Bedbugs are tiny blood-sucking insects that families bring into their homes unknowingly. The culprit could be a piece of luggage from a recent trip or the nightstand you found at a garage sale. The good news is that there are ways to detect bedbugs so you can start the process of removing them from your home.
Check for bites. Many people realize they have bedbugs when they wake up with itchy, red bites. Studies, however, have found that some people don't show signs of bedbug bites for months after being bit, and some never show signs. Bedbug bites look similar to mosquito bites, often showing up on the back, arms and legs. What sets bedbug bites apart is that oftentimes the bites are in clusters and in a straight row.
Watch for activity. If you suspect bedbugs, take a flashlight with you to bed. When you wake up during the night, shine the flashlight on your body to check for feeding bugs. You should also use the flashlight to check the mattress, linens and carpet around the bed. Bedbugs move fast from light, so a scurrying insect may be a bedbug. A magnifying glass can also help you detect and identify bedbugs.
Look for debris. Bedbugs are like vampires – they don't like daylight – but they aren't good at hiding the evidence. Check the mattress, sheets and bedding for brown, reddish or black spots or streaks that could indicate fecal matter or blood. Also look for bits of exoskeleton and bedbug eggs in the creases of the mattress and box springs, where they like to hide. Bedbug eggs are white and very tiny, about the size of a grain of salt.
Trap them. Trapping bedbugs won't get them out of your home, but it can help you identify the problem. Attach double-sided tape to the edges of your mattress, box spring and the floor around the bed. Leave the tape there about a week. If you have bedbugs, odds are you will catch a few on the tape. Check images online to make sure what you caught is actually a bedbug.