Bed bug feces is soft and can be easily smeared. It has a smooth consistency when you smear it because it consists of dried liquid food. Bed bugs only drink blood for sustenance and do not eat any solid food. When a bed bug poops on an absorbent surface, like fabric, the feces leaves a dark brown or black ink-like stain. But if it poops on a hard surface, the feces look like smooth drops.
What does bed bug feces look like?
After a bed bug consumes a blood meal, they will spend the next few days in their hiding spot digesting the meal. The bed bugs usually ingest the same amount of blood during each feeding so the amount of feces it will leave behind will be relatively the same each time.
If the bed bug poops on your mattress or sheets, the feces will leave a stain. It will look very similar to an ink stain a pen might leave on a shirt.
The size of the fecal smears are around the size of the stain a pen might leave on fabric. So it is quite small.
The feces is soft and almost liquidy when they are fresh since they are easily absorbed by the mattress and sheets, but if the bed bug poops on a hard surface, after a few hours, it may dry up and become hard to the touch.
The color of bed bug feces can range from reddish-brown to black. Digested blood is always darker than fresh blood. So if the blood stains you find are closer to the color of fresh blood, it might not be from bed bugs.
What does bed bug feces look like on bed sheets?
Bed bug feces is usually found in the bed bug’s hiding spot, or harborage. This is because it will take the bed bug a few days to digest the blood meal before pooping. If their harborage is the bottom side of your mattress, then that is where you are likely to find their feces.
Bed bugs do not really care about pooping where they sleep, so they do not mind having their feces next to where they live.
If they do poop on your bed sheets, the feces will look like reddish-brown to black ink spots. You can even use the feces trail and have a general idea of the trail they take from their harborage to their human host.
A concentration of bed bug feces usually means that that is also their harborage.
Does bed bug feces have a smell?
Bed bug feces smells like blood, because that is what it is, digested blood. Bed bug poop does not smell like the poop of other animals.
Even if it does smell like blood, you are not likely to smell it because bed bugs give off a much stronger scent. These scents that bed bugs emanate are used by the bugs to navigate the world around them. The signature scent is moldy and musty. This scent is most noticeable when a bed bug’s harborage is disturbed and if there is a large infestation.
Can I just wipe bed bug feces off?
No, you cannot just wipe bed bug feces stains off. Their poop is closer to liquid than solid when it is fresh so it will be absorbed by the surface it is on especially if the surface is some kind of fabric.
Do not fret, because it can be cleaned up. Use a cloth that has been dipped in warm water with dish soap to dampen the area and let it soak. You will be able to wipe off most, if not all, of the staining.
Will bed bug feces always smear?
Bed bug feces will not smear if it is on a surface that is absorbent, such as the mattress, bed sheets, curtains, or carpet. Unfortunately, these are the surfaces that bed bugs commonly leave their feces on. The feces absorbs almost instantly into the fabric so there is nothing left to smear. What is left is a dark stain.
When bed bugs infest solid objects such as wooden furniture, toys, or even electronics, the feces will not be absorbed. The fresh feces will stay on the surface like a drop of water. If you touch fresh feces, then of course it will smear. But if the feces has been on the surface for hours or days, it will have dried entirely and turned solid.
How do I get rid of the bed bug feces stains and the bed bugs?
To get rid of the bed bug feces stains, wet the area with the stain first to make sure it is properly soaked to help loosen the feces from the fibers. Use dish soap to agitate the stain first.
If the dish soap does not work, try a hydrogen peroxide treatment . hydrogen peroxide acts as a mild bleaching agent and oxidizer.
Use a plastic mattress encasement
A plastic mattress encasement covers the entire mattress and is sealed securely by a zipper. Bed bugs are unable to get in or out of your mattress. The bed bugs already in the mattress are blocked access to their food source, while the bed bugs outside the mattress are not given the option of using the mattress as a harborage.
Wash and dry all your linens
Remove all the sheets and covers of your bed and pillows. Wash all of them with laundry soap and put them through a cycle with the hottest setting. After washing, place them in the dryer and dry them on the hottest temperature for at least 30 minutes.
The water, soap, and elevated temperatures will kill all of the bed bugs and bed bug eggs on your linens.
Steam clean your mattress
If you have friends or family with steam cleaners, borrow it and steam clean your mattress, box spring, curtains, carpet, and any furniture near your bed.
Bed bug feces is soft and very easy to smear especially if it is fresh. When bed bug feces is on an absorbent surface, such as fabric, it will seep through almost immediately and stain the fabric. If the bed bug feces is on a hard surface, the feces will look like a drop of liquid, but it will harden over the next few hours.
You can remove a bed bug feces stain by soaking it with water and soap and scrubbing. You can also use hydrogen peroxide as a mild bleaching agent
Image: istockphoto.com / Matteo Lanciano