How can I Identify Bed Bug Droppings and Ways to Remove them? 

Spotting possible bed bug droppings is a very frustrating experience. It’s usually difficult to clean. Many people want that eyesore removed right away.

Due to the stain’s stubbornness, it’s tempting to leave it there. It doesn’t have to be that way. This article will detail how to spot, identify, and clean those pesky smudges from bed bugs.

What Do Bed Bug Droppings Look Like?


Bed Bug droppings look like a cluster of spots like ink stains or dried blood. Their color can range from black, dark red, and rusty brown. Bed bugs feed on blood from exposed skin only. Digested blood make-up the bed bug droppings hence the appearance.

It’s as if someone took a pen and drew some dots using dark ink. Just like ink stains, they linger and are difficult to clean. Some other types of stains can be mistaken for them.

How to Identify Bed Bug Feces?

Identifying bed bug feces can be hard for some. Once you know what to look for, it can be easy. The following can help you identify them:

  • its size is roughly 1mm. That’s about the size of a ballpoint pen dot.
  • its color may vary. They are usually black or dark red with a hint of dark brown colored fluid. It’s a darker version of dried blood.
  • Its smell isn’t noticeable in small quantities. In large volumes, they give off a distinctive rusty smell.
  • its texture is fluid-like and tends to smear on surfaces. It’s not hard like any other animal droppings.
  • A tell-tale sign of having bed bug droppings is the presence of bed bugs.

The presence of bed bug infestations makes most people uncomfortable. Their bites can lead to itchy bumps that may last for a long time. This is why you should be able to know when live bed bugs are there.

Signs of Bed Bugs

Here’s what you should look out for aside from bed bug droppings:

  • Bite Marks on various parts of the body. Bed bug bites resemble itchy bumps typical of insect bites. The CDC page about bed bugs says it’s difficult to distinguish these insect bites from others. We can only tell if bed bugs are present or there are other signs.
  • Presence of drops of blood on bedsheets. This is a sign that the Bed Bugs fed on your blood.
  • Seeing Bed Bugs themselves. They are tiny, dark brown, oval-shaped insects. Adults are only around 6.5 mm long. Bed bugs are difficult to spot but still visible to the naked eye.
  • Presence of bed bug eggs. Viable eggs are whitish and oval, like tinier versions of rice grains. The eggs are 1 mm long which is still visible to the naked eye.
  • Presence of molted exoskeletons or their shells. Bed Bugs shed skins or shells so you might see them scattered around. They can be light yellow or whitish.

The most common signs are getting insect bites and spotting possible droppings. Once you find these signs of a bed bug infestation, it’s time to exterminate the bed bugs before it gets worse.

Most Common Places To Look For Bed Bug Droppings

After dealing with the bed bug problem we should try to find bed bug droppings. Fecal matter tends to accumulate especially for large infestations since bed bugs poop a lot. It can affect the cleanliness of your home and the health of some people.

You can find traces of bed bug droppings in places where the bugs resided. The US EPA page about bed bugs says that they hide in many places. These places include the bed, pipings, seams, box springs, and cracks on the bed frame. In some cases, you can find them on carpets and upholstery.

These are the places you should try to look into during a visual inspection. Thoroughly check these areas and clean them in one go. 

How to Clean Up Bed Bug Feces?

After locating the bed bug feces, the next step would be having a treatment plan. Some surfaces are easy to treat, others not so much. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean those surfaces.

For Fabrics and Bed Sheets

Step 1 – Spray enzyme-based fabric laundry cleaner directly on the stains. Leave it there for 30 minutes. Read the label to know how much to use. 

Step 2 – Wash the fabric in the washing machine. 

Step 3 – For stubborn bed bug fecal stains, Apply a Hydrogen Peroxide and Ammonia solution. You can use a spare cloth for this. 

Note: Hydrogen Peroxide may lighten the fabric. Soaking the fabric for more than 10 minutes may damage the fabric

Step 4 – Rinse as usual.

Step 5 – Air Dry the Fabric. It’s recommended to use dryers.

Note: Air Drying while the stains remain using sunlight may cause the stains to settle. This will make it difficult to remove in the future.

For Mattresses

Step 1 – Spray a hydrogen Peroxide and Ammonia solution. Blot the area using spare cloth. like the fabrics, the solution should only remain for 10 minutes

Step 2 – Apply borax to the blotted area and let the borax absorb the solution.

Step 3 – Rub the area using a spare cloth until the stains disappear. 

For Walls

For most walls, gently rubbing with water should be enough. You can try mixing baking soda with water to create a paste. Using a spare cloth or tissue, apply that mixture on stains and rub to clean.

For wooden walls, commercial wood cleaners are available. You should test it out on a small hidden area. These types of cleaners contain Hydrogen Peroxide which can cause discoloration. You can use Oxalic Acid mixed with water as well.

For Carpets

it gets complicated when it comes to carpets though. Carpets aren’t the same as fabrics. You may need to treat the carpet using cleaning solutions containing enzymes.

It would be better if you’ll hire carpet cleaners for this. If you’re cleaning it on your own make sure to use cold water. Most laundry detergents have enzymes that can break down these droppings. 

