How to Find Bed Bugs – Identify Signs

In this article, I’ll outline how to find bed bugs – step-by-step – including their babies.

Finding a bed bug infestation early will aid in its control so that it doesn’t spread further – they measure about 5 – 7 millimeters in length.

Notably, treating that minor bed bug infestation will be easier and cheaper compared to trying to control a full-blown attack. But these minor infestations will also be difficult to find or even identify their signs correctly. 

How to Find Bed Bugs: Step-by-Step 

Further, there are many insects such as bat bugs, spider beetle, swallow bugs, carpet beetles, ants, book-lice, and roach nymphs that can be mistaken with or for bed bugs.

  • If you don’t correctly identify the bed bugs, that infestation may spread to various places of your residence like the yard or house – or even jump onto some humans and trigger an infestation in their house.

Step 1: What’s not Truly Indicative of Bed Bugs?

Bed bug bites may not be the right signs to look out for to acknowledge the presence of an infestation.

This is because the bites are similar to those of other insects such as fleas, chiggers, or mosquitoes, or even hives, fungal infections, and eczema rashes.

Further, some humans may also not react to bed bug bites – they affect people differently. Some may not even show bite signs or bite marks – that is they’ll show no reaction.

But for other humans, signs may include anaphylaxis, painful swellings, and bite marks being enlarged. Also, differences in blood types may cause a disparity in bite numbers.

For instance, if bed bugs are used to O-positive blood type, they’ll mainly bite people with that blood – they know and get used to that blood taste.

Will the bed bugs infest all the rooms? Bed bugs may reach one room rater and thus some people may not experience the bites. The female bug will move to other rooms and lay eggs.

They may even hitch a ride on a human to get to another house, room, or area in the same room. After feeding and mating, the female bed bug will lay eggs.

  • Therefore, a bed bug infestation may remain locked in one room for some time. The females will move to another room once all hiding places in one room are occupied.

Step 2: Check for Bed Bug Signs

To find the bed bugs in your rooms and spaces, look out for definite physical bed bug signs.

You’ll examine this when you’ve been away from the house, or when changing or cleaning bedding.

1. Live Bed Bugs

Getting live bed bugs in the spaces and house will be a sure sign of the bug infestation.

But bed bugs will only move around if they’re pregnant females avoiding males, or if seeking food.

The bugs will hide in a specific location – and thus you might not notice an attack unless it grows severe.

They’ll move also if their hiding areas are disturbed. Further, there are many bugs that you may confuse with bed bugs.

2. Shell Casings 

The bed bug life cycle makes the bugs pass via 5 stages – and before molting onto the next stage, they’ll feed on blook and shed the exoskeleton leaving behind the “shell casings”. 

These shell or “skin casings” or “husks” will signify the presence of bed bugs in your spaces – this will be an especially growing bed bug infestation. 

The casings will be hollow and translucent falling off from the juvenile stages of the bed bugs. These will be simpler to locate (they won’t be moving) compared to bed bugs that’ll hide. 

You’ll find the casings on areas that bed bugs breed and hatch – so I advise you to examine the crevices, cracks, holes, upholstered furniture, and the mattress seams.

3. Bed Bug Eggs

Bed bugs (their females) will lay about 1 to 7 eggs daily. Notably, the eggs will be ovular, pearl white, and measuring 1 millimeter in length. However, if you’re not keen, you may miss the bed bug eggs. 

The eggs can be stopped by a naked eye provided they’re 5+ days in age – as outlined by the EPA. You’ll find them stuck loosely on wood and fabric crevices – but they may hide anywhere. 

As noted above, the female bed bugs (when pregnant) will wander around seeking hiding places or running away from males. So, they’ll drop eggs in different rooms and apartments. 

So, is it possible to carry the bed bug eggs on the human body? Well, the bed bugs will bite the human arms, hands, and legs but also the head and neck.

However, the bugs won’t live on the human or lay eggs on your body – and so you won’t get bed bugs or their eggs in the hair. So, how should you kill those bed bug eggs? Well, I recommend using Isopropyl alcohol to exterminate the bed bug eggs plus the adults. 

Further, you can repel the bed bugs using smells that they hate including Cinnamon powder, Lavender, Alcohol, Cayenne Pepper, garlic aroma, and Fresh mint. 

Will the bed bug eggs wash away in your shower?  No, the bug eggs won’t stay on the human skin and thus they won’t be washed off when your bathe or shower. The bugs won’t also infest the human hair like lice or fleas, but they’ll live in wall cracks, furniture, and mattress. 

Read Also: Bed bug steamer.

4. Fecal marks

With the bed bug infestation, you’ll get bloodstains on pillowcases, mattresses, and sheets. Just like with flea dirt, bed bug fecal matter contains undigested blood and hence it’ll leave red or dark brown discoloration. 

