A bed bug infestation is often considered a scourge on a person’s home. Not only do the little parasites invade our beds while we sleep in order to suck our blood, their small size makes it hard to get rid of them once they’re inside. Many homeowners don’t know how to test for bed bugs when trying to figure out if the bugs have gotten inside their home. The Bed bug Inspectors have gathered 5 good practices and 5 practices to avoid when checking for bed bugs. After many years serving clients in the New York and Long Island area here are tips on How to Check for Bed Bugs: What Works and What To Avoid.

How to check for bed bugs: 5 Good Practices That Work

Good Practice #1: Visual Inspection

This one is easy. Bed bugs are quite small, barely bigger than a grain of rice at most stages. If they haven’t fed, they’ll be light brown in color. If they’ve already been feeding on you or a family member, they’ll be reddish. When you see a bed bug, this obviously means they’ve gotten into your home.

bed bug colony in mattress

Good Practice #2: Itching and Redness

If you wake up with itchy red spots on your skin, this is a good sign that bed bugs are present. This could also indicate spiders, but they don’t bite very often and will be more like a painful welt. This is often the first sign that a homeowner witnesses to indicate an infestation. If you see you have bed bug bites you can continue with a visual inspection, do not rely only on the bites. Although you might think you could treat or inspect by yourself it is always recommended to call a professional.

Think you have bedbugs? Bites might be the first sign, but not everyone reacts the same way: on some they look like welts or hives, on others mosquito bites and some people don’t react at all. Once you’ve met a bedbug, though, you won’t mistake it for anything else. (The New York Times)

Good Practice #3: Set a Trap

Learning how to test for bed bugs can be done at the same time as getting rid of some of them. There are insect traps on the market that you can use, but you can also try a home version. Simply take a flat bowl — a dog dish works perfectly — and set a glass of dry ice inside, then fill the bowl with water. Cover the sides with something rough to give the bed bugs a way to crawl up the sides. The carbon dioxide will attract the bed bugs and they will drown in the water.

Good Practice #4: Fecal matter testing

Use a disposable glove and slide it around the seams of your mattress and inside other furniture. Black spots indicate fecal matter. Another testing method is to pick up a professional fecal matter testing kit at your local home improvement store.

Good Practice #5: Smell

According to experts, a bed bug infestation has a distinct odor. They describe it ranging anywhere from musky all the way up to spoiled raw meat. If you smell something like this, especially in a typically closed area, such as your attic or basement, this would indicate that an infestation has probably occurred.

Of all the insects that can invade your house, bed bugs might be the worst. They’re masters at hiding in your walls and furniture, they feed on your blood, and once they’re inside, getting rid of them can be a pain. Homeowners often make mistakes when deciding how to test for bed bugs. Here, we will illustrate five practices that you should avoid.

5 Practices To Avoid When Testing For Bed Bugs

bed bug bites

Practice #1 To Avoid: Using a bite as your only evidence

If you wake up with redness on your skin and an itching sensation, there’s a good chance that you have bed bugs. But it’s important not to jump the gun. Although it’s rare, the you have bite could be caused by a different type of insect, or possibly even a spider. You can easily compare your bite with pictures found on various websites.

Practice #2 To Avoid: Relying solely on your eyes

Do you know how to test for bed bugs by sight? Some homeowners believe that all you have to do is take a look around. After all, these parasites are visible to the human eye. You must remember, however, that bed bugs are very small, which means a visual inspection might prove to be difficult.

Practice #3 To Avoid:  Visual inspection for bed bug droppings

If you’re looking for something like rodents, you can simply look for droppings in your basement, attic, etc. This isn’t true for bed bug droppings, especially since they’re often hidden. Instead of relying on your eyes, use a disposable latex glove to rub inside the folds of your furniture. Black specks will indicate fecal droppings.

Practice #4 To Avoid: Looking in the wrong places

How to test for bed bugs in your house can start with a visual inspection if it’s part of a full regimen of testing. To do this, avoid looking in places where bed bugs won’t be found such as drains or in your garden. Focus on areas such as walls, furniture, and other tight places they can squeeze into.

Practice #5 To Avoid: Using the incorrect type of insect trap

Insect traps are often used to determine if an infestation is taking place. If you set up a trap and find bugs inside after a short time, there’ s a good chance of infestation. However, you must keep in mind that bed bug traps are very specific to bed bugs, based on how they attract the bugs. It is important that you use traps designed for them.

Learn with The Bed Bug Inspectors