How To Test For Bed Bugs & Tell If A Room Has Them

Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

As you can guess from the name, bed bugs usually live in bedrooms, nearby beds, and other sleeping areas. They feed on warm-blooded animals to survive and therefore are attracted to the spaces where they congregate. For whatever reason, that science still hasn’t discovered, bed bugs seem to prefer humans over other warm-blooded animals.

Where Do You Find Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are super small, even smaller than an apple seed at 4-5 mm long. Therefore, it can be very difficult to spot bed bugs unless you are actively searching for them. Even if you are looking, it can still be tough to spot them unless you know where to look.

Bed Bugs In The Bedroom

In order to easily feed on humans, bed bugs make their homes as close to us as possible. Therefore, they often congregate in bedsprings, headboards, and bed framing. You may also spot them on or in furniture and fixtures nearby the bed.

Bed Bugs In Chairs And Soft Furnishings

Once a bed bug has entered the room, they will settle near their food source. This is also why chairs and other soft furnishings can be just as attractive as the bed to set up their shelter.

Despite the name, bed bugs don’t just bite you in bed. They will bite you anytime they are nearby, and when you are settled into one spot for a long period of time, such as a couch watching television, a computer desk where you are working, and so on.

How To Test For Bed Bugs And Inspect Your Room

Unfortunately, the idea that bed bugs can only be found in cheap hostels or dirty motels is a misconception. They are common in hotels, motels, and hostels because people are frequently moving in and out of those locations and can carry bed bugs with them on their clothing or in their suitcases. Ultimately, it’s possible to pick up bed bugs in 5-star hotels as well as inexpensive hostels.

No matter where you are staying, you should still be testing for bed bugs. By being proactive, you could save yourself a lot of money, time and effort in having to eradicate bed bugs from your home upon your return.

Signs To Look For When You Test For Bed Bugs Include:

Live bugs — Inspect the mattress, pillows, blankets, linens, cushions and chairs. This is where you may spot live bugs. Bear in mind, you could still have a bed bug infestation with no visible bed bugs, so it’s important to look for the below signs as well.

Stains — Bed bugs leave brown droppings that stain mattresses, pillows, and other soft fabric materials. These spots are very small, less than a millimetre, so you’ll have to look very closely. They tend to appear in clusters and look similar to ink stains. However, you may also spot small red or brown stains that can appear when a bed bug is squashed.

Eggs and eggshells — Bed bug eggs or eggshells are just as tiny as the stains, about a millimetre in diameter, but they appear yellowish instead of brown. If you are not aware of an existing infestation, it can be very difficult to spot the eggs. However, if you’re closely inspecting these surfaces, then you should be able to spot proof of eggs.

What To Do If You Find Signs Of Bed Bugs

If you have spotted signs of bed bugs, the first thing to do is remove yourself and your belongings from the room. After you’re away from the infestation, it’s important to closely inspect all of your clothing and belongings that were in the room. You want to make sure that none of the bed bugs have crawled into your stuff. The only thing worse than being kicked out of your room due to bed bugs, would be accidentally bringing them home on top of it.

Once you and your belongings have been safely evacuated, it’s important that you inform the owners about the problem. Whether it’s a friend’s house that you’re staying at or a hotel, if they aren’t made aware of the issue, they can’t fix it. Instead of moving to a different room in the same building, you should rebook your stay at a different building altogether to be safe. If one room is infested with bed bugs, it is quite possible that some of the other rooms are as well, especially ones directly above or beside the room you were in.

Bed Bugs Outside The Bedroom While Travelling

Bed bugs don’t exclusively eat at night. They will eat during any time of the day, but they require their hosts to be still long enough to feed. They are opportunistic eaters, which means they don’t mind if the host is awake.

