How Do Bed Bugs Know Where You Are

How To Find Bed Bugs

Need to know how to find bed bugs in your home or hotel room?Let’s walk through the inspection process step-by-step right now. It’s time to find out if you have bedbugs.

Before you can check for bed bugs in your home or hotel, you need to know what bed bugs look like, other signs you have bed bugs and where they hide so you know where to look.

How to Look For Bed Bugs Step-by-Step

If you follow these instructions, step-by-step, you will be just as likely as to find bed bugs (if they are present) as a professional.

Start with the bed.

This is the most likely place you’ll find bed bugs because they like to hide close to where they feed.Here’s how to find bed bugs there:

  1. Carefully pull back the bedding and look for signs that bedbugs have been around like blood spots and fecal stains.
  2. Thoroughly check the mattress, paying particular attention to edges, seams and air-holes. If possible, turn the mattress on its side to inspect the under-side too. Bed bugs are more likely to be closest to the head of the bed, but make sure you take a look at the foot end of the mattress too.
  3. Do the same with the box spring. You may have to cut or remove the gauze “protector” on the underside of the box spring to take a good look inside – but you need to do this (unless it’s not your bed, of course). Box springs are the #1 bed bug hiding place, so spend extra time doing a really thorough inspection here. This is where a flash light and magnifying glass become your greatest allies. Pay special attention to wooden joints, corners, screw holes and staples. The wooden slats make a very attractive place for bedbugs to lay their eggs and the area where the cover is attached to the frame is a favorite hiding spot too.
  4. turn your attention to the head board and bed frame. Remember to really look closely at any grooves in wooden headboards and pay attention to corners and joints. Don’t forget to pull the bed away from the wall and inspect the backside completely too.

Next, try to find bed bugs in any upholstered furniture.

This includes sofas, love seats, recliners, easy chairs, chaise lounges, and ottomans.Here’s how to find bed bugs in these items:

  1. Carefully remove all cushions and pillows and inspect them one by one. Paying attention to seams, tufts and piping. Also examine the zippers closely (this is another common place for bed bugs to hide and lay their eggs).
  2. Look in and around all the seams of the couch or chair itself. Don’t forget to lift up any skirting and check the underside – focus especially on pleats in the fabric and the seam that attaches it to the piece of furniture.
  3. Pull it away from the wall to inspect the back side as well.
  4. If at all possible (with the help of a friend or partner), lay it on its back side to inspect underneath/inside just like you did with the box spring.

Now, turn your attention to the night stands and dresser to see if you find any bed bugs there.

(You can also use the directions below for coffee tables, end tables and desks in other rooms of the house.)

  1. Take everything out and put it in a large garbage bag or plastic tub with a cover to reduce the possibility that they spread if there are bed bugs in those items.
  2. Pull the drawers completely out, one – by one, and thoroughly inspect each one inside and out. Remember to check underneath as well. Like the headboard and frame, pay close attention to the corners, joints, screw heads and any grooves where bedbugs might like to hide or lay their eggs.
  3. Next, check inside, behind and underneath the piece of furniture itself. I think you know what I’m would say here about, corners, joints and crevices. (c’mon, I’m sure you need a chuckle by this point)

If you’ve gotten this far and found nothing.

You’ve checked thetop 92.6% of places where bed bugs are foundin residences with infestations according to a study conducted by the Entomology Department at the University of Kentucky.

You also have all the skills you need to inspect the other places you might find bed bugs. You will find a list of more places to look for bed bugs here.

IMPORTANT NOTE:If at any point you find a live bed bug,STOP.Your inspection is done for now and you need to start working on your bed bug pest control plan.

Don’t jump the gun and grab for a bed bug spray can or fogger!That’ll just make things worse. much worse. Head over to the bed bug pest control section to learn what to do next.

How to Find Bed Bugs When You Travel

Obviously when you’re inspecting for bed bugs in a hotel or friend/relative’s guest room, you have to make some modifications. You really can’t tear the bed apart in a hotel room. And youcertainlydon’t want the folks you’re visiting to come-a-knockin’ asking“everything okay in there?”

