Bed bugs can be difficult to find, and the thought of tiny blood-sucking insects crawling out to feed on you while you sleep, or just rest, is more than a little unsettling. It’s this behavior that makes these tiny pests so cringe-worthy.

bed bug detector

If you think you’ve got bed bugs in your home, you should act fast. Small infestations can easily become big infestations if they are left untreated. Learn more about how to identify bed bugs, how bed bug detection tools work and some bed bug treatment methods.

One way to check for bed bugs in your home is to use a detection tool. There are two primary types of these: active and passive.

Active bed bug monitors use lures to mimic the presence of a host and draw bed bugs out from their hiding places. Most often, these use carbon dioxide and heat, two signals bed bugs use to find hosts, to attract and trap the insects.

Passive bed bug detectors, also called bed bug interceptors, work on a simpler principle: bed bugs do not climb well on smooth, vertical surfaces. These small, plastic dishes are placed under bed posts. The outer surface is textured, and the inner surface is smooth, allowing the insects to crawl inside but making it very difficult to impossible for them to escape.

How to Identify Bed Bugs

Adult bed bugs are small, oval-shaped, reddish-brown insects about the size of an apple seed, or roughly one-fourth of an inch long. They may be flat or, if they’ve fed recently, they may appear slightly inflated.

Immature bed bugs are smaller and may be translucent and whitish or yellow in color. They are essentially invisible to the naked eye if they have not recently fed. If they've recently fed, then they may show some color.

How to Tell If You Have Bed Bugs

Because bed bugs are generally active at night and remain hidden during the day, detection can be tricky, with or without bed bug detection tools. However, there are a few signs of bed bugs that might indicate an infestation.

First, if you suspect you have bed bugs in your home, you need to know where they might be hiding. Check common spots like:

  • Under the mattress
  • On headboards and bedside tables
  • Near ceiling and wall junctions
  • Beneath loose wallpaper or paneling

Keep in mind that while you can see adult bed bugs, you may not be able to see their young.

You should also check your bedding for additional signs, such as shed insect skins or exoskeletons, fecal spots and small blood stains. If bed bugs are present, you may also see small, red bites on your body. However, not everyone has this reaction to bed bug bites.

DIY vs. Professional Help

Detecting bed bugs is one thing, but treating them is another. When dealing with bed bugs, it may be tempting to treat the infestation yourself. It’s important to remember, though, that bed bugs are notoriously difficult to control. And while it may seem like a do-it-yourself solution can save you money, it may cost you more in the long run.

Many bed bug infestations will require more than one treatment and may need multiple treatment methods used together. If you miss a treatment or do not perform the treatment correctly, you may need to start the process over, and you risk making the infestation worse and/or spending more money that you need to. More often than not, an attempt at DIY treatment ends in a call to a bed bug control professional.

The professionals at Terminix® know where to inspect and can search common bed bug hiding spots, including beds, furniture and linens. Additionally, Terminix® uses a combination of solutions to help eliminate bed bugs and their eggs. Call today for your FREE Inspection.