How to Check for Bed Bugs: Find Signs of Where They Hide

You may know what a bed bug looks like, but recognizing signs of an infestation can be tricky – no worries, I’ll show you what to look for so that you can find and eliminate these bloodsuckers!

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Learn where bed bugs hide in a room
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Bed bugs can hide in phones and clock radios, but they love the furniture next to the bed, look underneath and in the corners.

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The best place to find bed bugs is the mattress! Look under the tag and in corners along seams. Look for black dots (dried blood) which is a sign of infestation.

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Check near the outlet, these are one of their favorite hiding places!

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This headboard is firmly attached to the wall, but that doesn’t mean bed bugs can’t make a nest in there! Use a credit card to swipe edges and look at what falls out.

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Check behind picture frames, especially next to the bed.

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We have so many pictures of draperies infested with bed bugs it would make you sick! Easy to find and spot, but often missed.

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Look behind that baseboard near the bed, there is usually a gap and a perfect spot for bed bugs.

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They wash pillows right? Or do they simply change the cover? Check the pillow inside to see if there are blood stains (black dots) because they hide in here even though some get squashed.

Know their Hiding Spots

When you check the locations below, peel back any sheets and check the mattress, cushions, and pillows, carefully running your fingers along the upper and lower seams. Make sure to check under tags and any plastics plastic around the edges. You might want to consider a UV flashlight like this one from Amazon to help locate stains.

Bed bugs love to hide in anything that has gaps, so consider this when performing your inspection in the following places:

  • your underwear
  • behind baseboards
  • around door and window casings
  • around window sills and frames
  • behind electrical and telephone switch plates
  • between flooring and wall components
  • where materials meet to form a gap
  • around pipes (water, drain, electrical conduits)
  • bed frames and headboard
  • under nightstands and drawers
  • storage units
  • items such as furniture that may have hollow legs
  • between upholstered furniture
  • between the folds of drapery or curtains
  • in your alarm clock
  • inside loose wallpaper
  • seams, creases, tufts, and folds of the mattress and box spring

Look for Signs

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Signs of bed bugs and what you should check for
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They are not rice, but a sign you have an infestation! They are bed bug egg casings from nymphs (baby bed bugs) that shed their shells and are sticky.

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This is a full grown bed bug on the end of a mattress. The dark color is a sign your bed bugs are well feed (likely on your blood).

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Notice how this bed bug has a dark patch? That’s human blood and it’s looking for more. This indicates you have an active infestation.

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These are bed bug eggs that have not hatched yet, are sticky, and can be removed with a comb.

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Bed bug poop looks like black dots made from a marker. The excreted blood turns from a red color to black. These are signs that may help you find bed bugs.

Bed bugs are messy and these signs may indicate they are in your home:

Bed bug poop on mattress

This images shows what bed bug poop looks like on a mattress

  • Shells or Castings: Are there shells (shed skins) / castings? As the bed bug develops, it sheds the skin, which looks like the bug. Tiny white eggs (like rice) along the edge of the mattress is also a good indication of an infestation.
  • Tiny Black Dots: One of the best signs you may have bed bugs! Unlike us, bed bugs don’t wait to poop until they go home; they do it then and there, which helps us locate the nest. That poop is excreted human blood and sticks to fabric (want more pictures?). These tiny black dots stick (you can’t shake them off) which makes them easy to spot; wipe it with a wet towel, and if it smears, it may be fecal matter.
  • Foul Smell: Another way to identify bed bugs is their bad smell; the odor may smell musty, smell like spoiled raw beef, or smell sweet, such as fresh red raspberries.
  • Still Can’t Find Them?

    Convinced you have them but didn’t find signs? Bring in a bed bug sniffing dog!

Bed bug exposes inspector to blood

Bed bug burst open and exposed inspector to human blood.

What to do if you find Bed Bugs

If you find a bed bug infestation at a hotel, rental, or bed and breakfast, immediately take a picture! You can send us a copy for identification and, most importantly, documentation – trust me, it WILL come in handy.

If your check turns up results in your home, then here is some excellent information on how to get rid of bed bugs – and you do not need harmful chemicals.

CAUTION! Always wear gloves when checking for bugs. Shown here is an image of a blood-filled bed bug that burst open in the palm of the inspector’s hand during an inspection – don’t take any chances!

CAUTION! Always wear gloves when checking for bugs. Shown here is an image of a blood filled bed bug that burst open in the palm of the inspector’s hand during an inspection – don’t take any chances!

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