Hotel rooms can present some special challengesbecause the bed frame and head board are usually affixed to the floor and wall.

Generally you won’t have access to the the box spring (if there even is one) so your efforts will need to focus on the mattress itself, the head board and anything within about 5 feet of the bed.

Also, don’t forget the luggage rack (never put your stuff there) and make sure to check any upholstered furniture like love seats and chairs.

When you’re staying with folks you know,discretionis the word of the day.You can hit the most common bed bug hiding places without making a ruckus. Focus on the mattress, visible parts of the box spring, and the headboard.

Consider how often/recently the room is likely used.If it’s been closed up since the last time uncle Chuck came through 6 months ago, chances are slim there will be bed bugs present (they would have migrated to where people in the house sleep or lounge). If it’s also used as a reading room, take a look at that big comfy upholstered get the idea.

Whether you’re on the road or at home, make sure you know how to find bed bugs without helping them spread.

How to Find Bed Bugs without Spreading Them

The last thing you want is for some of these little buggers to hitch a ride on your clothing while you’re looking for them. You’re going to be getting up close and personal with their hideouts, so this is a real possibility. Here are five ways to help you find bed bugs without letting them spread.

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How Do You Know If You Have Bed Bugs: Major Sign of Infestation and Ways to Avoid It

Having bed bugs in your house can be a great nuisance to all family members. The fact sufficiently decreases life quality, thus it’s extremely important to spot the infestation timely and start fighting with the unwelcomed intruders.

In certain cases it can be quite difficult to tell for 100% sure your house has been infested exactly with bed bugs. The thing is that they are too often mistaken for other small insects, thus only professional experts are able to tell for certain that tiny guests inhabiting your premises are bed bugs.

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How Do You Know If You Have Bed Bugs?

The parasites as a rule are very cautious creatures.

Undoubtedly, if one observes a bed bug in his own bed or some other part of his house, he can be dead sure his relatives are somewhere around and there are a lot of them: thus, the infestation is pretty evident. But the parasites as a rule are very cautious creatures and it’s pretty unlikely to detect them during the day. Still, there are certain factors to consider that can make you quite sure about having bloodsuckers at your place.

How do you know if you have bed bugs? Among the major signs providing evidence of bloodsuckers infestation are the following:

  • Fecal stainson your shits or other areas bugs live in. The stains as a rule present some blackish spots as they are the result of digested blood. If you try to wipe the stains using some wet cloth, the spots will smear. Such spots can be found in abundance on all places that be reached by the insects: walls, linen, mattresses etc.
  • As the insects develop they oftenshed their shells and skin. These tiny particles can be also found on your linen or some other places like floor, mattress, and bed covers etc. As a rule house owner can find insects eggshells close to those places that they use as a shelter in your bedroom or house.

Clear evidence of unwanted bloodsucking guests presence at your place is having bites on your or your family members’

If at least one of the factors provided above is true, one can suspect having bed bugs in his house and now it’s high time to exterminate them as soon as possible!

How Do Bed Bugs Come Into Your House?

Read: Where Do Bed Bugs Come From and How to Avoid the Pests in Your Home?

There are plenty of ways the insects can get into your home and make it their home. They can be brought with old used sofas or couches, luggage or clothing infested with the insects. Quite often bed bugs are brought home after travelling or moving from house to house.

These insects feature really tiny sizes thus they can easily crawl into all the tiniest cracks and corners. After some parasites get into your premises, they will very quickly spread all over the house and rapidly multiply giving you even more trouble.

To avoid this remember these simple pieces of advice that will help you prevent infestation:

    If you are staying in a hotel or some other place for a night, check the bed you are going to sleep in. Turn the mattress upside down and look for the signs of infestation. The same way should be studied bed springs, linen and sheets. If you notice any signs of bed bugs, quickly move away.

They can be brought with old used sofas or couches.

How to Find Bugs in Your House and Kill Them?

So, if you suspect that you are suffering bed bugs, you should know the places they usually hide in order to find and exterminate them forever.

