How to Check for Bed Bugs

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The Ultimate Guide on How to Check for Bed Bugs: Signs, Prevention, and Treatment


A pest control professional meticulously inspecting a Southend home for bed bugs, embodying the city's determined response to the infestation crisis.
Eradix Pest Control experts in action, leading the charge against the rising tide of bed bugs in Southend, showcasing the city’s resilience and proactive approach.

The Cimex lectularius is classified as a distinctive bed bug species because of its preference to feed solely on human blood. It is good to know bed bugs, what they are, how they look and where to find them. How do bed bugs look like? Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown, oval, and about the size of an apple seed (4-5 mm long), resembling the bed bug eggs that are tiny and pale. You might see big bed bugs crawling on your mattress or bed. This can be a serious bed bugs problem.

In this ultimate guide, we shall take a look at the signs of bed bug presence, where bed bugs come from, when bed bugs come out, how to check the various hiding places, how bed bugs affect health, ways to prevent its infestation, and measures of controlling them once they have infested. Understanding the warning signs and how to look for bedbugs will help inhumans to protect themselves and their loved ones from these unwelcome guests.

Understanding Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs are small, parasitic insects that survive upon human and warm-blooded animals’ blood. This section will address the introduction of bedbugs, behaviour, life stages, spreading habits, and places preferred for inhabiting. Detecting bed bugs can be difficult, as they are small in size and able to hide in tiny cracks and crevices.

What do they look like?

Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown, oval, and about the size of an apple seed (4-5 mm long). They have six legs, two antennae, and the body is flat and becomes engorged and elongated after feeding. Adult bed bugs are incredibly small, and their young are even tinier. So you will likely need a bright flashlight and maybe even a magnifying glass to actually see the bedbugs in your home.

Locating Bed Bugs: Bed bug behaviour and feeding habits

They are active within periods when their hosts are asleep. They are attracted to the heat and carbon dioxide coming from humans and warm-blooded animal body sources. This is coupled with a feeding habit whereby the bedbug thrusts its extended mouthpart into the skin of the host and withdraws blood for a period of 5-10 minutes. After feeding, the bedbugs retreat into their hiding to digest the meal and, if mature enough, mate.

Life Stages of Bed Bugs: Nymphs to Adults

In all, there are five nymphal stages before the bed bugs reach maturity. The immature bed bugs, juvenile forms, also called nymphs, tend to be much smaller and lighter in colour than the adults, making them much less visible. Every time it moults, the juvenile bed bug becomes darker and larger. This reason is that it involves females laying hundreds of eggs throughout their lifetime, and in about 6-10 days, these eggs hatch to continue the cycle of infestation.

How do bed bugs spread and where do they live?

Bed bugs are easily transmitted by human activity, such as travel and the movement of infested belongings. Bed bugs are also good hitchhikers and are able to move easily in luggage, clothing, and furniture. Bed bugs stay in small cracks and crevices close to their hosts, such as in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards. They can also be found in other areas of a room, including behind wallpaper, and in electrical outlets and along the baseboards. A bed bug harborage, therefore, is an aggregation place of bed bugs, and a colony is the group of more than one harborage at a close distance that allows ease of access to hosts and reproduction.

Identifying Bed Bug Infestations: Bed Bug Infestation Signs

Of all bed bug signs, seeing the actual living things in front of you is obviously the most telltale sign that you have a bed bug problem. This, therefore, calls for the need to understand the signs in order to detect and effect treatments early. This section will highlight some of the common signs of a bedbug after an infestation. These signs that normally occur include visual inspection, blood spots, droppings, bites by the bedbug, among others.

Recognizing the signs of bed bugs is the first step in preventing an infestation. The most common signs bed bugs live behind:

  • Physical Sightings: Tiny, flat, reddish-brown bed bugs, bed bug nymphs or white small eggs, especially along mattress seams, box springs, bed frames, and headboards.
  • Eggs and Shed Skins: Tiny, pale yellow skins that nymphs shed as they grow larger. Yellowish-brown, translucent bed bug exoskeletons shed by juvenile bed bugs.
  • Droppings: Early signs bed bugs live behind are small, dark spots (bed bug faeces or bed bug excreta). One sure sign you have a bed bug invasion, is the sight of clusters of tiny black spots called faecal matter.
  • Bite Symptoms: Itchy welts on your skin when you wake up.
  • Odour: A severe bed bug infestation can have a noticeable strong musky odour.

