May 03, 2022

One of the most common pests we deal with is bed bugs. These bloodsucking beasties can hitch a ride into your home on various items, including luggage, clothes, second-hand furniture, shoes, and even your guests. Contrary to popular belief, they don't only infest dirty homes; they are happy to bite anyone! Unfortunately, since bed bugs can lay 12 eggs per day, it doesn't take long for them to take hold of your home. It is better to arrange bed bug treatment in Knoxville as soon as possible to eliminate the problem.

With that in mind, let's take a look at a few of the early warning signs that might indicate you have a budding bed bug infestation!

1 - Unexplained Musty Odors

One of the signs that you could need bed bug treatment in Knoxville is a strangely sweet but musty smell that you cannot find a source for. This is a lesser-known symptom of bed bugs, and the smell can sometimes be relatively mild, so it can often go overlooked. The scent is that bed bugs have scent glands that they use to communicate with each other using smell. It's a tricky scent to describe accurately; we have heard it compared to raspberries, coriander, and almonds. The smell is usually reasonably faint, so you wouldn't necessarily smell it or identify it if you didn't know what you were looking for. However, as an infestation worsens, the pheromone smells will build up, often smelling more like rust, wet towels, or moldy laundry! If you've cleaned up your room end eliminated the most obvious sources of the musty odor, it may be time to call for professional bed bug treatment in Knoxville.

2 - Strange Pet Behaviors

While bed bugs will prefer to snack on human blood, that doesn't mean they won't also bite your pets if the opportunity arises. If your pet is unusually irritable, restless, or is scratching heavily, they may be suffering from bed bug bites. Of course, these are also symptoms of fleas and ticks which will usually attach themselves to your pet, so it is worth doing a quick check over their skin to look for pests or evidence of bites. If you are also suffering from bites, it is even more likely that bed bugs could be bothering your animal friends.

Pro Tip! If your dog is bothered by bed bugs, it is worth thoroughly cleaning its collar. Although bed bugs cannot live on your dog's fur like fleas do, they may have hidden in the collar between meals.

3 - Fecal Marks on Fabrics

Another sign of bed bugs is the dark brown marks left by their fecal matter. Bed bug droppings are made up of digested blood which appears dark brown or black due to the high iron content. It also has a rusty odor which contributes to that pheromone odor we mentioned previously. The marks are very small and dark and can be challenging to wash out. Water will usually make the stain smear outwards, almost like the stains caused by magic markers! You can find these fecal marks in a variety of places, but some of the most common include:

  • Sheets
  • Pajamas
  • Mattresses
  • Headboards
  • Box Springs
  • Curtains
  • Other Fabrics
  • Walls

4 - Bloodstains on Sheets

If you see more extensive, rust-colored stains on your sheets, pillows, and nightwear, this is not fecal matter but blood. We don't actually notice bed bugs feeding on us as we sleep. However, you may inadvertently crush them when moving. When feeding, the bed bug's body becomes engorged with blood. It likely won't be killed if you crush or squeeze one that has just enjoyed a tasty meal, but the blood can be squeezed out, creating a stain on the sheets. If you notice blood on your bedding or nightwear but have no wounds that could have caused it, then you likely have an infestation and need to book bed bug treatment in Knoxville as soon as possible.

5 - Shell Casings & Eggs

If you happen upon bed bug shell casings in your home, it is a strong indication that you have a bed bug infestation and should seek out bed bug treatment in Knoxville. These are the exoskeletons of juvenile bedbugs, which they molt as they grow. The shells are yellow-brown in color and translucent in appearance. You may also come across empty eggshells, which are oval-shaped and smaller than an apple seed.

Why Not Bites?

You may have noticed that we haven't really mentioned much about bed bug bites as an early indication of an infestation. There is a good reason for this omission! Waking up with unexplained bites in the morning is not a strong enough signal without some of the other signs, as there are some other potential culprits. It is also difficult to say with any certainty that it is a bed bug bite since everyone reacts differently to insect bites. Bed bug bites usually appear as red, itchy bumps often found on the hands, arms, and legs. They can appear on their own or in small clusters of 3 or 4 bites. Bed bugs don't carry disease, so bites are not a cause for alarm other than to trigger an appointment for bed bug treatment in Knoxville.


Otis Termite & Pest Control is a full-service pest control company with a focus on outstanding service. We have been serving the East Tennessee area for over 56 years and our reputation is built on prompt and effective service. We’re good at what we do and we’re fast. We do the job right the first time – and that’s an actual guarantee! 

Call 865.690.1662 or visit www.otispestcontrol.net.



Emily Moeck

"I unknowingly moved into a home that had a HUGE bed bug infestation..."Don't you worry, we are on top of this until they are gone, I promise!"... Jack was knowledgeable and honest in his assessment of my house/treatment methods. Thank you, Jack and Rocky and the whole Otis team! My home is home again!"


Joshua Weaver

"Prompt responses and appointment times. Very friendly and knowledgeable. Straight forward service without any "pushing" for extras."


Charlotte Bishop

"These guys were super helpful and kind. Jack thoroughly explained every procedure and made what could have been a horrible situation much more bearable. I definitely recommend them!"


Tamie Ridenour

"Excellent service and staff!! They were at my house the same day I called, for New construction pre-treatment!"


Cathy Amos

"Highly recommend! Jack and Rocky are great! You've got a business and highest recommendation! Great people to work with!"

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