How To Check Your Home For Possible Bed Bugs In The Bay Area

bed bug bites on skin

Bed bugs are mysterious pests. They hide from the light and tuck themselves into extremely tight spaces. You can examine a bed or couch in detail and still not find the bugs that are hiding inside. Perhaps you've already done this and that's why you're here. If so, you've come to the right place. We're going to discuss how to check for bed bugs, how to identify bed bugs when you find them, and what to do about them. We'll also look at bed bug bite identification. Why? Because you may not recognize bed bug bites when you see them. Detection is only one piece of the pest control puzzle. You need to know how to interpret the evidence you find.

Before we get into our topics for today, we want to quickly remind you that you can jump to our contact page anytime for immediate assistance with a bed bug problem. Bay Pest is a leader in pest control, and we offer industry-leading bed bug pest control in The Bay Area. We can help you resolve your bed bug problem. With that said, let's get into our article. 

Bed Bug Identification Made Simple

bed bug biting skin

Identifying bed bugs is the first step in determining that you have a bed bug infestation. You likely know what a bed bug looks like, but we're willing to bet that you can't identify bed bugs in every stage of development. Let's look at each stage and discuss some of the challenges you may have with proper identification.

Adult Bed Bugs: A full-grown bed bug is about 4.5 mm in length. It is seed-shaped and has six legs and two body parts. The bed bug's abdomen is the largest of its three parts by a significant margin. For this reason, a bed bug that has had a blood meal will look different than one that has not had one. It will appear more pill-shaped and not have the low profile and flattened appearance it normally has. 

Eggs: Bed bug eggs are white and about 1mm long. You may find individual eggs scattered about in tight spaces or find a group of eggs together. You'll need to look for eggs because bed bugs don't leave them out in the open. You may find them in the seams of mattresses and box springs, underneath couch cushions, or inside your luggage. 

Baby Bed Bugs: When a bed bug first hatches, it is a fully functioning insect with six legs and three body parts. It isn't a maggot, worm, caterpillar, or grub, as is the case with other insects. If a baby bed bug has had a blood meal, it will look like a tiny red bug. Some people mistake them for chiggers or clover mites, but they shouldn't. Chiggers and clover mites have eight legs.  

Developing Bed Bugs: Bed bugs turn tan as they grow. You may notice this tan coloration, but keep in mind that it will be mixed with other colorations. A fed nymph will look red. An unfed nymph will look black. The red coloration is from a blood meal or black fecal material created after a blood meal is digested. The skin of a nymph is transparent, and you can see blood or feces on the inside of these pests. 

Now that you know what bed bugs look like, it is time to discuss how to find them. As we pointed out already, bed bugs don't make this job easy. They are nocturnal insects that hide in locations where you may not expect them to hide. You need to know how to find bed bugs during the day and the evidence they leave for you to find when you don't see the bugs themselves.     

Checking For Bed Bugs: A Complete Guide

You know bed bugs like to hide in beds, but this isn't the only place where bed bugs hide. They'll hide in couches, recliners, office chairs, luggage, duffel bags, laundry, and more. They'll also hide in the structure of your home, in places such as behind baseboards and crown molding, inside outlets, and under carpet edges.

When you go looking for bed bugs, you'll need a flashlight and a probing tool. The probing tool is used to drag along seems and underneath the labels on your mattresses and box springs. The flashlight allows you to see into gaps, recess, and holes. If you find bed bugs, you may not realize it at first. You might only notice a wiggling movement inside a recess or an unpleasant smell. The warning signs are sometimes subtle.

When you uncover bed bugs, it is easy to overlook them. A dozen bed bugs can huddle together in a space the size of your thumbnail. Fortunately, they leave other evidence around them.

  • Bed bugs leave their droppings in the places they explore and also where they sleep. The feces of bed bugs look like black specks or black spotting on fabrics.
  • Bed bugs excrete blood. The blood stains created by bed bugs typically appear light tan or brown rather than red. They are also often mixed with black feces.
  • Bed bugs shed their skins as they grow. These skins are pale or tan in color.
  • Bed bugs produce pheromones. Some describe the scent of bed bug pheromones as smelling like a damp locker room towel.

If you find bed bugs in your home, there are a few ways you may deal with them. We recommend keeping a vacuum at hand during your search. Suck any bugs and eggs up that you find. If you have an infested item, you may put the item in your dryer for 30 minutes or in your freezer for four days. Store the item outside if you can't treat it with these two methods. Be sure to put a clear sign on the item that says, "Bed bugs inside."

That's how you find bed bugs inside your home, but sometimes you don't have to look for bed bugs to know you have a problem. These insects bite. Let's look at how to tell that bed bugs are biting you.     

Is This A Bed Bug Bite?

Bed bug bites range from slight bumps to painful welts. When newly hatched bed bug nymphs bite you, the bites may look like an allergic reaction to food. The bumps are slight and surrounded by an extensive rash. As your infestation grows (and it will) the bites will become more severe. It is best to diagnose them early. Here are a few tips:

  • Each bed bug typically bites three times. Entomologists jokingly refer to these bites as breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but bed bugs don't wait hours between bites. They'll feed for a few minutes, crawl forward, feed for a few minutes, crawl forward, and do this one last time. One bed bug will leave three bites that are close together in a line or zig-zag.
  • When more than one bed bug bites you, they'll leave lots of bites. You should also notice the bites appear as a path across your skin. They have this appearance because each bug feeds three times and inches forward each time.
  • Bed bugs feed as a group. When you find bites on your skin, you'll notice that they're all in one area of your body. You won't find bites in multiple locations.
  • It can take hours or days for bed bug bites to swell and become itchy and rashy. For this reason, some people mistake bed bug bites for bites from outdoor bugs.
  • Bed bugs typically bite skin that is exposed during the night.
  • Bed bugs don't prefer to bite areas of the body that are hairy.
  • Bed bug bites are usually near the neck as carbon dioxide from the mouth attracts them.    

There you go. Now you're an expert on bed bug bites, and you're equipped to locate bed bugs in your home. You also know how to deal with bed bugs when you find them. If more control is needed, it is time to contact local pest control for bed bugs. If you're in the Bay Area, contact Bay Pest. We use industry-leading bed bug control methods and products to deal with these insects expeditiously. 

Professional Bed Bug Control To Keep Them Away!

In this article, we focused on residential bed bug detection and control. Before we end, we'd like to touch on commercial bed bug control and prevention. If you own a business, the tips provided here can help you and your staff catch early signs of bed bugs. But this may not keep you ahead of bed bug infestations. We offer routine bed bug inspections to help catch bed bugs before they threaten your reputation and your bottom line. Reach out to us today to learn more about how ongoing bed bug prevention works and how you can get started. You don't have to wait until you have a bed bug problem. You can get proactive.

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