Bed bugs prefer to hide close to where they feed, but if necessary, they will crawl several feet to obtain a meal. Initial infestations tend to be around beds, but they can also spread to sofas, chairs, and other furniture.

Live bed bugs:

First step: do a visual inspection for bed bugs. Bedbugs can be noticed by the naked eye but are excellent hiders. Some bed bugs tend to hide at the seams of mattresses, cracks of bed frames, and behind baseboards. Look for bedbugs in all areas that are possible hiding places, using a flashlight and, if necessary, a magnifying glass. Look for the bugs themselves, eggs, and shedding skins.

Early signs of bed bugs are blood spots and faecal spots.

Another early warning sign that bed bugs leave behind is blood spots. This is small, reddish-brown staining that one may find on bed sheets and pillowcases, on their mattress, and sometimes on their clothes. They result from either crushed bed bugs or faecal matter of the bed bug. Furthermore, it leaves the surface of wherever it is they are hiding full of dark spots. This excrement could act as a sign of them.

Bed Bug Droppings

Droppings from bed bugs and even the exoskeletons from the bed bugs are other signs that are going to point towards the infestation. Excreta from bed bugs are small, dark pellets and are often found clustered near their hiding places. When bed bugs grow, they moult, so one can also see the translucent yellowish skins of bed bugs. The finding of these skins is a sure sign that bed bugs have been present and are numerically growing.

Bed bug bites: Identify bed bug reactions

Another sign of bedbug infestation is bedbug bites. They mostly turn out as small red, itchy, but not always painful welts on the skin. Reactions to bedbug bites may vary widely from person to person, with some not showing any visible signs at all. The point to consider is that bites from bed bugs alone cannot serve as a confirmed sign of their infestation, since they can easily be confused with bites from other bugs. However, when these are combined with other symptoms, such as droppings and exoskeletons, the bites certainly point to bed bugs.


Early Bed Bug Stains on Sheets

One of the earliest indicators of a bed bug presence is the appearance of small, rust-coloured or dark brown stains on bedding. These stains result from bed bugs being crushed as you move in your sleep, or from their excrement. Regularly inspecting your sheets for these telltale signs can alert you to an infestation before it escalates.


Distinctive Bed Bug Bites

Bed bug bites often appear as small, red, itchy welts on exposed skin, typically in a line or cluster. Unlike mosquito bites, bed bug bites can develop a pronounced red area with a darker centre. The pattern and rapid appearance of multiple bites are strong indicators of a bed bug issue.


Sightings of Bed Bugs and Their Casings

Spotting live bed bugs, although challenging, is a definitive sign of an infestation. Adult bed bugs resemble apple seeds in size and colour, while their nymphs are smaller and paler. Additionally, bed bugs shed their skins five times before reaching maturity, so finding these translucent casings can indicate their presence.

bed bug nymphs and eggs
bed bug nymphs and eggs


Faecal Marks and Egg Shells

Bed bugs leave behind dark, ink-like faecal marks on mattress seams, bed frames, and walls. These marks, along with tiny, white eggshells, signal an active infestation.

bed bug droppings and adult bed bugs
bed bug droppings and adult bed bugs

How to Inspect for Bed Bugs in Various Areas

Places to look out for bed bugs in mattresses, box springs, hotel rooms, and furniture. Basically, in doing so, you should be able to know exactly where bed bugs are and if there is suspicion of their presence, what should be done in your living room area.

Checking Your Mattress and Box Spring for Bed Bugs

First, the mattress, check bed bugs, it should always be checked for bed bugs, lifting and looking through all the seams and edges of the mattress. Use a flashlight if necessary when looking for the living bugs, eggs, or faecal spots. Thereafter, examine the box spring by removing the dust cover and looking inside at the framework, including corners and seams. Remember, they can be hardly visible.

