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How to identify bed bugs

Red bumps on your body and itching are indicators that bed bugs might be present in your home, but not a conclusive one. Before you contact your exterminator it's important to visually identify bed bugs. For those who have good eye sight, bed bugs do not require microscopic tools to be identified. They may be a little more difficult to notice at the early stages of its life cycle, but through careful examination most people are able to identify bed bugs. Here are 5 indicators that bed bugs are present. 

  1. Bed Bug Skins: Like snakes, bed bugs shed layers of skin as they grow through each stage of development. Have a look around your bedroom for old skins and other signs of bed bug activity. 
  2. Fecal matter : Because bed bugs only feed on blood, the fecal matter is essentially blood. When dry, they leave black stains. So when examining your bedding, mattress, headboard, box spring and etc... look for small black stains of bed bug poop.
  3. Blood Stains : When bed bugs are done feeding they will often leave stains on your sheet. This is either a result of blood spat out by the bed bug while they were drinking or from the host (human) rolling over and crushing it. That being said, by using white sheets on your bed, you will quickly notice if bed bugs have been feeding at night from the blood stains left on your sheets. 
  4. Bed Bug Bites : As mentioned in our bed bug bites section, not all people have the same reactions to bed bugs. The most common way to differentiate bed bug bites from other pest is their biting pattern. Bed bugs bite in clusters (usually rows of 3 or more) and last longer than mosquito bites
  5. Actual Bed Bug :  Try to find an actual bed bugs. A good way to start is to know where and what you're looking for, so do your homework and study bed bug pictures. For the most part, bed bugs are nocturnal pests and like to come out between 1-5 am, so if you're awake during this time use a flash light and have a look around your bed.

Because bed bugs generally come out at night to feed, you will have a hard time finding them during day. Usually when exposed to light they quickly scurry back to the nearest crack or crevice. In terms of size, bed bugs can range from 1mm as an egg to 1.5 - 4.5 mm long through 1st to 5th stage larva, and resemble the size of an apple seed (5.5mm) at maturity. Some like to use a flashlight and magnified glass to make the job easier, but generally good eye sight and good lighting will suffice. Have a look at the different stages of a bed bug lifecycle to begin your identification process and use our identification checklist for a thorough inspection. 



Images courtesy of: Armed Forces Pest Management, AFPMB,