How to Determine If I Have Bed Bugs

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Bed bugs usually come out in the evening to feed on human blood.
Bed bugs usually come out in the evening to feed on human blood. (Image: colorful bed linen on a wooden bed image by ann triling from Fotolia.com)

Bed bugs are back in North America. For approximately 30 years, the pest has kept a low profile due to the use of insecticides like DDT. During that time period, bed bugs still remained an issue internationally. Incidents of more bed bugs in homes and hotels has grown due to the increased international travel of people, improved treatment that targets specific pests and lack of public awareness. Once a site becomes infested, bed bugs feed off the blood of humans. Determining if you have bed bugs is the first step toward removing them.

Things You'll Need

  • Flashlight
  • Mattress and box spring encasing

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Visually look for bed bugs in the evening with a flashlight, when they typically feed. The insect has a distinctive mahogany color, which is reddish-brown after feeding. The adult bed bug is oval-shaped with a flattened body about 3/16 inch long. Infestations are usually found in bedrooms, particularly around mattresses, box springs, folds, furniture and in areas that have cracks or crevices. Infestations also can occur in other rooms. Younger bed bugs are usually colorless.

Look for dark blood spots on sheets and bedding; it could indicate bed bug feeding.

Look for bed bug excretions (fecal spots) on bed sheets, pillow cases, mattresses and nearby areas. The excretions are a darker reddish brown color, and are mostly digested blood and can vary in look. The fecal spots are usually deposited by bed bugs close to their feeding area or hiding place.

Encase the mattress and box spring. This not only protects the bed from becoming infested, it can help in detecting bed begs due to the smooth surface of the encasement.

Tips & Warnings

  • It is not unusual to find cast skins, empty shells of bed bugs as they grow to a new stage, when determining if you have bed bugs,
  • New resources in bed bug detection tools, such as canine scent detection, monitors and interception devices, may help pest removal experts detect bed bugs.

References

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