Checking for bed bugs is something that all homeowners and tenants should do. Whether you have just moved into a previously-inhabited home or you have just woken up with a few strange spots on your body, you may already have reason to suspect a bed bug infestation in your space. In other instances, you may have no clear reason to suspect bed bugs on your property. Either way, it is always a good idea to perform routine checks — especially when moving into a new space, arriving back from travel, or after welcoming guests into your home. In this guide, our pest control professionals here at PrevSol will walk you through the steps you need to take to perform a thorough bed bug check in your room. Read on to learn more about how to identify bedbugs and how PrevSol is at your side to combat them with our state-of-the-art bed bug heaters and other anti-bed bug products.
Step 1: Gather your supplies
Before beginning your bed bug check, round up a few essential supplies to supplement your inspection. First, we highly recommend pulling up and printing out the EPA’s bed bug ID printout to help you identify bed bugs and their eggs during your bed bug check. Grab a flashlight. Even in the daytime with the assistance of overhead lights, your search can be greatly improved with the directed lighting provided by a flashlight. You may also want a magnifying glass to help you take a closer look at seams, nooks, and crannies around your room.
Step 2: Know the signs of bed bug infestations
As with any inspection, a thorough bed bug check will require those checking to know what, exactly, they’re looking for and how to spot it. Culprit bed bugs are only several millimeters in length, oval-shaped, and reddish brown in color. However, live bed bugs themselves may not be glimpsed firsthand during an inspection. It is more common to find their skins and residue around your space. Crushed bed bugs leave small reddish-brown stains, while bed bug droppings will be brown or black in color and no larger than a dot made by a pen. It is sometimes possible to find bed bug eggs, which are pill-shaped and translucent in color. When in doubt, consult your ID printout for quick double-check.
Step 3: Checking your bed
Moving on to the actual inspection. Begin your inspection at the place where bed bugs are most frequently found: the bed. When checking your bed for bed bugs, it is of the utmost importance to be as meticulous and thorough as possible. Most beds and bedding arrangements have several layers to them — and all of these layers can harbor bed bugs.
Start from the top with your cover, comforter, and sheets. Remove each layer of bedding and check its corners and seems for signs of bed bugs. You may want to use your magnifying glass here, as bed bugs can burrow deep within stitching, making themselves even harder to spot with the naked eye. Check your pillowcases and pillows as well. If you have a mattress pad, remove it and perform a thorough inspection on the top and the underside.
Moving on to your mattress. Pay extra attention to the corners and textured surfaces on all sides. Most mattresses have relatively deep stitching, making them perfect for bed bug nesting. Use a credit card or flat tool to get underneath the folds of the mattress where bed bugs love to hide, and closely examine these darker spots with your flashlight. You may want to take your mattress off your bed frame completely to get a closer look at its sides and underbelly.
If you have a box spring and headboard, be sure to check those too. Though infestations are less common in these areas of the bed, bed bugs will still make their homes in dark corners or fabric surfaces found on these bedding structures.
Step 4: Checking other areas around your room
Once you have completed a thorough inspection of your bed, move on to other areas in your room. (That’s right: bed bugs don’t only live in beds!) When checking the rest of your room, use the rules from your bed check and apply them to your space at large. Look for spots with fabric or upholstery; check for nooks, crannies, and other small, dark spaces. Couches and plush chairs typically have both of these features, which makes them, too, prime candidates for bed bug infestations. Turn over all cushions to check along each and every seam, and don’t forget to inspect the undersides of the furniture itself. Curtains and carpets can also harbor bed bugs. As a final consideration, look behind picture frames and large furniture items pushed up against your wall — bed bugs love these dark, cramped places.