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How to Spot Bed Bugs


Confirming you have a bedbug infestation can be a difficult task. Because bedbugs are very small in size and like to hide in tiny cracks and crevices, they are often hard to spot with the naked eye. For homeowners that are unsure if they have a bedbug infestation, it is better to know how to spot bed bugs sooner rather than later to avoid more damage.

How to Check for Bedbugs

Looking for Signs

The most accurate way to identify a possible bedbug infestation is to look for the physical signs that bedbugs are in the home. Look for the signs of bedbugs when cleaning, changing bedding throughout the home or after a lengthy amount of time away from the home, by looking for the following:

  • Red-colored or rusty looking stains on bed sheets or mattresses, caused by crushed bedbugs.
  • Dark spots, about the size of a bullet point. This is most likely bedbug excrement and may bleed on the fabric like pen ink or a marker would.
  • Eggs or eggshells. These tiny (about 1mm) shells have a pale yellow skin that the bedbug nymphs shed as they get bigger.
  • Live bedbugs.

Where Do They Hide?

When they aren’t eating, bedbugs can hide in a number of different places throughout the home. They are often found around the bed, near piping, the seams and tags of mattresses and box springs, and in cracks around the bed frame or headboard.

Bedbugs are so tiny that they are rarely larger than the width of a credit card and are adept at squeezing into odd and tiny hiding spots. In a heavily infested room, homeowners may find bedbugs located:

  • In the folds and seams of furniture, between cushions and in the folds of window sheers and curtains.
  • Hiding in electrical receptacles, appliances, and drawer joints.
  • Living under loose wallpaper edges, behind wall hangings and at the junction where the ceiling and the walls meet.

Understanding Bedbug Habits

To better identify a bedbug infestation, homeowners must first come to understand common bedbug habits and behaviors. Understanding how they live, eat and reproduce will give you a better grasp on the severity of your infestation and help you monitor for their presence after your home has been successfully treated.

Eating Habits:

  • Feed on humans, vermin, pets and birds.
  • Can travel from 5 to 20 feet from a hiding place to feed on a host.
  • Although primarily active in the night, when hungry, they will feed in daylight.
  • An average feeding takes 3 to 12 minutes.

Optimal Living Conditions:

  • Bedbugs are resilient and can live in temperatures as low as 46ºF, but will die off in temperatures that reach 113ºF.
  • To exterminate bedbugs with heat, a room temperature must exceed 113ºF for an extended period of time to reach all the bedbugs, regardless of their hiding spots.

Life Stages/Reproduction:

  • Bedbugs need at least one meal before they can develop to its next life stage.
  • To mate and produce healthy eggs, bedbugs must eat at the very least, once every 14 days.
  • Each female can lay up to 200 to 500 eggs in her lifetime (6 to 12 months).

Keep Your Home Bedbug Free

Treating minor bedbug infestations, while still inconvenient, is much less expensive and time consuming for homeowners. Low-level infestations are easier to tackle than larger, more widespread infestations but they can also be more difficult to properly detect. Luckily, with a few tips and tricks, you can easily learn how to check for bedbugs at the first sign of interference and get them out of the home before they spread.

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