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Why Do Bed Bugs Smell When You Kill Them?

Have you ever killed a bed bug and noticed a smell that made you wonder why do bed bugs smell when you kill them? Bed bugs emit a smell for several reasons, all of which we will discuss in this article.

Bed bugs are tiny insects known for infesting homes, hotels, and other living spaces, causing discomfort and distress. These nocturnal pests are quite elusive and difficult to eliminate, making them a nightmare for homeowners and businesses alike.


What Do Bed Bugs Actually Look Like? 

Why Do Bed Bugs Smell When You Kill Them
A bed Bug

Bed bugs are small, flat, reddish-brown insects that feed on the blood of animals or humans. They are as big as a seed from an apple and can be seen easily without using a magnifying glass.

Adult bed bugs have a flat like oval-shaped body, with six legs, and are wingless. They are nocturnal and will hide during the day in cracks and crevices around the bed, mattress, or furniture and come out at night to feed on humans or animals. When they feed, their bodies swell and become reddish.


What do Bed bugs Smell like? 

If you kill or touch bed bugs, they let out a strong smell that’s often described as musty, sweet, or like coriander. Some say it’s similar to overripe raspberries or almonds. The intensity of the odor is not always the same.

It depends on factors like the number of bugs you killed or squeezed and how they’re removed. It’s not a pleasant smell and can linger in the air, making it an unpleasant experience especially if you are already dealing with a bed bug infestation.


Why Do Bed Bugs Smell When You Kill Them

The smell of bed bugs when you kill them is caused by a combination of chemical compounds. One of these chemicals is histamine, which is found in bed bugs, humans, and other animals. When bed bugs are killed, histamine is released.

This is what creates the smell. Other chemicals, like pheromones and alarm substances, might also play a part in the odor. These chemicals are used by bugs to communicate with each other and can be sensed by other bugs nearby.


Read also: Why Am I Still Seeing Bed Bugs After Treatment?


The Purpose of the Smell for Bed Bugs

The smell that bed bugs release, though unpleasant to us, is important for their survival. They use this smell, along with other chemical signals, to communicate and work together. The odor warns other bed bugs about possible dangers or changes in their environment.

It helps them notice predators like ants or spiders and tells them about threats to their food and breeding areas. When bed bugs are killed, this smell warns the rest of the group, telling them to be careful. The smell they emit is like telling others, ‘There is danger here, leave this place.


Factors That Influence the Intensity of the Smell

Several factors affect how strong the smell is when bed bugs are killed. The number of bed bugs in the infestation is a major factor. Bigger infestations will have a stronger smell because there are more bugs so they release more chemicals. The life stage of the bed bugs matters too.

Adults, which are bigger and more grown-up, tend to make a stronger smell than young bed bugs, called nymphs. The way the bugs are killed also plays a role. Some methods, like using certain chemicals or heat, can make the smell stronger when compared with other methods.


The Impact of the Smell on Bed Bug Infestations

The smell emitted by bed bugs, when exterminated, can have both good and bad effects on the infestation. On one hand, the odor can serve as an indicator of successful treatment. If the smell goes away after extermination, it is a sign that the treatment has been effective in killing the bed bugs.

On the other hand, the smell can also alert surviving bed bugs to potential danger and prompt them to scatter or seek refuge in other areas of the property. This can make it harder to get rid of all the bed bugs and might need more treatments or ways to stop them from coming back.


Read also: 5 Facts You Must Know About Bed Bug Bites


How to Effectively Eliminate Bed Bugs and Minimize the Smell

If you are dealing with a bed bug infestation, you have to take prompt action to eliminate the pests and minimize the smell. Professional pest control services are often the most effective way to tackle a bed bug problem.

Experienced technicians will assess the extent of the infestation, determine the best treatment method, and safely exterminate the bed bugs.

They have access to specialized tools and products that are not available to the general public, ensuring thorough and efficient eradication. Also, professional pest control companies can provide guidance on minimizing the smell and preventing future infestations.


Tips for Preventing Bed Bug Infestations

To minimize the risk of an infestation, follow these tips:

  1. Inspect secondhand furniture: Before bringing used furniture into your home, thoroughly inspect it for signs of bed bugs, like live bugs, shed skins, or dark spots on the upholstery.
  2. Use protective covers: Encase your mattress and box spring in bed with bug-proof covers to prevent bugs from infesting these areas.
  3. Be cautious when traveling: Inspect hotel rooms for signs of bed bugs, such as blood stains on sheets or mattresses, before unpacking your belongings.
  4. Avoid clutter: Reduce hiding spots for bed bugs by keeping your living space tidy and free from unnecessary clutter.
  5. Regularly wash and dry bedding: Washing and drying your bedding on high heat can help kill any bed bugs or eggs that may be present.


Read also: How to Check for Bedbugs in a Hotel | 6 DIY Tips with Video



The smell that bed bugs give off when they’re killed is a natural reaction to danger or disruption. It’s a way for them to communicate with each other. The strength of the smell can change depending on different factors.

Even though the smell isn’t pleasant for people, it’s important for bed bugs’ survival and behavior. To get rid of bed bugs and reduce the smell, it’s best to hire professional pest control services.

They have the right skills, tools, and treatments to handle infestations and keep them from coming back.


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