Skip to Content

How to Check for Bed Bugs

Do you know how to check for bed bugs? Learn what to look for with Natural Pest Control so you don’t bring them to your home with you.

how to check for bed bugs

How to Check for Bed Bugs

The bed bug is a very tiny creature that hides into cracks and even in a place narrow and thin (think the width of a credit card). Due to their tiny size, it is difficult to find them. So then how do you check for bed bugs?

Have you ever feel like you were not alone in your room, although there is no one else there beside you? 

You should check on your room, especially your bed. You may have unwanted roommates, or worse bed mates. Do not be scared. The unlikely being referred here is the insect commonly called bed bugs. 

What are bed bugs?

Bed bug is one among the millions of species of the insect world. Scientifically, common bed bugs are known as Cimex lectularius. 

Experts and professionals claim that the existence of bed bugs had been controlled in the United States in the 70s and 80s. However, due to persistence and survival of bed bugs in Asia, Europe and in Africa, travelers may have carried along the parasites during travel and migration to the country

Bed bugs are wingless insects. They are parasites that feed primarily on the blood of warm-blooded victims such as animals and human. The belief that bed bugs only bite humans is wrong. Your pets can also be host to the parasite. 

Birds, dogs, cats, in short, every mammal that can come into contact with the infested bed or surroundings can be affected by bed bugs.

Bed bugs are so tiny, that one can hardly see it. The biggest bed bugs, however, during their final stage of maturity can reach about 25% of an inch long. Usually, bed bugs are oval-shaped and they appear flattened when viewed from top to bottom. 

Bed bugs are usually colored deep brown or cream to white. There are also bed bugs that appear burnt orange in color. 

Life Span of Bed Bugs

After feeding blood, bed bugs may look like black insects or dark red. That indicates that the bed bug has already stored food inside its body. Once it has fed from its prey, or host, bed bugs usually last until about more than a year before it needs further feeding. 

Adult bed bugs can last more than a year without sucking blood. It is different for younger or baby bed bugs. They can last only a few months, or even a few months without food, that is, blood.

Hence, even if a bed infested with bed bugs remains vacant or unoccupied for how many months, chances are the bed bugs still exist there.

Bed bugs on the average life span, needs about three to four replenishments or feeding sessions before it lay eggs and completes its life span. 

Habitat of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs normally thrive in dark spots or areas in the house. Part of their protective instinct is that they live inside crevices and dark and miniscule holes where they can not easily be detected or killed. 

Bed bugs can also live in bed frames, beneath them, underneath them or inside them. They can remain undetected during daytime. But surely, they go out and hunt for food during night time. 

Bed bugs may appear smart because they know when to attack prospective hosts – when they are asleep. 

When bed bugs bite, they normally do not produce stinging sensation. Hence, the victim will only know that he or she has been bitten after a day or two, when the skin reacts to the saliva left by the bed bugs into the affected area.

The bitten skin may itch and appear reddish. Sometimes, it is also hard to distinguish bed bug bites from the usual mosquito bites. 

Bed Bug Control

Bed bugs are hard to control. There are a lot of pesticides that can kill the parasite, but it is advisable that you consult pest professionals to control a potential infestation and exterminate bed bugs. 

There a lot of harmful pesticides that can surely kill bed bugs. But the catch is, these pesticides can be really dangerous and harmful, not just to you and your other housemates, but also to your neighbors. 

You may not want to exterminate yourself and your loved ones along with bed bugs, right? 

Contact the local pest control operators in your locality. If you are renting an apartment, it is the duty of the land lord to arrange for the necessary pest control to get rid of bed bugs.

Everyone should be learning how to check for bed bugs routinely, even if you do not think that you are at high risk of getting them in your home. While the risk of getting bed bugs increases if you are a traveler or if you like to bring home used furniture or clothing, there still always exists the small possibility that you could pick them up on your personal belongings while out and about. For example, they have been found in stores selling new clothing items, in movie theaters, and on public transportation.

Examine the common areas where you think that they can exist like, in the mattress, around the bed, in cushions, and fabric of the sofa with a flashlight. Be sure to find out the places where you find its eggs, any skin part, or its feces.

Check carefully all the tiny cracks and folds and joints of furniture and under the carpet. Bed bugs can also find in drawers, in corners, under the dresser, in book racks, in windows and door frames, loose wallpaper and empty places around the ceiling.

Why should you learn to check for bed bugs?

