What Do Bed Bug Droppings Look Like?

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Bed bug droppings are an unwelcome guest in homes and other buildings. They can be difficult to identify due to their small size, but they are a sure sign that bed bugs have taken up residence. It is important to know what bed bug droppings look like so you can spot them before they spread further through your home or building.

Read on to learn more about what bed bug droppings look like and how to get rid of them.

Key Takeaways

Bed bug droppings are reddish-brown or rust-colored stains that resemble smudged ink or spilled red wine spots on fabric surfaces.
The droppings are small, about the size of a pen tip, and have a smooth texture when touched.
They can be found in various areas around the home, such as mattress seams, wood frames of box springs, headboards, ceiling and wall junctions, behind electrical outlets, and curtain rods.
If you see bed bugs or bed bug droppings, this is a sign of a larger infestation. Act quickly to treat them before it gets worse.

What Do Bed Bug Droppings Look Like?

Bed bug droppings are small in size, about the diameter of a pen tip. They can range in color from reddish-brown to rust colored, looking like smudged ink or red wine spots on fabric surfaces. The droppings have a smooth texture when touched and are generally found in clusters. Here is a comprehensive analysis of the appearance of bed bug droppings:

Color: Reddish-Brown or Rust-Colored Stains

Bed bug droppings are distinct and easily identifiable if you know what to look for. They produce a unique reddish-brown or rust-colored stain when they excrete on your sheets, mattress, or around the bed area.

Unlike other insect feces, these stains give an appearance of smudged ink or spilled red wine spots on the fabric’s surface. The color comes from undigested blood meals that the bugs have consumed.

If smeared with a wet Q-tip, these stains turn into darker rusty brown spots, further confirming their presence. These reddish-brown signs of bed bug activity can commonly be found near the seams and tags of bedding and around wood frame box springs and headboards due to these being favorite hiding places for them.

Notably, bright red or blood-colored spots should not be confused with bed bug droppings; those may indicate fresh feeding sites instead.

Bed Bug Colony in Mattress

Texture: Smooth and Damp When Touched

Bed bug droppings are usually found in clusters and have a smooth texture when touched. Unlike roach or mouse droppings, they don’t crumble easily.

The fecal spots feel damp due to the presence of water from the bed bugs’ excretions, although this will eventually dry out over time. Furthermore, when you brush against them or attempt to wipe them away, they tend to smear and leave an oily residue.

Location: Commonly Found on Mattress Seams, Wood Frames, and Wall Junctions

Bed bug droppings are commonly found around mattress seams and tags, wood frames of box springs, headboards, wall junctions near the bed, behind electrical outlets where furniture is placed against the wall, and curtain rods.

They are also known to hide in the folds of upholstered furniture such as chairs and couches, behind wallpaper, inside bookshelves, under carpets or rugs, and in other tight spaces that may offer them protection from the lights and other potential sources of danger. Keep an eye out for any evidence of bed bugs, especially when inspecting used furniture or other items before bringing them into the home.

Bed Bug Infestation in Mattress

Size: About the Size of a Pen Tip

Bed bug droppings are quite small, measuring the size of a pen tip. They may be hard to spot due to their tiny size and problem areas being in dark, hard-to-reach places.

A great way to identify them is by using a magnifying glass or jeweler’s loop, if available. This will allow you to closely examine any suspicious-looking discolorations or spots that may be present around and on your bedding and mattresses.

Shape: Clusters or Small Piles

Bed bug droppings are usually found in clusters or small piles, which can indicate infestation. If you suspect bed bugs, check for these tell-tale signs of their presence and other evidence, such as eggs, shed skin casings, or live bugs.

Amount: Varying Amounts Depending on the Infestation

The amount of bed bug droppings you find will likely depend on your home’s severity and stage of infestation. If you suspect a problem, it is important to act quickly to prevent it from worsening.

Identifying bed bug droppings is an important step for early detection and prevention of infestations in your home. It is also essential to hire a professional pest control specialist to treat and eliminate any existing bed bugs or eggs that may be present. Doing so will help prevent future problems with these pests from occurring. 

The Importance of Identifying Bed Bug Droppings

Identifying bed bug droppings is the key to early detection and prevention of infestations. It is important to know what they look like so you can spot them before they spread further through your home or building.

