Once just a distant memory in the minds of our parents our grandparents, bedbugs were not something most of us had to worry about. The closest most of us ever came to a bed bug was probably when we heard someone repeat the old bedtime expression, “good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.” For the individual that came up with that expression, bed bugs were probably something they dealt with on a regular basis. After years of considering them mostly non-existent, bed bugs are back, and they have become a nuisance for many people as the highly mobile pests hitchhike their way into traveler’s homes on luggage, bedding, or anything else they can hide out in. Here are some ways you can tell if bed bugs have moved into your home.
This is often the first thing someone will notice after their home has been invaded by bed bugs. Bed bugs take up residence in bedroom areas, and then come out at night when people are sleeping to bite them and feed on their blood. The red bite marks and welts will show up more prominently on some compared to others depending on skin sensitivity. The bites are often itchy, and appear commonly on the arms and shoulders.
Just like so many other living things we are acquainted with, bed bugs do indeed excrete waste, and their droppings are often visible on sheets and other bedding. It can be present anywhere bed bugs hide out, including under mattresses and box springs. The droppings often appear as dark brown or black spots.
When bed bugs bite, it is possible that the areas that are bitten will bleed, and cause some blood spots to appear on bedding. The sight of unexplained blood spots and stains on your bedding is a good reason to begin a close examination to determine whether or not bed bugs are present.
#4 GO HUNTING
This is a simple and direct approach, but is often successful in turning up evidence of bed bugs. Get a flashlight and look under mattresses, headboards, and any other out-of-the way places around your bed where they might like to hide out. Bed bugs are quite small, but they are visible to the naked eye, so take your time and be very methodical in your search. You may not find the bed bugs themselves, but you will often be able to locate their droppings and eggs.
#5 THE STAKEOUT
Bed bugs know enough to wait until people are sleeping before they come out to feed on them. They likely make that determination by waiting for nighttime, and for the bed’s occupant to become still. You may be able to fake them out by laying in your bed quietly after dark with a flashlight and waiting. Since bed bugs do not have to feed every night, this tactic may only be effective if you have a serious infestation.
#6 TAPE TRAP
Double-sided carpet tape can be used to snag a few careless bed bugs that wander onto it. Place it in areas around your bed, especially along the sides of mattresses. This is not a sure-fire method, but if you have enough of them that have settled in with you, a few of them are bound to get stuck to the tape.
#7 EXPANDED SEARCH
Don’t limit your searching to just your bed and the area immediately around it. Bed bugs are very sneaky and as long as they can hide within walking distance of their food source (you!), they will be happy. Check behind, and even inside picture frames, alarm clocks, drawers, knickknacks, and just about any other place they could wiggle into to hide from prying eyes.
#8 COMMERCIAL SOLUTIONS
There are various products on the market that are designed to capture bed bugs. Usually you will have to leave these out for at least two weeks to make sure you get the best results. If any of the other methods listed here do not reveal any evidence of bed bug infestation, and you still think you may have a problem, one of the commercial traps might be your best bet.