How To Detect Bed Bugs In Your House
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.
Home Remedies for Bed Bugs
You take care of your house. You vacuum the rugs, clean the windows, and keep the bathrooms spotless. Guests visit, and they feel like a cleaning service makes daily trips to your house. Now imagine one morning you wake up to find that you have tiny bite marks on your body. Upon further inspection, you realize that there are small bugs in your bed. That’s right. Bed bugs.
What do you do?
Your first instinct might be to think that your house isn’t clean enough, but that may not be the case. Rest assured, bed bugs can come from several different places and are rarely a reflection of housekeeping skills. Here are some home remedies for bed bugs.
How Do People Get Bed Bugs?
Like most bugs, bed bugs come from outside the house. If you live in an apartment or any other shared living situation and have a bed bug infestation, it could be that they came from an adjoining apartment through cracks in the floors and walls.
Pesticide foggers like bug bombs don’t get rid of bed bugs, but instead, displace them– they go searching for a new home. For that reason, you want to avoid using bug bombs to deal with the infestation. I
f it makes you feel any better, if you live in a shared housing situation, it’s possible that your infestation is the result of one of your neighbors bug-bombing an infestation.
Introducingused furnitureto your house is another way bed bugs find their way inside. Be wary of used furniture, especially upholstery. Check and treat any pieces of furniture carefully before bringing them into the house. Check used clothing and books as well.
Even if it’s brand new, pay close attention to any furniture that has beenstored or transported in the back of a truck.
Finally, if you stay somewhere with bed bugs, they can also hitch a ride on you, your family, or your guests, either via your clothing or in your luggage.
How to Detect Bed Bugs
Bites on your skinare the first sign of a bed bug infestation. If you have unexplained bug bites, especially first thing in the morning, you might want to start checking around for other signs of an infestation.
Check your mattress for the visual signs of bed bugs. If you have them, you may see red or rust-colored stains, indicating crushed bed bugs.
Signs of Bed Bugs
- Tiny,Living Bugs
You might also see tiny black dots, which are bed bug excrement, and egg shells (around 1mm, a pale yellow color) resulting from the bed bugs reproducing. Finally, you may see the bugs themselves walking around.
Make sure you check every surface down to the box spring, and anything surrounding the bed as well. Check curtains, baseboards, behind wallpaper and even under the carpet. Bed bugs prefer fabric and wood to plastic and metal, so check any wooden furniture as well.
If you suspect you have bed bugs, call a professional exterminator to confirm it for you.
Bed Bugs and Your Health
Bed bugs bite because they live on blood, either human or animal blood. They feed on your blood for about ten minutes, then swell and turn red. Their bites are painless but can become itchy, but unlike mosquitos, they are harmless and do not transmit diseases.
However, if you scratch the bites, you can cause an infection. One characteristic of bed bug bites?
They are numerous, and they have a tendency to appear in straight rows. If you seemultiple bites arranged in a straight line, there’s a good chance you’re looking at bed bug bites.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
The best way to get rid of a bed bug infestation is tocall an exterminator. They’ve dealt with bed bugs before and know how to do a thorough enough job to keep them from returning. An exterminator is your best bet, just to make sure you take care of the problem completely.
However, there are some things you can do at home to get rid of bed bugs and to supplement a professional.
Treating an Infestation
Usehot waterto wash all clothes, linens and anything fabric that may have contacted the bugs. Heat will kill anything hiding in your linens. Use a dryer to dry everything as well, because a dryer will hit the bugs with a double dose of heat.
Just make sure you pay attention to the tags on the fabric, as your linens may be dry clean only. Dry cleaning can also kill bed bugs, but make sure you inform the dry cleaner of the possible infestation.
Treating an Infestation
- WashAll Clothes, Fabric and Bedding With Hot Water
- SteamYour Mattress and Box Spring
Once you’ve given your bedding the heat treatment, follow up by vacuuming all areas of the infested room(s).Vacuuming will remove any bugs from the nooks and cranniesin which they may be hiding.
