The earlier you find a bed bug problem, the easier and less expensive it will be to treat. Searching for bed bugs is a fairly simple process and can be done using only a flashlight and a credit card. To catch a minor infestation early, it is important to know what to look for and where to find them.
- Live or dead bugs
- Small red or rust-colored blood stains on the sheets or mattresses
- Black dots of bed bug excrement
- Pale yellow skins from molting bed bugs
- Creamy colored bed bug eggs (1 mm long) stuck to surfaces
Where to Search for Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are nocturnal and usually come out to feed during the night. They feed exclusively on blood, and the common bed bug (cimex lectularius) prefers humans. They are attracted to warmth and carbon dioxide, so they are most often found near a bed or sleeping area. This is the first and most important place to search. From the bed, expand your search outward until you have checked the entire room.
Checking the Bed and Bedding
Pull back the bedding and inspect the sheets, mattress, and box spring. Using your flashlight and credit card (or other flat stiff object), comb across the mattress along seams, piping, tags, and crevices. Check all four corners of the mattress and lift it up to check the underside. Now shine the light into cracks that may be present on the headboard or bed frame. Once the bed has been thoroughly searched, move on to other surrounding furniture.
What a bed bug would look like on a white sheet
Inspecting Furniture and Surrounding Areas
Furniture can also be home to bed bugs. Upholstered furniture is particularly prone to them. Continue to use the flashlight and the credit card to check the seams of couches and chairs, as well as the undersides. Pay special attention to where the fabric is attached to the frame. Next open drawers on nightstands and dressers. Look inside them, and pull them out to examine the bottoms. Other places to check might include under lamps, inside picture frames, under appliances, in carpets, and behind decorations.
A bed bug on carpet By Mohamedhp [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) or Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
The Perimeter of the Room
If you have a significant bed bug infestation, the bugs might have moved farther away from the bed and spread throughout the room or the home. In these situations, it is important to perform a thorough inspection so that you know how much of the home you will need to treat. When you are checking the perimeter of the room, examine curtains or drapes, areas of loose wallpaper, wall hangings, around electrical sockets, and along baseboards. Bed bugs are so small that they can hide in many places, even the head of a screw.
Once you have determined if you have a bed bug problem and how severe it is, you can make a plan to eliminate them. Hiring a professional exterminator for bed bugs can be very expensive. Most people don’t realize that they can take care of bed bug problems on their own. PF Harris specializes in home pest control products that can be applied by the homeowner. This approach can save lots of money, and with the right products can be very effective. PF Harris carries a full line of bed bug products from traps and mattress protectors to aerosols, powders, and spray. At Harris, we are confident you will find the right products at the right price.