As a company that offers the best bed bug laundry service available, we work with customers on the daily who are dealing with the aftermath of these horrible housemates. It’s undeniable that bed bugs suck, both literally and figuratively. The best way to prevent an all-out infestation is to give your home a periodic once-over, to ensure that these nightmarish pests have not taken up residence.
If you already know you have bed bugs, it’s still important to conduct a thorough check, to see how widespread the problem truly is. Is the situation fairly contained, or has a bed bug infestation spread throughout a room (or your entire home)? Once you know, you can communicate more effectively with the professionals who will help eliminate bed bugs from your home and belongings.
So what’s the best way to inspect your home for bed bugs?
Here’s our quick how-to guide, to ensure you are getting the job done right.
Grab a bright flashlight. If you are using the one on your phone, make sure it’s on the brightest setting. A bed bug’s tiny size makes it tough to detect, and you’ll be looking in places (like inside furniture) that needs proper illumination.
Know what you are looking for. We’ve included some pictures here, to give you an idea of what bed bugs actually look like. In addition to the bugs themselves, you are looking for some of the traces they commonly leave behind. These include: reddish or rust colored stains on mattresses that occur when bugs are crushed; dark spots only slightly larger than the periods on this page, which are bug excrement; and tiny eggs and eggshells. (Yup, we know – gross.)
Start with your bed. They’re called bed bugs for a reason. While it’s certainly true that bed bugs are found in many other areas, a great place to start is around your actual bed. Many people do a quick peek under the mattress and think they are done. That’s a mistake. Instead, carefully check the piping and seams on both sides of your mattress, and also check your box spring and bed frame. Use that flashlight to carefully examine your headboards and footboards, especially if they have intricate carvings or fancy woodwork where bed bugs could easily hide.
Next tackle other furniture like upholstered couches and chairs. Much like you did with your bed, carefully check all seams and piping, look underneath cushions, and examine all woodwork.
If you have wall-to-wall carpets: check the area where the carpet meets the walls. Get down on the floor, go around the entire room, and don’t rush.
Grab a ladder and check the area where the walls meet the ceiling. Again, this is a common area where bed bugs hide. Just be careful – falls are a common household injury. Enlist the help of someone who can steady the ladder and keep you safe.
Check the area around baseboards, then check door and window frames. Again, no rushing!
Open up all furniture like bureaus and bedside tables, and do a thorough inspection. First empty all the drawers. Just in case you DO have bed bugs, don’t pile all your belongings on the bed or floor! That’s a sure-fire way to spread bed bugs around the room. (Instead, place items in plastic bags that you can carefully seal.) If a drawer is lined with paper, lift the paper up to look underneath. If that’s not possible, then carefully examine the areas where the paper meets the sides of the drawer. Also check the furniture joints, which are a common space where bed bugs love to hide.
Check the area around electrical outlets. Don’t forget to check the ones behind the bed, or hidden behind other furniture!
Don’t ignore the closet. If you’ve checked out the entire room, it’s time to tackle your closet. Again, you’ll want to check the seams where the carpet meets the walls, and the area where the walls meet the ceiling. If you have built in furniture, you’ll want to follow a process similar to the one you used when checking other furniture in the room. Also, don’t forget to examine any hardware, such as the point where the closet rod meets the wall.
We admit it’s hard to know what to do when dealing with a bedbug outbreak. However one thing is certain: the more information you have, the better prepared you will be to rid your home of bed bugs once and for all. Don’t panic, figure out exactly how widespread the problem is, then call on professionals like us who can get the job done. Click here to learn about our bed bug laundry service and how we can eliminate bed bugs in your bedding and laundry.