Bed Bug Detection – What do they look like?

December 24, 2014 by Doug Moore

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If you’re like much of the population, you’re probably aware that bed bugs have been making a comeback in recent years. Once eradicated, they are now back in full-force, ready to sneak up on you at night and feed on your blood while you sleep.

The role of physical attributes in bed bug detection
Firstly, it’s critical that you know what bed bugs look like. These parasites are very small, growing only to around 1/8th-1/4 inch in adulthood, but they are still visible to the naked eye. They are tan in color and rather flat, unless they have fed. If they have recently feasted on blood, they’ll be red and puffy. Once they hatch, they all have the same basic look through their seven life cycle stages.

The role of molting in bed bug detection
Each stage of a bed bug’s life cycle is accompanied by the shedding of their old skin to allow for growth. This process is known as molting. Although these layers of shed skin are very small, they can still be seen, especially with a magnifying glass. The number of these skins that you see in a given area will indicate how many bed bugs you might be dealing with. However, they’re probably too small to tell the difference between one life cycle and another.

The role of bites in bed bug detection
It’s important that you know what bed bug bites look like, because this is very often the first sign of infestation that a homeowner will notice. Bed bug bites appear as small red areas on your skin. They could seem to be a small rash of some kind. Itching will occur at the location of the bite. If your skin is sensitive, its overall appearance could be much worse, along with the severity of the itching.

The role of fecal stains in bed bug detection
Bed bugs are known to hide in crevices and cracks inside your house. This includes furniture, which is why they received the common name of “bed bugs.” They can hide in a wide multitude of places, and because they are very small, you might never actually see one up close and personal. This could prevent you from deciding whether or not an infestation has taken place. To solve this problem, though, all it takes is a disposable latex glove or two. Slip one on and slide your hand along the folds and crevices of your sofa, bed, chair etc. Rub around the edges slowly, pressing down a bit, and take a look at the glove. If it comes back with black marks, this often indicates bed bug feces.

For more information about bed bugs, heat treatment, and canine bed bug scent detection, click here.

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