Bed bugs do their damage at night when the hosts are sleeping. By the time you wake up with red welts from bed bug punctures, the bed bugs are off and sleeping. Finding them is the first step to eradicating them and gaining a good night’s sleep for yourself. Knowing where to look will make the job much easier.
Bed Bugs: What Exactly Are You Looking For?
You will have a better chance of finding bed bugs if you know what you are looking for.
- Bed bugs are about 5-7 millimeters long, the size of a typical apple seed.
- They are light brown or light red.
- They are oval or elongated in shape.
Signs Bed Bugs Leave Behind
One way to find bed bugs during the day is to look for the signs they leave behind. Bed bugs molt five times on their way to adulthood, so you might find their skins left behind. You might also roll over and crush them in the night, in which case you would find their apple-seed sized carcasses in your bed in the light of day.
Even if you don’t find remnants of the bugs themselves, they leave behind red stains which you can spot on mattresses or little black dots that are their poop. There is also a distinctive musty odor that smells like wet shoes and is extremely unpleasant when lingering in the air.
Where Bed Bugs Spend Their Days
Bed bugs need a blood meal each time they molt, and they molt 5 times on their way to adulthood, almost every week. Bed bugs like to stay within 8 feet of their hosts so they have a meal close at hand. They will stay somewhere near your bed!
The bad news is that bed bugs can go without eating for 20-400 days, so even if they seem to be gone and you aren’t getting chomped at night, they can lie dormant for a long time waiting for their next meal.
There are many places where bed bugs can hide, and still be well within the 8 foot radius. Let’s face it, your bedroom is not THAT big. If you are doing a daytime search for bed bugs, start in the following places.
Pillows, Mattress Covers, and Bedding
Bedbugs can easily live inside your pillowcase or in the crevices of the mattress cover or within the sheets. In fact, they find pillows to be a great place to lay their eggs. You will want a flashlight even in the daytime to ferret out the bed bugs.
If you find them, wash everything in the hottest water you can use, and add bleach if the material allows. Use a stiff brush on the mattress to eradicate any bed bugs left behind.
Prevention is the best cure. After washing all of the bedding, add one more layer of protection. Covering your mattress with a mattress cover such as this one will keep the bed bugs out once and for all.
Bed bugs will hide in every nook and corner of the bed frame, from the headboard to the foot of the bed. Use the flashlight to find where they are hiding, and once you do, it’s time to get rid of them.
Use the hose attachment to your vacuum to thoroughly vacuum each part of the frame, and then throw away the vacuum bag to avoid cross-contamination.
After their nocturnal feeding, bed bugs will wait patiently until they can feed again. If your bed is near a wall they will crawl right up, looking for a crevice in which to hang out. If you have any peeling wallpaper, they can lodge behind it until darkness falls.
If there is any furniture near your bed, such as a bed stand table or a nearby dresser, then bed bugs can easily crawl there. They are extremely fast, and can cover 3 to 4 feet per minute on most any surface. Look for little imperfections in the wood, or knobs where the bugs can hide.
Electrical Receptacles and Outlets
As long as the bed bugs are crawling up the walls, they might take a pit stop in your electrical outlets and receptacles. Any time there is a tiny opening, such as where the plug goes, or a crack, the bed bug might be happy to call this home.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Whether you brought the bed bugs home from travels in a hotel, or they hitched a ride in a shirt or suitcase from the thrift store, once you find them and track them, you will want to get rid of them. There are several ways to do this, and it is personal preference as to which method is right for your situation.
Kill Them with Spray
When you spot the bed bugs, you know it is time to get rid of them. You need a spray that will kill the bugs on contact, even if they are resistant to other pesticides. This spray works well, is approved by the Environmental Protective Agency for use in homes, and will not stain your carpet or walls.
Use a Wall Plug-In
Another clever way to get rid of your bed bugs is to use an ultrasonic repeller. Using a wall plug-in model like this is a good way to send the bed bugs on their way. The ultrasonic waves will make them want to get out as fast as they can.
Call an Exterminator
When all else fails or your infestation is very dense, call an extermination professional to take care of the problem for you. Sometimes you will need more firepower than you can take on alone, and letting the professionals oust the bugs is the best decision you can make.
Tracking Bed Bugs: Concluding Thoughts
Bed bugs are fast and stealthy, and if they infiltrate their way into your home, you will have a difficult time removing them from the premises. They can hide in your bed clothes, your furniture, and even inside your walls. Using a spray, an ultrasonic repeller, and a mattress cover are some of the best ways to get rid of them.