Bed bugs are nocturnal and prefer to feed close to where their hosts sleep. They leave behind zigzag-like bite marks on exposed skin.
Inspect and clean everything in your home that you can. Double-bag any clothing that needs to be discarded. Use encasements for your mattresses to keep them bug-free.
1. Check Your Mattress
Infested mattresses are one of the most common places to find pest control and bed bugs. When checking your mattress, pay special attention to seams, fabric folds, and corners.
Look for signs of a bed bug infestation along the mattress seams, including dark or rust-colored stains and molted exoskeletons. Also check the creases of your mattress, and around the rims and cracks of your headboard and footboard.
Consider encasing your mattress and box spring in a bed bug-proof cover. This zippered seal helps prevent new bed bugs from entering and existing ones from escaping.
2. Check Your Bedding
Before you call in pest control professionals, there are a few things you can do to try and eliminate bed bugs on your own. Washing, vacuuming and reducing clutter can help reduce the number of places where bed bugs hide.
Pull back your sheets and scan your mattress for fecal marks, dark brown spots or shed skins. You can also use a flashlight to illuminate your bedroom and look for these signs in the corners of the mattress or around the headboard. In addition, consider investing in a mattress and box spring encasement.
3. Check Your Bed Frame
Before you start your bed bug inspection, make sure to strip the bed and remove any items stored underneath. Look for spotting along the mattress seams and folds, as well as in the crevices of your box spring and headboard. Consider enclosing your mattress in a bed bug-proof encasement.
Once you’ve stripped the bed, look for blood stains (that resemble rust-colored smears) and excrement (like small molted skins that shed by first instar nymphs). Shine your flashlight through the cracks of the bed frame and headboard.
4. Check Your Furniture
When not actively feeding, bed bugs are nocturnal and prefer to be in hiding. They can be found in several places in and around furniture including tufts, seams, and folds. They can even hide in loose material draped over furniture, lampshades, pictures with paper backing, and stuffed animals.
Before bringing any used furniture into your home, use a flashlight and a credit card to carefully inspect the furniture for signs of bed bugs. Look for blood spots, feces, egg casings, and molted skin. A clicking sound can also be a sign of an infestation.
5. Check Your Floors
The presence of any kind of vermin in your home is unsettling, but bed bugs are particularly disturbing. They are tiny six-legged creatures that live in your bedding, eat you alive at night, and leave itchy bites during the day.
These insects hitch rides on used upholstered furniture, or they can travel from apartment or condominium hallways into your unit. They can also travel in luggage and purses. Look for them in closets and cluttered areas like piles of clothing, boxes, and paper. They also hide in cracks and crevices in upholstered furniture and drapery pleats.
6. Check Your Walls
If you suspect bed bugs, you should also check your walls for signs of them. Look in corners, along baseboards, behind furniture, and inside electrical outlets.
Look for dark spots that resemble fecal matter. These spots are bed bug feces.
You can also use a hairdryer to force out any bugs hiding in narrow crevices. Be sure to empty the vacuum bag and double-bag all items that you have removed from infested rooms. Launder sorted clothing, bedding, and shoes in hot water or dry clean them.
7. Check Your Light Fixtures
A flash light can help you spot bed bugs hiding in cracks and crevices, as they tend to move faster in the dark. You can also use a magnifying glass to examine dark areas like folds and seams.
If you find any items that can’t be laundered, put them in plastic tote bags with an air-tight seal. Store them until they can be thoroughly inspected and sanitized.
Once all linens and clothes are cleared out, a thorough vacuuming should be done. Be sure to include the furniture and mattress as well.
8. Check Your Plumbing
Many people suspect they have bed bugs based on skin itching, but that isn’t always the case. It’s also easy to mistake these pests for ticks and carpet beetles, and the longer you wait to detect them, the more time they have to spread to other areas of your home or hitch rides in clothing or luggage after you visit someone else’s house.
To identify bed bugs, start with a thorough inspection of your bedding. Check the seams and corners of your mattress, box spring and headboard. Look for dark, rust-colored spots that are actually dried fecal matter.
9. Check Your Air Conditioner
Despite their name, bed bug control aren’t just found in homes and motels. They can also live in hotels, movie theaters, schools, libraries and office buildings. They’re skilled hitchhikers, too, catching rides in luggage, handbags and clothing.
Look for specks of blood on bedding, mattresses and headboards, along with shed skins and reddish brown fecal spots. Examine the seams and tags on furniture, the folds of drapery, the cracks under wall hangings and in upholstered chairs. A crack the width of a credit card can hold a bed bug.
10. Check Your Vents
When guests stay in your home, they may unknowingly bring bed bugs along with them. This pest can easily hitch a ride in luggage, purses, backpacks, and clothes.
Bed bug infestations can spread quickly, and they are notoriously difficult to detect and treat. By taking the time to regularly check for these bloodsuckers, you can protect your family and your home.
Make sure to check your vents as well – these are an excellent hiding spot for these pesky insects. Also, be sure to heat treat any clothing that you have brought into your home.