Bed Bugs How To Check For Them
How to Find Bed Bugs
If you have a bed bug infestation, it is best to find it early, before the infestation becomes established or spreads. Treating a minor infestation, while an inconvenience, is far less costly and easier than treating the same infestation after it becomes more widespread.
However, low-level infestations are also much more challenging to find and correctly identify. Other insects, such as carpet beetles, can be easily mistaken for bed bugs. If you misidentify a bed bug infestation, it gives the bugs more time to spread to other areas of the house or hitchhike a ride to someone else’s house to start a new infestation. Learn about identifying bed bugs.
Bites on the skin are a poor indicator of a bed bug infestation. Bed bug bites can look like bites from other insects (such as mosquitoes or chiggers), rashes (such as eczema or fungal infections), or even hives. Some people do not react to bed bug bites at all.
Looking for Signs of Bed Bugs
A more accurate way to identify a possible infestation is to look for physical signs of bed bugs. When cleaning, changing bedding, or staying away from home, look for:
- Rusty or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses caused by bed bugs being crushed.
- Dark spots (about this size: •), which are bed bug excrement and may bleed on the fabric like a marker would.
- Eggs and eggshells, which are tiny (about 1mm) and pale yellow skins that nymphs shed as they grow larger.
- Live bed bugs.
Where Bed Bugs Hide
When not feeding, bed bugs hide in a variety of places. Around the bed, they can be found near the piping, seams and tags of the mattress and box spring, and in cracks on the bed frame and headboard.
If the room is heavily infested, you may find bed bugs:
- In the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, in the folds of curtains.
- In drawer joints.
- In electrical receptacles and appliances.
- Under loose wall paper and wall hangings.
- At the junction where the wall and the ceiling meet.
- Even in the head of a screw.
How to Detect Bed Bugs
Detecting bed bugs can be difficult, as they are small in size and able to hide in tiny cracks and crevices. However, evidence of a bed bug infestation may be found in bedding and on mattresses. Live bed bugs leave clusters of dark brown or black spots of dried excrement on infested surfaces. Bed bugs also exude a subtle, sweet, musty odor.
Bed Bug Cluster
Where to Check for Bed Bugs
Bed bugs usually are found close to where people spend much of their time, and since bed bugs have flattened bodies, they like to get into small cracks and crevice near where people sleep. Examples include mattresses, box springs, headboards, footboards, bed frames and other furniture that is within 5-8 feet of the bed. Other common locations are cracks and gaps behind wall outlets, floor molding, window and door molding and where carpet edges meet the wall. Bed bugs have been known to occur in many different locations if their population is large and they have dispersed from their more common areas to areas where they are normally less likely to be found.
Bed bugs are easily transported into previously non-infested dwellings.
If you have detected a bed bug infestation within your home, contact a pest control professional to discuss treatment options.
Bed Bug Control
Cimex lectularius L.
Learn what bed bugs look like, and how to detect if you have a bed bug Infestation.
Find out how bed bugs infiltrate your home and where they are attracted to.
Learn about bed bug bites. their feces and how they can impact your health.
Learn how Orkin handles bed bugs, homeopathic cures and the cost of bed bug extermination services.
In this Article
In this Article
In this Article
Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color.
Bedbugs do not fly, but they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. Female bedbugs may lay hundreds of eggs, each of which is about the size of a speck of dust, over a lifetime.
Immature bedbugs, called nymphs, shed their skins five times before reaching maturity and require a meal of blood before each shedding. Under favorable conditions the bugs can develop fully in as little as a month and produce three or more generations per year.
Although they are a nuisance, they are not thought to transmit diseases.
Where Bed Bugs Hide
Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bedbugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to people to bite in the night.
Over time, however, they may scatter through the bedroom, moving into any crevice or protected location. They may also spread to nearby rooms or apartments.
Because bedbugs live solely on blood, having them in your home is not a sign of dirtiness. You are as likely to find them in immaculate homes and hotel rooms as in filthy ones.
When Bedbugs Bite
Bedbugs are active mainly at night and usually bite people while they are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin and withdrawing blood through an elongated beak. The bugs feed from three to 10 minutes to become engorged and then crawl away unnoticed.
Most bedbug bites are painless at first, but later turn into itchy welts. Unlike flea bites that are mainly around the ankles, bedbug bites are on any area of skin exposed while sleeping. Also, the bites do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites do.
People who don’t realize they have a bedbug infestation may attribute the itching and welts to other causes, such as mosquitoes. To confirm bedbug bites, you must find and identify the bugs themselves.
