If you suspect you have a bed bug infestation, either in your own home or hotel, having visual confirmation is important so that you can treat the problem effectively. These pests are hard to find, and hide extremely well! Doing periodic checks in new hotel rooms is an easy way to protect yourself while traveling.
Bed bugs (including their nymphs and eggs) are generally found in warm, dry places. Since they are flat insects, they hide in small crevices in fabric easily, and particularly enjoy bedding, mattresses, boxsprings, headboards, couches and other areas near humans.
As the name of these bugs suggests, bed bug’s favorite hiding places are in mattresses. Since they feed off the blood of humans, primarily at night, mattresses are prime real estate for these pests. The numerous cracks and folds in a mattress make it easy for them to evade even the most keen eye.
Take off the cover sheets on your bed and inspect the folds on top of the bed. Next, pull up any folds along the sides of the mattress and inspect inside for any signs of bugs, or their exoskeletons. Be sure to inspect around the entire bed, as they may congregate to one specific corner. Lastly, be sure to check underneath the mattress.
If there are any holes or damage to the mattress be sure to check these areas as well, as they may hide inside.
If bed bugs don’t have the opportunity to infest your mattress, they may move down to the boxspring, since this is another area that is near their food (you)! Check along the seams at the edge of the boxspring, and work your way around. Next, flip the boxspring and check underneath in any open crevices and holes.
Couches and chairs
Upholstered furniture such as sofas, chairs, and loveseats are also another location where you may encounter these pests.
First, take off any cushions and pillows. Check the along the seams of the cushion, and inside of the zipper fold.
Next, inspect the furniture along inner seams and any zippered areas. Flip the furniture and check underneath – even wooden areas may harbor bed bugs. Pay close attention to the corners of you furniture for signs of molted exoskeletons, eggs, or adult bed bugs.
If you have confirmed a bed bug sighting in another area, it may be worth inspecting your clothing as well, especially if it is in a heavily trafficked closet / dresser. Check the inner pockets and seams of pants, jeans, and dress shirts.
If you find the signs of a bed bug, launder your clothing at the highest temperature (minimum 120F or 50C). If it can not be washed, place it in the dryer at a high heat for 10-20 minutes. Be careful when transporting the clothing, as to not spread the bed bugs further.
If you have found the sign of a bed bug infestation, such as eggs, nymphs, adult bed bugs, or exoskeletons, be sure to notify the appropriate person. If you’re in an apartment, this will be your landlord. If in a hotel, the manager. They will likely be able to help you (and most times, will be required to by law)!
Report the bed bugs online to help fellow travelers know the bed bug history of a location. This can help protect people in the future from spreading pests and causing outbreaks.
You can also take steps yourself to prevent an full outbreak in your home. Become familiar with the symptoms of bed bug bites, find home treatment options, and hire an exterminator immediately. The sooner you act, the more likely you are to have a positive outcome!