Bed bugs are disgusting, plain and simple. They are tiny insects that feed on human and animal blood. They are found all over the world, and they’re becoming more and more common in the developed world, in countries like the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. As a result, people are wondering how to find bed bugs, especially in homes.
In order to detect the presence of bedbugs, it’s important to know a little bit more about them. If you suspect that you have a bed bug infestation, it’s important to deal with it quickly, as bed bugs are a problem that can easily and quickly spiral out of control.
Here is a run-down on how to find bed bugs in your home:
Look for Bed Bug Bites
The only way to know definitively that you have a bed-bug infestation are seeing the bugs themselves. Just because you have insect bites does not necessarily mean that you have bed bugs. Bed bug bites often look like many other insect bites.
Nonetheless, if you are repeatedly waking up with itchy, irritated skin when you were totally fine when you went to bed the night before, then you might have a problem. The problem is, bed bug bites are difficult to identify. People react differently to bed bug bites as well, making identifiction even more difficult.
One unique characteristic is that bed bug bites is that they are often in small groups or lines. This is because the bed bug moves along your skin, bites, gets blood, moves, bites, gets blood, etc. Bed bugs also tend to travel together, resulting in multiple bites to the same area. The photos in this article show this grouping pretty clearly.
Fortunately, Bed bugs do not transmit any serious diseases, but they are nonetheless an unhygienic nuisance that will destroy your mattress, furniture and keep you from sleeping if they aren’t treated properly.
What do Bed Bugs Look Like
Thankfully, adult bed bugs are visible to the naked eye IF you can find their hiding places, which can often prove very difficult. Bedbugs are a reddish-brown color, about the same size as an apple seed, and shaped like a flat, oval disc.
Immature bed bugs are a little harder to see as they’re smaller, translucent, and a light yellowish white. If you see a bed bug that’s inflated and bright red, that means that it has just recently fed … on your blood! Yuck!
Bed bugs go through a nymph stage, which is similar to a larvae stage, only with a nymph stage the insect is in the same basic form as the adult form. As for the bed bug eggs, these are quite difficult to spot as well as they are approximately the size of a pinhead and are pearl white in color. The gestation period for a bed bug is a mere five days.
Like many other insects, bed bugs shed their “skin”. Insects have exoskeletons, which are skeletons on the outer layer of the body which they have to get rid of periodically in order to increase in size. Bed bugs will continuously shed their skin until they reach the adult stage.
When there is a really bad bed bug infestation, there will literally be thousands of oval-shaped exoskeletons of various sizes, everywhere.
With a new infestation, you’ll find exoskeletons all over the place, but once a plague of bed bugs is established you’ll start finding them clustered together as these insects like to stick together in groups. A good place to look is behind the bed’s headboard, on the roof, on walls, and along the lines of stitching in a mattress.
Look for Fecal Stains
Bed bugs eat approximately every five days. When they’re not eating, they are digesting and defecating. Because blood contains a lot of water, bed bugs need to start the digestion process immediately in order to eliminate any excess liquid.
Their waste products are black, and you’ll typically find these nasty stains along the stitching and the label of the mattress, behind the headboard, along the edges of rugs and carpets, behind any mirrors, paintings, posters, or photographs hung on walls. Also near electrical sockets, and in the stitching of curtains.
If you think you may have bed bugs, be sure and use white or light color sheets for your bed. This helps you to see fecal stains and any other remnants bed bugs leave behind.
How to Find Bed Bugs
As the saying goes “where there’s smoke there’s fire”, and Bed Bugs will typically group together in the same areas where they also leave their feces, shedded skins, and eggs. At first glance, it might appear that what you have is a mold problem, but upon closer inspection, the real cause of the stained area will be clear.
In addition to the typical problem areas that we have already mentioned, you will also want to inspect your personal objects such as your books, clothes etc. Learn more about detecting bed bugs.
How To Keep A Bed Bug Infestation From Spreading
Bed Bug Nymph
Any items that you have determined are infested with bed bugs should be removed from your house and sealed in a plastic bag before being treated. If you cannot treat these items, they should be left sealed in the bag until any active bugs eventually die, which can take up to a year in some cases. Preferably, these items should be thrown away.
You may be able to use a vacuum to get rid of your bed bugs and bed bug waste, but make sure that you empty out the bag outside.
If your furniture cannot be salvaged and has to be thrown out, do the responsible thing by clearly indicating that you are doing so because of a bed bug problem; you don’t want anybody else to inherit your bed bug problem. Take the time to spray paint “bed bugs” on whatever it is that you are discarding.
Getting Rid Of Bed Bugs
While there are a number of effective chemicals and sprays available. We recommend that you consider using safer, non-chemical methods. For instance, you may be able to place your infected blankets and sheets into the dryer and turn up the heat to high. Black plastic bags left out in the hot sun may also do the trick. Heat is a highly effective treatment for bed bugs if done correctly. Diatomaceous Earth is also highly effective, but must be used and applied properly.
However, these methods may only be effective for some infestations. Each bed bug infestation is a little different, and you may have to turn to pesticides to completely resolve your bed bug problem.
If this is the case, make sure that it is an EPA approved pesticides and ones where bed bugs are actually listed on the label. Do not use bug bombs or “foggers’ as they are a fire hazard, and generally just move bed bugs around, rather than kill them. Additionally, foggers often don’t reach into crevices and cracks and other places that bed bugs love.
If you aren’t completely sure that you have bed bugs, collect a sample and consult a professional. If you think you may have bed bugs, head over to our treatment page and begin treatment immediately.