Signs of Infestation
If you wake up with itchy areas you didn’t have when you went to sleep, you may have bedbugs, particularly if you got a used bed or other used furniture around the time the bites started. Other signs that you have bedbugs include:
- Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases
- Dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls
- Bedbug fecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in areas where bedbugs hide
- An offensive, musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands
If you suspect an infestation, remove all bedding and check it carefully for signs of the bugs or their excrement. Remove the dust cover over the bottom of the box springs and examine the seams in the wood framing. Peel back the fabric where it is stapled to the wood frame.
Also, check the area around the bed, including inside books, telephones or radios, the edge of the carpet, and even in electrical outlets. Check your closet, because bedbugs can attach to clothing. If you are uncertain about signs of bedbugs, call an exterminator, who will know what to look for.
If you find signs of infestation, begin steps to get rid of the bugs and prevent their return.
Getting rid of bedbugs begins with cleaning up the places where bedbugs live. This should include the following:
- Clean bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. Place stuffed animals, shoes, and other items that can’t be washed in the dryer and run on high for 30 minutes.
- Use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams to remove bedbugs and their eggs before vacuuming.
- Vacuum your bed and surrounding area frequently. After vacuuming, immediately place the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and place in garbage can outdoors.
- Encase mattress and box springs with a tightly woven, zippered cover to keep bedbugs from entering or escaping. Bedbugs may live up to a year without feeding, so keep the cover on your mattress for at least a year to make sure all bugs in the mattress are dead.
- Repair cracks in plaster and glue down peeling wallpaper to get rid of places bedbugs can hide.
- Get rid of clutter around the bed.
If your mattress is infested, you may want to get rid of it and get a new one, but take care to rid the rest of your home of bedbugs or they will infest your new mattress.
While cleaning up infested areas will be helpful in controlling bedbugs, getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments. Because treating your bed and bedroom with insecticides can be harmful, it is important to use products that can be used safely in bedrooms. Do not treat mattresses and bedding unless the label specifically says you can use them on bedding.
Generally it is safest and most effective to hire an experienced pest control professional for bedbug extermination.
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture: "Bed Bugs."
Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: "Bed Bugs."
The New York City Department of Heath and Mental Hygiene: "Stop Bed Bugs Safely."
University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Lancaster County: "Managing Bed Bugs."
How to Check for Bed Bugs and Remove Them
Bed bugs lurk in the crevices and feed on human blood. Although they do not transmit disease and are not dangerous, these parasites can cause itching. However, they usually leave no trace and you can understand that they are present only when you see them with your eyes. Also, they are usually very difficult to exterminate.
How do bed bugs look?
They are flat, rounded and reddish-brown in color and are only 7 millimeters in size. The ones that most commonly attack people are Latin name Cimex lectularius.
These bugs do not have wings and cannot fly or jump, but their thin body shape allows them to hide for months without being noticed at all. They can be hidden in the cracks of luggage, bags, furniture, beds, and clothing. Those that feed on human blood can go up to 30 meters during the night, and usually attack the host while sleeping. They can suck in so much blood for 10 minutes that they are still for days. Most often they attack parts of the body that are stripped naked, such as the face, neck, and arms.
Interestingly, scientists have discovered that these organisms have favorite colors. They prefer black and red spots and avoid the ones that are yellow or green. They have also been found to be attracted to heat, moisture and carbon dioxide.
They are, however, very difficult to detect. They leave behind no obvious bite by which they can be identified. The bites themselves are not a big problem, but there may be problems for those who are allergic.
Bed bugs throughout history
The remains of bed bugs have been found even in the tombs of Egypt’s mummified pharaohs, showing that humans were aware of them even more than four thousand years ago. Nevertheless, it is assumed that the bed bug evolved from a species that parasites on bats and made the transition from bats to humans even at a time when prehistoric humans lived in caves. The fact that they have remained with us from civilizational beginnings until the modern age shows us that they have a tremendous power of adaptation and that humanity will not be so easily rid of them.
In the aftermath of World War II, synthetic insecticides, combined with better living conditions and better housing construction, have led to a dramatic decline in bed bug populations across Europe and other developed countries around the world. The population remained at a very low level for the next 50 years until the beginning of the 21st century, after which there was a huge increase in the incidence of infestations across Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. The return in so many is probably the culmination of several factors related to their survival, reproduction, and spread. Failed treatments resulting from the improper and frivolous implementation of pest control measures and programs have only contributed to the enormous increase in this problem.
When they bite?
They are dormant during the day which makes them very difficult to find and is active at night when there is no light or vibration. Then they go out of their hiding places, go on the attack and suck in the blood of the host. They feed for three to ten minutes until they have collected enough blood to stay still for days and then withdraw seamlessly. Interestingly, they are drawn to exhaled carbon dioxide. They are able to detect the difference between the amount of carbon dioxide a person releases during sleep or when awake.