Read: How to Kill Bed Bugs Naturally: Efficient Methods and Valuable Advice

After this it’s time to examine all the items around your bed including walls, books, curtains, radios and phones, carpet and even look into electrical outlets- this might be a perfect home for the intruders.

The parasites can also attach to your clothes, thus it’s necessary to check your closet as well.

In order to exterminate the unwanted guest out of your house you should:

  • Clean all the bedding and clothes in hot water and then dry them on the highest temperature possible;
  • Vacuum your bedroom and everything in it as often as possible. Use brush to scrub your mattress before vacuuming;
  • Get rid of all unnecessary stuff piling around your bed;
  • Try to be careful when you visit unknown places and bring various things to your home. Always keep in mind the high risk of bed bugs infestation and try to avoid it.

Click Here And Get Free Advice From Qualified Specialist

How Do Bed Bugs Find You?

August 23, 2018 by pb

Bed bugs can see you!

Well. No not really. They have eyes. But that’s not necessarily how they see you.

But what bed bugs do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills they have acquired over a very long period of time. Skills that make them a nightmare for people like you and me.

Although bed bugs aren’t quite on Liam Neeson level of finding people, they are excellent at finding humans.

So how do they do it? How do bed bugs find you?

Bed Bugs are attracted to the Co2 we exhale (especially to at night when a large cloud of it hangs over us like a large neon sign), the warmth of our bodies, and even our smell!

But, How Do Bed Bugs Find Us?

Bedbugs are adapted to find food (us) from thermal signature (heat) and then feed by locating and piercing skin. This approach has been used to make artificial feeders for laboratory studies and the work of the Sheffield University Entomology group in creating these feeders confirms that bed bugs cannot lap up blood from a heated pool.

Blood itself is not an attractive for bedbugs. The bugs find us by warmth and CO2.


When you’re going to bed, most likely you’re the warmest thing in a bedroom (especially if you’ve given up incandescent light bulbs and switched to LEDs). All of the furniture in the room is at about room temperature, usually between 68 and 85 degrees as determined by the temperature outside or your home’s ventilation system.

So you’re lying there in bed with a toasty core temperature 98.6 degrees, with a skin temperature of about 91 degrees. Bed bugs are attracted to this warmth and will seek you out.

Your body heat is an attractant but only close up, like 8-10 inches. Other factors may entice the bed bugs from further away (CO2) but once they get in range and can feel the heat that driving element takes over and the bugs come right for you.


Did you know that bed bugs can sense Carbon dioxide? Yeah, weird right?

There have been numerous entomological studies showing not only the bed bugs attraction to C02 but specifically the appeal of the release of CO2 that is consistent with our sleeping patterns.

There was a presentation at the National Pest Management Association’s national conference on bed bugs (PestWorld) where C02 was used as an attractant between two diametric poles with nearly 85% of the bugs moving towards the C02 pole.

The numbers of bedbugs captured were 656 and 5898 in traps without and with CO2 , respectively. The numbers of bedbugs of all development stages captured were significantly greater in traps with CO2.

CO2 is a universal thing around humans. We exhale it with every breath we take. When we sleep, we emitted carbon dioxide, and a cloud of it sits in the room, lingering. That lingering CO2 is a giant flashing neon arrow over your body advertising an “all you can eat buffet” to bed bugs.

You might try sleeping with a ceiling fan on, which can distribute the carbon dioxide evenly throughout the room. That might work well if it were their only way of detecting you, but unfortunately, they can also locate you other numerous ways.

Your Smell

Bed bugs like the smell of us!

An interesting twist to the bed bugs phenomenon is their attraction to dirty laundry.

In an article on, discusses bed bugs attraction to dirty laundry and how researchers tested their hypothesis.

Researchers asked volunteers to wear white cotton t-shirts and socks for three hours in the afternoon, then placed the soiled items into plain cotton tote bags. Then they fed precisely 10 bed bugs a diet of fresh human blood and placed them in a container at the center of a controlled room. Four bags, two

with dirty laundry and two with clean versions of the same clothes, were spaced at even intervals in a cross pattern around the bugs.