Unless you want to become paranoid and stop going out of your home or inviting friends over, one of the best ways to prevent the development of an infestation is to learn how to check for bed bugs regularly in your home.

Bed bugs like clean homes too, so do not make the mistake of assuming that they will not move in with you. By doing routine checks, you can take steps to eradicate the problem before the infestation gets too large.

You can also apply the tips, that I am going to share, when you travel so that you can search the hotel room when you arrive. If you can identify that the room you are checking into has bed bugs, then you can request another room or change hotels.

What are you looking for when checking for bed bugs?

  • Evidence of live or dead bugs – They are wingless, brown-red in color, have flat bodies, and are about the size of an apple seed (3/16″).
  • Little white bed bug eggs (about the size of the head of a pin), the skin moltings of beg bug larvae (also called nymphs), or the bed bug excrement – The latter is observed as black or dark spots that may be found on items, such as mattresses, that you are checking.
  • Rust or human blood stains on the mattress or bedsheets – This tends to occur when the bed bug is rolled over by a sleeping person after the bug has just fed.

Tips on How to Check for Bed Bugs

You search for bed bugs in your bed and then the rest of your bedroom. Because bed bugs like to hide in dark places during the day, and they come out at night to feed on you when you are sleeping, this is the best place to start checking.

  • Use a flashlight.
  • Be sure to check your mattress, including the mattress seams and the buttons.
  • You will also want to check out the box spring and the bed frame, especially if the latter is wooden as cracks in it can make great harborage sites.
  • In addition, check your headboard, night tables, and dressers.
  • Be sure to check any crevices, screw holes, and underneath everything as bugs could be hiding there.
  • Other places to check include along the edges of and under carpet, along baseboards, behind wall photos, behind outlet covers, and in the pleats of curtains.
  • If clutter is present in your bedroom, this creates great hiding spots for the bugs too. Bed bugs can crawl into laptops, radios, televisions, and other electronics as well.

What are the first signs of bed bug bites?

Here are the common signs and symptoms of a bed bug problem:

Bed Bug Rash

Early signs of bed bugs is the itchiness. Bed bug rash starts with an itch but the rash won’t be visible yet when you feel the itch.

Bed bug bites are more itchy than mosquito bites. With mosquito bites you will feel its sting and sucking of blood while it is up to it. But with bed bugs, the itchy bites will only be felt an hour after the skin has been bitten. This is because of the anesthetics in bed bug’s saliva. Bed bugs inject anesthetics and anticoagulant, to avoid blood clotting, before it will suck blood from your skin.

Bed bug rash will appear an hour after you were pierced. But to some people, the bed bug rash appear only after some days or week from being bitten. This depends upon the body’s reaction to chemicals being secreted by bed bugs.

What does a bed bug rash look like?

Bed bug rash starts with a single, small, red spot (from being inflamed) round, bump which look more swollen than mosquito rash. Bed bug rash when it becomes visible, may just be a single, swollen bump. Days after, the bed bug rash will multiply and may look like itchy welts. This only means that the other bed bugs are biting you. But for some people, bed bug rash look like an in-line bite marks. This kind of bed bug rash are seen on people who moves a lot when asleep. Bed bugs return fast to their hiding place once they have noticed any movement around them.

When you have a rash that you suspect as a bed bug rash, observe it for some days. Bed bug rash are itchy even after days that the bed bug rash appears. Also, bed bug rash does not heal as fast as mosquito bite marks. It stays swollen for weeks.

Bed Bug Odor

Next sign to look for after the bed bug rash appears is the bed bug odor.

Hotels with heavy infestation of bed bugs has this offensive, sweet-like, musty odor that bed bug releases. You may search for this odor under the mattresses and headboard. If your hotel has a wooden chair or a sofa with crevices, smell them too for a bed bug odor.

How to avoid infesting your house with hotel bed bugs

The night before you check out, remove every item from your suitcase. Bed bugs are effective hitchhikers. They can survive for years without food and if they hitched in your luggage, they can start an infestation in your home.

Check your wooden items with bed bugs. Bed bugs like wooden items, cloth and paper. These are the material in which they create their habitat.

Spray on a water based insect killer around your suitcase. Shake off your clothes for any bed bugs. Wipe your bath tub dry and put your items and clothings in there. Bed bugs won’t stay on tub crevices since a tub is made of ceramic or marbles and it usually gets wet.

