1. Travel
Send to a Friend via Email

Video:How to Detect Bed Bugs

with Adam Kochanowicz

Learn how to detect bed bugs so that you can determine whether you need to call the exterminator. Here are some tips on how to detect bed bugs, including where to look for them and what bed bugs look like.See Transcript

  • All Videos
  • All Travel Videos
  • Hotels Videos

Transcript:How to Detect Bed Bugs

Hi, I'm Adam Kochanowicz for About.com. Are you waking up itching all over? Do you find red marks on your legs and arms? You may need to start thinking about bed bugs who could be living in your mattress, box spring, and even your clothes, out of sight but ever present while you're sleeping.

In this video, I’ll show you how to tell if you have bed bugs. The main two areas to check for bed bugs are, of course, the bed, and yourself. While the bed bugs themselves can be hard to find in the mattress, they do leave certain clues in and on the bed. Your next clue is the characteristic blemishes and itching you may be waking up to.

What to Look For When You Try to Detect Bed Bugs

Before checking your bed, make sure you have someone to help you as you will need to completely lift the mattress and possibly the box spring. Here's what you’ll need to look for: Bed bugs themselves are about a 1/4-inch long and have a wide flat body. They're usually brown and have a way of hiding very well in your mattress.

While you may not find the bugs themselves, you might have an easier time finding their defecations and eggs. Because the defecations contain undigested crystals from blood, they will appear brownish-red in color. These might be the only indicators you will see from the top of your mattress.

Bed bug eggs can be up to 1-1/2 mm long and are usually translucent white. Lastly, the insects will shed their shell from time to time. These are a light translucent brown and can also be found in the mattress.

Where to Look to Detect Bed Bugs

Now that you know what to look for, here are some tips for where to look. Take the sheets and spreads off your mattress and box spring and do a visual inspection of the sheets for signs of stains from defecations of the insects.

Next, pull back the seam running along the border of the mattress, especially in the corners. These seams curl up and provide a tempting living space for bed bugs. With help, lift the mattress on its side and do the same visual inspection along the seams. Be sure to check all sides.

After you've checked the mattress and box spring, check the foot and head boards as well, especially in small places and joint areas where they can easily hide.

Evaluate Bumps and Blemishes to Detect Bed Bugs

Now that you've checked the mattress, it's time to evaluate any bumps or blemishes you may be waking up to. It's important to know what a bed bug bite is and what it is not. A true bed bug bite reacts similarly to a mosquito. While some people have no reaction to the bites, the anesthetic in the saliva is what makes us itch, further irritating the area to reveal red bumps.

Bed bugs usually bite in aggregates, so there will usually be several other bites around one in a cluster. It's important to look for bumps and irritation to distinguish bed bug bites from a rash. Because bed bugs regularly feed at night, if you notice a redness or bumpiness on only one or a few solitary occasions, you may not have a bed bug problem.

Your best bet in preventing further insult to injury is to prevent the introduction of bedbugs right at the start. If you already have bedbugs, a bedbug repellant and mattress cover go a long away, and prevent you from having to buy new furniture. Consult a physician if you have blemishes or itching, especially if they do not appear to be caused by bed bugs.

Thanks for watching, to learn more, visit us on the web at About.com.

Media used under a CC 2.0 BY License from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/balkan/498167744/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/zielonasiec/3731644679/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/medilldc/5407193465/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/469563180/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/alishav/4149735494/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/vivarin/5535041180/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/mah_japan/2613964276/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/hiyori13/705122619/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/lou_bugs_pix/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/uggboy/4058350802/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/theaudiochick/4828783196/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/rmommaerts/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/cuttlefish/3333707314
About videos are made available on an "as is" basis, subject to the User Agreement.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.