Once the bed bugs had acclimated to their new home, the container was lifted; they had four days to explore the room. In some runs, the room also contained a block of dry ice to simulate a sleeping human. When the group repeated this multiple times and gathered all the data, they found that bed bugs were twice as likely to make their home in dirty laundry as they were clean laundry. They didn’t wander aimlessly around the room or hide in a corner—they actively chose to live inside the clothes that smelled of human.

This is an excellent thing to remember when you’re on vacation. Keep your dirty laundry in a sealed bag and throw in the dryer when you get home to be sure to kill off any traveling bed bugs.


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In this Article

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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.

Bedbug Treatments

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.


Bedbug Extermination

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 Do You Know If You Have Bed Bugs

The best way to find out if you’re dealing with bed bugs is by finding a couple of the 5 signs theyalwaysleave behind. We’ll show you exactly what to look for and where to look.

Table of Contents

Bed Bug Symptoms

5 Reliable Bed Bug Symptoms

1. Bites
Bites are the first symptom most people notice, but they aren’t enough to be 100% sure that bed bugs are the culprit. Bed bug bites typically show up as itchy red bumps in rows of three or more.

2. Stains
Bed bugs leave stains wherever they go. Their stains are made of fecal matter and undigested blood. They’re gross but useful for identification as these stains are unique to bed bugs.

3. Eggs
A single bed bug can lay hundreds of eggs in its lifetime. Their eggs look like small grains of rice. Bed bugs don’t bother cleaning up hatched eggs, which gives us another reliable sign to look out for.

4. Molts
Bed bugs must shed several times as they mature. Their left behind molts, husks, shells, or whatever you want to call them are the next best evidence after a live bug.

5. Live Bugs
A live bug is the most definitive proof you can find. They are also the hardest to find. Luckily, there are tools that make the hunt easier.

Try to find at least two signs before starting treatment. This ensures that you won’t end up wasting time and money on the wrong pest.

We also have a printable on the 5 symptoms as part of our comprehensive ebook for convenient reference.

Do Bed Bugs Smell?

Some would argue that we should include smell on the list of symptoms. Bed bugs do have a smell – just not enough of one for us to notice in small amounts.

It is important to catch infestations early on when they’re much easier to deal with. By the time you can smell bed bugs, your infestation will have already become advanced.

This makes smell an unreliable and mostly useless symptom in early infestations.

The smell can be detected early by bed bug sniffing dogs. Our human noses aren’t as sensitive.

Can Bed Bugs Jump or Fly?

Knowing this is useful as it can help rule out pests you thought might be bed bugs. If your pest jumps or flies, you could be dealing with fleas or mosquitoes, for example.

It’s not unusual for fleas to infest beds. Seeing one jump tells you that you’re at least not dealing with bed bugs.

Bed Bug Bites

Your sensitivity to bed bug bites determines whether you will be able to pick up on that most obvious symptom.

According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), bites are the symptom most people first report.

Welts and red rash on legs discovered. Bed bug was later found killed with blood inside. Source: ©2011 Magalie L’Abbé

Habits and Bite Patterns Associated With Bed Bugs

  • Bites appearing in lines of two or more
  • Bites appearing after periods of rest (naps, sleep, reclining, etc)
  • Bites appearing every 3 days to 5 days early in an infestation
  • Bites appearing on skin left exposed during sleep
  • Bites typically found on areas with less hair
  • Symptoms vary but are generally described as:
  • flat or slightly raised red welts, bumps, or rashes
  • A deep persistent itch, worse than mosquito bites

For some people, it takes several hours or even days before signs of bites start to show. Others do not react to bites at all, which can be both a blessing and a curse.

A reactive person might wake up with a row of bites one day and begin treating their bed bug problem right away. Someone that does not react won’t notice until the infestation has become serious.

We have entire pages on bed bug bite symptoms and pictures of bed bug bites on real people to help.

For more on bites and how to stop them, see the bed bug bites page.

For those dealing with bites now, the how to treat bed bug bites page is here to help you stop the itch.

Bed Bug Stains

They also recommend checking behind headboards, around box springs, and beneath night stands.

