How To Identify Bed Bugs On Bed


Bed Bugs

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.

Bed bugs: How to identify if your bites are from bed bugs

BED BUGS feed off human blood by biting the skin of their victims while they’re sleeping. But how do you know if your bites are from bed bugs or from other insects? Here’s how to tell.

Bed bugs are small insects that live in and around beds and furniture. They crawl out at night and bite exposed skin to feed of blood. Bed bugs are not dangerous and don’t carry diseases, but their bites can be itchy and irritating to live with. If you are getting bitten at night and don’t know why, how can you tell if your bites are from bed bugs or from other insects? Bed bug bites look similar to bites from other insects, in that they appear as itchy, red bumps on the skin.

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Some people have a reaction to the bites. They can be very itchy and there may be painful swelling

While this may make it seem difficult to distinguish between the potential culprits, there are a number of ways to detect where your bites are coming from.

Firstly, you may be able to tell if your bites are from bed bugs by looking at the pattern in which the bites appear on your skin.

Bites usually occur on exposed areas like the face, neck, hands or arms, and are less likely to occur under clothing.

As bed bugs are crawling insects, they typically bite in lines or clusters along the skin while they are crawling.

Flying insects like mosquitoes are more likely to bite in random places on the body while they are flying.

Bed bugs are crawling insects that bite exposed skin during the night (Image: Getty Images)

Secondly, you may be able to detect the source of the bites by checking for evidence of bed bugs in your bedroom.

Bed bugs are small, but are still visible to the human eye. Adults can grow up to 5mm long.

They usually hide away in cracks in the bed and surrounding furniture so you could try to find them by searching the mattress and bed frame, and shining a torch into the crevices of the furniture.

You may also be able to spot evidence of bed bugs by checking for markings on the bed sheets and mattress.

In homes with bed bugs infestations, the bed sheets and mattresses will often be covered in brown or black or red spots.

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Bed bugs live in beds and surrounding furniture (Image: Getty Images)

Bed bugs bite in clusters or lines along the skin (Image: Getty Images)

Bed bugs: How to spot them and how to get rid of them

Bed bugs: What are bed bugs? How to spot an infestation and how to get rid of them.

Bed bugs: How to spot them and how to get rid of them

The brown or black spots are dried poo from the bed bugs, while the red spots are blood stains which occur if you squash a bug while sleeping after it has fed.

Bed bugs shed their skin as they grow, so you might also notice mottled bed bug shells on and around the bed.

In addition, you may be able to detect the presence of bed bugs by the tiny white eggs they lay.

“Bedbugs can hide in many places, including on bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind pictures and under loose wallpaper,” said the NHS.

“Some people have a reaction to the bites. They can be very itchy and there may be painful swelling.”

If you think you have a bed bug infestation in your home, you may need to call in pest control to get rid of them.

How To Identify Bed Bugs

Everyone needs to know how to identify bed bugs!Learn how to recognize bedbugs yourself and find out where you can get (free) professional help to make a positive ID on any bugs you’ve found.

IMPORTANT NOTE:If at any point you confirm that what you have is a bed bug,stop. You need to move over to the Pest Control section right away.

Don’t do anything until you learn the basics of bed bug pest control – definitelydon’t just grab a bug spray can orfogger (bug bomb)even if it is labeled for bed bugs. It will make your situation much worse!

With that out of the way.

There are 3 basic ways to identify whatever insect you’ve found and determine whether or not it’s a bed bug or not. If you’re pressed for time and you have a digital camera handy to snap ahigh qualitypicture of what you’ve found. skip to the to the bottom of the page by clicking here. Otherwise, read on to learn all of your options.

How to Identify Bed Bugs Yourself

Since 1 in 5 people in the US has been affected by bedbugs (or knows someone who has), everyone should know how to identify bed bugs or at least be able to make a well-informed guess.

The truth is, you don’t have to be a science geek to learn how to identify bed bugs yourself. It’s really just a matter of knowing what bed bugs look like. To cut to the chase, here’s a picture of an adult bed bug for reference:

You’ll also need to know what bed bug eggs and baby bed bugs look like, you can compare what you’ve found to more bed bug pictures here.

Not sure? Think it might be something else?There are a quite a few insects people sometimes confuse for bed bugs. These pictures of bed bugs vs. other bugs should you help you out. If you’re pretty sure it’s not a bed bug but don’t know what kind of insect it really is, you can check out the National Pest Management Association’s Pest Guide. It links to pages on over 50 different pests!

Even if you’re pretty sure what you have found is a bed bug, I highly recommend that you have a professional confirm the ID.There are a couple of other species like bat bugs that look almost identical to bed bugs, so consulting a pro is always a good idea. Luckily, there are a number of ways ways to positively identify bed bugs with the help of a professional.And believe it or not, it’s usually free!

How to Have an Exterminator Identify Bed Bugs For You

Maybe you don’t want to go the DIY route, or you just don’t trust your own judgment. Then having an exterminator identify the sample might be the route for you. Typically, they won’t charge you – especially if you bring the sample to them.

Just make sure you choose one who iswell-qualified to deal with bed bugs. Surprisingly, many exterminators just don’t have the experience and know-how to tackle this particular pest. Find out how to choose the right professional in the section on working with bed bug exterminators.

How To Prepare A Bug Sample

If you’re going to get an exterminator or entomologist to identify what you have, you will need to provide them samples. Here are three quick & easy ways prepare a sample for them to identify.

