What Does Bed Bug Poop Look Like – Identification and Prevention! (With Photos)

David Floyd:

David Floyd has 20 years of experience working as a pest control technician as well as running his own pest control company. David is Quality Pro certified and is a certified Structural Pest Control Operator in the state of North Carolina, and the owner of NCPestControlExperts pest control company.

The presence of bed bug poop on objects is one of the most common indications of a bed bug infestation. Bed bug poop stains on walls, sofas, and couches are quite worrisome. It is easy to mistake bed bug poop with dirt, and you may even confuse it for the excrement of other pests.  

So, how do you identify bed bug poop? In this guide, you will learn more about bed bug poop and how to identify it, and where to find it. What’s more? We will reveal to you whether it is harmful to humans and how to thoroughly clean your mattress and bed. 

What Does Bed Bug Poop Look Like?

Poop from bed bugs is black or dark brown and creates ink-like permanent traces. Bed bug poop frequently looks like clusters of tiny spots or blotches. However, it resembles freckles but in a slimy, nasty form. And if a material does not absorb it, it leaves little, silky drips that can smear easily. 

Most importantly, it does not go away over time and usually does not even wash off. So you’d notice that the stain does not wash off on a sheet that has a poop smudge on it. Though, it gets lighter and fades with each washing, just like the way an ink mark would. To illustrate how hard it can be, it is difficult to distinguish between a magic marker stain and a bed bug poop stain on the fabric.

How to Identify Bed Bug Poop – Bed Bug Poop Identification

While bed bugs feed on your blood, it subsequently digests and turns into poop. Almost every time an insect feeds, the amount of poop produced is nearly identical. The shape, color, and size are usually the same, so you can tell if the bugs cause the spots you’re seeing. Since one can easily confuse bed bug poop for mold or mildew, the following tips can help you distinguish it:

Poop Size

Assume you have drawn an “I” with a marker. Now, that is around the size of a poop. Although, there is a minor difference in size between nymphs and adults. So you may hardly detect it.

Poop Shape

If you see a cluster of similar shapes, it could be bed bug poop. Each dropping has a consistent form and can be found in latrine clusters or scattered along common channels.

Poop Color

Is there anything on your bed that looks rusty and darkish? Bed bugs can only survive on fresh blood. And as a result, their feces naturally represent their special diet. Bed bug poop has a darkish red-brown color that looks like a bloodstain, and it may sometimes be so dark that it seems black.

Poop Spot

Bed bugs always leave their droppings close to where they feed. You can find bed bug poop on the bed. You’ll also see it on the mattress’s seams, box spring frames, in front or behind the headbox, and around the carpet’s edge. 

But you will never see it in the kitchen, except you have many bed bugs roaming your place. Typically bed bugs eat, sleep, have sex, and poop all around the host.

Poop Smell

Bed bug poop gives a rusty, pungent odor because they feed on blood. Though, when examining your mattress, a bed bug infestation may smell like mold or dampness.

Bed Bug Fecal Stains

bed bug fecal stains

Bed bug fecal stains can look relatively similar to blood stains from bites. Because bed bugs main food source is blood and they digest blood, their poop can have a slight red blood tint to it, which can make it difficult to differentiate fecal vs blood stains.

Bed bug poop stains will be a darker color than bite stains, often a rust or even black color dot about the size of the tip of a marker.

Bed Bug Poop Smear Test

To begin, this test helps determine whether a bed bug caused the spot you saw. Furthermore, remember that other forms of suspicious stains may smear too. However, these may not be bed bug feces. In summary, if it does not smudge, it is not from a bed bug. If you are still not sure, do the following exercise:

  • Get a paper towel and make it damp, not soaked.
  • Next, wipe the poop with the damp towel.
  • If the spot smudges and the towel develops a brownish rust color, you should look into it more.

Also, keep in mind that if the test spot has soaked into a sheet or blanket, you won’t be able to do the smear test on it. However, the following items can cause black spots to smear: mascara, paint, pencils, candy, certain types of mold, and various meals.

If the bed bug droppings are on a hard surface, such as a bed frame, you can test them with a bed bug Blue kit. Similarly, this is a scientific test that verifies or denies the existence of bed bug feces by turning a strip blue on detection.

Bed bug excrement can occasionally be mistaken for those of other pests, such as roaches. Looking for further evidence, such as shed skins, hatched eggs, or the blood, is one of the simplest methods to determine the difference. You may now add bed bug droppings into your bed bug treatment program because you already know what they look like.

Is Bed Bug Poop Harmful to Humans?

Yes, bed bug poop can be harmful to humans. Breathing in or digesting bed bug droppings can leave you sick with flu and naseuas-type symptoms.

Bed Bugs infest houses all over the world. However, even after they are gone, you may fall sick. This problem stems from the poop they leave behind. 

North Carolina State University researchers released a study in the scientific journal PLOS. It was to explore how deadly the bugs are, even after effective elimination. The researchers studied bed bug-infested apartment buildings in Raleigh. They tested both the visible bed bug-infested indoor dust and the non-infested indoor dust. 

After a professional pest control company effectively eliminated the bugs, the scientists evaluated the rooms for the second time. Then, they found Histamine. Histamine is a substance found in bed bug excrement, and it is a component of their pheromones. 

That is a combination of chemicals that insects expel to attract other insects. Though histamines assist the immune system fight pathogens and healing injuries in humans, they are also harmful, causing rashes from direct touch and respiratory difficulties from inhaling. While specific treatments effectively kill bed bugs, their feces can persist, causing histamine to remain in carpets, couches, and other items in the home.

