The 1 Smell That Signals Bed Bugs Are In Your Home

If you’ve been blissfully unaware of what’s going on in Paris at the moment, I’m incredibly sorry to break the news that a new infestation of bedbugs might be headed your way. 

In recent days, Paris has been taken over by the blood-sucking insects – authorities warning “no one is safe”. Footage of the insects have taken over TikTok, and a large number of Parisians have insisted on standing in the infested metro instead of sitting on the fabric seats.

Deputy mayor of Paris Emmanuel Gregoire called the infestation “widespread.”

He said: “You have to understand that in reality no one is safe, obviously there are risk factors but in reality, you can catch bedbugs anywhere and bring them home.”

Speaking of bringing them home, smaller populations of the insects are already here, according to experts who warn that “second-hand furniture, as well as a resurgence in travel and hotel stays since the coronavirus pandemic, are thought to be behind the rise in infestations.” 

Bed bugs have a smell you should look out for

You might even be able to tell if you have an infestation due to the smell. 

“One of the strongest signs of a bedbug infestation is an unusual odour with no other obvious cause,” says The Mirror. “This is often described as a musty, sweet smell.” 

Dodson Pest Control explains: “Bed bugs can smell different to different people. Many people report smelling coriander, but another common description is the scent of spoiled raspberries.

“Others report a strong acidic scent or that of almonds or marzipan. If you notice an unusual smell in an otherwise clean room, it may be time to call in a professional.”

That said, here are some tips from Superintendent Pharmacist, Phil Day at Pharmacy2U on what you should know to keep yourself and your home safe.

How to identify bedbug bites

“Bedbug bites tend to be very itchy and uncomfortable, but they are not usually dangerous,” says Day.


“Bedbug bites usually appear in a clustered or linear pattern in areas of exposed skin such as arms, legs, neck, and face.”


Day explains bites resemble small, red welts or raised bumps: “On black or brown skin, they may look purple and may be harder to see.”


“Bedbug bites can be intensely itchy, and the itching may persist for several days.”

Nocturnal occurrence

“Bedbugs are most active at night, so bites often occur while you’re sleeping.”

How to treat bedbug bites

Day explains although bug bites can be uncomfortable, they usually resolve on their own within a week or two.

He advises: “Wash the affected area gently with soap and water to reduce the risk of infection. Avoid scrubbing, as this can irritate the bites.

“Your pharmacist can advise on the best over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream or ointment that can help relieve itching and inflammation.”

Day adds that taking an oral antihistamine can help reduce itching and discomfort. 

“While it’s tempting, scratching can lead to infection and prolonged healing,” says Day. “Try to resist the urge to scratch the bites.

“Applying something cool like a clean cloth soaked in cold water can relieve itching and reduce swelling.”

How to get bed bugs out of your home

“Thoroughly inspect your bedding, mattress, and the surrounding area for signs of bedbugs,” Day explains. 

He also states washing and drying your bedding, including sheets and pillowcases and any items of clothing that may have come into contact with the bedding, on high heat for at least 30 minutes will kill any bed bugs.

He adds: “If you suspect a bedbug infestation in your home, it’s best to contact a professional pest control service or local council for effective eradication.

“When travelling, inspect hotel rooms for signs of bedbugs. Keep your luggage off the floor and inspect both luggage and clothing before bringing them back to your room.”

A video on TikTok posted by ahospitality expert @haleewithaflair went viral after she recommended turning the light switch off and using the torch on your phone to look under and around the bed for bedbugs.

Check it out here: