While most adult bed bugs can be seen without a magnifying glass, they are notoriously hard to locate. However, you do not need to rely solely on your vision when it comes to hunting bed bugs. That’s because you can actually smell them.
Do Bed Bugs Really Smell?
Like many other insects, bed bugs secrete pheromones when they are disturbed. So when you turn on the light and a large group of them scatter all over your mattress you should be able to smell them. Additionally, you may be able to smell their fecal matter.
What Do Bed Bugs Smell Like?
Bed bug infestations are commonly described as smelling musty, or very similar to coriander. Some people even say they smell like rotted raspberries, though maybe that is getting too specific. Additionally, some people have reported smelling a musty scent prior to discovering an infestation.
We may not need to rely solely on human perception in the battle with bed bugs. That’s because dogs can be trained to sniff them out much more efficiently than humans. Again, the strength of the smell would depend on how many there are, but it’s much easier for a dog to detect them than a human.
Noticing The Scent
If you smell something similar to what was previously described, odds are you have a bed bug infestation. The very fact that you are smelling it means it is likely a larger infestation, as it is difficult for humans to detect smaller infestations. Further complicating matters is the fact that bed bugs only emit a scent when they are disturbed, so it pays to be vigilant when attempting to detect them.
If you discovered bed bugs in a recently treated space, remember that just because the smell is gone does not mean the bed bugs have been eliminated. Even if they were, there is no reason not to follow up the initial treatment with several subsequent treatments spaced a few months apart. Unfortunately, this level of caution is imperative because your problems will restart if even a single bug survives.
Eliminating The Smell
Sometimes when people are trying to get rid of an infestation, they panic and try to treat the odor first, thinking it will solve the problem more expediently. Unfortunately for them, that is the wrong approach. There is no way to get rid of the scent without eliminating the bed bugs first and foremost.
First, you must purge the infestation. This is the only viable path forward if you hope to successfully rid yourself of the stench. Once that is done, you can keep the smell down by consistently washing the surrounding fabrics and bedding.
Now that you know what bed bugs smell like, you will be able to better detect their presence, which will hopefully lead to their swift removal. However, be aware that this has nothing to do with treating an actual infestation. That act is best left to professional exterminators—so be sure to inform them if you or your employees suspect a bed bug infestation on your premises.
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