How to Check for Bed Bugs (Must Know Early Detection Tips)

How to Check for Bed Bugs? Are you worried about bed bugs in your home? There’s no denying that they’re a frightening nuisance, and unfortunately, it’s easier than ever to pick them up – especially if you’re traveling or live in apartment buildings!

But don’t worry – even though these blood-sucking creatures can be hard to spot, there are plenty of steps you can take to detect their presence early on. In this article, we’ll go over exactly what signs to look out for and how to check for bed bugs. Get ready – let’s ensure your home is clear of unwelcome visitors who are only after a blood meal!

Early Detection Tips When Looking for Bed Bugs

​Learning how to check for bed bugs means studying the signs. Our site has many articles covering early bed bug signs and knowing what to look for. While some people may describe their bedbug bites or musty odor as a sign, these are unreliable. Look at some of the tell signs that we list below. 

The Best Way How to Check for Bed Bugs: Identifying Bed Bug Droppings and Stains

bed bug fecal stains

Bed bugs leave behind certain telltale signs. One of these signs is black, rusty, or reddish stains on your bed sheets or mattresses. These dark stains are caused by bed bugs being crushed or from their droppings.

You may also notice dark spots that are likely bed bug excrement. You’ll find these fecal matter stains on your mattress, furniture, bedding, or nearby walls. Lastly, if you see blood spots, it may be crushed bed bugs. 

Identifying Actual Bugs: Important When Learning How to Check for Bed Bugs P

bed bugs before and after feeding

Photo from Lou Sorkin – You can contact him for bug ID’s

Another sign that you may have a problem with bed bugs is seeing live bugs themselves. These insects are small, flat, oval-shaped, and reddish-brown. 

It’s important to mention that you can see all life stages of bed bugs with the naked eye. They can be tricky to spot, but if you are diligent, you can find them hiding in various locations, such as seams in your mattresses, bed frames, and furniture.

Identifying Bed Bug Shed Skins/Casings

bed bug shells

Bed bugs go through several stages of molting and growth, shedding their skin or casings each time. You may find a bed bug exoskeleton near their hiding places. Watch for these light brown, molted casings, indicating a bed bug infestation.

Identifying Bed Bug Eggs

bed bug eggs

Bed bug eggs are typically small, about 1mm, and have a pearly white color, making them easy to spot on dark bedding or furniture.

When identifying bed bug eggs, look for pearly white oblong things that are slightly sticky. Studying what bed bug eggs look like before jumping to conclusions is essential. Although these can be a telltale sign of a bed bug infestation, they are often misidentified.

Learn Their Most Common Hiding Places

places to check for bed bugs

One essential step in checking for signs of bed bugs is to familiarize yourself with their most common hiding places. These include:

  • Mattress seams and box springs
  • Bed linens and blankets
  • Bed frame, headboard, and footboard
  • Furniture seams, folds, and crevices
  • Picture frames

Don’t Forget to Turn Furniture Upside Down

how to check furniture for bed bugs

A thorough inspection for bed bugs doesn’t end with checking furniture seams and folds. Be sure to turn your furniture upside down and carefully examine the underside. Bed bugs are experts at hiding, and you can find them in tight, dark spaces; it’s also a good idea to look under your furniture.

Rashes and Skin Reactions

Finally, bed bug bites can cause rashes and skin reactions. If you notice small, red, itchy welts on your skin, this may indicate bed bug bites. However, remember that not everyone will react to bed bug bite marks similarly. 

So, the absence of an allergic reaction does not necessarily mean you are free from bed bugs. Despite what you hear online, only some people experience small clusters of bites. Learn more about how long it takes for bed bug bites to show up here.

You will need to confirm the presence of bed bugs by looking for some of the other signs. Remember that mosquito bites and rashes from carpet beetle larvae can sometimes look like “bed bug bites.”

Hire a Bed Bug Sniffing Dog To Help You Check for Bed Bugs

a bed bug sniffing dog can help check for bed bugs

When it comes to checking for bed bugs, hiring a bed bug sniffing dog is a game-changer. These furry detectives have an incredible ability to detect bed bugs in places that are difficult for humans to reach.

With their keen sense of smell, they can uncover these pests hiding in mattresses, furniture, cracks, and crevices. Utilizing their expertise can ensure a thorough inspection and eliminate any potential infestations, providing you with peace of mind and a bug-free environment.

