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Bed Bugs: How to Know Whether Or Not You Have Bed Bugs

By Edited Oct 1, 2016 2 4

Bed bugs infestations have increased a lot in recent times. More and more families are finding themselves having to deal with these nasty little bugs. If you are wondering whether or not you have bed bugs then now is the perfect time to find out.

Many people notice the bites long before they notice the bugs. These sneaky little creatures hide during the day and only come out at night to feed. Often times if you have bed bugs then your family members will also have bed bug bites. However, some people aren't allergic to bed bugs (or rather the fluids that they put into you to numb the site and to keep the blood from clotting) which means that some members of the family might not have them.

  • As a rule of thumb, bed bug bites are itchy and uncomfortable.
  • They are often found in a row running vertically or in diagonal pattern.
  • Bed bug bites are pretty generic and can often be labeled as mosquito bites, but the pattern is usually the sign that they are more than that.

If you think you have bed bug bites then it is a very good idea to look for other proof. Your best bet is to avoid jumping to conclusions until you have found a bed bug and can trap it in a bag or on a piece of tape for close inspection. Don't jump to the conclusion that you have bed bugs based on bites because they could be a number of different kinds of bites and even allergic reactions and other skin conditions.

Bugs in your bed are a pretty good sign that you have bed bugs, but not guaranteed. Additionally, the bed bugs can be found around your bed, on the floor, and near the baseboard. They can hide anywhere that you could slide a piece of paper in and often nest in tight spots. If you do find a bug then you should put it in a zipper seal plastic bag for close inspection.

  • Adult bugs are tan to brown before a feeding and reddish brown after ward. They are about the size of an apple seed (they actually look a lot like an apple seed from a distance). They have a flat bod that is round before a feeding and oblong after one. Upon close inspection you should see a hairless bug with lots of groves in their exoskeleton.
  • Nymphs or baby bed bugs can be as small as the head of a pin. They are white, clear, or pale gold. As they get larger they get browner and no matter how big they are they will have a reddish colored center after feeding. They too are flat, but harder to identify characteristics in.
  • For more information about what bed bugs look like check out the article Bed Bugs: How To Identify Bed Bugs.

If you think you might have bed bugs then you should inspect your mattress and the area surrounding your bed. You will want to bring a flashlight with you. A pair of rubber gloves might make you more comfortable as well.

  • If it is night then avoid turning the light on. Rip back the sheet at the corner and shine the light there with the hopes of finding a scattering bug or two.
  • Turn on the light and look through both of your sheets for red marks or dead bugs. Sometimes bed bugs are accidentally killed while you are sleeping and they are feeding. Their bodies and or blood marks are usually left on the sheets in these cases.
  • Then take the time for a good inspection of the mattress. Pull the seems apart and look for "crud". This often includes dark spots (fecal matter), crumbly looking "shells" (exoskeletons from growing bed bugs), and small white dots that are glued to the mattress (eggs).
  • Continue to look for this grouping along the edges and seams of the mattress, around the headboard, and down along the base boards. Other areas bed bugs may have a nest include the box springs, along the carpets edges, cracks in the wall, face plates for electrical outlets and cable hook ups, curtains including the tops of the curtains, behind the base boards, along the edge of the ceiling, or behind any wall decor such as pictures, paintings, or shelves. They can also be found in, on, or under nearby furniture and love to hide in the groves of wicker furniture.

Smell Them.
While it isn't always easy to identify their smell, especially if you use a lot of good smelling lotions, creams, perfumes, or other items in your room. However, many report a sweet smelling aroma associated with bed bugs. It is often described as coriander, ripe or rotten raspberries, almonds, or even the smell of an old granola bar.

Trap Them.
If you still don't feel for certain one way or another it is often recommended that you set a trap. To do this you should use double sided sticky tape to line the bottom and a good portion of the sides of your bed. Go to bed and try not to spend all night awake and thinking about it. Then in the morning check the tape. If their is a bug or two stuck there then you can put it in a bag for identification. If there isn't continue for five days. If after five days you have not caught any bugs and you have no signs in or around your mattress you can feel safe you don't have bed bugs.

Once you have a bed bug in your possession you can move on to getting rid of them. However, if you haven't found any bed bugs then it is best to keep an eye on it for the time being. If after one week you don't really have any proof that you have bed bugs then it is doubtful that you do.

If you have found bed bugs, don't panic. You are not alone and you will make it through. It should be noted that bed bugs are one of the few blood sucking creatures that don't pass illness. While they aren't something very comfortable and no one wants to be bitten in the night, they won't make you sick and with care and some time you can get rid of them.



Oct 30, 2010 6:56pm
Interesting and well done. On the other hand...shudder!I dread the day when they are a problem in Louisiana.As far as I know, there has not been a real problem with them since the depression years. It was told to me that back in those days that the victims of this nasty bug would move all furniture and possesions out in the yard and boil up big pots of water outside. Every possible thing that coud be put in boiling water was . Other items were sprayed with the old stand -by .....I think it was called "Black Flag"( an insect spray). Then the walls,baseboards, and kitchen would be scrubbed with a broom dipped in boling water every 1/2 minute or so. Imagine having such few possesions that it could all be done in a day!
Oct 30, 2010 8:41pm
baoyoulady...They are on the rise everywhere. It is not a good thing, but more and more places are having a problem with them. I actually learned about them two years ago because my in-laws ended up with them from a Dallas hotel.

I looked up Louisiana out of curiosity and here is a site that has reports of bed bugs in hotels in different states including Louisiana...http://www.bedbugreports.com/state/louisiana (In case you are interested or someone from Louisiana comes along because they think they might have bed bugs).

While a lot of work, getting rid of them was easier before modern times, banned pesticides, and tons of stuff came along...except in places where they were just accepted...
Oct 31, 2010 2:31pm
thanks! I'll check that out!
Nov 5, 2010 12:10pm
I caught them once from a hotel. If you're allergic (I am) the bites are perfectly round. One great place to find them is the bedframe, just lift the box springs and see what's under there. I'd never seen one and didn't know what they looked like. They are bigger than an apple seed (I see that comparison a lot) They are oval, slightly smaller than a pea, flat, and reddish brown.

Nice Article.
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