In order to conduct an effective bed bug inspection you must know a little bit about bed bugs. A bed bug, whose scientific name is cimex lectularius, is a small, oval shaped, wingless bug with six legs. The average adult bed bug is approximately five millimeters long and is about as wide as a credit card is thick; a newly hatched nymph however is much smaller and can be the size of a pinhead. The shape of an adult bed bug has been described as similar to that of an apple seed except that a bed bug is relatively flat. Bed bugs range in colors from nearly white at the nymph stage to brown as adults and rusty-brown if they are adults that have recently fed on blood.
A Simple, Visual Inspection of Sleeping Areas
The least complex and first method you should use to inspect for bed bugs is a simple visual inspection. This can be done with no tools at all, but using a good flashlight and a magnifying glass can be very helpful. Note that bed bugs are a nocturnal pest, extremely tiny and thin and will hideout in the smallest of cracks and crevices during daylight hours. Therefore, adult bedbugs may be difficult to see during the day. During your inspection, you are really looking for evidence of bed bugs or bed bug eggs in cracks and crevices. Although bed bugs can be found in many areas, the first place that should be inspected is any soft furniture used as a sleeping area that has places for a bed bug to hide; pieces of furniture that fall into this category include both beds and sofas.
Adult bed bugs should be observable with the naked eye but will typically not be found during the day. If adult bed bugs are hiding, only nymphs and eggs may be present and a magnifying glass will be very beneficial in seeing them. In some cases you will not see actual bed bugs but you will see evidence that they were there. Small dark spots on the mattress may be bed bug feces, eggs, shed skin, or blood blots. Unfortunately it is sometimes hard for untrained people to identify bed bug waste.
When inspecting a bed, the first step should be to carefully look over the fitted sheet and mattress pad that is the sleeping surface. Look for blood stains, often described as looking like pepper, and also inspect for bug parts or squished bugs. Next, it is important to inspect the seams, edging, and corners of the mattress. Gently pull at the sides of the mattress to make it easier to look in the corners. If you have a flashlight, shine the flashlight in the area for better visibility. If you are inspecting a chair, sofa, or other upholstered piece of furniture, first take of any removable cushions, and like the inspection of the bed, look at any crevices, corners or seams where a bed bug would be able to hide.