For your used clothing, have it washed before you leave for home. Remember, this is not a simple matter. Once your bedroom has been infested with bed bugs, it will spread fast to neighboring rooms. Getting rid of bed bugs is a very tough job. You even need to throw away your bed and sofa to wipe your house clean from any trace of bed bugs.

Waking up with itching and found red bumps on your body is a symptom that indicates the presence of bed bugs and some people might initially suspect flea bites rather than bedbug bites. Small bristles may appear at the place of their bite. Bed bugs bite usually bite at arms and legs. Their bites can also cause allergic reactions.

If you found some brownish stains on your bed cover, carpet, and fabrics of the sofa. These spots can be the feces of parts of their skin. When bed bugs feed they may be left some blood spots on bed sheets or pillows.

You may find some dead bugs during the cleaning of your room. Bed bugs often secrete a gland for communication purposes which have a weird smell. Bed bugs usually came outside during night time for food.

You may feel little movements on the body that disturb your sleep. You may found bugs in their early stages of life as a baby bed bug or eggs and larva.

Can you see the bed bugs with the human eye?

Bed bugs are such a little creature with size like the seed of an apple. Their size is around 5 to 7 mm. adult bugs can be seen with the naked human eye. Bed bugs have also some physical similarities with other pests like cockroach, beetles, and some fleas. So it is necessary to know the actual appearance of a bug and its difference from other ones. Some people may need their glasses for perception 

Can you have bed bugs and not see them?

You may see an infestation of bed bug but don’t see the pest itself. To claim the presence of bed bugs, you need to find the actual evidence. If you have insect bites or red spots on your skin and itching, these symptoms don’t need to be results of bed bugs bite.

How Do You Detect Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs may change their physical appearance according to their region. The size of their eggs is so small only like a pinhead. Adults have a slightly larger size like the seed of an apple. They are brownish, rust, or reddish color and have an oval-shaped or elongated body.

Wings are present on their body but they are unable to fly. The presence of bed bugs in your home does not concern with the cleaning process. They are like “hitchhikers” that can enter your luggage during traveling, in a hotel, or during shopping.

These pests can surprisingly live for one year without any food. So, you need to check your luggage and room items carefully.

If you do not find bed bugs, you can let out a sigh of relief. However, you should never let down your guard. One recommended way to monitor for the presence of bugs is to purchase a bed bug trap that you put on the floor around the bed legs. An example is the Climbup Insect Interceptor Bed Bug Trap, which can be purchased on Amazon.

Learning how to check for bed bugs is one of the most important things that you can learn how to do. It can help you to catch infestations early before they get out of hand.

bed bug

How to Know if You Have Bed Bugs

You may say that you regularly clean your household and there is no way that bed bugs could possibly invade your home. Wrong. Having bed bugs at home does not mean that your home is filthy. Both clean and unclean house can be infested with bed bugs. So, how would you know if you have bed bugs?

Many people do not know if they have bed bugs. They don’t even know what bed bugs look like. Unlike cockroaches that flies and walks shamelessly, bed bugs are ‘shy’ insects. They crawl out from their hiding only when you are asleep at night. Bed bugs will crawl back from its home once you move from your position.

Description of bed bugs

Bed bugs can be seen by the naked eye. Forget what your grandfather had told you that they are so small that no person can actually see them. The only reason why only a few people can see bed bugs is that bed bugs are nocturnal insects and can rarely be seen walking in daylight. They are as small as appleseeds (which means they can be seen), reddish brown in color, oval shaped, flat and wingless. The distinctive characteristic of bed bugs is its oval-flat shape. Most bugs are rounded at the top.

To find out if you have bed bugs, try to wake up in the middle of the night. Try to be still, though it is okay to breathe.

At the beginning of an infestation you will see one or two bed bugs crawling towards you. Try to move a bit, and you will see that a bed bug will back away.

If you do not find bed bugs, you can let out a sigh of relief. However, you should never let down your guard. One recommended way to monitor for the presence of bugs is to purchase a bed bug trap that you put on the floor around the bed legs. An example is the Climbup Insect Interceptor Bed Bug Trap, which can be purchased on Amazon.

Learning how to check for bed bugs is one of the most important things that you can learn how to do. It can help you to catch infestations early before they get out of hand.

More Posts about Bed Bugs

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Naturally

What are Pantry Bugs?

Natural Pest Control for Your Home

Does Lavender Really Repel Bed Bugs?