After conducting some research, they discovered that histamine levels in bed bug-affected houses were at least 20 times greater than histamine levels in non-bed bug-infested homes. The scientists also studied histamine levels following the elimination. Three months later, they determined that these levels had not decreased much. They later conducted additional research on bed bugs and their adverse effects. 

Then, the researchers discovered that a combination of heat treatments destroys bed bugs. And thorough cleaning of the home can minimize some of the household dust. This is an effective method for lowering histamine levels.

How Can Examining Bed Bug Poop Aid in Bed Bug Detection?

Have you ever been bitten by a bed bug? One of the first things you should look out for is its poop. The reason is that bed bugs leave these droppings after feeding. These droppings might be found near you or their hiding place. If you are still not convinced, seeing these droppings might indicate an infestation.

Where To Look For Bed Bug Droppings:

There are places in your house where you can locate bed bug excrement most commonly, and it’s a good way to identify bed bugs during the daytime. The following are popular locations to look for these fecal droppings:

Inside Of Bed and Bed Covers

Pull aside the cover to reveal the mattress. Examine the mattress sections closest to your exposed flesh, such as the arms and ankles, including the center of the bed. As you remove the bottom sheet, carefully examine the mattress. Pull the edges up to see through the tiny holes. Also, inspect the saddle stitching and sewn edges.

Around Your bed

Inspect the window coverings, window frames, and rug edges as well. They can also hide beneath wall frames and under wallpaper. Check your draperies and curtains, including the area where your curtains are always scrunched up. Examine the wraps around the curtain hooks as well.

Carpets are another thing to look at. These are difficult to inspect, but you can always begin at the edges where the wall and carpet meet. Remove the carpet from the tack strips and inspect the underside of the carpet. Make sure to review both sides of the carpet padding.

You can either find signs of the bugs or the bugs themselves by doing these activities. With these, you can determine the severity of the infestation and devise a treatment strategy.    

How Can I Clean Up Bed Bug Poop?

The approach used to remove bed bug excrement is determined by the surface on which the poop is discovered.

Cloth Materials

If you find bed bug feces on your linens or bedsheets, dab it with cold water immediately, and the stains will harden at high temperatures. Also, enzyme-based fabric cleaning agents can be ideal when you use them as directed. 

People frequently use hydrogen peroxide therapy to remove any form of excrement from a mattress:

  • 8 oz. 3 percent hydrogen peroxide
  • 1-2 teaspoons of dishwashing detergents
  • two teaspoons of baking soda
  • One bottle of industrial-strength spray. 

First, remove the filter in the spray bottle if it has one, as the baking soda might clog it. Fill your spray bottle with your solution, spray the content on bed bug feces, and clean. Let the content soak in the fabric for 10 to 15 minutes if the spots are very tough. Using vinegar for bed bugs as well not only will deter them in the future, but can help clean up stains.

You will need to vacuum it after it is dried because there will be leftover baking soda. It is best to wash at 122°F to kill them because bed bugs may hide in sheets. Albeit, this will only work as part of a comprehensive bed bug management plan.

Note that the second treatment will brighten the material!

Abrasive Surfaces

If you find bed bug excrement on your floors, walls, wallpaper, or wood, wipe it down with cold water and a dry towel. If the stain persists after washing, a professional wood stain remover can help.

Where Do Bed Bugs Poop?

Bed bugs tend to excrete in and around small cracks, floorboards, power sockets, and other bed linen and fabrics.

Bed Bug Poop On Walls

It’s not uncommon to find bed bug poop one the eaves and molding of your walls. Bed bugs like to crawl along cracks and other places which will keep them relatively hidden. So if they are crawling on your walls, they’ll often be crawling along the crown molding at the top or bottom of your wall.

Bed Bug Poop On Wood

You’ll often find bed bug poop on wood if you have wooden bed frames or nearby furniture. Bed bug poop can and will stain wood because it smears, so it’s important to clean it up quickly.

bed bug poop on wood

Bed Bug Poop On Sheets

It’s quite common that bed bugs will poop on your sheets since that’s the area that they spend a significant amounts of time. Bed bug feces on sheets will look similar to a small brown/grey dot about the size of a magic market dot.

bed bug poop on sheets

Is Bed Bug Feces Firm Or Soft?

A bed bug poop is mushy and tar-like, although it can solidify over time. You can’t pick it up even after it is hardened. It looks like an ink stain on the sheet. If you sight it on a hard, non-porous surface, it will appear as a beaded-up black dark dot because it is liquid excrement.  

Can you wipe off bed bug poop?

Yes, it can be wiped off when it is still fresh. But unfortunately, you won’t clean it when it’s dried for more than an hour. Instead, the stain will remain dried like an animal’s feces. Though, it can also smear when it comes in contact with water. 

Therefore, be cautious if you’re working with clothes. In any case, you should wash the fabric industrially or take it out if you notice any sign of a bed bug. 

How Big Are Bed Bug Droppings?

Bed bug droppings are approximately 1mm in size, or about the size of the tip of a pencil.

Final Thoughts on Bed Bug Poop

Finding a way to detect bed bug poop is an essential step in identifying and combating an infestation. If you suspect bed bugs or just want to be cautious, look for these ink-like poop spots on the sheets. Also, check around cracks and take action if you find any. Bear in mind that having a lot of bed bug poop in your home has health risks!

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