If there is one type of pet that people are terrified of having, it’s bed bugs. Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of and often ends with a little psychological trauma. They’re embarrassing and can even destroy furniture like couches and beds.
It’s not uncommon to get a little paranoid that you have bed bugs again if you had them once before. Unfortunately, a bed bug infestation is hard to notice if you are not nocturnal like they are. If you’re wondering how to spot them during the day, don’t panic, we got you.
What Does a Bed Bug Look Like?
Before we get into the signs of bed bugs to watch for, you need to be aware of what these insects look like. Bed bugs are small, round brown bugs that have thin bands across their bodies. They are about the size of an apple seed or a grain of rice.
When they are hungry, their bodies are flat. After eating (your blood), their bodies will swell up into a rounder, more bubble-like shape. Bed bugs shed their skin and grow during their life cycle.
If you’ve been getting bitten by an unseen bug in your sleep, it usually is either a result of mosquitos, fleas, or bed bugs. Most exterminators will not treat your home unless there is proof of a bed bug infestation. They quickly multiply out of control.
So, you need to find them FAST, and get rid of them as soon as humanly possible.
What Are The Signs of a Potential Bed Bug Infestation?
The easiest way to make a case for an exterminator to come in your home is to show signs that warrant an inspection. These signs make a serious case for a visit from pest control:
- You notice a foul, musty smell near your bed that wasn’t there before. This is a sign that you might have bug excrement. Bed bugs have a very distinct smell, but it can be difficult to pick up on at first.
- There are brown stains on your cushions, bedsheets, and mattress that you can’t explain. Those smears are typically bed bug droppings. They can also appear rust-colored, or like reddish stains near your bed or mattress seams.
- You started to notice bed bug skins and shells near your nightstand, couches, or near crevices close to your walls. Bed bugs shed their skin five times during their life cycle. When they do, they leave the skin where they shed it.
- You notice yellowish blobs or something similar to grains of rice in your mattress seams. Those are bed bug eggs.
- You’ve woken up with bites that are visible in a line of three. Three bites in a row is the telltale sign of bed bug bites. This is reason enough to call an exterminator, though you may still need more proof to get approved.
- People have mentioned that they got bitten in their sleep while at your home. If they notice bites on them, they could have tracked in bed bugs without realizing it. They also may be victims of bed bug bites from staying at your home.
PRO TIP – If your neighbor recently had an infestation, your landlord may require exterminators to check out your home too. Bed bugs can spread from apartment to apartment quite quickly.
How Can You Find Bed Bugs During The Day?
1. Use bed bug traps
Bed bug traps can be the easiest way to get bed bugs during the day. The best ones are bed bug cups that you place on the feet of your bed, chairs, and sofas. The bed bugs climb down, but they can’t get back up or crawl elsewhere.
You can also use glue traps underneath your nightstands and dressers to see if you get any bugs stuck to them. Use glue traps liberally throughout your bedroom and living room. Remember: bed bugs hang out wherever you hang out.
2. Use a flashlight and check behind the furniture
Most of the typical hiding spots of bed bugs during the day will be close to your bed, near furniture. It can be hard to see bugs and shells in those cracks and crevices. Use a flashlight to make things easier to spot.
Picture frames, dressers, cabinets, sofas, and even shelving units could all be hiding bed bugs during the day. So, check everywhere.
3. Check cracks in your furniture
Furniture, particularly wooden furniture, can act as a hiding spot. Use that flashlight to see if there are any bugs hiding in the cracks. This can be hard to do, even with a flashlight. So, it’s going to take a little finagling to get bugs out.
To do this, get a hair dryer or steamer. Blow the hot air from the dryer close to your furniture’s crevices. If there are bed bugs there, you’ll see them slowly start to come out because the heat makes them think you’re nearby.
You might be surprised to see how many bed bugs hide in wooden furniture this way. We strongly suggest that you check out the bed frame this way. It’s a common place for them to hide.
4. Declutter and check your clothing, linen, and shoes
The most popular hiding spots for bed bugs are in clothing and linens. While you should always check your furniture, don’t hesitate to declutter and search laundry piles. This would be a good time for you to make sure that any items that are not infected are sealed in plastic bags.
If you see bed bug exoskeletons, eggs, or reddish stains on your clothing, you probably have bed bugs. You will need to heat treat your clothing and also vacuum the area that it was sitting in.
5. Consider hiring a pest control team with a bed bug dog
It’s true. Dogs can be remarkably good at finding bed bugs and where they hide. That’s thanks to their excellent sense of smell. Bed bug companies will often train a dog (like a bloodhound or beagle) to sniff around for a bed bug hideout.
For the most part, these dogs are pretty reliable. However, they are not always accurate. If your infestation is small, they may not be able to find every little bug. It’s best to think of them as an assistant rather than the full kit.
How Can You Tell If You Have a Bed Bug Infestation?
If you see a single bed bug, then you have an infestation. By the time you see them, it’s already too late and you’ve already got a fair number in your home. Is it possible to have a single bed bug? Yes, but it’s highly unlikely.
Why won’t exterminators treat your home for bed bugs without proof?
In many parts of the country, it’s illegal to do so. Bed bugs are notorious for being able to create immunity to poisons and pesticides. This helps slow down their ability to evolve immunity to the newest round of pesticides.
Very few pesticides are currently effective with all bed bugs. If we lose them, we’re in big trouble and there will be no way to fix it. The only non-pesticide treatments that will be left to use are expensive heat treatments and diatomaceous earth.
How did bed bugs get in my house?
Good question. If you have an apartment in a building, the bed bugs could have spread from a next door neighbor. If you have a home, then bed bugs came in by hitching a ride on you via clothing, purses, and backpacks.
You can pick up bed bugs anywhere—public transit, hotel rooms, schools, and even a friend’s home. With that said, you should never invite someone to your house if you know for a fact that they have bed bug problems. It’ll spread to your home.
Can you treat a bed bug infestation on your own?
Technically, you can. There are many people who have been able to get rid of them on their own. However, not all people can. Bed bugs are so notoriously difficult to remove, they basically are an obligatory call to the pest control experts in your area.
If you try to treat this yourself, you may actually be unsuccessful and cause the population to grow despite the efforts you make. So, rather than wait for the problem to compound, you should just call a pro.
If you have a bed bug infestation, you can still find them during the day. It will require careful checks on your bed, mattress, furniture, and the surrounding areas. Grab a flashlight and a dryer, and you will be able to find them in a pinch.
Once you do, make sure that you get a couple of live bed bugs in a jar to show to your landlord or exterminator. It will help ensure you get treatment as soon as possible.