BED BUG DETECTION / What to look for
This page will help you be able to identify signs of a bed bug infestation. Knowing what to look for is key!
Keep In Mind: You will most likely see signs of an infestation before actually seeing a bug!
Primary signs of Bed Bug infestations include: Feces, Blood, and Casings.
Secondary signs of Bed Bug infestations include: Live Bed Bugs, Eggs, and Eggshells.
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Bed Bug Feces (droppings): Bed Bug Feces is usually found around creases along the mattress and or box spring. Droppings can also found along the back of the head board or artwork hanging above the head of the bed. Bed bug droppings are always black and look like the marks of a felt tip pen and tend to bleed into the fabric, carpet, etc…They do not rub off. Click on these photos to see better examples of bed bug fecal matter:
Bed Bug fecal matter on a mattress. (Source:libraryoflogic.com)
Bed bug feces on the back of a head board in a hotel
Up close pic of bed bug feces in mattress seams.
Blood Smears: Smears of blood on sheets/pillows are also one of the early warning signs that there may be an infestation. Bed bugs do not fully close their mouths around the bite site when feeding, leaving drops of blood and residual marks. Also, bed bugs have an anti-coagulant whoch keeps the blood flowing. However, there are many other reasons that blood smears could be visible, and blood alone is not evidence of a Bed Bug infestation.
Blood left on sheets from a recent bed bug bite. Bed bugs typically drip blood as they take a blood meal.
Another image of blood stains left by bed bugs on sheets (Source:bedbugger.com)
Close up of bed bug blood drips on pillow case
Casings: As the bed bug molts into its next life stage, the old skin casings are left behind. Cast skins (casings) look like lighter colored empty bed bug shells – which is basically what they are. They can vary in size and in color. They get lighter in color over time.
Shed bed bugs shells, or casings, left after the bed bugs molt after taking a blood meal.
A group of bed bug shells, or casings, show a bad infestation.
Empty casings show the various sizes and stages of bed bug growth
Live Bed Bugs: Live Bed Bugs are, of course, the most obvious sign of a Bed Bug infestation. Live Bed Bugs can be found in any part of the unit, including the bathroom, because they are hitch-hikers. They can easily be introduced to any room that a guest has had clothing, linens, luggage, etc…Bed bug refuges contain bed bugs of all sizes.
Male & Femal Adult Bed Bugs.
Adult bed bug actual size
Eggs and Eggshells: Bed Bug Eggs and Empty Egg Shells are certainly symptoms of a growing multi-generational bed bug population. They are very small – about 1 mm in length – but visible to the naked eye – a magnifying glass helps. They are usually white in color, but can be opaque. Also, they are rarely found alone, but usually as part of the refuge site (in between mattress seams, etc..) with other signs of an infestation such as casings, feces and live bugs.
Bed bug eggs and casings and fecal matter. Note, the eggs are whitish in comparison
Bed bug eggs, tiny and white, shown here with bed bug nymphs.