How to check for bed bugs

Bed bugs are highly enduring when it comes to making their species last forever. They will hop onto just about anything to hitch a ride and start infesting a new location.

Unfortunately, they can be picked up from pretty much anywhere, most commonly transported via luggage after being in motels and hotels. And, a bed bug infestation does not discriminate; clean homes, dirty homes, cluttered homes, large homes, minimalist homes and homes with kids all get affected.

However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be easily spotted and exterminated before a pest problem becomes a real infestation. Today, we’ll be going through everything from early signs to checking for bed bugs to their ravishing looks.

What are the Early Signs of Bed Bugs?

So, let’s begin with the early signs of a bed bug infestation. There are some visual signs, physical feelings as well as some identifying scents that can give the game away for bed bugs.

The first thing to consider is the pain and itching from possible bites. This is generally the first indication that will tell American’s to consider looking at bed bugs.

If you have small red spots on your body, often in a line, this could be a sign of bed bugs. This is because a bed bug will typically feed in one spot, move forward a bit, feed again and so on.

Another thing to ask yourself is if you smell something sweet in bed at night. When bed bugs have been disturbed, they release a pheromone that smells sweet. It can also be a by-product scent from their feces, so watch out!

A final early sign of bed bugs would be seeing red or brown colored dots on your sheets or on your mattress. When bedbugs feed, their lack of table manner means that they are quite messy and will often leave blood stains. As well as this, they will often leave their feces on your sheets, too.

Or, a slightly more obvious early sign of bed bugs would be seeing the carcass of the bugs you accidentally rolled onto during the night.

How Can I Identify Bed Bugs?

If you are concerned that you may have a bed bug infestation, then it is important that you get in contact with your local pest control center. They will carry out tests and draw a conclusion with a bed bug inspection summary.

Your pest control exterminator will provide you with specific instructions on how to find or avoid contact prior to their arrival. Their instructions may consist of:

• Place immediate items of clothing and towel on a hot-wash cycle
• Encase your mattress and box spring in a dense cover to make sure no bed bugs can enter or escape
• Clean all linen and curtains
• Check your luggage for signs if travelled in the past couple of months
• Declutter the affected room
• Repair any holes or cracks in flooring, walls and the ceiling with plaster
• Vacuum the bed and dispose of any bed bugs in a plastic bag outside your home

How Can I Detect Bed Bugs?

If you believe you have seen some signs of bed bugs but haven’t actually seen a bug, there are some checks that can be carried out to help identify them.

The first thing we recommend doing is slowly removing all your sheets and linen, placing them immediately in a hot wash. Then, inspect your mattress.

When inspecting your mattress, you’ll need to think about the weight of your mattress. Some mattresses can be very heavy so make sure someone is there to help with lifting to prevent any injuries. Then you’ll need to check all the seams and edges of the mattress.

As bed bugs like to lay their eggs and nest within cozy places, your mattress seam will be the first place you’ll find them. If you do find some bed bugs, then keep looking in other areas to understand the severity of your infestation.

Here’s some places we recommend having a rummage through:

• Luggage
• Handbags
• Curtains
• Carpet edges
• Clothes
Furniture
• Pets
• Bed frames
• Behind Pictures
• Underneath any loose wallpaper

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like to the Human Eye? Are Bed Bugs Visible?

When checking for bed bugs you will need a good idea of what you’re looking for.

These household pests are commonly thought to be invisible to the naked eye, or just a spec of black. However, they are much more prominent than that.

The adult bed bug is a reddish-brown color and is approximately the size of an apple seed (5.5mm). Their eggs, on the other hand, are much smaller and white in color.

If you don’t find any bed bugs in your search, but still find some of their molts (when a bed bugs grows out of their skin), then your search isn’t over yet.

There are 7 stages to a bed bugs life-cycle, so just because you don’t find the adult bed bugs, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find their eggs that resemble grains of salt.

For more information on the lifecycle of a bed bug, visit out other article “The Bed Bug Life-Cycle”.

How Do You Get Bed Bugs Out of Hiding?

If you’re struggling to find any bed bugs but you’ve seen their evidence, there are ways to coax them out.

As the bed bug feeds on mammals, there are a couple of tell-tale scents that will bring them out. One of them is the smell of blood. As this is their life-form they are automatically attracted to it in order to grow and reproduce.

A second attractor for bed bugs is the detection of carbon dioxide through their antennae. This signals that their host for the blood meal is close and they will often come out to feed.

The same goes when the bed bug detects heat as it signals that you are close by. So, a good way to coax out your unwanted squatters is using hairdryer on the affected areas. Then, as the bed bugs emerge you can exterminate them.

However, please note that when you are coaxing and killing bed bugs on site, you are not necessarily eradicating the problem as the eggs may still be present. And, there may be bed bugs in other locations around your home. So, only use this method to ensure your bed bugs suspicions are correct.

Otherwise, contact your local pest control service for a bed bug inspection summary.

What Can I Expect from a Bed Bug Inspection Summary?

They have a wide range of food sources. They are attracted by sugary liquids, moisture, fermenting fruits and rotting vegetables and other organic matter. It is likely they will choose to breed and live near their food source.

Due to the different types of food source they like to eat, they tend to live in and around your garbage.

Try looking in these areas:

  • Underneath kitchen appliances especially juicers 
  • Kitchen sink or drains
  • Under the refrigerator
  • In garbage cans
  • Under trash bags

Final thoughts

And, there you have it. A definitive guide to checking for bed bugs and what to do in the case of a bed bug infestation.

Don’t forget to check out some of our other articles to help you keep the bed bugs at bay such as “What Scent Keeps Bed Bugs away?” and more.

Sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite!

Learn more about Bed Bugs

If you are looking for other bed bug related articles – be sure to check out our other pest guides to help rid you of your pests.