How to Check for Bed Bugs: A Comprehensive Guide

Welcome, Challenger! As much as we love our homes, sometimes there are unwelcome guests that find their way into our space: bed bugs. These small, reddish-brown insects feed on human blood and can be a major nuisance. Not only can their bites cause discomfort and itching, but they can also be difficult to spot and even more difficult to get rid of.

Whether you suspect you have bed bugs or just want to be proactive, it’s essential to know how to check for bed bugs. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about these pesky insects, including how to spot them, where to look for them, and how to get rid of them for good.

The Basics: What Are Bed Bugs?

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of checking for bed bugs, let’s start with the basics. Bed bugs are small, flat, oval-shaped insects that are typically no larger than an apple seed. Despite their name, bed bugs can be found anywhere that humans spend a significant amount of time, including homes, hotels, and even public transportation.

One of the biggest challenges with bed bugs is that they are very good at hiding. They are most active at night, which is when they feed on human blood, and they can go weeks or even months without feeding. This means that you may not even know you have bed bugs until you start to notice their bites.

So, how do you know if you have bed bugs? Let’s take a closer look.

Step 1: Look for Signs of Bites

The first and most obvious sign of bed bugs is their bites. Bed bug bites typically appear as small, itchy red bumps on your skin, often in a line or cluster. However, it’s important to note that not everyone reacts to bed bug bites, so you may not see any visible signs.

If you do notice bites, it’s important to examine your bedding and mattress for any signs of bed bugs.

Step 1.1: Check Your Bedding

Start by inspecting your bedding, including your sheets, pillowcases, and blankets. Look for any signs of blood, fecal stains, or bed bug skins. Bed bugs will often leave behind small, rust-colored stains on bedding that are a telltale sign of their presence.

Signs of Bed Bugs on Bedding Description
Blood stains Small, rust-colored stains from bed bug bites
Fecal stains Black, brown, or rust-colored stains from bed bug feces
Bed bug skins Discarded exoskeletons from molting bed bugs

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Step 1.2: Examine Your Mattress

The next step is to carefully examine your mattress for signs of bed bugs. Start by removing all of your bedding and using a flashlight to inspect the seams and crevices of your mattress. Look for any signs of bed bugs, including live bugs, exoskeletons, or fecal matter.

It’s also important to check the box spring and bed frame, as bed bugs can hide in these areas as well. Use a credit card or other thin, flat tool to probe around in any cracks or crevices, looking for signs of bed bugs.

Step 2: Check Other Areas of Your Home

Even if you don’t find any signs of bed bugs in your bedding or mattress, it’s still a good idea to check other areas of your home where bed bugs may be hiding. Here are some key areas to check:

Step 2.1: Furniture

Bed bugs can hide in all kinds of furniture, including couches, chairs, and dressers. Use a flashlight to inspect the seams and crevices of any upholstered furniture, as well as any drawers or cabinets.

Step 2.2: Carpet and Rugs

Carpet and rugs can also be a hiding spot for bed bugs. Use a flashlight to inspect the edges of your carpet, focusing on any seams, corners, or crevices. You should also take a closer look at any area rugs or doormats.

Step 2.3: Curtains

Curtains can be a hiding spot for bed bugs, especially if they touch the floor. Use a flashlight and a magnifying glass to inspect the folds and seams of your curtains.

Step 2.4: Electronics

While it may be surprising, bed bugs can even hide in electronics like alarm clocks and televisions. Use a flashlight to inspect the seams and crevices of any electronic devices in your home.

Step 3: Consider Professional Bed Bug Detection

If you suspect that you have bed bugs but haven’t been able to find any signs, it may be time to call in a professional. A trained bed bug detection dog can quickly and accurately detect the presence of bed bugs, even in areas that may be difficult for a human inspector to access.

Professional bed bug extermination services are also available, but it’s important to do your research and choose a reputable company with experience in treating bed bug infestations.


1. Can bed bugs fly?

No, bed bugs cannot fly. They are wingless and only crawl.

2. Are bed bugs only found in beds?

No, bed bugs can be found in many places in a home, including furniture, carpets, and electronic devices.

3. How do bed bugs spread?

Bed bugs can hitchhike on clothing, luggage, or other personal items, making it easy for them to spread from one location to another.

4. Can bed bugs make you sick?

While bed bugs can bite and cause discomfort or itching, they are not known to carry any diseases.

5. How do I prevent a bed bug infestation?

To prevent a bed bug infestation, regularly inspect your home for signs of bed bugs and take precautions when traveling, such as inspecting hotel rooms and luggage for signs of bed bugs.

6. Can I get rid of bed bugs on my own?

It is possible to get rid of bed bugs on your own, but it can be difficult and time-consuming. Professional extermination services are often the best option for eliminating bed bugs for good.

7. How long does it take to get rid of bed bugs?

The length of time it takes to get rid of bed bugs can vary depending on the severity of the infestation and the treatment methods used. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to completely eliminate bed bugs.


Checking for bed bugs may not be the most pleasant task, but it’s an important one if you want to keep your home free from these pesky insects. By following the steps outlined in this guide and being vigilant about inspecting your home regularly, you can catch bed bugs early and take steps to eliminate them before they become a major problem.

Remember, if you suspect you have bed bugs and are unable to find any signs on your own, don’t hesitate to call in a professional for assistance. With the right treatment plan and a bit of patience, you can get rid of bed bugs for good.


While the information contained in this article is intended to be accurate and helpful, it is not a substitute for professional pest control advice. If you are dealing with a bed bug infestation, it is important to consult with a trained exterminator for a proper evaluation and treatment plan.