Although adult bed bugs are easily visible with the naked eye, they can be difficult to find. They often avoid light and motion by hiding in dark cracks and crevices during the day. But even if you don’t see them, you might be able to smell them.

Do bed bugs smell?

Like many species of bugs, bed bugs release odors called alarm pheromones. When a group of bed bugs gets disturbed, you may be able to smell that odor. Odors may also result from bed bug fecal material. The odor is described many different ways and has been compared to the smell of coriander, an herb. Older publications even refer to the bed bug as the coriander bug. Others describe the smell as “sweet” or “musty.”

Can my dog smell a bed bug?

Canine scent detection takes advantage of the bed bug smell to find evidence of bed bug activity. Properly trained dogs can do a much better job than humans in telling the scent from other odors that may be present. Because smells can be subjective, and the level of bed bug smell depends on the level of infestation, it is important to remember that all other evidence needs to be considered when looking for evidence of bed bug activity.

What are signs of bed bugs?

There can be many signs that you may have bed bugs, including bloodstains and skins from molting. Small dark brown or black stains on bedding, pillowcases and other furniture can also be a sign that bed bugs are present.

Though many people first become aware of bed bug activity because they were bitten, a skin reaction alone does not necessarily indicate the presence of bed bugs. Many other insects, medical conditions, medicines, allergens and irritants can produce similar skin reactions.

If you see signs of bed bugs in your home, call Terminix® to help you identify and, if needed, control the problem.