Knowing how to check for bed bugs is a good skill to have. These tips and techniques can be used in many different scenarios: when you are staying in a hotel, if you think you might have bed bugs in your own house, or if you want to buy used furniture. Since bed bugs rely on blood for survival and are attracted by warmth and carbon dioxide, they are most often found near sleeping areas. Start checking in the bedroom, and expand your search outward from there. To be thorough, it is important to know the signs of bed bugs and the places to check.
Signs of Bed Bugs
- Reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses- If bed bugs are squished or crushed, they may release blood droplets.
- Small dark spots on fabric- Bed bug excrement appears as black dots on sheets, mattresses, curtains, or other fabrics. These spots may bleed into the fabric like a marker.
- Bed bug eggs- Eggs are very small (approximately 1 mm) and a creamy white color. They are most often stuck to surfaces in groups or as single eggs.
- Discarded skin- Bed bugs go through a series of molts as they transition from nymphs to adults. As they grow, they will shed the old skin. These skin shells are usually pale yellow.
- Smell- A heavy infestation of bed bugs will create a disagreeable sweet, musty odor.
- Live or dead bed bugs- Bed bugs are mistaken for many other bugs, so knowing correct bed bug characteristics is key.
Signs of bed bugs including: adults, nymphs, eggs, shed skins, and excrement.
By louento.pix [CC BY-ND 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/legalcode], via Flickr
Places to Check for Bed Bugs
Bed bugs can be spread very easily, so it is important to check rooms and furniture thoroughly for signs of bed bugs. Some helpful tools to aid in your search are gloves, a flashlight, and a credit card.
Start by checking the bed frame, bedding, mattress, and box spring for any of the above mentioned signs of bed bugs. Use the credit card to comb over the mattress and help you search in the seams and around the piping. The flashlight will be beneficial in helping see inside small cracks or crevices on the bed frame or headboard.
Once you have checked the sleeping area, expand your search to include more of the room. Heavy bed bug infestations can spread throughout the home. Carefully check all fabrics or upholstered items in the room. Use the flashlight to search in drawers, in cracks along the walls, behind electrical outlets, under loose wallpaper, behind baseboards, and on furniture. If you have pets, pay special attention to their sleeping areas, as bed bugs will also feed on animals. Take note of any signs of bed bugs you find, so that the entire area can be treated.
If you find yourself with bed bug problems, PF Harris has a full line of bed bug products that can help you eliminate the bed bugs and take back your home.