Inspecting for Bed Bugs

When trying to detect or find a bed bug infestation, it’s essential to thoroughly inspect your home, focusing on specific areas where these critters tend to hide. Here are some critical steps to follow:

Checking Mattresses and Bedding

Bed bugs particularly love hiding near your mattress and bedding. Carefully check your mattress’s seams, tags, and edges for any small, brown insects about the size of an apple seed. You’ll want to pay special attention to the box spring and headboard.

Make sure to examine your bed linens, pillowcases, and the seams of any cushions for signs of bed bugs. They can also leave tiny black ink-like spots from their excrement. Keep an eye out for these as well.

Searching in Furniture and Decor

lift up all cushions and check the seams

While bed bugs are most common in bedding, they can also hide in other furniture, like couches, and decorations around your home. Inspect chairs and couches thoroughly by checking under cushions and along seams for signs of bed bugs.

Curtains, wallpaper, and even small decorative objects can also be hiding spots for these pests. Watch for their fecal spots, shed skins, or live insects.

Using Interceptor Traps and Monitors

Using a bed bug interceptor trap is a good idea, as you can monitor your home for bed bugs. Look here: if you want to learn more about how to use interceptor bed bug traps. They allow you catch bugs crawling to or from your bed, couch, or furniture!

Inspection During Travel

Unfortunately, bed bug infestations can even occur during travels. Always inspect the mattress, seams, headboard, and other fabric items for bed bugs when staying in a hotel room.

Keep your luggage off the floor to minimize the risk of bringing these pests home. Learn more about how to kill bed bugs in luggage here.

By diligently inspecting your surroundings, you can better protect yourself from bed bug infestations and keep your home pest-free.

Understanding Bed Bugs and Their Behavior

Physical Appearance of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped insects that are reddish-brown. They are typically between 1.5 and 6.5 mm; if they haven’t had a recent blood meal, they will have flat bodies.

When you’re trying to spot them, remember that bed bugs go through various life stages. In the earlier stages, they are smaller and may appear more translucent.

Natural Habits and Habitats

Understanding bed bug behavior is crucial in dealing with a potential infestation. Bed bugs are mainly nocturnal, feeding on human (and other mammal) blood while their hosts are asleep.

However, they are also known to be active during the day in places like movie theaters or public transportation if they’re starving.

These insects prefer living conditions that offer warmth, blood meals, and protection. Common hiding spots include cracks and crevices, the seams of mattresses, behind headboards, and even in your clutter.

They are attracted to their hosts by sensing body heat and the carbon dioxide emitted from breathing.

Remember that a bed bug’s survival ability varies depending on the temperature; they can stay dormant in colder temperatures, but higher temperatures are detrimental.

Reduce your chances of having bed bug problems by diligently checking for those key hiding spots and learning all the early signs of bed bugs. By understanding bed bug appearance and behavior, you’ll be better equipped to manage any issues that may arise.

Preventing a Bed Bug Infestation

Travel and Prevention Measures

When you travel, check for bed bugs in your accommodations. Inspect hotel rooms, especially around the mattress seams, headboards, and other furniture. Keep your luggage off the floor and avoid placing your clothing or personal items on surfaces before ensuring they are bug-free. 

You can also place your luggage in a plastic bag while it’s in the hotel room; this will ensure that no bugs get into your luggage and hitch a ride home. You can accidentally bring home one or two female bed bugs, starting a whole infestation.

The first thing you do when you return home is to place all your clothing directly in the dryer at a high heat setting for at least 30 minutes; you don’t even have to put it in through the washing machine.

The heat should kill any potential bed bugs that might have hitched a ride. Check your luggage for any tell tale signs of bed bugs, and vacuum your suitcases thoroughly. Dispose of the vacuum bag or vacuum contents immediately.

You can also purchase a portable bed bug oven for your luggage, shoes, books, and other things that can’t go through the dryer. It will perform a heat treatment on anything that you place inside the machine! 

Amazon affiliate links help us earn a small commission to keep providing you with free bed bug information!