Besides hotels, there are many different places you may encounter bed bugs while either travelling or just exploring your own city. Essentially, the risk of encountering bed bugs is high in any space where there is high human turnover and soft, fabric materials. Some of these locations are much more public and therefore difficult to test for bed bugs. This includes:

  • Movie theatres
  • Restaurants
  • Planes
  • Trains
  • Buses
  • Taxi cabs
  • Thrift shops
  • Hospitals

Basically, anywhere that you are still for prolonged periods of time leaves you, victim, to possible bed bug bites.

How Do Bed Bugs Spread?

Bed bugs are fast. Despite their size, they crawl quickly and can complete a meal in 3-10 minutes. A bed bug population can double every sixteen days, and they can quickly and effortlessly spread a full-blown infestation in a home, hotel or wherever else they choose by simply running from room to room.

Not only are they speedy, but they’re seasoned travelers. They can effortlessly hide in your clothing, suitcases, purses or other belongings to spread to different houses, cities, or even countries.

How To Test For Bed Bugs Before You Leave

The only sure-fire way to ensure you are not the one spreading a bed bug infestation is to make sure you don’t have bed bugs in your home.

Packing Tips

  • Thoroughly look through your clothing and suitcases for signs of bed bugs
  • Cover your luggage in plastic to prevent bed bugs from crawling into your luggage from other people’s
  • Hard-shell suitcases and better at protecting your stuff from bed bugs than soft-shell

When You Arrive At Your Hotel, Hostel, or Airbnb:

  • Thoroughly inspect the rooms you are staying in
  • Inspect the cushions, bedding, mattresses, and linens to see if they contain any staining or eggs
  • Don’t be lazy – inspect the entire bed area, including the headboard and frame
  • Pro tip: Before inspection, place your luggage directly into the bathtub to make sure your belongings aren’t infested while you’re performing your bed bug test

What To Do Before You Return Home

Before leaving, you should wash all your clothes (in as hot as possible water and/or a hot dryer) before packing them back up. Additionally, be sure to check your suitcase closely for bed bugs before packing up.

If you are unable to wash your clothes before departing, then pack them in airtight plastic bags and put them in the wash as soon as you return home.

How To Test For Bed Bugs When Returning Home

No matter how many precautions you take, sometimes these sneaky buggers find a way to follow you home anyway. To make sure they don’t survive long in your home:

  • Inspect your luggage as soon as you come home, and preferably outside of your home in the driveway or garage
  • Take a flashlight and carefully inspect every single nook and cranny of your suitcase
  • Wash your clothing as soon as you arrive home, and whatever you do, don’t place the dirty clothing on your bedroom floor or bed

What To Do If Bed Bugs Hitched A Ride To Your Home?

Checking for bed bugs while you travel can save you a huge headache when you return. If you spotted anything that you believe to be bed bugs or evidence of bed bugs, do not bring your suitcase into the house. Leave it outside and give our bed bug exterminators a call ASAP.

If you accidentally brought the infested suitcase inside, don’t move it around anymore. Leave it exactly where you left it and call in the bed bug exterminators. Bed bugs are more likely to travel and move around when they are disturbed. At this point, you are performing damage control and trying to keep them contained to a single room if possible. Let the pest control experts handle the bed bug infestation, preventing it from running rampant in your home.

Have you returned home and spotted signs of a bed bug infestation? Schedule a professional inspection with Terminix Canada today. Remember, the safest and best bed bug treatments can only be performed by an experienced team of professionals. Foggers and other pesticides come with a list of health risks and other dangers if carelessly applied or improperly used. Licensed exterminators can provide effective heat treatment options, which require specialized equipment and expertise.

Save yourself the trouble and let us take care of your bed bug problems right now! Terminix Canada has provided superior bed bug extermination services all over Canada and is backed by over 90 years of experience. Our chemical and steam bed bug treatments will get rid of your unwanted visitors once and for all.

For more information regarding our pest control services, call us at 1-888-801-6348!

If you think you’ve accidentally brought bed bugs home, learn what to do and what not to do about your bed bug problem here.