It is important to gear more knowledge about the bed bugs – physical features and its reproductive cycle, before confirming the suspicion of a possible bed bug infestation at any place of living. This knowledge assists in the detection of a bed bug infestation at home, hotel and any other public accommodation. Recommendation is to check or inspect for bed bugs regularly, especially when -
i. A person has traveled and returned home
ii. Children returning from play date/ trekking
iii. The family is back from a house or a public place
iv. While traveling or
v. Staying at a hotel/motel.
What things are required for a bed bug inspection?
A powerful magnifying glass and a strong bright flashlight (red) are few essentials for a thorough bed bug screening.
When is the suitable time to inspect?
Since the bed bugs are nocturnal blood parasitic pests, it is ideal to conduct the inspection at night. When inspecting during the day, ensure to keep the rooms dark, as bedbugs are averse to daylight.
How to check for bed bugs?
- Start with the mattress, as bedbugs are prone to hide where the human beings sleep. Be alert and look for signs such as blood splotches/spots, stains on the mattress, especially in the seams, folds and tufts of the mattress.
- Wake up at night and check sharply for any feeding bugs on the body. Bed bugs are generally very fast to move away from light.
- Use the flashlight to inspect all the bed linen, bed, headboard, footboard, box springs, between the cracks in the bed furniture, under and around the mattress and pillows. Ensure to remove all the dark-colored linen since it may prove a bit difficult to spot bed bugs on such clothing.
- Look for adult reddish brown bed bugs, fecal spots, nymphs, shed skin, eggs between the box springs of the bed furniture.
- If there are hard to reach corners in the bed furniture, lay a trap for bed bugs to confirm the suspicion. Use double-sided adhesive tape and place it along the edges of the furniture and on the immediate floor that is around the bed. The sticky tape will catch the bed bugs, if present at the site.
- Move on to other items at home using the same approach, such as, picture frames, sofa, switch plate, wall corners, crevices and curtain rods. Additionally, inspect cupboards, drawers, book shelves, cabinets, sofa cushions, clothes, bag, wall hangings, all electrical outlets, dressers, mirrors, closets, floorboards, carpets, dust ruffles , travel bags, (especially if they are made of fabric material), suit cases, etc.
Visual inspection may not be the reliable method to detect bed bugs unless it is a heavy infestation. It is quite a challenge to detect bed bug infestation at an early stage, as only few bed bugs or eggs are present in the colony. New electronic inspection devices, bed bug interception devices and use of dogs are some of the helpful methods to detect beg bugs.