How To Check For Bed Bugs

How To Check For Bed Bugs

To begin, it is not recommended to solely rely on a visual inspection. Bed bugs can hide in the tightest of spaces making it hard to see with the human eye. Dogs are trained with high accuracy to alert for bed bugs. These K-9s must be well trained and certified with their handler. Let’s find out how to check for bed bugs starting with some signs and symptoms:


A strong, musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands is often described as smelling like coriander. The smell is not pleasant If you have an infestation of bed bugs you may begin to notice your home smells like moldy shoes or wet moldy clothes. Smelling them is not a reliable way to confirm a bed bug infestation, but their distinctive scent does allow bed bug detection dogs to pinpoint their hiding places effectively when visual evidence is not easily found.

Blood Spots

Blood spots may appear on the sheets or mattress. These stains are usually the result of blood-filled bed bugs being crushed. This usually happens if you roll over while they are feeding and they become trapped between you and the bed.


Bed bugs leave their feces everywhere, from pillowcases and sheets to sofa cushions, baseboards, and outlets. Bed bug poop is made up of digested blood. When wet, it’s still dark red like blood would be. When it dries, the mark turns into a very dark rust shade, and will usually appear black in most lighting.


Bed bugs shed when they are going through their life cycle, from nymph to adult. The casing looks just like the bed bug but without the body on the inside. Many shells are undamaged, and it appears as though the nymph magically disappeared from its exoskeleton. Since bed bugs like to stay close to where their host (you) sleeps, you will probably find more casings in and around your bed, such as along the mattress seams and behind the headboard. Other common places to find size varieties of bed bug casings are in areas where the ceiling and wall meet, along baseboards, air conditioners, and furniture.


Bed bug eggs are shiny translucent to pearly white in colour and are found both in bed bug harborages and locations away from the main population (female bed bugs tend to lay some eggs “away from the crowd”). They have a sticky film when they are first laid to help them adhere to surfaces and this can give them a kind of shiny appearance. Bed bug eggs are approximately 1 mm long. They are more often found on wood and fabric than on plastic or metal.


It can be difficult to distinguish bed bug bites from other insect bites or rashes. In general, the sites of bedbug bites usually are red, often with a darker red spot in the middle, itchy, and arranged in a rough line, zigzag pattern, or a cluster located on the face, neck, arms and hands. Some people have no reaction to bed bug bites, while others experience an allergic reaction that can include severe itching, blisters or hives.

Live Nymph / Mature bed bugs

Baby bed bugs, called nymphs, are smaller and lighter coloured than adults. They can be almost clear until they are fed at which point they turn blood red. Depending on the developmental stage, they range from the size of a pin-head or poppy seed size at birth to about ¼” as they reach maturity. 

Fully matured bed bugs are a rusty-brown colour and very flat – until they’ve filled their bellies with blood. They are approximately ¼” in length – about the size and shape of a small apple seed. Bed bugs are often found in the seams of a mattress. The most common spot is the bottom corners of the box spring underneath the plastic pieces.

How to check for bed bugs?

When looking for bed bugs it’s helpful to know where they typically end up. Bed bugs can be anywhere, they are expert hiders. They like to hide in tight spaces such as any cracks or crevices. Bed bugs are attracted to the CO2 we emit and that’s how they end up in our beds. The most common places is the seams of the mattress and inside the plastic corners of the boxspring. Bed bugs typically feed at night making them hard to see during the day.

Bed bugs like to travel in luggage and on clothing. They can latch on hard making it easy to travel. If you are afraid bed bugs are on your clothing, put it all in a plastic bag and tie it up tight. Then once you’ve made it to a dryer, take all your items out of the bag and put in. The heat gets above the kill zone at 122°Fahrenheit/ 50° Celsius.

If you are still unsure whether or not you have bed bugs, a K-9 inspection will determine that. These dogs are professional trained to alert for the musty smell live bed bugs emit. It’s important that the dog and the handler are certified together. Be cautious of uncertified dogs.

The timing of the K-9 inspection is critical. Bed bugs reproduce extremely fast. Determining early that you have a small infestation is better than waiting a couple weeks when it becomes more of a problem. These dogs can spot check exactly where the bed bugs are. This comes in handy to know whether or not your vehicle is infested as well.

Bed Bug Heat Relief offers K-9 Inspections and heat treatments. These are the two best methods for finding and eliminating bed bugs. Be cautious of other methods as they do not provide great accuracy and full elimination of bed bugs.

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