How to Tell if You Have Bed Bugs
Our fully inclusive guide on how to tell whether or not you have a bed bug problem, and what you can do to solve it.
We’ve all heard of bed bugs, right? Remember when our parents used to say goodnight to us and finish with “don’t let the bed bugs bite”! and it all seemed like a bit of a nursery rhyme? Well, the unfortunate truth of the matter is that bed bugs are a real problem…and they can happen to just about anyone.
With that in mind, should you find yourself with a bed bug problem, you’ll want to sort it as soon as you possibly can. But how can you tell if bed bugs are really the problem?
Well today we’re here to help you with exactly that, by sharing our fully inclusive guide on how to tell whether or not you actually have a bed bug problem, and what you can do to solve it.
Read on for answers!
Where Should I be Looking for Bed Bugs?
First things first, you need to know where it actually is you should be looking for the bed bugs in order to be able to tell whether or not they are the issue.
It might sound as if the answer is in the title, and bed bugs will only be found in the bed or bedroom, however this is absolutely not the case.
Bed bugs will make their homes in any small cracks and crevices that they can find. This means that when you are actively searching for an infestation, you must be thorough in examining every inch of the object in question. If you aren’t then you could very easily miss them.
Any existing holes in furniture etc should also be searched for bed bugs. You should also be meticulous in checking under seams and in folds. Our top tip would be to use a credit card to swipe along these areas, as this can help to uncover the bed bugs which are well hidden.
Always be sure to check, and double check, the following areas:
- Box springs.
- Your mattress.
- Your headboard.
- Chairs and sofas.
You should be certain to inspect areas within ten to twenty feet of mattresses, chairs, and sofas too. In doing this we include:
- Picture frames.
- Clusters of objects.
- Electric outlets.
- Furniture and curtains.
- Door and window casings.
- Wall cracks.
- Cracks in the floor
If you want to be extra thorough, then you could actually extend this search up to twenty feet of your home in its’ entirety. We would recommend doing this if you are concerned your infestation might be serious.
What Time of Day is Best to Search for Bed Bugs?
Like any living creature, bed bugs are only particularly active at particular times in a twenty – four hour cycle. Therefore knowing the point at which they are most active is integral to the success of you unearthing the little critters.
Bed bugs are, without doubt, at their most active in the night time. This is particularly the case around an hour before the sun rises.
Looking for live bed bugs? It’s worth putting your alarm on that little bit earlier as this is the time in which you’re most likely to see them.
The Top Five Ways of Telling Whether or Not You Have Bed Bugs
So, those are the areas in which you should be conducting your bed bug search, and the time of day in which you’re most likely to be successful seeing a live one.
So how can you really tell for sure, whether or not you have bed bugs?
Read on to find out the top five ways of telling whether or not you have bed bugs.
1. You Have Seen Live Bed Bugs
The first, and most obvious sign that you’ve fallen victim to a bed bug infestation, is spotting an actual live bed bug.
In size, bed bugs are not large at all. Their eggs are even smaller, measuring less than 0.1 inches, and the average fully grown bed bug only being around just below 0.2 inches.
To look at, the bed bug has six legs and is an oval – like shape. Unless they have just eaten, they tend to be very flat, too. If they have just had a meal, then they will appear somewhat distended.
Colour – wise they can vary anywhere from a deep red, to a dark brown.
2. You Have Spotted Bed Bug Casings in Your Home
Another sign that you have a bed bug infestation in your home, is finding the casings of them.
Casing is just another word for the shell that bed bugs have, and shed when they are going through the transition of nymph to fully grown adult. It’s the circle of life!
In fact, the bed bug goes through as many as five cycles as they grow, and sheds their casing at the end of each one. To look at, the casing tends to be a reddish – brown in colour, and is hollow.
The size of the casing will be unique to the size of the bed bug that shed it. Generally speaking, the older the bed bug, the larger their size – so the longer the infestation goes on, the larger the casings will be.
3. You Have Spotted Bed Bug Droppings Around Your Home
All consumed food has to go somewhere, right? It’s no different when it comes to bed bugs. After all, they have to go to the bathroom somewhere!
If you’ve spotted bed bug droppings around your home, this is a definitive sign that they are living here.
Bed bug droppings are absolutely tiny, and tend to surface as looking like small, black pen marks. The bed bug will release its’ droppings after it has fed, and these are the easiest to spot on cloth, so for example on your mattress or sheets.
4. You’ve Noticed Some Reddish – Brown Stains Around Your Home
If you’ve started to notice some small, reddish – brown stains on the material around your home, this could be an indicator that you’ve been unknowingly harbouring bed bugs. But what are these marks?
Very simply, these small stains are dried blood where the bed bugs have been crushed onto fabric. If you can’t think of any other solution as to why they are there, you likely have bed bugs – particularly if these stains are accompanied by some of the other signs we’ve listed above.
5. You or Someone Else in the Household has Experienced a Bed Bug Bite
The fifth indicator that you may have a bed bug problem in your home, is if you or someone else living there has been affected in the form of a bed bug bite.
This can be a difficult way to tell whether or not you actually have bed bugs, because the bites themselves can look similar to that of other pests, such as spiders and mosquitos. Plus, some people actually have little to no reaction to bed bug bites at all! Sometimes it just surfaces as a little rash, rather than it resembling a direct bite.
Typically, however, bed bug bites appear as an itchy red welt somewhere on the body. These bites tend to be found on the upper body, particularly around the arm and shoulder region.
These bites tend to be found in a straight line.
Help! I Think I Have Bed Bugs! What Can I Do to Get Rid of Them?
Okay, so if you think you do have bed bugs, then no it’s not pleasant, but don’t panic! You can get rid of them entirely, so long as you are thorough in your approach.
In order to get rid of bed bugs once and for all by yourself, you should follow the following steps:
- Wash the affected bedding and clothes. We would recommend doing this on a hot wash, as the bugs can’t stand the temperature of 45 degrees or more.
- Wash all of your clothes on a hot wash.
- Thoroughly clean and vacuum all of the affected rooms. This won’t kill the eggs, so be sure to empty the vacuum outside, and clean the vacuum after use.
- Fumigate the spaces affected with a fogger.
- Apply insect killing sprays and powders to the affected areas.
- Be sure to retreat with sprays and powders, to be certain you kill any remaining eggs, should you have missed any. It’s easy to do due to their miniscule size, trust us!
If you are really concerned that your bed bug issue could be bigger than anticipated, then we would recommend contacting a professional rather than doing it yourself. Furthermore, we would also recommend this if you’re remotely unsure on how to follow any of the above steps.
Remember that the longer you allow the issue to go on untreated, the worse the problem will become, and ultimately, it’ll be more difficult to solve in the long run. Consider this when planning your mode of attack.
Thanks for reading!
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