Identifying Bed Bugs

Signs of bed bugs and where to look

Bed bugs are very small but visible to the naked eye, with adults measuring up to 7mm in length. These insects lay dormant for most of the day but become active to feed which usually occurs at night. When unfed, they are pale yellow or brownish in colour, but after a full blood meal, they take a darker uniform ‘mahogany’ brown colour. Identifying recent signs of bed bugs include:

Specks of blood

Bed bugs cause blood staining in areas of investigation, at each nymphal stage the bed bug needs to have a blood meal before it is able to move onto the next stage in its life cycle. In addition to this you may also spot irregular bloodstains on your clothing or bedding where you may have been bitten. Check your body first as this may be due to a cut or scab that that you are already aware of. If bites are found this should be cause for concern and a more through investigation.

Clusters of eggs

Eggs are small (1mm), white and banana shaped. Between 300-500 eggs are glued into cracks and crevices by each female with a cement like substance. After hatching, eggshells will remain stuck to the surface.

Husks Shells

There are 5 different nymphal stages where a bed bug will moult before moving onto the next stage in its life cycle. This means that there could be husks varying size from 1.5mm to 6mm.

Faecal Spotting

Like all creature, Bed Bugs leave dropping which consist of digested blood which will be a much darker red colour or black. About the size of a dot from a marker or pen. Commonly found in clusters where infestations reside.

Live Bed Bugs

Depending on which stage of its life cycle it is at, a bed bug’s size can range from 1.5mm (larva stage) – 7mm (adult female). Its colouration could vary between white, light red, light brown, red, brown and dark red/mahogany brown, depending on its stage cycle and whether or not it has had a meal.

Bug Bites

Bite usually appear as multiple raised red spots in a line, where a bed bug will feed, move up slightly, feed, and so on. These bites can be extremely itchy, and many can become inflamed, blistered and even infected. Appearances will differ from host to host and could take up to 2 weeks to visibly appear on the skin, taking just as long to disappear.

If you spot any of the signs, contact a professional pest solution service as soon as possible.

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Where to look for bed bug infestations

Bed bugs reside in areas which are regularly frequented, especially where public footfall is high. As the name suggests, bed bugs are most found in, on and around the bedroom, as these areas are used for long periods of time and are usually kept at an optimal temperature for bed bug breeding.

  • Mattresses and bed framesBed bugs love to hind in small crevices, the seams of a mattress being a perfect spot to call home, especially in the corners where the mattress meets the bed frame. If you notice any discolouration, such as black or dark spots, there is a strong chance of bed beds.

  • Bedding Like with mattresses and bedframes, bed bugs love to use bedding as a place to hide. Bedding is usually handled and washed more frequently so the signs may not be as obvious. Try checking the inside of pillowcases and duvet covers, and as bed bugs like to travel between locations via clothing and luggage, there is a possibility that you will see live bed bugs hiding beneath the covers.

  • Carpets, rugs, curtains, and soft furnishings Bed bugs are not particularly fussy, so may gravitate towards any fabric materials such as carpets, rugs, curtains, cushions, sofas, dog beds and even laundry hampers. Checking areas that are perhaps harder to reach by vacuuming is a good place to start. Look at the lining of curtains, the inside of cushions covers, underneath rugs and in the cracks and crevices of sofas and armchairs.

  • Skirting boards, electrical sockets, ducts and ventsEspecially in carpeted rooms, look at the cracks where the carpet meets the skirting board as well as older worn-out areas that could be damaged and frayed. Corners of the room, behind furniture and out of reach sockets would be at greater risk as they are not regularly inspected. Electrical sockets they have cracks around the edges or holes with access into wall cavities are also a hot spot for bed bugs – avoid inspecting inside electrical sockets yourself and instead speak to a professional about any concerns you may have around electrical hot spots.

  • Furniture – Second hand furniture is particularly at risk, but bed bugs can be found even on newer pieces. Investigate aeras behind side tables, headboards, dressers, wardrobes. Inside draws should also be examined at determine if any infestation has started from the inside.

  • Bags, luggage, and travel suitcases Bed bugs travel between locations by attaching themselves to clothing and other soft items. Those who travel regularly for work, staying in various hotels and cites, are going to be a most risk of transferring unwanted pests from one location to another, including your homes. Before leaving your accommodation, check through your belongings to see if any early signs can be spotted. Avoid putting your bag or suitcase directly onto the bed when packing/unpacking. Wash all clothing straight away on a high heat to eradicate in the first instance.

INFORMATION SHEET

Download a copy of our Bed Bugs. A handy PDF document showcasing all the important information on identifying bed bugs and what do.

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