Use a brush to loosen all bugs and eggs. Make sure you clean out your vacuum thoroughly afterward and dispose of any vacuum bags outside of the house. Use a steamer on things like your mattress and box spring. Steam will take care of remaining eggs.
Finally,coveryour mattress, box spring, and pillow in a completely closed bug-proof cover. Sealing up your bedding with a cover ensures that anything left will not be able to escape or feed and will eventually starve. Starvation can take up to a year, however.
Whether you’re looking to prevent bed bugs from re-infesting a room or looking to avoid one before it happens, there are a couple of things you can do. Start by making sure that your house isspotless.
Messy rooms and improperly stored items create a lot of places for bed bugs to hide, so the less attractive your home to bed bugs, the less likely you are to experience an infestation.
Preventing an Infestation
- Clean Your House
- Prevent Bed Bugs From Climbing Your Bed
- Make a Habit of Cleaning
- Inspect New Items for Bed Bugs
Remove bridgesfrom the floor to the bed. Keep bed bugs out of bed by keeping blankets from dragging the floor, and don’t use the bed as storage for anything.
Bed bug interceptors are relatively inexpensive and are placed under the feet of the bed, preventing bed bugs from reaching the legs and climbing to the bedding. Consider using them. Finally,prevention is ongoing. Clean often, checking for signs of a recurrence.
The earlier you catch bed bugs, the easier they are to clean out. Inspect all used items that you introduce to the house. When staying in a new place, check that bed for bugs. When returning from a trip, clean everything you took, including your luggage.
Home Remedies for Bed Bugs
The best ways to get rid of bed bugs are pesticides, heat treatment, and thorough cleaning, but there are a few home remedies that might help.
- Silica gel(the packets included in various products to ensure dryness) ground up and applied to affected areas will stick to the bugs and dehydrate them. Be very careful to avoid inhaling the silica gel, and it is probably best to avoid using it if you have pets or kids. Baking soda can also work for the same purpose.
- Tea tree oilin your laundry and sprayed in affected areas will repel bed bugs, as well as lavender oil. Mix lavender oil with eucalyptus and rosemary oils and water to make a repellent spray.
- Sprayingrubbing alcohol can kill some bugs on contact.
- Scented dryer sheetstend to deter bed bugs. Placing a layer of them on your bed may keep them from visiting you.
- Double-sided tape.Much like bed bug interceptors, double-sided tape prevents bed bugs from reaching your bed in the first place. Apply the tape to the underside of your bed near the legs and the bugs will get stuck on it. Just be sure to keep your blankets from touching the ground, or some of the bugs will be able to reach the bedding.
Bed Bug Removal Recipe
- Cayenne Pepper– 1 Tsp
- Ground Ginger– 1 Tsp
- Oregano Oil– 1 Tsp
- Water– 1 Tsp
You might have ingredients for this simple homemade bed bug repellent right in your kitchen. The strong smells of cayenne, ginger, and oregano repel bed bugs and other insects, too. If you know where the bed bugs are entering the room, use a mixture of cayenne pepper, ginger, and oregano oil to keep them away.
Mix the ingredients in water, strain it, and use a spray bottle to apply the solution at entry points. Make spraying a regular habit, and you’ll prevent the bugs from entering. To keep other insects from getting into your home, spray doorways and windowsills.
If you have bed bugs or are just worried about preventing an infestation, rest easy — there are plenty ofnatural bed bug repellentsand ways to kill bed bugs available.
Bed bugs can happen to anyone and even if you keep a tidy home, random variables, like your neighbor setting off a bug bomb next door, mean that an infestation can happen anytime.
In this article, you learned how to detect bed bugs, as well as a few home remedies for bed bugs, including how to repel bed bugs naturally.
Do you have a friend struggling with a bed bug infestation? Use the buttons below to share to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs at Home
A new study shows bed bugs are very hard to kill. Here’s how to get rid of them—or prevent them from ever moving in.
