What Do Bed Bugs Smell Like?

Bed bug smell could be a sign of heavy infestation. How do you tell the smell, and what does the smell mean?

It is one of the things that gives the insects away for sure. Finding blood stains on bed sheets or on the edge of the mattress would require a bit of looking.

But without a keen eye, a sharp nose would be able to tell quite fast whether a room is infested with bed bugs.

So, let’s learn more about bed bug smell.

Read also: What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

What do bed bugs smell like?

Scientific American describes bed bug smell as coriander-like or an odor similar to something moldy (for instance a piece of wet clothe that has been in an enclosed bucket for too long). Some people say bed bugs smell like cleaners. Other think the smell is similar guinea pig, cider vinegar, or like pee. In general, the smell is awful.

People may describe bed bug smell differently

Different people may describe the bed bug smell in the following way:

  • A foul odor similar to that of coriander. This is usually the case when the bed bug infestation had been with you for a few months.
  • A shoe-like stench, especially dirty ones. If something stinks like dirty shoes but there are none lying around, it’s probably best to begin the hunt for bed bugs.
  • Bed bug smell is sometimes compared to dirty laundry or wet moldy clothing. If you do not have any wet or dirty clothes but you pick up a smell, its most like coming from hiding bed bugs.
  • Other people compare bed bug smell with rotting raspberries.
  • Sometimes, bed bug smell is comparable to acidic marzipan or even like almonds.
  • Some people say that bed bugs smell like blood. That could be because they feed on blood.

Bed bug smell after first treatment

Before treatment to eradicate them, bed bugs usually hide in different spots. They spread all over and therefore, the strength of their smell is often not as noticeable.

During treatment, they exterminator causes major disturbances to the bugs. When disturbed, bed bugs release odor to signal danger and the concentration of the smell goes up.

Some of the main reasons why bed bugs smell after treatment include the following:

  1. Physical crushing that exposes smelly inner contents of bed bugs, including their droppings
  2. Release of a chemical as an alert signal during extermination
  3. Rotting exoskeleton from dead bed bugs
  4. Mixture of the pesticide and bed bug shells could react to cause strong smell.

Even once the infestation has been cleared off for a long time, your nose might pick up the musty/minty stench for several days or even months.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to get rid of bed bug smell for good after they are dead.

How to get rid of bed bug smell

The first step in getting rid of bed bug smell is by getting rid of the bed bugs themselves. There are multiple options one can use. After bed bug extermination, bed bugs usually leave an awful stench that will require some actions to remove. The following procedure explains how to get rid of bed bug smell:

  1. Call an exterminator for fumigation or use recommended methods such as insecticides, bleach, or alcohol to kill bed bugs.
  2. Some insecticides are known to have strong smell after being sprayed. Talk to your pest control expert about the smell of the pesticide before they begin extermination.
  3. Discarding the old mattress that had been infested could be a quick way to eliminated bed bug smell.
  4. Replacing the entire bed frame is also a good ideas to consider since bed bug stench takes too long to fade.
  5. Consider changing your bed sheets, pillows, and blankets. Some of the bed bug droppings could be left on these bedding even after they are dead.
  6. If replacing the bed frame and mattress is expensive, consider doing through washing of the items using scented soap to reduce the smell.
  7. Turn on your dehumidifier to pull moisture out of the room.
  8. Keep your bedroom windows open for at least four hours a day to allow circulation of air. This will reduce the stench naturally. Stagnant air could worsen bed bug smell inside the room.
  9. Use natural order absorbers such as baking soda to trap any additional lingering bed bug smell that might be on the walls or the floor.
  10. Invest in a safe, but long-lasting air-freshener to mask all the unpleasant bed bug smell, especially at night.

Does bed bug smell stay after they die?

Bed bugs continue to smell for several weeks after they die. The odor may last even longer if their shells are not removed. Cleaning up immediately after bed bug extermination could help remove their shells and other droppings that cause the stench. If bed bugs continue smelling after they die, consider cleaning the bed frame, bed sheets, the mattress, and pillows to reduce the unpleasant smell.