Adult and baby bed bugs, molted skins, white clear eggs, and feces under upholstered chair. Source: ©2007 Louento.pix

Bed bugs sometimes get squished while biting during your mid-sleep itching, turning, and swatting.

Smears or spots of blood on bedding can show you where that may have happened.

Bed Bug Eggs

Bed Bug Egg Facts

  • Each female b ed bug can lay one to five eggsevery day.
  • A female bed bug can lay up to 500 eggs in its lifetime.
  • It takes about a week for a single egg to hatch.
  • Bed bug eggs are off-white in color and look like small grains of rice.

Headboard with bed bug adults, nymphs, eggs, waste. Source: ©2008 Louento.pix

Bed bugs aren’t tidy. Eggshells stick around and don’t get cleaned – leaving a convenient sign for you to look for.

Bed bugs prefer to lay their eggs in cracks and on rough surfaces. The cloth inside the seams of your mattress is a favorite spot.

Left Behind Bed Bug Molts

Molts are priceless to professionals and regular folks for identification. They look just like bed bugs and are easy to take a picture of.

You can find more pictures of these remnants to compare your findings with in the picture gallery.

Molts and eggshells will slowly pile up in the same corners and crevices where bed bugs like to live.

How to Find Live Bed Bugs

The most definitive evidence you can find is a live bed bug.

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

  • Bed bugs have six legs.
  • Adults have flat bodies about 1 /4of an inch in length.
  • Their colors vary from red and brown to rust colored.
  • Young bed bugs are tiny with bodies about 1 /16of an inch in length.
  • Young bed bugs are almost translucent.
  • After feeding, bed bugs, swell up and becomes bright red.
  • They can look like a different insect after feeding. See the image below.
  • Bed bugscannotfly.
  • Bed bugs try to stay hidden and prefer to bite while you’re asleep.
  • Bed bugs live for about 10 months on average.
  • Bed bugs grow to adulthood in about 21 days.

If you do decide to hunt down a live bug, we recommend bringing clear tape. Once you find a bug, simply sandwich it between two sticky sides.

Knowing what each stage of bed bug growth looks like is helpful. Each stage actually looks very different.

Interceptors are great! They’re cheap, prevent bites, and don’t need any upkeep once installed.

Living in an apartment, condo, or other multi-unit type building? We recommend installing interceptors even if you don’t have a bed bug problem yet.

Bed bugs, if they ever come around, will get trapped in interceptors on their way to bite you in your sleep. Checking for bed bugs becomes as simple as taking a peek in the traps every couple of weeks.

Click any product name or picture to go to the corresponding review:

LightsOutClimbUpBB AlertSenSci
BaitYouYouYouYou, Optional Lure
TrapABS PitfallPowdered PitfallComfy HarboragePitfall
LifespanForeverForever1 InfestationForever
Rating100 / 10092 / 10092 / 10074 / 100
Relative Cost$$$$$$$ – $$$
Full ReviewViewViewViewView

Bed Bug Signs Printable

We made this printable as part of an ebook that has everything you need to know in one place.

Print and carry it with you as you search your home for stains and eggs so you don’t have to touch or carry your phone!

Click here for more information on the ebook.

Where To Look For Bed Bug Signs

It’s important to knowwhereto look for all the signs we’ve gone over.

Where Do Bed Bugs Like to Hide?

  • The creases of mattresses
  • Corners, cracks, inside spaces between slats and joints in your bed frame
  • Inside and on box springs
  • Between the creases of bed linens
  • Behind headboards and backboards
  • Nearby any places of rest (Bed, couch, sofa, etc.)
  • Space behind loose wallpaper
  • Gaps where carpet meets wall
  • Corners and joints of desks, dressers, closets, drawers, etc.
  • Inside small spaces between all of the above

You’ll get a feeling for where to search in any room once you know what bed bugs are looking for in a home. They simply don’t want to get caught, but do want to be close to dinner.

Bed bugs are looking for tight spots to squeeze into. Spots that are out of sight but near your favorite places to sleep are ideal.

