How To Search For Bed Bugs In Your Home
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 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:
- Carefully pull back the bedding and look for signs that bedbugs have been around like blood spots and fecal stains.
- 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.
- Do the same with the box spring. You may have to cut or remove the gauze вЂњprotectorвЂќ on the underside of the box spring to take a good look inside вЂ“ 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.
- 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:
- 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).
- 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.
- Pull it away from the wall to inspect the back side as well.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Pull the drawers completely out, one вЂ“ 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.
- 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’ askingвЂњeverything okay in there?вЂќ
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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In this Article
In this Article
In this Article
Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color.
Bedbugs do not fly, but they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. Female bedbugs may lay hundreds of eggs, each of which is about the size of a speck of dust, over a lifetime.
Immature bedbugs, called nymphs, shed their skins five times before reaching maturity and require a meal of blood before each shedding. Under favorable conditions the bugs can develop fully in as little as a month and produce three or more generations per year.
Although they are a nuisance, they are not thought to transmit diseases.
Where Bed Bugs Hide
Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bedbugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to people to bite in the night.
Over time, however, they may scatter through the bedroom, moving into any crevice or protected location. They may also spread to nearby rooms or apartments.
Because bedbugs live solely on blood, having them in your home is not a sign of dirtiness. You are as likely to find them in immaculate homes and hotel rooms as in filthy ones.
When Bedbugs Bite
Bedbugs are active mainly at night and usually bite people while they are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin and withdrawing blood through an elongated beak. The bugs feed from three to 10 minutes to become engorged and then crawl away unnoticed.
Most bedbug bites are painless at first, but later turn into itchy welts. Unlike flea bites that are mainly around the ankles, bedbug bites are on any area of skin exposed while sleeping. Also, the bites do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites do.
People who don’t realize they have a bedbug infestation may attribute the itching and welts to other causes, such as mosquitoes. To confirm bedbug bites, you must find and identify the bugs themselves.
Signs of Infestation
If you wake up with itchy areas you didn’t have when you went to sleep, you may have bedbugs, particularly if you got a used bed or other used furniture around the time the bites started. Other signs that you have bedbugs include:
- Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases
- Dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls
- Bedbug fecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in areas where bedbugs hide
- An offensive, musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands
If you suspect an infestation, remove all bedding and check it carefully for signs of the bugs or their excrement. Remove the dust cover over the bottom of the box springs and examine the seams in the wood framing. Peel back the fabric where it is stapled to the wood frame.
Also, check the area around the bed, including inside books, telephones or radios, the edge of the carpet, and even in electrical outlets. Check your closet, because bedbugs can attach to clothing. If you are uncertain about signs of bedbugs, call an exterminator, who will know what to look for.
If you find signs of infestation, begin steps to get rid of the bugs and prevent their return.
Getting rid of bedbugs begins with cleaning up the places where bedbugs live. This should include the following:
- Clean bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. Place stuffed animals, shoes, and other items that can’t be washed in the dryer and run on high for 30 minutes.
- Use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams to remove bedbugs and their eggs before vacuuming.
- Vacuum your bed and surrounding area frequently. After vacuuming, immediately place the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and place in garbage can outdoors.
- Encase mattress and box springs with a tightly woven, zippered cover to keep bedbugs from entering or escaping. Bedbugs may live up to a year without feeding, so keep the cover on your mattress for at least a year to make sure all bugs in the mattress are dead.
- Repair cracks in plaster and glue down peeling wallpaper to get rid of places bedbugs can hide.
- Get rid of clutter around the bed.
If your mattress is infested, you may want to get rid of it and get a new one, but take care to rid the rest of your home of bedbugs or they will infest your new mattress.
While cleaning up infested areas will be helpful in controlling bedbugs, getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments. Because treating your bed and bedroom with insecticides can be harmful, it is important to use products that can be used safely in bedrooms. Do not treat mattresses and bedding unless the label specifically says you can use them on bedding.
Generally it is safest and most effective to hire an experienced pest control professional for bedbug extermination.
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture: "Bed Bugs."
Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: "Bed Bugs."
The New York City Department of Heath and Mental Hygiene: "Stop Bed Bugs Safely."
University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Lancaster County: "Managing Bed Bugs."
How To Inspect Your Luggage For Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are found in your bed, right? The answer is yes; however, bed bugs are also found in many other places, one of which includes your luggage. Since bed bugs often spread as the result of traveling, it is no wonder that your suitcase could be the culprit of spreading an infestation. For residents in the St. Louis area, checking your luggage may be the key to preventing a hitchhiking bed bug on your next vacation. OurSt. Louis pest controlpros have some fresh tips on how to check your luggage after your next vacation so that you can avoid any bed bugs from making their way into your home.
Do not bring your luggage into your hotel roomuntil you have inspected it thoroughly.
Keep your luggage up off of the flooreven after you have inspected the room. Most hotel rooms provide luggage stands so it’s a good idea to use them.
Pack your clothing in sealable bagsduring your travels. Have a bag for the clean clothes as well as a bag for the dirty clothes so that they can be separated and closed off to any bed bugs that may have found their way into your suitcase.
Once you get home from your travels,keep your luggage outside or in the garage so you can do a final inspectionbefore bringing it inside. You want to thoroughly check through all of your clothing and then wash it immediately on the hottest temperature available to the fabrics as this will kill any eggs that could have made it back. When the suitcase is empty, you should use a vacuum to clean the inside and then check around all of the edges, the zippers, the pockets, for any signs of bed bugs.
If you do spot any dark spots of fecal matter, light brown colored skins, or live bugs themselves, you are going to want to contact theSt. Louis pest control professionals. Bed bugs are not a fix it yourself solution since they are really good at hiding and multiplying. These pests are not good company to have and you may find yourself in a nightmare if you try to take care of matters on your own. Hopefully, with enough education and understanding of how bed bugs can affect you, you will not have to worry about them coming back with you on your next trip. You may want to refer to our previous blog to get the 411 On Bed Bugs. If you do find yourself with a suitcase infested by bed bugs, or would like to learn more about prevention and treatment of bed bugs in your home, contact Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions today.
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.