Two insecticides commonly used to kill bed bugs are becoming less effective against them, according to a study published today in the Journal of Economic Entomology.
In the past 15 years, there has been a resurgence of bed bugs throughout the U.S., and people often struggle to rid their homes of the hardy pests, known for causing itchy red welts.
After the bugs developed resistance against many of the most powerful pesticides, such as DDT, exterminators had been increasingly relying on two chemicals—chlorfenapyr and bifenthrin. But until now, no one had looked at whether bed bugs were developing defenses against these chemicals too, says Ameya D. Gondhalekar, one of the study authors and a research assistant professor at the Center for Urban and Industrial Pest Management at the Department of Entomology at Purdue University.
Gondhalekar and his team exposed 10 different groups of bed bugs collected from different parts of the country to each of the chemicals in a glass vial. After several days, they examined how effective the chemicals were at killing the bugs.
While most of the bed bugs were wiped out by the chemicals, three groups continued to thrive after being treated with chlorfenapyr, and five groups were still kicking after being treated with bifenthrin. That means that while some bed bugs will respond to these chemicals, others won’t—and it’s likely that more and more bugs will become resistant over time.
“This is just more evidence that this pesticide-only approach to controlling bed bugs isn’t really working,” says Consumer Reports’ senior scientist Michael Hansen, Ph.D. “The take-away is that if you want to control these bed bugs, you can’t just spray.”
How to Prevent a Bed Bug Infestation
Prevention and vigilance are key to preventing a bed bug problem. “It’s much easier to control them if they are found early, [when there are only a few of them], as opposed to when they grow to number in the hundreds,” says Gondhalekar.
Monitor your home.Bed bugs like to hide in cracks and crevices like walls, luggage, boxes, and clothing, but since they feed on humans while they sleep, they’re most commonly found in beds. If you suspect an infestation, or if you live in an apartment building with a bed bug problem, regularly inspect your bed sheets, mattress (including underneath), and box-spring seams for bugs. They’re flat and oval-shaped, with red or brown bodies, roughly the size of an apple seed. Watch for adults, nymphs, and eggs, as well as exoskeletons (casings that the bugs leave behind when they molt) and dark, rust-colored spots (feces).
Encase your mattress.Enclosing your mattress, pillows, and box spring with a protective cover can block bed bugs from reaching their favorite hiding place.
Be cautious when you travel.Hotel and motel rooms are hotbeds for bed bugs. When checking in, put your luggage in the bathroom, then inspect the bedding. Stow your suitcases on a luggage rack or a hard surface.
When you return home, quarantine your bags.Decontaminate your luggage and clothing by putting your entire suitcase into a large chest freezer (if you have one) for four days, suggests Gondhalekar, before bringing them back into your home. Extreme hot or cold temperatures kills bed bugs. You can also put your clothes in the dryer on a hot setting for 30 minutes, and try steam cleaning your luggage and clothing.
How to Treat a Bed Bug Infestation
Minimize its spread.First, notify your landlord if you rent in a building to control its spread to other units. Thoroughly vacuum any infested areas, including carpets and mattresses, and then empty the vacuum bag into a plastic bag, seal it, and throw it in the trash outside. If you can’t get the bed bugs out of your furniture, discard items in a responsible manner. To avoid someone else from salvaging infested furniture or mattreses, rip, remove stuffing, or spray paint with the words “bed bugs.”
Bring on the heat.Heating infested furniture or the entire apartment to a very high temperature—more than 100 degrees, in most cases—will kill bed bugs. If you have a hand-held steamer, blast cracks and crevices.
Use an insecticide alternative.Substances such as diatomaceous earth, boric acid, and silica gel kill bed bugs by damaging their outer coating so they dry out and die. Put these powders into cracks and crevices around your home (being careful not to ingest or inhale them).
Enlist professional help.Not all bed bugs respond the same way to insecticides, so if you have an infestation that you can’t control yourself, a professional can help you determine the correct treatment or insecticide to use.
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.
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.