Bed bug detection isn’t easy, but there are signs: bed bugs leave behind fecal stains, egg cases, and shed skins on or near beds or in chairs or sofas where you relax. You can find them in drawers, behind pictures or wall paper, or hiding in just about any crack or crevice in any room. More than likely, you will need a professional bed bug inspection to confirm their presence. The most reliable method to date is the use of bed bug dogs, canines specially trained to sniff out bed bugs anywhere in any environment. Our K9 Force is 98% effective at bed bug detection!
You may need professional bed bug inspection services to be sure. The most reliable method of bed bug detection is the use of specially trained bed bug sniffing dogs. A trained bed bug dog is the most accurate ‘technology’ (95-98% effective) for detecting a low level bed bug infestation, versus humans who are only able to find the bugs 40% of the time. A low level bed bug infestation may be difficult to find because of the bed bugs’ small size and their behavior.
What do bed bugs look like? Newly hatched specimens are 1 millimeter in size (think the tip of ball point pen) and see-through. Their bodies are so translucent at this stage, that their first blood meals are visible through their exoskeleton, turning the abdominal cavity bright red! As they mature, these weekly blood meals turn their color to a reddish brown and they become similar in size and appearance to an apple seed, with a flat, oval, wingless shape measuring at most 1/4 of an inch.
Unlike ticks and other parasites which live on their host, bed bugs do not. When they are not feeding or looking for food, bed bugs will hide in cracks and crevices. Their flat bodies and small size enable them to wedge themselves between the seams of fabric, wood, plastic and metal. Despite urban myths that a bed bug infestation cannot occur in plastic or metal items, there is no design of furnishing or material that is resistant to bed bugs. Any surface that contains cracks and crevices can provide a harbor for them, making bed bug detection difficult.
A higher level bed bug infestation is more easily visible to the human eye not only because there are simply more bugs, but also because the fecal speckling and skin casings bed bugs produce accumulate and become more easily recognizable. This fecal speckling resembles ink spotting and is accompanied by skin casings that are shed during the bed bugs’ development, along with pearl colored, cylindrical egg capsules that are ¼ the size of a rice grain.
During a bed bug inspection, we look for these signs as well as live bed bugs in cracks and crevices. Start with the most obvious areas – places where you spend a lot of time immobile, such as your bed (mattress, box spring, frame, bed skirt and headboard) recliner, sofa and even the chair at your desk or computer. After examining these areas, you may wish to extend your bed bug inspection outward to adjacent furnishings, behind picture frames and base moldings. A flashlight and magnifying glass are helpful tools for bed bug detection.
You may need professional help to confirm a bed bug infestation— especially if it is a low level, recently introduced one. Do not hesitate to contact licensed bed bug companies to schedule a human or bed bug dog inspection should you suspect these parasites but are unable to locate any physical evidence.