How To Look For Bed Bugs In Furniture

5 Tips for Avoiding Bed Bugs With Second Hand Furniture

Remember the good old days when you could visit a few neighborhood garage sales on Saturday morning and score a treasure or two without damaging your budget? Today, the bargains are still out there, but who knows what you might bring home hidden inside that gently used bedside table. From movie theaters to upscale hotels, bed bugs are everywhere. If you believe the news reports — and you probably should — we’re living through a bedbug invasion.

Today’s super bed bugs are blood suckers extraordinaire, too. They’re resistant to many of the eradication methods exterminators rely on, which means their numbers are continuing to grow. So, what’s a garage sale shopper to do? Give up bargain hunting completely? Unthinkable!

Let’s look at five things you can do to leave bed bugs in the dust but still score safe furniture bargains.

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 chair.you 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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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.

How to Check for Bed Bugs in a Hotel Room

Savvy travelers need to know how to check for bed bugs in a hotel room, no matter if they’re staying a night in a rural motel or a week in a five-star resort. After all, the presence of bed bugs is "not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are found," according to the Centers for Disease Control. Here, five tips for how to check for (and deal with) bed bugs in a hotel room.

1. Do your homework before making a hotel reservation.

If you’re worried about bed bugs before you even check in, look up your hotel on this bed bug registry to find out if a hotel has—or has had—bed bugs. You can read more about the risks of bed bug bites here . While we’re all for coming home with souvenirs , bed bugs aren’t ones we’d recommend.

2. Check every inch of your bed.

The first place you should check for bed bugs is the most obvious: your hotel bed . Look along the mattress seams and zippers, under the mattress, and at each joint of the bed frame. We don’t mean just lifting up one corner to look—that won’t cut it. Make sure to lift up each corner of the mattress and thoroughly check for signs. Wondering what bed bugs look like? Measuring only four to five millimeters, they’re the size of a standard pearl. They have flat, oval-shaped red or brown bodies, complete with tiny legs and antenna. Since bed bugs typically come out at night, keep a lookout for other tell-tale traces of their presence such as blood (ew, we know) and/or tiny white bed bug eggs about the size of a mustard seed or grain of sand.

3. Don’t stop at the bed—check the carpet and furniture as well.

According to the CDC, bed bugs generally live within eight feet of where you sleep. So check for the same bed bug signs along zippers and covers of the in-room sofa and chairs next. Bed bugs’ relatively flat bodies allow them to fit into tight crevices, so look under buttons and at the seams of the furniture. Scan the area where the carpet meets the baseboards and, before you unpack and hang up your clothes, be sure to check the joints of the closets and drawer seals. For extra back-up, use your phone’s flashlight to help you see the small signs of bed bugs in hard-to-reach corners. Last but not least, check around your bedside table. Do you find any signs of bed bugs around picture frames, the joints of your nightstand’s drawers, or around the lamps?

4. Keep your suitcase on a luggage rack far from the bed.

A word to the wise: Don’t throw your suitcase on the bed or the floor while you’re in the process of searching for bed bugs. If bed bugs are present, tossing the suitcase on the floor is an open invitation for them to climb aboard. While you’re making sure the coast is clear, use the luggage rack or place your suitcase on a hard surface, like a table, to minimize your risk of attracting bed bugs.

5. Request to change rooms.

If you suspect bed bugs after any of these steps, tell the hotel front desk immediately and ask to be moved to a different room —specifically, one that isn’t directly above, below, or next to the room you’re currently in, Rentokil suggests.

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.

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