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  • [Lethal Heating System] ThermalStrike uses a patented six-sided heating system that surrounds and destroys bed bugs, carpet beetles, moths, and other insects – including eggs, larvae, and adults. Heat in excess of 120 degrees penetrates deep into cracks and small openings.
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  • [Easy to Load and Operate] Place luggage directly into the unit or load the Ranger like a laundry hamper. Heat comes from all sides and eliminates cold spots, so there is no moving air, motors, or moving parts which can break down. Items being treated can touch the interior walls.
  • [Everything You Need] Includes a built-in timer (two, four, and eight hour cycles) which turns the unit off and a thermometer which clips onto the front of the unit and shows the current and maximum temperature reached during a heat treatment. Based on a national average, a four-hour heating cycle costs less than 16 cents.
  • [Everything You Need] Includes a built-in timer (two, four, and eight hour cycles) which turns the unit off and a thermometer which clips onto the front of the unit and shows the current and maximum temperature reached during a heat treatment. Based on a national average, a four-hour heating cycle costs less than 16 cents.

Home and Furniture Maintenance

Maintaining a clean home environment is essential for preventing a bed bug infestation. While it’s true that bed bugs don’t discriminate and also don’t care about how clean or dirty your home is, you’ll be able to spot the signs quicker with less clutter!

Keep your floors and furniture vacuumed regularly, paying close attention to tiny spaces where bed bugs could hide, such as carpets, curtains, baseboards, and cracks in furniture.

When bringing new furniture into your home, inspect it thoroughly for any signs of bed bugs and clean it before placing it in your space. If you purchase second-hand furniture or receive items from friends or family, be extra cautious with your inspection. Learn more about how to check used furniture for bed bugs.

Here are some additional tips to help prevent bed bugs:

  • Use protective mattress and box spring encasements.
  • Seal cracks, tiny spaces, and crevices in your home with caulk.
  • Remove clutter and keep personal items stored in sealed bags or containers.
  • Consider using bed bug prevention products like traps or heat chambers.
  • Educate yourself and your family on what bed bugs look like and how to identify potential infestations.

By being proactive and following these guidelines, you can minimize the risk of experiencing a bed bug infestation.

Treatment Methods for Bed Bug Infestations

When dealing with a bed bug infestation, it’s essential to employ effective treatment methods. This section will discuss two primary approaches: cleaning infested areas and hiring a pest control company.

Cleaning Infested Areas

To begin treating the infestation, start by vacuuming and cleaning all affected regions in your home. Pay attention to bed frames, headboards, mattresses, furniture, and even electrical outlets where bed bugs may hide.

  • Strip and wash all bedding: Remove and launder all bed linens, curtains, and clothing affected by the infestation in a hot dryer. The dryer will kill both adult bed bugs and their eggs.

  • Vacuum thoroughly: Using a HEPA vacuum cleaner with a strong suction, clean your mattresses, headboards, and bed frames. Be sure to vacuum any areas surrounding the bed, including your baseboards and electrical outlets.

  • Dispose of infested items: If furniture or mattresses are heavily infested and cannot be salvaged, consider disposing them responsibly. Seal these items in heavy-duty plastic bags and label them as infested to help prevent the spread to others.

  • Steam cleaning: Steam cleaning can aid in killing bed bugs on contact. Consider using a Dupray Neat steam cleaner on your furniture, carpeting, and mattresses, as it reaches a high enough temperature 120° F to kill bed bugs and their eggs.

Employing Professional Extermination Services

If the infestation persists or is overwhelming, seeking help from a professional exterminator is recommended. They possess the expertise and tools to eliminate your bed bug problem effectively.

  • Select a reputable company: Ensure you choose an exterminator with experience dealing with bed bugs. They should be licensed and use industry-approved treatment methods. Look for a pest control company that follows a low-prep approach. The low-prep method does not make you bag all of your belongings. Many of these companies use Aprehend and Crossfire to combat the infestations.

  • Follow their instructions: Your exterminator will provide a list of tasks you’ll need to perform before and after their treatment to maximize effectiveness. Follow these instructions carefully.

  • Monitor results: After the treatment, watch for any signs of remaining bed bugs, such as living bugs, excrement, or shed exoskeletons. If necessary, request follow-up treatments to ensure total eradication.

By effectively cleaning infested areas and seeking professional help, you’ll increase your chances of eliminating bed bugs from your home.

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