They inject an anticoagulant that prevents blood clotting but also a substance that causes numbness to make the sting painless. At the point of stabbing, the person feels an uncomfortable itching. As Defender Pest Control advises, if you wake up and feel itching and don’t know the cause, it’s a good time to call a professional for help.
They are very resilient. They can survive without food for half a year and hibernate at temperatures below 15 C. They can hibernate for up to two years.
How to get rid of them?
Since the bites do not say much about the presence of these bugs, the only proof that they are present is to spot them. Try looking for them in the cracks of the mattress. You may be able to find the remnants of their skin that remain after they die. They can also leave tiny drops of blood on your mattress or furniture.
They have no preference for clean or dirty which means they can be found even in luxury hotels. However, the places that are most vulnerable to attack are places where a large number of people live, such as student dormitories, apartment complexes, hotels, and shelters.
Properly maintaining the room can help reduce the locations of the hiding places, but it is considered that the best solution is to regularly look for signs of their presence.
If you suspect the presence of bed bugs, experts recommend finding a professional exterminator who has experience with bed bugs. They usually use insecticides but also some non-chemical methods such as heating the room to 50 ° C, which is deadly to bed bugs. Freezing infected clothing or items at -18 ° C can also kill bed bugs. However, infected mattresses are best thrown away.
It is almost impossible to completely protect an object from the entry of bed bugs, but some measures can be taken to insure that it is timely identified and eliminated to save significant time and money.
In the hospitality industry, the importance of being proactive and ready to fight bed bugs has never been more significant. Negative media attention and lawsuits as a result of bed bug infestation pose a huge threat to hotels and other catering facilities. Nowadays with the availability of internet and smartphones almost all around us, upset hotel guests need a minute to spread the news about hotel infestation to numerous hotel review sites and other forums, which could have dire consequences for the business in the future.
For the purpose of early detection of infestations, there are specific bed bug monitoring traps that are intended solely for their detection. Regular monitoring and examination can determine early on the infestation that can be resolved with a single treatment.
It is important that chemical treatments are performed by people trained in pest control who can best evaluate the method of application, the choice of the most effective preparation, as well as identify the potential places of hiding. Very often more than one treatment is required.
Bed bugs are a growing problem in the world, and with the popularization of tourism and the increasing population migration, it is a matter of day before they will even get into our beds. All we can do is welcome them with already developed defense strategies and an active monitoring system.
How to Check for Bed Bugs
The Two-Step Process to Finding Where Bed Bugs Hide in Your Home
Bed bugs are incredibly small and can fit into cracks as thin as a credit card. This makes bed bugs hard to find in the home, and can make bed bug control difficult. Use this guide to learn where bed bugs are most often found, then read the rest of our 4-part guide to learn more about getting rid of bed bugs and how to prevent bed bug infestations.
Check Common Bed Bug Hiding Spots
Using a flashlight and a stiff, flat-edged object like a credit card or paint scraper, check around beds, mattresses, and other areas where you suspect you might have bed bugs. Look for actual bugs, eggs, feces, or molted skin as evidence of an infestation. Be sure to look in the cracks, crevices, and folds of fabric and furniture. You may also want to wear protective gloves during this inspection.
- Bed bugs are attracted to warmth. The number one hiding place for bed bugs is in mattresses and beds. Inspect your sheets for blood spots bed bugs may have left behind. Be sure to thoroughly inspect the seams, tufts, and folds of your mattress in addition to any corners or crevices of your bed.
- Bed bugs also like to linger where humans sit or lay idle for long periods of time. Couches, recliners, and even office chairs are popular hiding spots for bed bugs. Don’t forget to look beneath furniture, where fabric meets the legs of the furniture, and between seat cushions.
- Bed bugs will also hide around the perimeter of a room. The edges of baseboards and carpet should also be inspected.
Inspect Less Common Bed Bug Hiding Spots
Bed bugs are treated directly, which makes it important to know exactly where they are, and where they are not, in your home. This will help you target where to treat for bed bugs and avoid wasting chemical. You also do not want to miss any bed bugs, which can cause a longer infestation.
Using your flashlight and flat-edged object, inspect your nightstand and dressers. Empty out each drawer and examine the cracks and joints of the drawers. Don’t forget to turn your drawers over and inspect the bottoms.
Inspect curtains and drapes, around window and door frames, around the ceiling (especially in the corners of the room), behind loose wallpaper, behind outlet covers, under lamps, inside picture frames, and inside alarm clocks and other home electronics. Watch the video below for a demonstration of a bedbug inspection.