Why Do Bed Bugs Smell When You Kill Them?
The sense of smell can alert you to good things in life, such as someone pulling freshly baked cookies out of the oven. On the flip side, detecting a foul odor might also warn you of dangerous things in your environment. Along with sending alarm bells about potential fires, your nose could give you one of your first warning signs that a bed bug infestation exists in your home.
Does a Bed Bug Infestation Have a Smell?
Bed bug infestations have a certain smell that can vary in intensity according to how severe the problem is in a room. The reason bed bugs smell comes down to the release of alarm pheromones.
Bed bugs emit pheromones when they feel they are in danger, and additional components within this distinctive scent could play a role in their aggregation and reproduction behaviors. Most people describe the scent as musty or sweet. Others find that it smells much like coriander or cilantro.
Do Other Pest Infestations Cause a Distinctive Odor?
Noticing an odd odor in a room should give you a good reason to investigate further to find the source. Most bedrooms should not have a musty or herbal scent unless you have a windowsill herb garden.
Smelling sweetness or coriander in a room might not mean having a bed bug problem. Cockroaches and other insects can also emit pheromones that create a similar scent.
You don’t have to be a bed bug expert to do some inspecting in your room. You might be able to detect a bed bug infestation by visually checking the main areas where bed bugs hide out.
Take a flashlight and carefully inspect the seams of your mattress. If you see flat, oval insects about the size of an apple seed, you might have bed bugs.
These blood-sucking insects also leave behind dark specks in their wake, which come from their fecal matter. There may also be tiny blood spots on your bedding if they’ve regularly been feeding on you or someone else in your home.
Bed bugs might also exist in other parts of the room. They’ll infest couches, carpets, and even dressers, but you won’t typically find them in a pantry as you might with a roach.
Do Bed Bugs Stink When You Kill Them?
Since bed bugs release pheromones in response to danger, you’ll often notice an increase in their odor when you squash them. This odor is similar to what you might smell in a room with a heavy infestation, but it can also smell a lot like copper.
Squashing a bed bug that has recently fed might allow some of the blood to be released from its body. The smell is usually faint and should clear out soon after you stop killing bed bugs in the area.
If you squish a bed bug, you should clean the area afterward. Leaving the scent of blood or their pheromones on a surface could send signals for other bed bugs to come.
What Are Other Methods to Kill Bed Bugs?
Stomping or squishing bed bugs might be immediately effective, but it isn’t the best course of action in the long run. Bed bug populations get extremely large due to their rapid reproduction patterns, and you might be unable to squish them all.
Bed bugs also tend to hide in tiny cracks and underneath carpets. They’re more likely to scatter when they catch a whiff of those alarm-raising pheromones. This is why it is better to use more extensive forms of bed bug control methods.
If you’ve been squishing bugs, you might try using natural methods to get rid of them, but these can sometimes have negative effects.
For example, rubbing alcohol might be effective for killing bed bugs by dissolving their outer shell and dehydrating their eggs. However, it only works on direct contact and comes with risks, such as the potential to start a fire if alcohol is close to a flame source.
Scientists have also been working on using the bed bugs’ pheromones against them. Pheromones have been used to create traps that attract bed bugs so they can be removed from a property.
There is also a current effort to use their pheromones to disrupt their mating processes infestations get stopped in their tracks.
In addition to these methods, you can also choose other natural options, such as heat treatments. Heating a room to high temperatures can kill off bed bugs without causing you to dispose of things on your property. While you will have to leave the house for several hours, being able to return to a pest-free room is worth the slight inconvenience.
Chemical control methods are another effective option, but you’ll also want to work with a professional to choose the right spray or fog. Simply using an over-the-counter spray to hit the areas around your bed might not eliminate all the room’s bugs.
Fumigation is typically recommended to fight off bed bugs since they can get into all those tiny cracks that a spray cannot.
Residual sprays capable of getting into tiny crevices that work for several weeks are better than the short-term solutions you’ll find at your local hardware store.
Always use caution when bringing in materials from secondhand sources, and check hotels carefully for signs of an infestation.
If you smell something odd, then trust your gut. It’s better to arrange for an inspection and be wrong than to let these nocturnal biters build their population in a place meant for relaxation.