by timrel

December 15, 2021

Why Do Bed Bugs Smell When You Kill Them?

Bed bugs are small cockroach-like critters that consume human or animal blood to survive. They are tiny, making them very difficult for you to spot. You’ll know if you have bed bugs living with you because of the small red dots that may appear on you or a family member. 

These are bites, with the red dot showing the area where the bed bug was drinking. Realising you have thirsty bed bugs getting under the covers with you probably won’t make you want to rush to bed.  

As their name suggests, bed bugs are found near your bed. These creatures are also found near sofas and other areas where you might sleep or be stationary for a period of time. Bed bugs will feast for up to ten minutes and often choose a time when you’re sleeping to bite you.

The most successful method for avoiding bed bugs is prevention. Taking steps to deter bed bugs from moving in in the first place is advised. A bed bug is looking for two things: somewhere to hide and skin through which it can obtain blood.

Removing piles of items and litter from areas that bed bugs inhabit will mean that they have nowhere to hide. This will make them vulnerable to being stepped on, and they will consider abandoning your home and travelling to somewhere else.

If it’s too late for you, and bed bugs have made a home in yours, you may decide to kill them. If you do decide to kill bed bugs, be aware that the smell they release when dead is unbearable and the risk of them staining your mattress and bedding is probable and irreversible.

Do Bed Bugs Release a Smell When You Kill Them?

Bed bugs smell whether alive or dead. Living bed bugs have a unique smell and can be identified by their musty odour. You’ll know if you have a bed bug infestation because your home, especially your bedroom, will smell of raspberries. 

It sounds almost pleasant, but living bed bugs also create bad smells by excreting on your bedding and in wall gaps where they sleep. These insects shed their skin regularly, which creates a foul smell.

If you decide to kill bed bugs, be warned that they release an even fouler smell when dead. It’s a smell so vile that it would make anyone feel sick. When in danger, a bed bug releases chemicals to alert other bed bugs of the risk of being killed. It would take a lot of air freshener to cover up such a bad odour.
Why Do Bed Bugs Smell When You Kill Them? PIN

When You Squish A Bed Bug What Comes Out?

If you squish a bed bug, whether on purpose or by accident, the horrible smell that will fill the air will make you wish you hadn’t. Squishing a bed bug releases their blood, organs and liquids all over your bed. 

As advised, squishing a bed bug is not best practice and you’re always better to try to prevent the bugs moving into your home in the first place. You can put bed bugs off by covering as much of your skin as possible while you’re sleeping. 

Wearing long sleeved pyjama tops or wrapping yourself in your sheets will make it harder for bed bugs to get to your skin.

How Do You Get Rid Of Bed Bug Smell?

If you need to eliminate a bed bug smell, spraying your room with air freshener won’t do the job. Neither will using a diffuser, or even running your bedding through a standard wash in the washing machine.

Only boiling water will remove the smell of dead bed bugs from your sheets. Boil water in the kettle and pour this onto your bedding. Scrub the affected area to ensure the boiling water is soaking in, while being careful not to burn yourself. Then put the items in the washing machine.


Killing bed bugs releases a vile smell that would make anyone nauseous. When you kill bed bugs, you create a range of problems, including foul smell, and staining, because squished bugs contaminate your bedding. 

Prevention is always the best method when dealing with bed bugs. Taking steps to avoid getting bed bugs in the first place, or steps to discourage them from sticking around, is always best practice.

About the author


I am passionate about health and wellbeing and have writing for over 10 years on the subject. I have a BSc Hons Degree and undertake vigorous research to help people improve their lives and live more a healthy and happy life.

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