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What Do Blood Spots From Bed Bugs Look Like?

Last night, my kindergartner asked me to help him “do that thing with that thing”. Yes, I was just as lost as you were right now. I tried asking questions to figure out even the smallest clue as to what we were talking about. The more I asked, the more frustrated he got. This is the curse of knowledge. When we have something in our head, we can see it clearly. When others cannot see it, it drives us nuts. After I got him to bed, I realized I had done this same thing with some bed bug descriptions. I reference looking for blood spots, but what do blood spots from bed bugs look like?


bed bug blood stains on box spring
Various types of bed bug blood stains

Blood stain pattern analysis has really been kicked into trendy focus from shows like Dexter. We think of this as it applies to murder scenes, but is it the same with bed bugs? Yes! In many cases, the blood stain pattern that will show up on a mattress is from the murder scene of a bed bug. As people become consciously or subconsciously aware of something crawling on (or biting) them, they will oftentimes swat the spot where the bed bug was feeding or roll over. This will leave a blood pattern indicating the direction of roll, a direct hit, or which way the bug was trying to squeeze its way to safety.

Non-Murder Scenes

Blood stains from bed bugs do not always indicate the bed bug did not make it (sadly!). Far too often, we are simply looking at the mess of a glutinous bed bug. Bed bugs are capable of super expansion with their body. They turn bright red as they fill up like a tiny red balloon (I’m sure there is an It joke in here somewhere). If an overly filled bed bug gets squeezed as it tries to get back to hiding or as it gets pressure from a human body, it can force blood back out of it.


It is surprising how much the color can vary from one bed bug stain to the next. They can range from red to rust to nearly black. I’ve often wondered if a bed bug was feeding on an orc that was staying at the hotel before I did the inspection, but for some reason, that seems slightly unlikely.

Seeing Isn’t Always Knowing

I see more bed bug activity and signs of presence every day than I hope most people see in their lifetime. Even with all of my knowledge and experience, it is hard to be sure if a spot is from a bed bug, a scab picker, or a nose bleeder. That being said, a blood stain is always an indication to dive a little bit deeper into the inspection.

Help Is on the Way!

If you suspect you are even potentially dealing with bed bugs, don’t waste time, get the experts out to tackle the issue. Your blood is yours and yours alone! You shouldn’t have to share it with any other creature (yes we include mosquitoes and ticks in that mantra as well). Our biting insect and arachnid specialists are ready and waiting to help with anything from protection plans to eradication.