A thorough inspection of the room or house is necessary to determine if there are bed bugs. Bed bugs typically cluster together in favorable harborage areas in and around beds and furniture. Inspection should first start in the bedroom and particularly the bed itself. First, check both sides of the mattress, concentrating on the piping, seams and any buttons in the mattress. Next check the bed –frame making sure to look underneath and the box springs. Check any cracks and crevices. Carefully check the headboard and nightstands.
Once complete with the bed and surrounding area, check window and door frames, floor cracks, carpeting, electrical sockets, furniture, wall hangings, window treatments, loosened wallpaper, cracks in plaster and ceiling moldings.
Physical Signs of Presence of Bed Bugs
1. Fecal Traces- These are small black spots. The bigger the infestation the greater number of spots. Look for rust colored or black smears on mattress seams, sheets, pillowcases, upholstered furniture, bed frames, crevices and baseboards.
2. Live Bed Bugs- One of the common misconceptions about bed bugs is that are too small to see. Although small, they can be detected by the human eye. A magnifying lens may help you to verify your identification. An adult bed bug can lay between 150 and 300 eggs. Usually by the second or third month of an infestation they are breeding at a very fast rate making their presence easy to detect.
3. Skin Casts- Bed bug skins often resemble a paper thin and slightly opaque version of a bed bug. When skins are found, live bed bugs are usually close by.
4. Blood Spot on Sheets- A bed bug infestation may be recognized by blood stains from crushed bugs or by rusty spots of excrement on sheets and mattresses. If you find spots on the sheets check the corresponding part of your body for signs of cuts or grazes before assuming it is bed bugs. This, along with bites, is often the first sign you will encounter in a hotel room.
5. Sweet Sickly Smell- Some people can detect a sweet sickly smell when an infestation of bed bugs is present. The smell does take a while to build up and is usually associated with a heavy infestation.
For more information on bed bug infestations, please take a look at our selection of books on bed bugs.