Therefore, the bloodstains you’ll find on the sleeping surfaces may be from the fecal matter of the bugs or blood arising from bed bug bites – especially when you scratch them. 

However, the fecal marks from bed bugs will be much smaller compared to bloodstains. The dark sport from the fecal matter will look like a dot from a marker or pen. 

Since bed bugs will exclusively feed on blood, the fecal matter will smear on the surfaces in a unique way. Further, you’ll find these marks challenging to wash out.

  • You may also find rusty stains on the pillowcases or bed sheets – this may be signs that bed bugs are around. The bloodstains are from bites caused by the bugs.

5. Bed Bug Odor 

Bed bugs will produce a slightly sweet but musty smell similar to that of coriander or raspberries – with a massive infestation. The smell may change with the bed bug’s state – and may feel different with various olfactory senses. 

Bed bugs will product alarm pheromones odor – a smell similar to that produced by stink bugs – see a comparison of stink bugs versus. bed bugs

Unless there is a dog inspection for bed bugs, these odors won’t be a great indication for bed bugs since its less perceptible to many humans.

Notably, if you’re already perceiving the bed bug smell, then the infestation is overly massive and you may already be seeing live bed bugs around.

Step 3: Where Do Bed Bugs Hide? 

Bed bugs will hide in clothes shelves, clothes’ seams, ceiling, mattress tags, piping, floor or wall cracks, couches, furniture joints, and chair joints.

You may also find the bed bugs’ eggs, feces, skin castings, and adults in the box spring when it’s around the time of day for feeding. Further, check the headboard and bed frame.

For spaces that are heavily attacked by bed bugs, check the screw heads, ceiling/ wall joints, under the wall hangings or wallpapers, in appliances and drawer joints.

  • Notably, bed bugs will measure roughly the credit-card width and hence they’ll easily squeeze in the various small cracks and tiny spaces.

Step 4: Bed Bug Habits and Behavior

You should comprehend the habits of bedbugs – their reproduction, living, and eating behavior. This will help in establishing their location and eliminating them. 

The brownish, oval, and small bugs will suck blood from humans and animals too. They’ll measure like an apple seed in its size. Once they feed on blood, they become reddish and swell in size. 

1. Feeding

Check where the bed bugs are hiding including the ceilings, walls, and floors. Check too for eggs laid by the female bedbugs – they’ll be about the speck of dust. 

The bed bug nymphs will molt about 5 times to drop their skins as they grow to become mature – but they need to take a full human or animal blood meal before shedding skin. 

  • Bed bugs will suck blood from birds, mammals, and humans. They can also move 5 to 20 feet around their hiding places in search of a meal from a suitable host. 
  • When will bedbugs bite – Bed bugs can feed or suck blood during daylight but they’ll largely be active and feeding during the night – for about 3 to 12 minutes. 
  • The tarry and rusty spots you’ll find on the sheets and other hiding locations denote that about 20-percent of the nymphs and adults feed while still pooping

2. Mating or Life Stages

The bugs will require a minimum of 1 blood meal to enable them to reproduce and molt to the next stage – of all the 6 stages. 

The bed bugs will only survive for about 3 months without feeding on blood. But, the bugs will feed for more than 1 time a day. 

For effective mating and reproduction, both the female and male bed bugs require to feed on blood at least 1 time in 2 weeks. 

Every of the female bed bugs will lay roughly 1 – 3 eggs each day and this will total to roughly 200 to 500 eggs over the bugs lifetime – with their lifetime being 6 to 12 months. 

Further, the bugs will take about 4-5 weeks to complete the Egg-to-egg life cycle – especially when the conditions such as temperature and humidity are favorable. 

3. Living conditions 

Bed bugs will survive and equally be active at temperatures from 46°F (7°C ) but will be dead when the temperatures rise to over 113°F (45°C ). 

Therefore, killing the bed bugs using heat requires that you raise the room temperature very high so that it’ll exterminate the bugs even in their hiding places. 

  • You’ll find the bugs in many areas of your living and sleeping spaces hiding in bedding, crevices, and crack – which means that the killing temperatures need to be higher. 

But the Cimex hemipterus will need higher temperatures to exterminate compared to the regular bed bug that is prevalent in the subtropical and tropical regions.

Conclusion

So, on how to find bed bugs; check for various signs including bloodstains, live bugs, eggs, fecal marks, plus shell casing around the spaces.

  • But bed bugs have comparable features to other bugs such as ants and swallow bugs, carpet beetles, ants, book-lice, and roach nymphs.

So, effectively identify the bed bugs to easily and readily exterminate them from the rooms and residence.