By familiarizing yourself with these tell-tale signs, you will be able to catch any potential problem areas early on and take appropriate action. If you find droppings, it is essential to contact a professional pest control specialist for treatment and prevention methods.

Here are reasons why it is important to identify bed bug droppings:

  • Early detection and prevention of infestations
  • Identification of potential problem areas
  • Ability to contact a professional pest control specialist for treatment and prevention methods
  • Reduction in the spread of bed bugs through your home or building.

By understanding what bed bug droppings look like, you can help protect your home and family from a potential infestation. If you suspect bed bugs in your home, contact a professional pest control specialist right away to get rid of them. 

How to Clean Up Bed Bug Droppings

Once you have identified evidence of bed bug droppings in your home, it is important to clean up the area and take measures to prevent future infestations. Here are some tips on how to clean up bed bug droppings:

Vacuum or Steam the Affected Area Thoroughly

Vacuuming or steaming the affected area is an effective way to remove bed bug droppings. It is important to use a vacuum with powerful suction and one that has been designed specifically for pest control.

Pay close attention to seams and tags, as these are common areas where bed bugs like to hide. If possible, the vacuum bag should be emptied outside after each use.

Steam Cleaning a Pillow

Wash All Fabrics and Clothing in Hot Water

All fabrics and clothing should be washed in hot water to kill any bed bugs or eggs that may be present. This process should include curtains, linens, blankets, pillows, and other items in the area.

Be sure to use a concentrated detergent with added bleach to help eliminate any chance of contamination.

Apply Pesticide

After vacuuming and washing, an experienced pest control professional should apply a pesticide to the affected area. This is very important to kill any remaining bed bugs or eggs that may be present.

The treatment should be done twice; one application for the outside of the structure and another for inside the building. It is important to follow the instructions and safety precautions on the pesticide label carefully.

Use Damp Cloths to Remove the Remaining Droppings

Once the vacuum and steam cleaner has been used, use a damp cloth to remove any remaining droppings. Be sure to dispose of the cloth in an airtight container away from your home or building.

You can also seep off the cracks, crevices, and joints of the furniture and other objects with a damp cloth. This will help to remove any residue or stains caused by bed bug droppings.

Prevention and Maintenance

The best way to prevent bed bug infestations is by taking proper preventive measures. Regularly inspect your home for any evidence of bed bugs, such as droppings or shed skin casings. Here is an elaborate analysis of preventive measures that one can take to avoid a bed bug infestation:

Repair Cracks on Walls and Floors

Bed bugs typically hide in cracks in walls and floors, so it is important to repair any damage that may be present. To do this, use a sealant or caulk to fill in the gaps and prevent them from entering your home.

You can also use window screens to keep them from entering through windows or doors.

Check Used Furniture Before Bringing it Home

When buying used furniture, check it carefully for any signs of bed bugs before bringing it into your home. Look closely at the seams and tags for any visible droppings or shed skin casings that may be present. It is also important to vacuum and steam clean the furniture before bringing it inside.

Keep Your Home Clean

Regular housecleaning is essential for preventing bed bug infestations. Vacuum your carpets and furniture regularly, as well as any other areas of your home where bed bugs may be hiding.

Be sure to empty the vacuum bag outside after each use and keep your home clutter-free. This will help reduce the number of potential hiding places for bed bugs.

Store Bags and Clothing Properly

Bed bugs can easily hide in bags and clothing, so it is important to store them properly when not in use. Clothes should be stored in sealed plastic bags and furniture should be covered with an insect-proof material.

It is also important to inspect bags and clothing for any signs of bed bugs before bringing them into your home.

When to Seek Professional Help

If the infestation persists or worsens, it’s time to call in the professionals. Don’t let bed bugs take over your home – learn when to seek expert assistance:

If the Infestation Persists or Worsens

Persistent bed bug infestations can be a cause of great frustration and concern. These resilient pests are known for their ability to withstand various treatment methods, making it challenging to eliminate them completely on your own.

It is important to recognize that if the infestation persists or worsens despite your efforts, seeking professional help is crucial. Professional pest management for bed bugs involves the expertise of experienced technicians who have extensive knowledge in dealing with these elusive insects.

They have access to specialized tools and treatments that are effective in eradicating even the most stubborn infestations. Don’t let a persistent or worsening bed bug problem take over your home – trust the professionals to provide you with effective solutions and peace of mind.

