How to See Bed Bugs

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Bedbugs can prove difficult to locate, because they are so tiny — less than a quarter of an inch — and can hide almost anywhere. Unlike fleas, bedbugs do not live on their host. Instead, the blood-sucking insect parasites which prefer to feed on human blood crawl away and hide near areas where people sleep. Bedbugs are not known to transmit diseases, but their bites leave itchy red bumps that are often mistaken for flea or mosquito bites. Bedbugs are mainly active at night, but in areas of heavy infestation they can be spotted during the day.

Things You'll Need

  • Magnifying glass
  • Flashlight
  • Inspect cracks in the headboard and frame of the bed. At the start of an infestation, this is often the first place that bedbugs colonize. Use a magnifying glass and a flashlight to make spotting the tiny bugs easier.

  • Remove the sheets from mattresses and inspect the seams. Pull back the roll of material around the edge of the mattress. Bedbugs often hide in the cracks between the body of the mattress and the rolls around the edges. Look for areas that are stained a dark rust-red color from bedbug feces.

  • Move the mattress and inspect the areas around the seams in the box spring under the mattress. Pay special attention to the areas between the headboard and the box spring.

  • Peel back edges of carpeting near the bed. In heavier infestations, bedbugs can hide underneath.

  • Take pictures off the walls and inspect the backing. Bedbugs can crawl up walls and sometimes hide behind frames.

  • Inspect any other areas where there are cracks and crevices close to the bed. Bedbugs generally stay near the area where their host sleeps, but they can travel up to 20 feet to feed if there is no adequate shelter nearby.

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