Like many species of bugs, bed bugs release odors called alarm pheromones. When a group of bed bugs gets disturbed, you may get a whiff of that odor, which is similar to the odor stink bugs give
Stink bugs have even been compared to skunks in terms of the similar, foul-smelling scents both animals release when threatened or disturbed. Biology Behind the Scent. It's All in the Name
Most insects have defense mechanisms and bed bugs are no exception. Bed bugs use an alarm pheromone to increase mobility in response to certain situations. This causes bed bugs to move away from areas of the home, often foiling removal attempts. This bed bug smell is an effective way for the pests to communicate and remain hidden.
Bed bug smell has also been described as similar to the smell emitted by stink bugs. Stink bug odor has also been described as similar to coriander, or like sweaty socks or mild skunk odor. It's funny how such similar smells can be both part of a gourmet recipe and part of an animal's defense strategy.
As stated above, one way detect bed bugs is their smell. The scent of their pheromones can be quite strong. It's often described as a musty odor. Since it's possible for people to go for long periods without being aware they have a bed bug infestation, knowing the key bed bug symptoms and how to find these pests will go a long way in combating them.
The smell of a bed bug infestation is also described as the smell associated with dirty laundry or wet, moldy clothes. Just like for shoes, if you didn't have smelling piles of dirty clothes in your house, the smell is probably produced by the bed bugs hiding inside your house.