Identifying Bed Bug Infestations
A bed bug infestation is only suspected when bites appear on a person. Oftentimes, the bites are misidentified, thus allowing infestations to go unnoticed, which gives the bed bugs time to spread to other areas of the house.
When cleaning, changing bedding, or staying away from home, look for:
- Dark spots (about this size: •) which are bed bug excrement and may bleed on the fabric like a marker would
- Eggs and eggshells, which are tiny (about 1mm) and white
- Skins that nymphs shed as they grow larger
- Live bed bugs
- Rusty or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses caused by bed bugs being crushed
Bed bugs are very successful hitchhikers, moving from an infested site to furniture, bedding, baggage, boxes, and clothing. Although they typically feed on blood every five to ten days, bed bugs can be quite resilient; they are capable of surviving over a year without feeding.
A few simple precautions can help prevent bed bug infestation in your home: Check secondhand furniture, beds, and couches for any signs of bed bug infestation, as described above before bringing them home.
Use a protective cover that encases mattresses and box springs which eliminates many hiding spots. The light color of the encasement makes bed bugs easier to see. Be sure to purchase a high quality encasement that will resist tearing and check the encasements regularly for holes.
Reduce clutter in your home to reduce hiding places for bed bugs.
When traveling: In hotel rooms, use luggage racks to hold your luggage when packing or unpacking rather than setting your luggage on the bed or floor. Check the mattress and headboard before sleeping. Upon returning home, unpack directly into a washing machine and inspect your luggage carefully.