How to Look For Bed Bugs in 7 Easy Steps

Mar 13, 2015 

Simply stated, we are losing the war on bed bugs. Homes, hotels, camps, timeshares and rental cottages are facing increasing infestations. If you travel, send your kids to camp, invite guests overnight or rent your cottage, this is an alarming reality which you should be aware of. We want to shed some light on this issue (after all, bed bugs love the dark!) and help you avoid unwanted hitchhikers. As with most pest issues, at Eco-Choice Pest Control we believe that education and prevention are key to protecting yourself. Our preventative maintenance programs help detect bed bugs before an embarrassing conversation and itchy, red blotches. Increase your listing's competitive advantage, and keep your family from itching, by addressing this safety concern before it becomes an issue. 

Education is paramount to prevention, so we'd like to share our inspection ritual. Follow these steps before you get comfortable in any hotel room, timeshare or cottage rental, and perform a check regularly at home too, especially if you live in an apartment building. A flashlight is all you'll need for a thorough investigation, though an extra set of eyes and hands comes in, well, handy. If you suspect you've found evidence of the creepy little bloodsuckers, take some photos and email them to us. We'll help you figure out what to do next. 

1. Leave your luggage and belongings in the car until after you've performed the check. If using a taxi service or public transit, place luggage by the door, preferably on floor rather than carpet. 

Check for Bed Bugs by carefully pulling back the bed sheets

2. Carefully peel back the layers of blankets and sheets until you reach the fitted sheet.  

Examine the seams of the fitted sheet

 3. Pull up the corners of the fitted sheet and examine the seams. 

Examine the seams between the mattress and pillow top

  4. Separate pillow top and inspect any seams or folds.  

Box spring examination

5. Follow the same process for the boxspring cover and boxspring. There tend not to be as many folds, but this darker area is a preferred bed bug hangout. 

Use a flashlight to examine the corner protection cups

6. A flashlight will be handy for this next step. Not only do bed bugs like the dark, they also like small spaces, like the cups on the corner of the boxspring. Look very carefully around the edges of these cups and try to detect any movement. 

Check the back of night stands

7. Another great place to check is the back of the night tables, especially along the seams as shown here: 

8. Unpack your stuff, kick back and relax! That's an order!

We can't say with 100% certainty that you'll avoid all bed bugs by following these steps. The eggs and nymphs are teeny tiny and very difficult to see with the naked eye, but the adults are big enough to spot quickly, if you are able to uncover them. Careful inspection will find the critters in most cases, though, so rest easy if you've found no evidence. Speaking of evidence, let's go over what you're looking for!!

As we know by now, we can't expect to see the eggs. What we will look for are adult bed bugs and fecal smears, which is as gross as it sounds. Remember how they like small spaces? They like spaces so small that they will jam themselves in until their droppings squeeze right out of them, where they get smeared along whatever surface they land on. Should we have warned you not to read while eating? Our bad. 

Two adult bed bugs

 Anywho, adult bed bugs look like this: (photo not to scale) 

Bed Bug Fecal smear

 And fecal smears look like this: 

 Well now you know where to look and what you're looking for. All that's left is to hope you don't find anything!!

We encourage you to ask upon booking what the facility's bed bug procedure is. Most reputable tourism destinations will have some sort of program in place but prefer to keep quiet about it. We'd like to change that. This is a significant problem that doesn't seem to be getting better. Let's talk about it, let's discuss prevention and increase awareness. Maybe, just maybe, that will give us the edge we need to start winning this war!