You may have seen bed bugs with you own eyes several times before or heard about them from your friends and work colleagues, so you should definitely know what they look like. The question is, what are those black spots on your bed sheets? Someone could have told you that its likely bed bugs, but perhaps the marks don’t look like dried blood or they don’t have the appearance of a bed bug. So, why are you waking up and noticing new black spots all over your bedding? They can be located on your couch, too, and other pieces of furniture in your home.
So if they are not bed bugs what else could they be?
Black spots on your bed sheets
Some of us make the bed after waking up; others do not. But everyone notices those black spots on their bedding the sooner or the later. It may be early in the morning or when you’re doing your laundry. Regardless, you may wonder what they are, especially if they are spreading or showing up in other parts of your room or living room.
If they are not bed bugs because they definitely do not look like insects, they can be the following:
- Mold and moisture problems: Mold is one of the most common fungus types you can find in your house. It grows indoors and may also develop outdoors by releasing spores that float around and spread to new locations. These spores are even more resistant than mold and thrive in warm and moist places. They grow on many surfaces, including paper, fabric, and many others, and have different appearances depending on the type. A few of them look like black spots, but they can also appear fuzzy or adopt a rough appearance.
- Folliculitis and other skin issues: Those black spots may also come from your own body. For example, if you have folliculitis and other skin issues that cause skin lesions and bleeding, you may be staining your bedding every time you go to sleep. So, consider if you’re continually scratching and if you’re regularly bleeding from a given area in your skin. If that’s the case, the bloodstain may initially look reddish, but after rusting, it becomes darker and may look like a black spot or stain.
- Bed bug droppings: If you know bed bugs, and these are not insects in your bed sheets, they may be bed bug droppings. They are usually found close to their hiding places, which can be your mattress if you don’t have a mattress cover or have tears or your bed if you have cracks in the bed frame. They may also appear in your bed regardless of where bed bugs are located. You may be killing bed bugs with your own body as you sleep and without noticing in some cases. The carcass slides away, and all you see is a stain in your mattress.
If you have mold and moisture problems, the solution is to remove the moist (sometimes you need to throw the bed sheets and buy new ones) and inspect to find the source of moisture. Otherwise, you will continue having this problem because mold is very resistant. Make sure you don’t underestimate mold because it is associated with allergies, breathing problems, and a severe type of infection known as aspergillosis if you have immune-compromised individuals at home.
Folliculitis and other skin issues need to be evaluated by a dermatologist. If you continuously scratch your legs or have acne-like lesions all over your body, they are a constant infection and inflammation source.
But what about bed bugs? If you know how they look like and they never showed up in your house, is it still possible to have an infestation?
Signs of a bed bug infestation you should know about
Black spots in your bed sheets are one of many signs of bed bug infestation, but there are many others. If you’re concerned about those black spots, be sure to check for the following signs of a bed bug infestation. The more signs you have, the more likely these creatures are living in your house.
- Shed exoskeletons: Bed bugs have several stages of growth. When they are young, they shed their exoskeleton 5 times before growing into an adult bed bug. Multiply that for the number of new insects that leave their eggs every day, and you will get tons of exoskeletons or bed bug shells. With each food they take, they leave a new shell and grow larger. These are translucent and may be of different sizes. You can find them in your mattress, close to their hiding spots, or near your couch and any other piece of furniture.
- Bloodstains: You can differentiate blood stain from black spots. The latter is no more than fecal spots or bed bug droppings. The former appears when you crush bed bugs with your own body. If they are filled with blood, they will leave a stain in your pajamas, your bed sheet, or somewhere else.
- Musty odor: Bed bugs have a characteristic odor, and it grows more intense as they multiply. Some people describe bed bug odor as sweet; others say it’s a musty and very unpleasant smell. It is similar to the scent you get after leaving your wet laundry in the washing machine for a very long time.
- Bed bug eggs: They are often difficult to spot, but you may notice them as white spots on joints or cracks on your furniture. They are very tiny, but it is possible to detect them if you’re very perceptive.
Besides these obvious visual signs in your house, you may find many others:
- Waking up with red spots: Having black spots in your bedding and waking up with red spots all over your body at the same time is a strong indication of bed bugs. They can be itchy or not, usually appear in clusters or follow a line in the skin.
- Evidence of bed bugs in the neighborhood: If your neighbors have a bed bug problem, it is more likely that those black spots come from bed bug droppings. The same goes if you recently bought new furniture, especially when it is old, second-hand, or was discarded by someone else.
If you gather several signs and suspect that you have a bed bug infestation, you may be able to get rid of them by yourself. But it would also be a great idea to call a professional—someone with experience who can guide you and give you recommendations to exterminate the pest.