Use a sponge or clean cloth to dab a detergent and water mixture over the stain. Do not rub or brush the stain. It will make the stains penetrate deeper in the fabric. This most likely won’t work since the stains are dried already. Dried stains like these won’t likely be removed with DIY methods.

Black Spots on the Mattress, Clothing and Carpets (Not Bed Bug Related)

Seeing black spots on your bed doesn’t automatically mean you have bed bugs. On some surfaces, it’s probably another type of stain. Without the signs of a bed bug infestation, the cause of the stains is likely not the droppings.

Here are the stains that you could mistake for bed bug droppings.

1. Mold

Black spots on mattresses and walls may alarm you now that you know what bed bug feces look like. It’s still possibly a different type of stain. 

One of which is black mold. If a surface isn’t maintained for a long time, mold could grow there. If the place is humid enough it can encourage mold growth. Molds are usually big grayish circles unlike the dot-like formations of bed bug droppings.

2. Ink

Bed bugs in certain conditions can occupy clothing. Ink-stains are like bed bug droppings mainly due to their color. If it’s clustered on clothes, you might mistake it as bed bug droppings.

Black ink stains are purely black while some have a mix of blue or violet. Bed bug stains are usually black with a mix of rusty brown.

3. Eyeliner stains

Perhaps you checked one day and saw some small black dots on your pillow. You might think that a bed bug was there biting around your face. It could probably be eyeliner stains.

If you wear makeup, there might have been a time when you slept while wearing it. Your eyeliner stain can be mistaken for bed bug droppings.

Eyeliner usually has one color only which is usually greyish-black. It’s very distinct from the dark rusty brown color of bed bug droppings.

4. Spilled Beverages

Bed Bugs can stay on carpets. Seeing dark stains on the carpet might make you think a bed bug pooped on it. 

Spilling Beverages on carpets is a common, yet frustrating occurrence. Someone might have spilled dark-colored liquid on your carpet. Drops from fluids rarely truly resemble bed bug droppings.

Drops from spilled beverages are usually too big to be considered bed bug droppings. Small drops are rarely clustered the way bed bug droppings are.

5. Other Animal or Insect Droppings

Do bed bug fecal matter resemble other animal droppings?

You might think that’s the case. Bed bug fecal matter is distinct in a way that it’s always fluid-like. It smears on surfaces and causes stains 

Common household animals or pests include mice, cockroaches, and common house geckos. Their stools are mainly solid, granular, and firm. 

In short, other pests’ stools are firm and solid. Bed bug fecal matter are fluid-like and runny. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Big Are Bed Bug Droppings?

Its size is best described as tiny or minuscule. Most bed bug feces is roughly 1mm or the size of a ballpoint pen dot. Variations happen due to how it’s smeared.

Can Bed Bug Droppings Spread Disease?

The CDC page about bed bugs says that they are generally not known to transmit diseases.

There is research however linking allergies to Bed bug droppings. Zachary C. DeVries and his team published the research journal for this. It seems bed bug feces contain histamine which can trigger allergy symptoms for some people.

Bed bugs aren’t much of a health concern technically. It can inconvenience some people. For your comfort, it’s still best to clean those bed bug droppings.

Do Bed Bug Poop Smell?

Small quantities of bed bug fecal matter will barely be noticeable in terms of smell. In large numbers, it’s described as the smell of dried blood mixed with a distinct rusty smell. 

The situation is worse when you can smell the bed bug feces. It usually takes a large infestation for you to be able to smell it around your room. 

Is Bed Bug Feces hard to the touch?

Bed Bug droppings were never known to be hard. Fresh bed bug droppings look like tiny ink drops. If you were to hypothetically touch them, they would smear.


The feces bed bugs leave behind are a nuisance. It’s unsightly and can make guests uncomfortable if they happen to see them. For the sake of your home’s cleanliness, you should clean them until there are none left.

Bed Bug feces look like a cluster of tiny spots made up of digested blood. It can be difficult to identify bed bug droppings. Once you know the description you can spot and deal with the droppings effectively. 

The presence of bed bugs is the clearest sign that you have bed bug poop. Bed bug poop usually appear together with the bites. Having itchy bumps and spotting bed bug poop may mean you have an infestation.

Once you know you have an infestation, it’s time to look for bed bug poop. they usually occupy your bed, pipings, seams, box springs, and cracks on the bed frame and headboard. Sometimes they are found in your carpets. 

You need to thoroughly check those areas since bed bugs are tiny. Imagine looking for grains of rice in your bed for the bugs. The droppings are easy to spot since they are very distinct 

Bed bugs should be exterminated once you find where they are. After spotting the areas where they have pooped it’s time to clean them up.

Unfortunately, cleaning up their mess isn’t easy most of the time. Porous surfaces like mattresses and fabrics are difficult to clean. It requires a lot of effort and chemicals to clean them. Carpets get even more complicated.

Luckily, bed bug feces wipe off easily on a hard surfaces like walls and the bed frame. Some just take water to clean. Wood surfaces still need chemicals though.

You shouldn’t generalize though. Dark stains on certain locations aren’t always bed bug fecal stains. It could be a black stain from other sources.

Some tiny dark stains could be the result of common household fluids. It could also be caused by another animal or organism.

Make sure to deal with bed bug problems ASAP. Exterminate the bed bugs and clean their droppings.



Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published*