How to Find Bed Bugs
Bed Bug Behavior and Habit
Understanding the behavior of bed bugs (how they eat, live, and reproduce) will help you to find an infestation before it becomes established and to monitor for the presence of bed bugs after your home has been treated.
- Appear to prefer to feed on humans, but will feed on other mammals and birds as well.
- Will readily travel 5-20 feet from established hiding places (called harborage) to feed on a host.
- Even though they are primarily active at night, if hungry they will seek hosts in full daylight.
- Feeding can take 3-12 minutes.
- The rusty or tarry spots found on bed sheets or in bug hiding places are because 20% of the time adults and large nymphs will void remains of earlier blood meals while still feeding.
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.
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.
How to Check for Bedbugs
Investigate piles of clothes. Look at the clothes in your closet or laundry room and look at the fabric for signs of bed bugs. If you suspect a severe infestation, lay a white sheet on the floor. Then take clothes out of baskets or the closet and shake them over the sheet. Check the sheet for bed bugs, excrement, or eggs.
Peel back loose wallpaper and look behind it. Gently pull loose wallpaper or peeling paint away from the wall and look for bed bugs. You should also remove any picture frames or mirrors and check behind them. Bed bugs can hide in the joints of mirrors or frames.
Lift up rugs to look for bed bugs underneath. Move furniture to the edge of the room so you can peel back rugs. Look for signs of bed bugs on the underside of the rug and on the floor itself.
Look under lamps, toys, or clocks in the room. Although bed bugs usually prefer to hide where people rest for long periods of time, they’ll also hide around objects in your room. Check under lamps, clocks, laptops, toys, cushions, and pillows.
Inspect hiding places in electrical items. If the room is heavily infested with bed bugs, they may hide in the crevices around electrical items. Remove electrical outlet covers and look behind them. You should also check near lamp or computer cords and inside wall-mounted lamps.
How To Check for Bed Bugs: Common Hiding Spots and Signs
Catching Bed Bugs in their Hiding Spots
Earlier, we discussed how to tell if you have bed bugs based on their hiding spots. So how do you catch them? Since bed bugs are afraid of the light, they are difficult to eliminate since they dwell in dark areas. You need to carefully search every darkened corner of your home to catch them.
How to Properly Remove Bed Bugs from Fabrics?
You can instantly remove any bedbugs from fabric using the same method that you use to inspect your mattress and bedding. When considering how to tell if you have bed bugs, keep in mind that although bed bugs don’t have the ability to jump or fly, they are fast travelers. Usually, they crawl onto people’s clothes and attach until they find potential bedding to infest.
Examining Bed Bugs on Mattresses
Once bedbugs are satisfied with their meal, they go back to their protected space until they are ready to feed again. The major feeding areas for bedbugs are mattresses straps, buttons, creases, and tags. When looking for how to find bed bugs, take note that these areas are convenient since as it is where they can easily locate and attach to their victims.
Checking Bed Bugs: Bedding
If there’s one thing that bedbugs despise, it’s light. That’s why they always strike during the night when their victim is fast asleep in an infested bed. It is impossible to catch living bed bugs in your bedding. However, when figuring out how to check for bed bugs, there are signs that will tell you if they are feeding on your skin. These signs include the following.
Checking for Bed Bugs: Bites
Bed bugs bite into a human by inserting two tubes into its skin. One tube secretes saliva that makes the bite area numb. This also thins the blood, so it’s easier for the bug to consume it. The second tube is known as the feeding tube and is utilized for one purpose only; sipping the blood from the human.
How to Find Bed Bugs
Commercial and Multi-Unit Buildings
Bug control in commercial facilities or multi-unit dwellings may be considerably more expensive than treatment for other forms of pests. This is because of the more extensive cooperation required by the staff or renters in preventing the spread from one area to the other, as well as the expenses incurred in treating multiple areas instead of one room or single-family home.
The Costs of Prevention and Treatment
These bugs can be expensive pests to control and treat. Regardless of the costs to homeowners, renters and property managers, they also extract a considerable toll on society. Those afflicted with an invasion may lose work or productivity due to sleep deprivation and anxiety. There may be healthcare costs from these issues, or from allergic reactions or infections due to bites.
Monitoring devices that attract bugs through heat and the release of carbon dioxide may also be employed. These are not traps that are intended to eradicate the bugs. They are used to estimate population size, to help determine treatment plans or to determine if treatment has been successful.
Judicious use of approved pesticides is part of a professional treatment plan, and these chemicals can be applied with precision and training unavailable to unlicensed applicators.
Vacuuming is also part of a professional control treatment, using special machines outfitted with HEPA filters which contain the bugs to prevent re-infestation of the treated area or others.