If you are reading this, you probably know that bed bugs have made a comeback. If you are dealing with a particularly large infestation, then you are also probably dealing with a nasty ‘buggy’ odor around your sleeping quarters. Yes, bed bugs smell and the description of this smell will vary based on who you ask. Some people report bed bug smell as a sickeningly ‘sweet smell of almonds’; still others claim it to be ‘woody’, while a third group claims it to be like “the smell of rotten raspberries”. In general: bed bug smell is nothing like anything you have experienced before and can also be very annoying.
In this guide, we will see what to do about bed bug smell.
Bed Bug infestation and how it occurs
If you are waking up each night with bite marks on your body, you might not attribute them to bed bugs at first. This is because; most people feel that they simply cannot have bed bugs as their premises are “spotlessly clean”. The thing is: bed bugs do not care how clean or unclean your surroundings are.The fact that you have bed bugs is also (usually) not through any fault of yours: these critters might have simply hitched a ride through your luggage from an infested motel or might have arrived at your doorstep courtesy of a recent guest.
“But I stayed in the best five-star resort!”
Again: immaterial. You might have stayed in the best of the best motels/hotels but even these are not completely devoid of bed bugs.Travelers unknowingly dump bed bug eggs in these places and this is how bed bugs have spread throughout the country. Also, you could even have brought bed bugs home through infested planes or buses.
The question is: what can you do about the bed bug infestation and its foul odor?
What are the reasons behind bed bug smell?
Bed bugs come out of their hiding places at night for a blood meal from you, the host. While you are sleeping, a single bed bug might bite you and could feed for up to 10 minutes. The bugs use the blood to grow and develop and the female bugs also use it for reproduction and laying hundreds of eggs.
As bed bugs move from stage to stage, they discard their exoskeletons. The bed bug smell usually arises due to these discarded shells, as well as the digested or partially digested blood meals. Also, you might see dried blood and rust colored spots around your sleeping quarters. All these factors also contribute to the nasty bitter-sweet smell in your surroundings. The male bed bugs also tend to secrete pheromones for attracting females and a mixture of all these odors contribute to bad bed bug smell in very large infestations.
What to do about bed bug odor?
The solution to getting rid of bed bug smell is to get rid of the infestation.Make sure that you discard all old mattresses and bedroom linen that has been ruined and stained completely thanks to the bed bugs. If you have new mattresses, you could enclose them in mattress encasements. The rest of the washable bed linen needs to be tossed in the washing machine on its highest heat setting preferably 120F. Where applicable, you could use some detergent and bleach to kill bed bug eggs.
Experienced pest controllers know where to look for bed bugs exactly since these critters are known to hide in cracks and crevices. The K9/dog bed bug detection units also use the bed bug smell to find out where bugs are hiding. You could consider enrolling the services of a good pest control company to get rid of the bed bug smell. Also, you can do the following things at home to assist with the professional bed bug eradication:
- Strip beds, sofas etc off their upholstery and linen. Toss everything in the washing machine and wash it using highest heat.
- Move furniture away from walls so that the professionals can treat areas behind and underneath it.
- Items which are not washable must be stored in plastic bags and taken outdoors in the sun and placed there for at least a day. If possible, you could spray the non-electronic items with bed bug sprays or powders.
- As stated before, cover the mattress with encasement. Spray and treat the bed’s box spring using bed bug products as advised by the professionals.
- Follow good housekeeping measures like vacuuming, wiping down surfaces etc. Your professionals might also use steaming or spot freezing treatment to get rid of bed bugs and the bed bug smell.
- EPA registered bed bug products like sprays, aerosols and powders can also be used.
- Fumigation through the use of bed bug bombs and foggers is another known method of bed bug elimination.
These are the tried and tested methods of bed bug elimination. Also check other resources on this website to ensure complete eradication of the bed bug smell.