Most people begin to wonder if they have bed bugs after waking up with mysterious bites, over a period of days or weeks.
Can You Inspect Your Own Home?
If you think you have bed bugs you will need to either hire a pest company to perform a bed bug inspection your home or workplace, or try to inspect on your own.
It helps to have a competent pest professional do your bed bug inspection because they know what to look for. They will not treat your home without a specimen or convincing evidence that you have bed bugs, such as finding nests, molts or excrement.
If you do capture one, dead or alive, put it in a sandwich bag or plastic sealed container and put it in the freezer to show your property manager or pest company.
Inspecting for bed bugs will require you to carefully look around, behind and under your bed and headboard. You will need a good flashlight or headlamp to see in those dark places.
Bed bugs will typically begin living on or very near the bed, and spread out as the population increases. Finding proof is necessary before treatment can be scheduled. You can inspect yourself, hire a pest company or use a bed bug sniffing dog company to try to determine if bed bugs are in your home. Try not to move or jostle things yet so they don’t move around as you inspect.
Thinking about doing it yourself?
Before doing a bed bug inspection, it is very important that you not move furniture, boxes, or other items around your home. Doing that could accidentally spread one or more bed bugs or eggs to another room! Inspect at the object and use a flashlight if needed. If you do have bed bugs, moving things could sprinkle bed bugs around your home, making the infestation worse. Part of an effective treatment is knowing where they are so you can kill bed bugs faster than they can reproduce. You don’t always have to treat your entire home, but if you’ve been getting bites and also sleeping on your sofa, you should assume they are also in the sofa.
You are still very unlikely to be able to find and see a bed bug, even with a small infestation. That is why I (and most pest companies now) strongly suggest you get the traps under your bed. If you have bed bugs and they aren’t on or in your bed already, they will come for you. They will 100% eventually find you.
With the traps under your legs and your bed isolated, they will never reach you. They will never lay more eggs in your home. Once trapped they are done, frozen, or flushed. If you think you might have more, freeze the one’s you trap in case you can get free treatment.
If you decide to inspect your own home, start at the bed. It’s closest to the source of food, you. Things you will need to inspect for bed bugs are; a flashlight, a magnifier, and a spray bottle of 90% or better rubbing alcohol to kill anything you do find. We’ve added an excellent detailed video at the bottom of the page that shows you how to inspect and what to look for.
Note: this will not kill eggs, which are the approximate size of a grain of salt. The magnifier will help identify that which is too small to see with your eyes. The sooner you determine you have bed bugs, the easier and faster it will be to get rid of them, because there will be fewer of them.
Inspect the entire bed, headboard, including screws, screw holes, mattress piping, tags, under the box spring (one of their favorite places to live and breed) and inside the pillow case. You are looking for either bed bugs, bed bug poop (looks like black felt tip marker spots), little bloody spots, or castings from molting (graduating) bed bugs.
If you do find bed bugs, kill them by spraying them with 90% rubbing alcohol.
Put the bug(s) in a ziplock bag in your freezer to show the pest company or public health office, that you do indeed have bed bugs.
You can also wait until after their inspection to see if the PCO (Pest Control Operator) can find them. If you have found them and they can’t, you might want to give that some weight in selecting your pest company.
Bed leg monitors can answer the question “Do I have bed bugs?”
By trapping any bugs that climb into the talc covered cups before they reach the mattress, you will know what’s crawliing around your house.