Recently fed red bed bug adults, baby bed bugs, molted skins, and feces inside a bed headboard detail. Source: ©2008 Louento.pix

Bed bugs will settle in wherever you take extended periods of rest. If you like to nap on the couch or in a recliner, they will find their way there.

We host a gallery of pictures of bed bugs hiding in different places to give you a better idea of what to look for.

Knowing where to look will also help you check for bed bugs while traveling. Travel is one of the most common ways to end up with bed bugs after all.

Can’t find anything in any of the above spots but are still getting bitten? Try a passive bed bug monitor or consider bringing in a professional.

Weird Places Bed Bugs Hide

In their hunt for a safe hiding spot, bed bugs can end up hiding in some surprising places.

Bed bugs do not burrow or penetrate materials when making their homes. They have no problem living on wood, metal, plastic, or cloth though.

Bed Bugs in Electronics?

We get asked a lot whether electronics are safe from infestations.

Unfortunately, bed bugs are happy to live in electronics.

Bed bugs mating with eggs in crevice nearby. Source: OH-BugMan

In an heavy infestation, bed bugs will shack up in your speakers, television, computer, or what have you.

This is why bringing home used electronics can be dangerous just like used furniture.

At the same time, electronics aren’t a bed bug’s first choice because they are difficult to travel over. They prefer homes where they can easily climb – like bed sheets and upholstery.

Bed Bugs In Leather Furniture?

Bed bugs have no problem living in leather furniture. Leather upholstery, like electronics, simply isn’t the bug’s first choice.

Bed bugs inside a shoe fold. Complete with eggs, adults and baby bed bugs. Black spots are blood feces. Source: ©2009 Louento.pix

Leather-covered couches and sofas are often smooth and difficult to climb. But, they are also typically covered in cloth on the underside.

The same is true of vinyl furniture.

If you’ve found bed bugs in your furniture, don’t throw it away yet!

You can treat your furniture many ways. Fumigation, steam treatment, large bed bug heaters, and vacuuming can help manage or even get rid of bed bugs in furniture.

There are heaters of every size for any budget these days.

Click any product name or picture to go to the corresponding review:

ThermalStrike RangerZappBug HeaterZappBug Oven 2PackTite ClosetZappBug Room
Volume3.6 cubic feet13.6 cubic feet25.3 cubic feet25 cubic feet286 cubic feet
Heating Method6-sided Conductive1 Convective Air Heater2 Convective Air Heaters1 Convective Air Heater4 Convective Air Heaters
Cold SpotsNoneYesYesNoneYes
Setup TimeUnder 5 minAbout 5 minUnder 10 minUnder 15 minUnder 20 min
Rating96 / 10090 / 10092 / 10060 / 10096 / 100
Full ReviewViewViewViewViewView

By helping you save expensive furniture, heaters can save you thousands. Bed bug heaters can even treat sensitive belongings that you can’t put in the dryer, steam, or spray with chemicals.

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AmicoSteamfastPrimoVapor Clean II
Tip Temperature200˚F210˚F220˚F240˚F
Pressure43.5 PSI44 PSI58 PSI65 PSI
Adjustable PSI?NoNoYesYes
Water Capacity0.8 Cups1.4 Liters1.6 Liters1.7 Liters
Steam Time5 to 10 min.40 min.60 min.Over 60 min.
Rating84 / 10080 / 100100 / 10096 / 100
Relative Cost$$$$$$$$$$
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Getting rid of your furniture the right way stops neighbors from bringing it back in. Many infestations in multi-unit buildings seem to have no end because of things like this.

Stages of Bed Bug Infestations

Bed bug infestations do not happen overnight.

If you’ve made it this far, you know exactly what to look for.

Bed bugs are a fast multiplying pest. All it takes is a single egg laying female for an infestation to start. Their numbers can explode as each female bug produces 200-500 eggs.

Their ability to hide and work at night lets them slip under the radar for months. Five weeks isn’t that long!

It’s even easier to miss the signs if you aren’t reactive to bites.

You will almost never see a bed bug during the day unless you have an advanced or severe infestation.