Bed Bugs on Mattress

If Multiple Treatment Methods Have Been Ineffective

If you have tried multiple treatment methods to get rid of bed bugs and they have proven to be ineffective, it is time to seek professional help. Bed bug infestations are notoriously difficult to eradicate, and DIY solutions often fall short of fully eliminating these pests.

Professional pest control services have the knowledge, experience, and resources to effectively eliminate bed bugs from your home.

Bed bugs are highly resilient creatures that can quickly adapt and resist various treatment methods. The longer an infestation is left untreated or improperly treated, the more challenging it becomes to completely eradicate the problem.

A professional exterminator will assess the severity of the infestation, identify all hiding spots, and implement a comprehensive treatment plan tailored specifically to your situation.

Additionally, hiring professionals offers several advantages over DIY approaches. Trained technicians use industry-grade pesticides that are not available over the counter. They also employ effective techniques such as heat treatments or fumigation, which can penetrate deep into furniture and crevices where bed bugs hide.

Moreover, professional services provide ongoing monitoring and follow-up treatments if needed.

If You Are Unsure About the Presence of Bed Bugs

If you suspect the presence of bed bugs but are unsure, there are several signs to look out for. One indicator is the presence of reddish-brown or rust-colored stains on your bedding or furniture, which could be bed bug droppings.

These small droppings are similar in size to the tip of a pen and may also leave smears resembling ink stains. Bed bug droppings are typically found along mattress seams, the wood frame of the box spring, and the headboard.

However, they can also be found along the ceiling and wall junctions, behind electrical outlets, and curtain rods. When touched, these droppings have a smooth texture and may emit a rust-like odor.


Identifying bed bug droppings is crucial for effective pest control. The reddish-brown or rust-colored stains, small size, ink-like smears, and smooth texture are all distinctive characteristics.

Knowing what to look for and taking prompt action can keep your home free from these unwanted pests. Remember to regularly clean bedding and furniture, seal cracks and crevices, and seek professional help if needed.

Don’t let bed bug droppings spoil your sleep – stay vigilant and maintain a clean living environment!


Which season mainly attracts bed bugs?

Bed bugs are most active in warm climates and during the spring and summer months. This is because they require temperatures higher temperatures to survive and reproduce. However, bed bugs can be found throughout the year in many parts of the world.

How likely is it for bed bug droppings to spread disease?

Bed bug droppings are not known to carry or transmit any diseases. Although these pests feed on blood, their saliva does not contain enough infectious agents to cause serious illnesses. It is still important to take precautions and eliminate any infestations as soon as possible.

How should you handle the droppings?

It is important to be cautious when handling bed bug droppings. Wear gloves, dispose of the droppings in a sealed plastic bag, and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water afterward. It is also recommended to use a vacuum cleaner to remove any remaining traces of the droppings.

What are the disadvantages of a bed bug infestation?

Bed bugs can cause significant physical discomfort and psychological distress. They are known to feed on human blood, which leads to itching and red spots on the skin. Furthermore, bed bug infestations can lead to lack of sleep due to the fear of being bitten at night, as well as stress from having a pest problem in your home.

If bed bug droppings once infected the bed, is it safe to use?

Once the bed bug infestation has been eradicated, it is safe to use the furniture again. However, thoroughly clean and inspect the item before using it. Additionally, keep a regular cleaning schedule and check for signs of bed bugs regularly to prevent future infestations. 

Which foods attract bed bugs?

Bed bugs are not known to feed on food sources. Instead, they prefer to feed on blood and therefore seek out human hosts. However, it is possible for them to be attracted by the odor of certain foods, such as spilled sugary liquids or crumbs. Be sure to keep your living area clean and store food items securely in sealed containers. 

Do all infestations require professional help?

It is highly recommended that you seek the assistance of a professional exterminator if you suspect or confirm the presence of bed bugs. However, some minor infestations may be manageable with DIY treatments. In any case, be sure to take prompt action and assume that the infestation is more severe than it seems – as this will ensure that the problem is completely resolved in the most effective manner possible. 

Photo of author
Sean is the founder of Conquer Critters. With more than 17 years of experience in dealing with various pests, he is passionate about spreading his knowledge to help everyone manage their pest problem in the fastest, most effective manor possible.

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