Bed bugs are not considered a medical or public health hazard because they are not known to spread disease. However, they can be considered a nuisance pest because their presence may cause itching as well as loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching leads to excessive scratching which increases the chance of a secondary skin infection.
Tthe easiest ways to identify a bed bug infestation is by tell-tale bite marks on a person's face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body parts while they are sleeping. However, in some people bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop. Therefore it is important to look for other signs to determine an infestation of bed bugs. These signs include:
- Bed bug exoskeltons from molting
- Bed bugs in the folds of matresses, sheets and bedding
- Rusty-colored blood spots excreted as blood filled fecal matter on matresses and nearby furniture, and
- A sweet musty odor
When bed bugs bite, they inject chemicals that prevents a person from realizing they are being bitten. Most people do not know they have been bitten until the bite marks actually appear, usually between one to several days. The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito - a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. The bites may be random or appear in a straight line. Other symptoms of bed bug bites include insomnia, anxiety, and skin problems that arise from profuse scratching of the bites.