" Signs of bed bugs include fecal markings on the bed, bed bug bites, and seeing the bugs themselves. A thorough inspection of all tight spaces in a room are required for treatment to be successful. Pictures are provided so that you can differentiate bed bugs from other common insects. Tips for recognizing all three are described below."
Bed bugs can be seen with the naked eye. Bed bugs
start life in eggs which are small white pear shaped eggs (about the
size of a sesame seed). When searching for bed bugs it is helpful to
have a flashlight and a magnifying glass.
Bed bugs move through several life
stages, so they will differ in appearance depending on what stage they
are in. These stages are basically, egg, nymph (baby bed bug) and
adult. Said another way, if you have bed bugs, you will
notice bugs that look different depending on their stage of development.
Bedbugs are hatched from eggs and then move through 5 stages until reaching adulthood. When born, a baby bed bug is semi-transparent, with a lighter tan appearance. They develop into adults over a 10 week period.
Adult bedbugs are brown to reddish-brown in color, have an
oval-shape, are flattened, and about 3/16 to 1/5 inch long
Bed bugs also change in appearance before and after feeding:
Bedbugs are often confused with several common household insects including:
Picture Bed Bugs Compared to Bat Bug
There is a service that will confirm the identity of any insects you capture. You can download the form here (pdf download). Each sample will cost $20 to identify.
Check with your local department of health and/or cooperative extension for free bed bug identification services. These are becoming more common as the infestation grows.
One of the signs of bed bugs are bed bug bites. Most
people, estimated to be 70% of the population, do not show any skin
reactions to bed bug bites. The bites themselves are actually a skin
puncture. Any skin reaction is an allergic reaction, with
most people showing no allergic reaction. This is why two people in the
same bed can show different skin reactions, ranging from no reaction to
small red raised papules, round circular wheals, bed bug skin rash, and
in rare cases blistering.
Bed Bug Bite Picture - Wheal Reaction
Bed bugs tend to bite areas of the skin that are exposed
during sleep. They will also bite under loose fitting
clothes. Areas of the body that show signs of bed bugs include the
neck, shoulders, bottom part of the arms, hands, and lower legs.
It is rare for a bed bug to bite the bottom of the feet (this
is probably scabies
which is caused by mites).
When patterns appear, it is often due to groups of bed bugs biting the skin, such as a leg that is resting along the seam of a bed.
Picture Bed Bugs Bites on Leg
Individual or groups of bed bug bites are possible
To protect yourself against bed bugs, a natural bed bug repellent spray may be helpful (manufacturer claims product will repel 98% of bed bugs from the skin). While not a substitute for professional bed bug treatment , it may provide some help while you wait for the bed bug exterminator or do it yourself with a bed bug kit.
Bed bugs leave behind visible signs. For example, they leave behind markings on a mattress such as brown feces spotting, blood stains, molted skin or eggs. Look for markings in a 10 to 20 foot radius around sleeping and sitting areas. Bed bugs usually will not travel beyond 20 feet. Write down each location where you believe bed bugs are hiding so you can inform your exterminator where to treat the room.
They are very thin and are excellent at hiding in cracks and crevices that are about the width of a credit card. If you see them during the day, which is rare, it is because their hiding place was disturbed.
Bed bugs usually hide during the day and come out at night. If you see bugs on the wall during the day, it is probably not a bed bug. Bed bugs do not fly and do not leap.
Most bed bugs will be around the bed. Be sure to look for signs of bed bugs:
One hint is to take a hair dryer (high heat setting, low heat)
air on seam for 30 seconds at foot of mattress. Bed bugs will
react to the heat and try to escape. Be prepared with a rag
or vacuum hose to scoop up the insects or kill the bedbugs.
You can also use a wire brush to reach the bed bugs.
They are excellent at hiding deep into objects.
If you are a home owner, the best first step is to call in a bed bugs exterminator with solid references, that is also licensed and insured. The Home Advisor Network (1.877.233.1145) is a good place to start as they offer 4 free quotes and they pre-screen members of the network.
Treatment can cost between $1,000 and $2,000 for a typical home, so it pays to get more than 1 quote. Another good source for local experienced bed bug exterminators is our exterminator database.
Ask the bed bugs exterminator the following questions:
Also ask the bed bug exterminator you choose to show you the
actual signs of bed bugs to avoid any scams or scrupulous firms.
While a bed bug pest control expert is preferred, you can treat a bed bug infestation yourself with the right combination of products. The best way to do this, and to get the required knowledge is to purchase either an insecticide based bed bug kit (preferred), or an all natural bed bug kit if you do not like to use chemicals in the home. Insecticide based products tend to undergo more independent testing.
bed bugs in an apartment is a more complicated proposition.
very hard to determine if bed bugs were carried into an apartment by
the tenant or if they came in through the walls from apartments that
are next to, over or below the apartment where you live.
It is also complicated because bed bugs are not covered by most landlord tenant agreements and by local landlord tenant law. Because of this, many landlords either refuse to coordinate and pay for treatment. Some landlords even will attempt to evict a tenant on the grounds that the tenant brought the bed bugs into a building.
For bed bug treatment to be successful all adjoining apartments need to be inspected for signs of bed bugs. Studies show a 20% chance that bed bugs can spread to an apartment next door, and a 7% chance that they will spread to an apartment above or below the bed bug infested apartment. For this reason, a tenant should contact the building management for treatment.
Like single family homes, it is
preferable that the landlord or managing agent bring in an experienced
bed bugs exterminator. Bed bug dogs are also helpful for
determining if bed bugs have entered the walls.
If a landlord refuses treatment, you can organize tenants, and offer to pay 50% of the cost, You can also apply pressure by 1) checking on the law at your state or city attorney generals office regarding bed bugs and landlord/tenant law, 2) contact the local media, they love bed bug stories, 3) contact local politicians for help and 4) contact your local health department.
If there are signs of bed bugs in your building, you can get some protection by:
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