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Blood stains from time to time, but can't find bugs

I had a light bed bug infestation last year because of a bigger problem in my apartment building. My last treatment was in October or November. Since then, every now and then, I find the odd bump like a zit on my skin. I also from time to time get bloodstains on my pillow that look just like those in photos on bed bug information sites.

A couple of weeks ago I found a bump on the back of my neck on which I felt a little crust which came off when I lightly scratched it. I also found a group of blood marks on my pillow which look just like the ones in photos on bed bug information sites, which might have been related. A few days after I had found that spot on my neck and those blood marks I found another group of blood marks on my pillow, and I also found two spots on my sheet that were compact and dark brown, and which faded to a lighter rust colour when I worked at them with a wet cloth. However I am used to bed bug faecal spots being almost black, and these marks weren’t quite that dark. They also seemed a little bigger than most of the faecal spots I have seen.

So I did a fairly thorough inspection of my bed (which is something I had already done about six weeks before), looking for live bugs, eggs, or recently discarded skins (ones that hadn’t been blackened by contact with insecticide). (I can’t search for new faecal spots because I already have old ones from a previous infestation).

My bed has interceptors under the legs, which I re-dust carefully every four weeks, but in which I have not seen a bug since the end of 2018, so I presume that there isn’t any traffic of bugs from elsewhere in the room to my bed.

My mattress is in an encasement which is easy to inspect, but I found no bugs or skins, and, as far as faecal spots go, I only found a couple of ambiguous marks that could have been dirt from dragging the mattress around. I did a fairly close visual inspection of all the bedding, and then I dismantled the bed and inspected the end of every slat and the inside of every slat holder (because that is where the bugs most loved to hide when I had my first, big infestation 3 years ago), but I found no sign of bugs, recent skins, or eggs. The places I couldn’t inspect were a small number of unused holes drilled in the metal frame (which I have now blocked with tape), and the holes where the slat holders slot into the frame. I was assuming that it would be difficult for the bugs to get past the plugs on the slat holders because they would have to get through a narrow gap and change orientation at the same time, but could I be wrong?

Basically I found nothing on that search and I felt reassured, but this morning I found some more blood marks on my pillow, and another, more compact mark some distance away, but also on the pillow. This mark, like the two small marks I found last week, was dark, but not black like faecal spots normally are, and faded to a rust colour when I went at it with a wet cloth.

So now, after feeling reassured by not finding anything during my search of the bed last week, I am worried that I do have bugs after all, even though I can’t find any evidence to support this apart from bumps on my skin, which may or may not be bites, and blood marks on my bedding, which bed bug information sites tell me are not proof in themselves of an infestation. So what am I to make of this? Could I have an infestation now, or is it still very unlikely, given the lack of other evidence?

Hello, and welcome to our forum. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to determine whether or not these are signs of bed bugs or they’re from another of many potential sources. I would keep an eye out for other signs of bed bugs, as this would just be one piece of the puzzle.