How To Check For Bed Bugs In An Empty House?

If you’re moving into a new home or emptying your old one, it’s essential to check for bed bugs. These creatures can go unnoticed, especially in an empty house.

In this article, we’ll discuss where bed bugs like to hide and what signs to look for. We’ll also talk about why it might be hard to find them in an empty house and tips to increase your chances of finding them.

Since bed bugs can live in an empty house without humans for months, it’s essential to learn how to check for them. How long can bed bugs survive in an empty house? Approximately four months up to a year. However, it all depends on temperature, humidity, and whether there are other critters in the house that bed bugs are feeding on.

How Can You Check For Bed Bugs In An Empty House?

Below is a list of early bed bug signs and advanced bed bug signs and what to look for in an empty house. You can also hire a certified K9 inspection company; if you live in the NY area, we (Doctor Sniffs) can help with an inspection. Check the two certification sites (WDDO and NESDCA) to find a good bed bug-sniffing dog if you live elsewhere.

A bed bug sniffing K9 can help you check for bed bugs in an empty apartment. ⬇️⬇️⬇️

Goosey is alerting her bed bug training vial in this empty apartment.

What You’ll Need To Inspect For Bed Bugs In An Empty House

  • Flashlight – You’ll need a bright one with at least 2,000 lumens. A rechargeable one is better for the environment.
  • Fecal Test Kit – We use the Bed Bug Blue Fecal test kit to confirm if any black ink stains are, in fact, bed bug droppings.
  • Traps and monitors – These can help you monitor the situation before moving in. They can also let you know what other bugs are present in the home. (like roaches, spider beetles, or any other bugs that look like bed bugs.

How To Check For Bed Bugs In An Empty House

Fecal Stains

Where to look for fecal stains:

Fecal staining will be the number one clue that the house has a bed bug issue. If the home is completely empty with no furniture, you’ll want to look at every molding, outlet cover, and wall. Pay special attention to the areas where there were beds or couches.

If the house is empty of people but still has furniture, you’ll want to check the tufts, seams, and folds of all the upholstered furniture. Finally, look for fecal stains on the mattresses, box springs, furniture, headboards, sheets, and pillowcases.

What do bed bug droppings look like?

Fecal stains are small (1-3 mm) blackish dots that smear when you wipe them with a wet Q-tip. If you’re not sure if you’re seeing a bed bug dropping, check our guide on “what does bed bug poop look like?”

bed bug fecal staining on wood - signs of bed bugs in an empty house

Bed Bug Shells

Where to look for bed bug shells:

You’ll want to look around the moldings and outlets in an empty house just as you would for fecal stains. Pay special attention to the areas where there were beds or couches.

If the house is empty of people but still has furniture, you’ll want to check all the wood for bed bug casings. Look around the creases and seams of each piece of furniture.

What do bed bug casings look like?

The casing is the same shape as an actual bed bug. If you find the shell of a 1st instar nymph, it will be much smaller than the casing of a 5th instar nymph. Check out our guide on bed bug shells to see many photos and examples.

bed bug shells in an empty house

Bed Bugs (Adults or Nymphs)

Where to look for live bed bugs:

When looking for live bed bugs, if the house has no furniture, you’ll want to look at all the floor boards, moldings, radiators, outlets, and rugs. It will be beneficial to take the outlet covers off every outlet in the bedrooms to check for bugs.

On the other hand, if you need to know how to inspect for bed bugs in an empty house with furniture but not people check out our guide on “where do bed bugs hide?”. We go over tons of familiar bed bug hiding places.

What do bed bugs look like?

Bed bugs are reddish brown and have a flat or bulbous body shape. Unless the bugs in your house feed on stray animals living in the empty house, they will likely be flat. Bed bugs get very flat when they haven’t fed on blood.

A bed bug, a shed skin, and fecal matter on a wooden bed slat in Morningside Heights Manhattan

Dead Bed Bugs

Where to look for dead bed bugs:

If there is carpet in the house, look along the area where the carpet meets the wall. Also, pay special attention to the moldings, outlets, and floors. If the house had a prior infestation, you might see dead bed bugs lying around on the floors.

What do dead bed bugs look like?

Dead bed bugs are brownish-red in color and have a dried-out flat body shape. You’ll see horizontal lines across their back; depending on how long they’ve been dead, they may be crunchy.

upside down dead bed bug

Final Thoughts on How To Check For Bed Bugs In An Empty House?

If you’re moving into a new home or emptying your old one, it’s essential to check for bed bugs. These creatures can go unnoticed, especially in an empty house.

This article discusses where bed bugs like to hide and what signs to look for. Also, we discussed why it might be hard to find them in an empty house and what you need to increase your chances.

If you have any questions or want help checking for bed bugs in your home, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help make sure your home is bug-free!