Interceptors take away the guessing and are the best way to catch infestations early.

A Single Bed Bug

Even if only one bug is present, that bug has to eat. A bite has to happen. Without feeding, bed bugs can’t mature or produce eggs.

It’s strange, but you could consider yourself lucky if you are highly reactive to bed bug bites.

Imagine you wake up one day with a single of two to three bites in a row. You begin looking around but can’t find any other symptom or sign.

One morning, three to five days later, you find the same bite pattern. This is when you get suspicious – this fits the timing and pattern of normal bed bug feeding habits.

Several rows of three could tell you that you’re dealing with more than one bed bug.

If you haven’t already taken preventative steps, now would be a good time to put encasements and interceptors on your bed. This traps the bug in your encasement, ending your “infestation.”

If you’re interested in more preventive steps, check out the page dedicated to prevention.

Advanced Infestations

You might be able to find a couple bed bugs with some searching.
Bites become more frequent and several bites appear at once. New ones begin to appear every morning. Stains become large smears while molted skins and eggshells pile up until they are easy to find.
They will continue to wait in hiding during the day.

Bugs eventually start to move away from your bed to locations with less of a crowd. At this point it becomes even harder to get rid of them as they dive deeper into your home.

This is why bed bugs are much easier to deal with if diagnosed within the first two months of infestation. You can read more about early detection and prevention here.

Severe Infestations

Bed bugs will branch out to nearby rooms and units once competition around your bed gets heavy.

A group of bed bugs. Lighter shaded ones are younger nymphs. Source: Wikimedia

At this point, bugs will commute to get to your bed. A few may even make attempts to bite during the day while you relax away from your bed.

If nothing is done, bed bugs will completely overrun a home. You would be able to see and smell them in broad daylight.

You are more likely to move out and abandon all your belongings before it gets to this point.

Bed Bug Imposters

Itchy bumps can be caused by all sorts of things. The following examples are just a few possibilities that mirror bed bug symptoms.

They’re the reason why you should find several signs of bed bugs before committing to treatment.

Treating for the wrong pest or an environmental factor will get you nowhere.

Bugs Mistaken for Bed Bugs

We’ve all had unexplained itches – the feeling of something crawling on your leg that’s never found is very normal

These bites and itches are a normal part of life that can be incorrectly blamed on bed bugs. Media attention has made bed bug paranoia very common.

Common Bed Bug Impersonators

  • Mosquitos
  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Any biting bug
  • Anything that makes you itch

Mosquitos and fleas are similar sneaky biters. They leave itchy bumps and rashes that can be easily mistaken for bed bug bites. This is why we recommend finding signsotherthan bites before starting treatment.

Spider beetles and bed bugs, 3 spider beetles in each picture, the rest are bed bugs. Source: ©2012 Louento.pix (CC BY-ND)

People also misdiagnose the other way. In these cases, folks believe they have fleas or gnats when they actually are dealing with bed bugs.

Bed bug treatment is expensive and dangerous if performed incorrectly. Applying pesticides the right way while wearing pesticide protection clears that risk.

Take the time to learn how to use your bed bug tools.

These chemicals and powders are meant to kill after all.

Environmental Bed Bug Imposters

Things that aren’t even insects can be the cause of mystery itches and rashes.

Environmental conditions like allergies and dry weather can create bed bug like symptoms.

Bites no longer in distinguishable rows once infestations reach critical levels. Raised red welts must be very itchy! ©2009 japharl

Household Products That Cause Itching and Irritation

  • Detergents
  • Soaps
  • Cosmetics
  • Cleaning agents
  • Beauty products
  • Medications
  • Certain fabrics

The things we fill our homes and buildings with can also cause itching. The irritation can even give the impression of insects crawling on skin.

Environmental Factors That Cause Itching and Irritation

  • Stray fibers from insulation
  • Rug fibers
  • Upholstered furniture
  • Certain fabrics
  • Dry air from excessive air conditioning

There are plenty more genetic and circumstantial factors that cause rashes and itching.

Any of them can put you on the hunt for imaginary bed bugs.