Examining cracks in the bed and seams of the mattress

Inspect bed cracks to find the bugs, as the bed frames act as the hiding frames for bugs. Investigate around all cracks of the bed frame, headboard, and footboard with a flashlight and a thin, flat tool. Further, you should look along the seams of the mattress for any signs of bed bugs, which may include live insects or eggs, and even faecal spots. If these places and sites are inspected periodically, it would give an idea of when bed bugs tend to be more so that it can be taken in time. Look for signs of live or dead bed bugs or the dark, rusty stains left behind by their droppings.

Checking hotel rooms for bed bugs: Travel-related bed bug prevention

Furniture bed bugs infest most often are items closest to beds like chairs, tables, wardrobes etc Any time you stay in a hotel, check that bedbugs are not taken home with you. Check the bed first: the mattress, check box spring, and headboard. Have a look at other areas of the room, including upholstered furniture, curtains, and baseboards. Avoid problems with bed bugs that travel by using a luggage rack or elevating luggage on a hard surface and storing belongings in sealed plastic bags. Be watchful, by all means, and you will humanly minimise the chances that bedbugs face you in hotel rooms. If you have found bed bugs in the room, use your phone to snap some pictures of the evidence, gather your belongings, head to the front desk, and inform the hotel of what you’ve found. Read more about hotel rooms bed bugs and check hotel bed bugs with experts.

Finding of bed bugs in furniture and other hiding spots

Careful enough examination of the furniture for the bedbugs should be made to be sure that every possible hiding place of the bugs is checked. In the case of sofas and chairs, this goes to the effect of looking in the seams, cushions, and folds of upholstered furniture. Inspect wooden furniture articles, including drawers, nightstands, and so on, for bugs inside the joints, cracks, or any other openings. Note the crawling of a bed bug over the surface, listen to any unusual odours, and identify a possible heavy infestation. Regularly check your living areas for the presence of bed bugs; take the initiative to start up the necessary control measures early.

Bed Bug Infestation: Prevention and Control

Bed Bugs Bites on skin

If you discover bed bugs in your home, there are several methods to get rid of them. An example in this article includes the various strategies applicable in preventing the infestation of bed bugs, how to eliminate existing infestations, and removing these pests from your living space. Learning methods on how to treat bed bugs for controlling and preventing bed bugs will help you save your house from these little suckers, thus making your living in your house comfortable and free from the bugs.

How to avoid bed bugs and prevent bed bug infestation

They can be found anywhere that bed bugs hatch and breed—check mattress seams, upholstered furniture, and in holes, cracks, and crevices within wooden furniture.

Below are some of the habits and practices that, if adopted, will help in making sure bedbug infestation does not occur in one’s area of residence:

  • Regularly inspect and check your space for the presence of bed bugs in mattresses and furniture or other possible hiding sites.
  • Mattress and box spring encasements—This will prevent bugs from infesting your bed.
  • Seal cracks and crevices on walls, baseboards, and furniture. This step is simple but denies bedbugs places where they could hide.
  • Wash and dry all bedding, clothing, and other items that fabrics may be infested with, using high temperatures to kill any bed bugs present.
  • Be vigilant when travelling—check your hotel room for bedbugs and, even though you’ll be bringing the critters into your room anyway, keep your luggage off the floor so bed bugs won’t catch a ride back home with you.

However, if you already suspect bed bugs and you discover yellowish, translucent shells in common bed bug hiding places, then you should consider contacting your local pest control professional for an inspection.

