bug droppings are very dark and rusty, and since it has large water content, it is soft. You will not misidentify its fecal matter to other insects because cockroaches, bats, and rodents leave hard droppings while bed bug droppings are sticky and soft. Find out what causes bed bugs here

Things To Know 

Things To Know 

Smell

Identifying bed bug poop is challenging because it does not smell like the feces of other animals. It has a rusty smell, and you can recognize it because it smells like a fresh cut and fresh wound on your skin. However, since beg bug fecal matter is small, it can get easily overpowered by other smells. 

Bed bugs release a strong mystery odor with hints of coriander- it can overpower the smell of bed bug fecal matter. But all in all, bed bugs’ droppings smell like rust because of the fresh blood they feed themselves. 

Size & Shape

Size & Shape

Bed bug droppings are liquidy and soft, so the fecal smears are about the size of an ink stain. Try to poke the sheets with the tip of the ballpoint pen, soak them in water, and that’s the same size as the feces. 

If you find bed bug droppings on hard surfaces, they can dry out and become slightly hard, but since they usually hang out on mattresses and soft fabrics, they can be easily absorbed. There is no definite shape of bed bug fecal stains because they are on the go when they release digested blood, causing it to smear. 

Color & Pattern

One way of identifying bed bug feces is by looking for patterns. Gross, but yes, there really is a pooping pattern. Find droppings with patterns or lines because you will not see individual pellets. If you have a bed bug infestation, expect multiple tracks of flat droppings. 

Bed bug poop are dark red, rusty to dark brown, and sometimes almost black, depending on the lighting. Bed bugs feed on blood, but their poop is darker in color and may look like black spots. 

Area

Area 

Bed bugs leave their feces in areas where they frequently hang out and hide. Your bed is the most common area where you can find bed bugs poops, so try to expose the mattress by pulling its cover. You are more likely to see the black stain on the parts like the middle of the bed, ankles, and arms. 

Examine the box spring and area in and around the nightstand, baseboards, cracks, wall corners, and crevices for wastes and shed skins. If the feces are on a hard surface, expect to see tiny sticky feces. 

Consistency

Bed bug poop has large water content and a semi-liquid consistency. You can wipe it off, especially when it is freshly smudged. 

When in contact with hard surfaces, the poop can be sticky. It does not flake off because it is liquidy, and it is something you cannot pick up and collect. 

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Does Bed Bug Poop Smear? 

Does Bed Bug Poop Smear? 

If you want to know if you found bed bug poop, you can do a smear test. Bed bug poops smear, which means it is not a bed bug fecal matter if it does not. 

In addition, when doing a smear test, do not soak the blanket or sheet because you cannot perform a smear test. Get a wet cotton bud and try to smear the stains you found. If the dot smears, it could be fecal matter from bed bugs. 

Can Bed Bug Feces Affect My Health?

Living with bed bugs wastes and large infestation is associated with high risk. Any animal feces, especially nearby, negatively affects human health.

Most health risks associated with bug poops are skin-based, which can cause swelling and infection. When a bed bug bites, it sucks blood from the host and leaves waste on your furniture. 

In a published journal about bed bug infestation, after the exterminators were done with the treatment plan, the dust found in the apartment had a high histamine content [1].

Histamines can repair injuries and fight germs, but they have damaging effects like rashes and respiratory issues. 

But what if you find one bed bug and no others?

How To Clean It 

How To Clean It 

If the wastes are spotted on fabrics and sheets, washing them with cold water will help because the high-temperature water can set the stain. Enzyme-based stain removers are effective, but you can use hydrogen peroxide and dish soap for stubborn stains on the sheets. Bed bugs can be hiding on your sheets, so after spot treatments, launder it at 122 °F to kill them. 

If the wastes are found on painted walls, wood, or wallpaper, use cold water to remove them and wipe them with a clean rug. Get rid of the stain by using a commercial wood stain remover. 

FAQs

Are bed bugs attracted to their own feces?

Yes, bed bugs are attracted to their own feces. In a study from the University of Minnesota, (E)-2-octenal and (E)-2-hexenal are found in their wastes [2], and it can make them aggregated and attracted to their feces.  

Where do bed bugs poop?

Bed bugs poop on their hideout, and it can be on any fabrics or soft furnishing. In addition, they poop in cracks, baseboards, outlets, and crevices. Bed bugs bite at night, hide in the daytime and release waste there.  

Key Takeaways

Bed bug poop is a sign that there are bed bugs in your home, so now that we know how to identify it, it would be easier for us to get rid of the pests. Bed bug wastes are not similar to other pests’ wastes because they are semi-liquid and frequently create stains on fabric and walls. 

Bed bug infestation is hard to deal with, so look for other signs and deal with them promptly. 

References:

  1. https://www.ajc.com/news/world/study-poop-from-bed-bugs-could-make-sick-even-after-extermination/RzIQ4KEFFV1PjauOSsh5AM/  
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ps.4286

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