If you think you may have bed bugs, I feel for you. Before doing anything in haste, let’s first examine your situation and see if you really do have them. You may simply have something less harmful and easier to get rid of, like fleas. So, how do you know if you have bed bugs?
But How Do You Know If You Have Bed Bugs?
Bed Bug facts:
- They are oval, flat and brownish in color
- Bedbugs feed on human blood
- When they are completely full they can be up to 3 times larger
- After feeding their color becomes dark red
- Bedbugs are about 1/4 inch in size
- A single bedbug can lay up to 5 eggs a day and can number in the thousands very quickly
- Bedbugs typically feed at night
- Bedbugs can live up to a YEAR without feeding
- They normally feed ie. draw blood for 5 to ten minutes
- Luckily bedbugs have been found NOT to carry disease although their bites can become infected
If you have found a small insect on or around your bed and it:
- jumps, usually surprisingly far
- dies when exposed to cold
- is about 1/8th of an inch in size
- redish brown to black in color
You can rest easy as you are one of the lucky ones! It’s most likely a flea which are MUCH easier to get rid of than a bedbug. There are many products on the market that do a great job of getting rid of fleas safely and quickly. Don’t forget to treat your cat or dog as well since they were probably how the fleas got inside in the first place.
Bed Bug Bites
Bedbugs prefer human blood but will feed on other animal blood if they have to such as mice or even birds.
If you are bitten by a bedbug, the bite may burn or itch, get red and swell up. The reason for this is that when the bedbug bites, it injects it’s saliva into the wound which acts as a anticoagulant (stops your blood from clotting) in order to keep your blood flowing freely. This is what causes the skin reaction in most people.
Spotting Bed Bugs
Bedbugs can be spotted quite easily by the naked eye. No magnification is needed but a flashlight may come in handy as bedbugs like to hide in dark crevices because they are nocturnal (they sleep during the day and feed at night). If you think you have them, take a look in the seams of your matress, underneath your matress (between your boxspring and matress), and under the buttons on the matress if it should have them. Also, check pleats or hems in your drapery and behind any paintings, photos or wall hangings. Here is one little bugger hiding out in a screw hole of a wooden bedframe:
They also like electrical sockets and phone jacks so make sure you look in and around thos areas as well. Anywhere within 10 or 15 feet of your bed is the typical area that a bedbug will live in so don’t forget the insides of nightstands and cabinets.
What You’ll Be Looking For
When you are doing your visiual inspection, firstly look for the actual crawling, live bedbugs themselves. Then look for bedbug feces (dark spots) and/or tiny blood stains. Also, bedbugs prefer cloth and wood over plastic and steel so that may help you locate your unwanted guests should they be proving difficult to find. Occasionaly you may find a strange sickly sweet odour as a result of an infestation. But this isn’t always true. Here are the telltale traces around a mattress:
How do you know if you have bed bugs? Keep reading to find out…