The Professionals Share Their
How to Search for Bed Bugs
Any location with frequent guests staying overnight, such as hostels, hotels close to airports and resorts are particularly susceptible. This also includes apartments, barracks, buses, cabins, churches, community centers, cruise ships, dressing rooms, dormitories, nursing homes, moving vans and vehicle rentals, homes, office buildings, hospitals, jets and airlines, motels, laundromats, restaurants, motor homes, vacation resorts, schools, theatres, subways, trains and used furniture outlets. And that’s not an exclusive list!
Bed bugs are not choosy when it comes to hygiene or cleanliness; they just need a food supply of blood. They can be found across the world but had decreased in numbers during the last century; however, their numbers have been on the rise again in many places including North America, Europe and Australia.
Where to Find them at Home
Bed bugs can be found in the home near where people sleep, such as near the bed, couch or armchair, cribs and playpens. They have a flat shape which allows them to fit into small spaces like mattress seams, bed frames, furniture and baseboards. Clutter provides more areas for them to hide which makes it harder to eliminate them. Bed bugs are often seen in groups but they don't form colonies or build nests like some other insects.
Where to Start Your Search
The source of the infestation determines where your inspection should start. It is essential to take the time to assess the situation and decide where to begin looking for the cause of the issue. Depending on where the problem began, there are different approaches that you can take. Look through these scenarios and see which fits:
If the infestation is limited to one bedroom, then this is the first place to inspect. Search through the bedding and furniture to check for any signs of pests. If people watch TV or take naps on a couch, this should be checked after inspecting the bedroom.
If a traveler has recently returned home, it is possible that insects could have been brought in with their luggage and then crawled out when it was dark and quiet. In this case, it is important to begin where the luggage was placed when returning home. Similarly, if a used bed or piece of furniture was brought into the house, this should be inspected first.
The problem may have began after a visitor stayed overnight. In this case, it is important to inspect the beds that they slept in and where their luggage was placed. After that, the nearest place where people sleep should be inspected as well. If an infestation persists after several treatments by a professional, it is possible that bed bugs could have come through a wall from a neighboring apartment. In this case, inspect rooms that share a wall with the neighbor. This scenario is common in large apartment complexes and hotels where the management failed to get the adjacent rooms treated.
In addition, if the building has a laundry room, this should also be inspected for signs of bed bugs. If home health aides come in frequently, it is possible that bed bugs could have hitched a ride on their bags. Finally, if children bring backpacks to and from school, these should be checked for bed bugs as well. Inspect the bed or couch nearest the spot where the backpacks are kept.
How to Search for Bed Bugs
It's important to have all the necessary tools at hand when conducting a bed bug inspection.
A flashlight is essential for illuminating dark areas and crevices, while a magnifier or hand lens can help you to identify different types of bugs.
A vial, pill bottle, or ziplock bag should be used to store any specimens that you find for identification.
Tweezers and sticky tape are also useful for grabbing the bugs and transferring them to the container.
To prevent any contact with the bugs, it's important to wear gloves. Vinyl, latex, or even a plastic bag over your hand can be used.
A knife, index card, or credit card can be used to swipe out any bed bugs from cracks in the walls.
Trash bags and tape can be used to bag any infested items, and a vacuum cleaner should always be kept nearby, just in case you find a large group. You can use the vacuum cleaner to suck up the bugs and place them in a few containers for identification, but be sure to remove the bag right away and seal it in a plastic bag before throwing it away.
Search for bed bugs in all their stages of life, including eggs, nymphs, adults, cast skins and blood spots. However, the latter three may already have been the result of a treated infestation. To ensure accuracy in your search it is recommended to use a flashlight even if the area is lit and to use a magnifying glass to observe hard-to-see areas. Start by examining one corner of the mattress and work around its piping, down its sides and underneath it before repeating this process with the box spring. If you own the bed frame, take it apart for inspection as bed bugs may be hiding in its joints.
If there are no bed bugs present, it is important to search the room in an organized manner, either clockwise or counter-clockwise from the bed. Check everywhere such as pleats of curtains, under pieces of wallpaper near the bed, corners and drawers of dressers and desks, within wicker furniture, behind doors and window frames as well as baseboards. Inspect any area that a credit card can fit in since this could be where adult bed bugs may hide. This approach ensures you have a systematic way of searching for evidence and increases your chances of finding any signs early on.
One more way to inspect, if you have not found any evidence yet, is to lift the sheets about an hour before dawn. Use a flashlight to see if there are any visible. This can be unsettling and almost traumatizing for some.
Hire a Professional to Inspect for Bed Bugs
Professional inspection of a home or business for bed bugs is an important part of managing the problem. Inspections can be done by a person, or by a bed bug-sniffing dog and its handler. Dogs have a powerful sense of smell and can be trained to detect the odors bed bugs give off. They are especially useful for finding infestations, although they may not be as successful at detecting whether bed bugs have been eradicated. Therefore, if you hire a handler and dog, it is important to make sure they are accredited and experienced.
In addition to inspecting with a dog, we recommend using a professional exterminator who is specialized in bed bug treatments. A professional exterminator has the knowledge, experience, and tools to effectively identify and treat bed bug infestations. They can also provide advice on how to prevent future infestations and help you create a plan to ensure that the bed bugs do not come back.
Professional Treatment for Bed Bug Infestations
Once you have confirmed you have a bed bug infestation, it is important to understand how it has spread throughout the home or apartment building. Every case is different and should be treated as such. To properly diagnose the situation, inspect all adjacent rooms, as bed bugs can travel along pipes and wires, and can even hide inside of walls.
When it comes to treating the infestation, the first step is to confirm that you have bed bugs. The only way to do that is to find a bug and get it identified. This means looking in the most likely places first. Typically, bed bugs will be found in the mattress, bedding, furniture, and carpets. If you find one, it is best to freeze it for identification or put it in a sealed jar with a 1 tsp. of rubbing alcohol. It is important to not to disrupt the bugs once one is found, as this can cause them to spread further.
In order to ensure the infestation is properly treated, it is best to call a professional pest management company. Professional Pest Management is highly experienced in treating bed bug infestations and can provide the most effective solutions. They can also provide advice on how to prevent a reoccurrence in the future.
Are you finding these articles interesting and informative? We hope so and we encourage you to learn more about bed bugs and prevention in other articles here.
Hanna Lewis and team of dedicated blog writers have been producing different series of articles on many different topics for the public. With collaboration from professionals, they are intending to share insight and information to you, their readers. They hope you enjoy them!