Knowing where to look for bed bugs will help you determine if you have bed bugs or not. You must confirm you have bed bugs before you can treat for them. An inspection done by a professional pest control company is always preferable but you can inspect if you know where to look and what tools you need. If your infestation is early you may not be able to find them, as they are very good at hiding. It’s possible you could have bed bugs for months and never see a sign of them except for bites.
A bright flashlight and a lighted magnifier are almost mandatory to inspect for bed bugs. A headlamp is very helpful for additional light. You’ll be looking for a small, flax seed size insect in dark places where it’s already hard to see. Bed bug eggs can be as small as a grain of salt and it would be almost impossible for you to see or identify them. Bed bugs are about the size and color of an apple seed, more or less. A pregnant female can be half and inch long and not resemble an apple seed, but more like a large ant.
Shining a light on a bed bug may cause them to flee or they may stay frozen in place. Be prepared to capture or kill a bed bug if you do see one. For an inspection you can use a spray bottle with 91% alcohol or one of the cedar based bed bug sprays. These sprays are only effective when sprayed directly on a bed bug. They do not provide the residual pesticides needed to kill bed bugs it does not physically make contact with.
If you have a mattress and box spring, you will need to inspect both on the top, sides and bottom. This means you will need to be lifting mattresses, moving them around and also checking your bed frame and headboard if you have one.
A pattern of bites that repeat every few nights is an indicator, not evidence of bed bugs. If your bites stop and don’t return within days and you have had no treatment, you might not have bed bugs. With bed bugs, the bites never stop until they are all dead or trapped trying to get to you. The only way you can know you have bed bugs is by capturing and identifying one. You MUST inspect and find a bed bug to know for sure. I know you have read this again and again, and it’s frustrating, but bed bug treatment is a big deal and you don’t want to go there if you don’t really have them. The most frustrating thing about having to find a bed bug before you can get treatment is that they are so hard to find. That’s why I strongly suggest people get a professional pest company inspection. They know what they are looking at, they know the signs.