Finding Bed Bugs
There are few bugs that are as mysterious and as maddening as bed bugs. These bugs leave multiple bites overnight that can swell up over the course of several hours and become painful welts. But this doesn't always happen. Initial bites are often undetected. When an infestation begins in a home, it is usually immature nymphs that feed. Bites from these tiny insects--as you can probably guess--are tiny. Immature nymphs also don't administer the same level of anticoagulant into the bite wound. This, along with the fact that it can take several bite incidents for a person to establish an allergic reaction to this anticoagulant, makes bed bugs a pest problem that literally creeps up on us. That is why it is vital to know how to inspect for bed bugs, or to have a professional pest control company do routine inspections.
Personal Bed Bug Inspection
Can you find an infestation on your own? Sometimes. These are hard bugs to detect, even when you know where they hide, and even if you're a trained professional. Knowing where to look is key to finding these tiny bugs. Here are the most common places bed bugs hide.
Mattresses and Boxsprings
With a name like "bed bug" you probably knew this one was going to be on the list. But simply knowing that bed bugs hide in your bed isn't enough. These are extremely tiny insects that love to hide in creases and crevices. When you do your inspection, be sure to examine your mattresses and box springs closely. Immature nymphs can be the size of the tip on a pen. If they're hiding in a crease, you could miss them. These nymphs also have a see-through skin that looks pale, rather than rust-colored, like the adults. This can help them blend in with the pale coloring of a mattress. Fortunately, tiny bugs are not the only evidence you'll see to uncover a bed bug infestation.
These pests leave shed skins as they develop through their 5 instars. These tiny parts may be stuck to fabric or tucked in a seam.
Bed bugs are known for leaving their excrement everywhere they go. In places of infestation, this black fecal matter will appear as patches of black staining, tiny black droppings, and smears.
Bed bugs often leak blood. Sometimes this blood is let out with their droppings. This can cause brown stains with the black stains.
Seeing black or brown stains, by themselves, isn't enough to prove bed bugs. There are other ways a bed can get these stains. Black stains may be scuff marks that were put on the bed as it was being brought in the house. Brown stains could be from spilled liquids or moisture staining from age. But all three of these signs together are a pretty clear indication.
Backboards and Bed Frames
When bed bugs infest a bed frame they will often do it in a pocket, crack, or recess. Use a flashlight to look into these areas and search for a combination of black fecal deposits, black streaks, brown staining, insect parts, and the presence of bugs.
Alarm Clocks and Other Electronics
Bed bugs love electronics. When they infest these items, the only way to really know they're in there is to look for black streaks around entry points, and shed insect parts and black dropping underneath.
Baseboards, outlets, and carpets.
When bed bugs get into walls and get under carpets, it can be extremely hard to detect them with an inspection. Look on outlet covers for black streak marks, and look for black droppings and insect skins along the walls.
This is another common location for an infestation to take root. In fact, bed bugs can infest furniture before they infest your bed--which can make it even more difficult to figure out what is biting you. Look for black feces, blood staining, and insect parts around areas of stitching and in creases and seams.
Luggage and Bags
If you brought bed bugs home with you, there may still be bugs living in those bags. When you do your search, make sure you get in every crease and under any flap. Look for all the signs listed above.
Professional Bed Bug Inspection
The best way to stay bed bug-free is to get routine inspections from a professional. At Thomas Pest Services, our team doesn't just do a search for signs of an infestation, they implement a protocol that includes protective measures and surveillance. If bed bugs are present in a home, this monitoring process will leave no doubt of their presence.
For help with bed bugs, reach out to us today. Thomas Pest Services is a full-service pest management company with on-staff, board-certified entomologists and an educated team of friendly professionals. You can trust Thomas Pest Services to find those bugs.