Folks dealing with those conditions are also more likely to suspect bed bugs.

Look for proof before jumping into treatment that would be a big waste of money.

I Can’t Find Bed Bugs Anywhere!

It’s also possible that you’ve caught on to an infestation early on.

It’s a good thing either way!

We always recommend taking preventative action either way.

Hiring A Professional to Check

Getting a professional opinion is the best way to figure out whether you’re dealing with bed bugs.

Infestations get much harder to treat as time passes. Early intervention can save you a lot of headache.

Professionals aren’t cheap, but many find the price reasonable for peace of mind. A pro will be able to handle everything if signs are found.

We have a guide to choosing an exterminator here to help make sure your money is well spent.

For a detailed checklist that will help you select a pest control operator, check out the link here.

There’s a printable and guide for any issue you’re facing in the ebook.

Bed Bug Detecting Dogs

Bed bug detecting dogs are a popular and effective solution to bed bug detection.

Professional inspections aren’t cheap. Spending money on inspections every time a bug bite shows up wouldn’t make much sense.

At the same time, it is better to be safe than sorry. It’s ultimately up to you to decide what you’re willing to spend and how strong your hunch is.

Ask Your Local University

There are services that examine mailed-in samples for a price if you are unsure if the signs are from bed bugs.

Contact your local university’s entomology department for the best chance at this.

I Found Bed Bug Signs, Now What?

Catching an infestation early is the biggest advantage you can get. Knowing this, we always recommend installing interceptors and taking steps to prevent infestations.

It is best to share your discovery with neighbors if you do find bed bugs or have a strong suspicion.

It’s all too common for bed bugs to hide out in a neighbor’s unit while you undergo treatment. The bugs will come back to you once you think everything is taken care of and treatment is “finished.”

The longer an infestation is around, the harder it becomes to get rid of. Once an infestation becomes advanced, hiring an exterminator becomes necessary.

Preparing for Treatment

If you find a bed bug, assume there are more. Whether they’re in another room or next door, it’s best to start treatmentfast.

That means putting together a plan, learning how to use your tools, and protecting your bed.

Our page on how to get rid of bed bugs will guide you through our proprietary 4-step plan. Having a plan takes luck out of the equation and denies bed bugs any chance of escaping.

Using these will only make your problem worse as bed bugs easily evade them by hiding deep inside your home’s foundations.

This turns an otherwise manageable problem into a big expensive issue.

If you decide to hire a professional, be sure you know what to ask so you can hire a great one. Our page on exterminators digs into exactly what you need to look for.

Start Treatment

You can save thousands by doing it yourself and also get the benefit of knowing what tools and chemicals you are or aren’t using. Don’t want to use chemical sprays? Save the money and use a steamer!

Once you have a plan, the rest is easy. Our ebook contains a great planner and tracking printout that will help you keep your ducks in a row.

Encasements and interceptors will stop the majority of bites. They also slow down the rate of reproduction by denying bed bugs the food they need to grow.

For the nitty-gritty on treatment, visit the treatment page.

Thanks for Reading!

While starting treatment as soon as possible is key, treating for the right pest is just as important.

Now that you know what to look for, you can go into treatment confident that you aren’t wasting time or money.

Summary of Bed Bug Symptoms

  • Bites in rows of 3 that appear over night
  • Off-white eggs, like tiny grains of rice in crevices near bed
  • Small or cumulatively large dark stains along mattress seams, headboards
  • Reddish-black splotches on sheets from crushed fed bugs
  • Tan colored molts littering bed bug hotspots
  • Live bed bugs themselves at all stages – use tape to capture one

For more pictures, visit the pictures page.

Knowing bed bug symptoms is the first step to take in finding, preventing, and stopping infestations.

Knowing where to look for them is the best way to protect yourself from a bed bug problem ever getting serious.

We hope that this page has helped you conclude that your pest is not bed bugs! The bed bug prevention page can be your road map towards a continued bed bug free future.

If you have joined the hundreds of thousands taking on bed bugs, we’re here to help.

Leave a comment or send an email if you’d like to know something we haven’t covered.

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