  1. Tape the bug to a blank index card using clear packing tape or scotch tape.
  2. Trap the bug on tape and fold it over, completely encasing the bug. Then affix the tape to a card or piece of paper.
  3. Contain the bug in a small vial like a prescription bottle or other small container that can be tightly closed.

How to Get an Expert Scientific Opinion

Believe it or not, you can have an entomologist (insect scientist) review your sample and give you an expert opinion on what it is.

Seems crazy that you can do this, right?Actually, it’s a lot simpler than you might think.

Here are two ways to identify bed bugs with the help of a local entomologist:

First, you can contact the Cooperative Extension Office in your county. In most cases, they have an entomologist on staff, at least part-time. You will need to send or bring in a sample for them to review. You can get contact information for your local Cooperative Extension Office by clicking this link.

Second, if you live near a major university (or even some smaller colleges) you can contact their Entomology Department to see if you can get your sample identified. In most cases, the Entomology Department staff will be happy to help members of the community identify their pest issues.

SUPER TIP: Here’s the fastest, easiest, and most reliable way to get an expert opinion for free. via the forums!

This is a truly amazing resource!The expert contributors to the forums include nationally recognized entomologists and some of the leading bed bug experts from the pest control industry. Here’s the best part. You can get them to weigh in on precisely what you’re dealing with – simply by asking. Completely free of charge. No strings attached.

Just take a high resolution close-up photo of what you’ve found and post it with a request for ID. Usually an expert will reply with a positive bed bug identification (or tell you what it is, if it’snota bed bug) within about 24 hours. Sometimes it takes a little longer on the weekend.

Even if you’re pretty sure what you have is a bed bug, why not get confirmation from an expert?It’s pretty easy and surprisingly fast. You’ve got nothing to lose.

Here are a few tips:

  • You’ll have to register to post to the forums, but you can use a pseudonym (nickname) to protect your privacy.
  • Make sure you select the right section/theme (Detection/Identification) when you post your ID request.
  • Read the tips for posting photos before you create your post.
  • Keep checking back, and wait for an expert/pro to respond. Many contributors are not professionals, but the pros will have their credentials in their signature file at the bottom of their first post in the thread. (Some of the high profile experts include: "loubugs", "Winston O. Buggy", "P Bello", "KillerQueen", and "bed-bugscouk")

This is this is an incredibly valuable resource and you’d have to be a fool not to take advantage of it.Learn more about why I love bedbugger and how to get the most of all it has to offer!

Now that you have three solid options to identify bed bugs (or other pests), it’s time to determine where you’re headed next on this journey.

If you find that you are dealing with bed bugs, don’t panic.The situation is manageable if you don’t jump the gun and make critical bed bug pest control mistakes. Learn the basics of Integrated Pest Management in the bed bug pest control section so you can make wise choices and get rid of these suckers for good!

If you determine that you don’t have bed bugs, that’s great!Head on over to the bed bug prevention section to learn how to keep it that way!

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How to Identify a Bed Bug

A new study finds that people fear them—but don’t know what they look like

More than half of travelers would steer clear of a hotel if even just one online review mentioned a bed bug sighting there, according to a new study of 2,088 people published in the journal American Entomologist. But less than a third of the study’s respondents would actually recognize a bed bug if they saw one in their hotel room.

Hotels tend to be perfect breeding grounds for bed bugs, says Michael Hansen, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Consumer Reports, because so many travelers pass through a single hotel room, and bed bugs—once they check in, often via a guest’s luggage—can be difficult to dislodge.

What’s more, says study author Michael Potter, Ph.D., a professor of entomology at the University of Kentucky, “more often than not, hotel rooms are not being preventatively inspected.” That’s why “travelers should be vigilant themselves.”

But to protect yourself against bed bugs when you travel, it’s important to know where to look for bed bugs and how to recognize them when you see them.

Spotting Bed Bugs 101

1. Secure your belongings.Before you look for bed bugs in a new hotel room, store your zipped luggage away from the walls and off the floor and bed. That way if you find any signs of an infestation, you don’t risk taking it with you.

2. Probe their hiding spots.Remove all of the sheets and coverings from the mattress, and check closely along all the seams and on the headboard, especially near the head of the bed, Potter says. You’ll usually find bed bugs closer to the pillows because the heat and carbon dioxide produced by human breath draw them out of hiding.

3. Know what you’re seeking.Look for peppercorn-sized black spots—digested blood secreted by the bugs. This is the easiest way to detect their presence during the day, Hansen says. A variety of indoor bugs—baby cockroaches, for example—are sometimes confused with bed bugs, says Ameya Gondhalekar, Ph.D., a professor of entomology at Purdue University, but adult bed bugs have a distinct look: They are disk-shaped, flat, and reddish-brown. Adolescents are white, almost clear, and red when their abdomen is full of blood. Their eggs, small and white, are almost undetectable to the human eye.

4. If you find some.Ask to change rooms immediately—and get as far away from your original room as you can. “Bed bugs tend to travel, and there is a higher probability there will be bugs in the adjacent unit,” Potter says.

5. When you get home.“Bed bugs are good hitchhikers,” Gondhalekar says. To help ensure that none take up residence in your home upon your return, take your clothes straight from your suitcase and throw them in the dryer, Potter says. Thirty minutes on high will kill the pests, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Treating a suitcase is trickier: Ninety minutes at 120º F or higher should kill both bed bugs and their eggs, says the EPA, which recommends leaving luggage outside in a black plastic bag on a hot summer day.

Bed Bug Tips

These pests are more common than you think. On the "Consumer 101" TV show, Consumer Reports’ expert Haniya Rae explains how you can protect yourself against a bed bug infestation.


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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."

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