Effective bed bug control methods, how to kill bed bugs

Do bed bugs stay on your body? No, after around 10 minutes of feeding they go back to hiding place. You can usually find them in large numbers around bed bug hiding places and harborage areas. There are several methods to remove bed bugs, including steam cleaning and vacuuming. Below are effective methods one needs to embrace while dealing with an existing bed bug infestation:

  • Thoroughly decluttering the home before cleaning.
  • Effectively laundering infested items and, where possible, drying them
  • Vacuum the bedbugs from the mattress, furniture, and other surfaces. Dispose of the full vacuum bag or contents in a sealed plastic bag.
  • Apply diatomaceous earth or silica gel to areas with bed bugs that may help kill the bedbugs by damaging their exoskeleton.
  • Use a steamer slowly over all surfaces where you see bed bugs or believe they could be hiding in your home. Similar to steaming, targeted high heat can effectively eliminate bed bugs from clothing and bedding.
  • Apply pest control products, like insecticides and bed bug sprays, on the infested areas. Follow product instructions and perhaps hire a professional if the infestation is serious.
  • Put up these “traps” to monitor and capture bed bugs to reduce their population and find infested areas.

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How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs: From DIY Methods to an Exterminator Service

Always remember that using DIY products can worsen the problem causing the bed bug colony to spread further in your home. DIY methods may be used to get rid of bed bugs in case of a heavy infestation, or one can get a licensed bed bug exterminator. At low infestation levels, diatomaceous earth can be used together with a vacuum to control the population. However, for serious infestation, it is advisable to use a professional bed bug exterminator who, in addition to human knowledge, comes equipped with the right type of equipment to get the job done right.

Natural Treatments

The natural and proper treatments applied to get rid of the bed bugs include a great variety, ranging from natural remedies to services of a professional pest control company. The natural remedies to get rid of the bed bugs include essential oils like lavender or tea tree, and hot or cold treatments to the areas where they affect. Pest control services from a professional could include pesticide treatment, heat treatments, and sometimes fumigation to kill the bed bugs in your area of habitation. It’s always important to select the right method for treatment that suits you and your severity of infestation.

Health Implications of Bed Bug Infestations

Bed bug infestations bring a lot of health implications, such as itchy skin and other severe allergic reactions. In this section, we take a look at how it interferes with your health and gives remedies to enable you to bring relief to your skin and understand the symptoms and signs of severe reactions from bed bugs and the massive attacks from bed bugs.

How bed bugs physically harm people: From irritated skin to serious reactions

The bites inject a number of health problems, for example, itchy skin, rashes, and even swollen or severe allergic reactions to certain individuals. Mostly, it is the first symptom of bed bug bites: itchy skin, with red, swollen, and at times painful bumps. Occasionally, bed bug bites can cause more serious effects, such as blistering, infection, or even anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.

Dealing with bed bug bites: Relief and treatment

How do you treat bed bug bites – while itching of the skin has to be relieved, this can save you from additional problems with your skin. So, here’s how to treat bedbug bites:

  • Wash the area with soap and water in order to reduce the risk of infection and itching.
  • A cold compress or ice pack should be applied to the site of the bite to help control swelling and take away the itch.
  • Use over-the-counter creams or ointments that contain hydrocortisone or antihistamines in them to help make the bites feel less itchy and inflamed.
  • Do not scratch the bites; it may cause infection and possible scarring.
  • If severe symptoms or signs of infection occur, such as more pain, fever, and exuding pus from the ear, it is advisable to see a healthcare provider for further assessment and management.


Understanding health effects related to bed bug infestations and taking proper steps, in time, to manage and treat bed bug bites will, to a greater extent, help in the reduction of effects these pests may be having on your health and healthy living environment.

How Professionals Exterminate Bed Bugs: Bed Bug Treatments

Some people get bed bugs mixed up with other household insects like carpet beetles. In case you spot any signs of bed bug activity you should take some photos and contact the local pest control company.

At Eradix, we deliver full-scope pest control solutions to our clients with acute focus placed on extermination services. So, whether you are at the first observation of early signs or are standing in front of a full-blown infestation, don’t worry—our expert team will definitely be taking care of you.

Find out more about how to detect these nasty pests on our Early Signs of Bed Bugs page or read up about how to deal with them using our effective treatment options: industry-leading bed bug treatment from our company or using innovative heat treatment techniques that ensure a pest-free environment.

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