How to check if you have bedbugs

Our pest control team are often asked “How do I check if i have bed bugs?” or “What are the signs I have bed bugs?

What do bedbugs look like?

Bed bugs are small parasitic crawling insects. Often mistaken for carpet beetles or similar sized insects they grow to 4-5 mm long and 1.5mm wide – roughly the size of apple seeds. Adult bed bugs range in colour from light to reddish brown. They are oval shaped, wing-less and domed in appearance. Their preferred sole source of food is human blood. They are tough and live for 12+ months without feeding. Just one single pregnant bed bug can be responsible for a full-blown infestation in two weeks with its offspring rapidly producing.

Where bedbugs can be found

Bed bugs congregate after feeding. While they often live around the bed itself to be close to their food source they can be found throughout a property. At home or in a hotel you’re likely to find them in the door frame cracks, in the gaps above and under the skirting board, around light switches and pendants, inside electrical sockets; within the upholstery of your fabric covered furniture, even in clothes.

Bedbugs spread rapidly from one floor to another and to the rooms on either side of the suspected infested room please be thorough when checking. If you spot several bedbugs, it’s likely they have been breeding for a few weeks and are likely to be in more than one room.

Check for visible bites and sometimes swollen red marks on yourselves or your guests

Apart from the fact they are unsightly (especially after feeding on human blood) bedbugs target and harm humans with the following tell-tale signs.

  • Red welts from where they have pierced the skin
  • Swelling on the bitten skin
  • Intense itching
  • Prominent blisters
  • Not all people experience these signs of bedbugs even if sharing a bed with someone who does. It does not mean they are not being bitten, just that their skin is not reacting to the bite itself.
  • Don’t dismiss bedbug bites as something else
  • Whilst the most obvious sign is human discomfort bedbug bites are often mistakenly attributed to other insects such as fleas and mosquitoes. Bites from fleas tend to be around the ankles. Bedbug bites are more likely to be on the arms and upper torso and even face.

Other tell-tale bedbug signs to look for

  • Tiny rusty coloured blood spots on clothing, skirting boards, door frames and upholstered chairs/seats. If you wet these with tissue they will turn red from the blood.
  • Papery, partially shredded insect skins usually found on upholstery or on the floor around infestation areas.
  • A sickly-sweet odour likened to rotten raspberries.
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