Are you waking up with itchy red welts on your skin? Do you suspect bed bugs are responsible? Are you willing to bet money on it? Before you lay down your hard-earned cash on bed bug treatment products, it would be wise to confirm your suspicions. After all, those red marks could be from mosquito bites, red ant bites, or an allergic reaction. Fortunately, there are some easy and inexpensive ways for you to confirm a bed bug infestation:
Is that a bed bug bite?
For most people, the first sign that bed bugs are in their home is a bite mark on their skin. These bites are usually in the form of red bumps that itch or burn, left in rows along the arms, legs, neck, or other exposed areas.
People respond to bed bug bites differently. Most will feel itchy irritation, while some will have allergic reactions to the bed bug saliva causing the bite to swell and burn. Some still will have no pain or irritation at all.
However, not all marks that match this description are bed bug bites. They could be bites from bird mites, fleas, or scabies, or an infection caused by fungus found in the bathroom or elsewhere in the home.
Do a visual inspection
The easiest way to confirm a bed bug infestation is to find some visual signs of bed bug activity. This could include blood spots or fecal streaks on sheets, pillows or furniture, or shed skins in cracks and crevices in the room. With a flashlight and some patience, you could find these signs somewhere in your room.
Start by carefully inspecting your sheets on both sides. Check the seams of the mattress, and lift the seams to look under where they tend to fold over. Lift the mattress from the box spring and check underneath, then check the seams and underside of the box spring. Remove both the mattress and box spring from your bed frame so you can inspect the joints and edges of the frame.
If there are no noticeable signs in your bed, there may be some elsewhere in the room. Check along the baseboards connecting the floor and the walls. Look under dressers, nightstands, and other low-standing furniture. If your room has hardwood with cracks or spaces, shine a flashlight into them. Remember, a bed bug can hide anywhere a credit card can fit.
As a last measure, check any hanging picture frames or other wall mounts. Pull the cushions off of any sofas or love seats in the area, and check the seams for warning signs. Remove the drawers from cupboards and dressers and look inside the cabinets.
Monitor for bed bugs
In a low-level infestation, it’s perfectly possible for you to be getting bites but not be able to find any visual signs of bed bug activity. If that’s the case, your next step should be to monitor for bed bugs, and the best way to do that is with a set of sealed bed bug proof encasements and ClimbUp interceptors.
The encasements will keep bed bugs from entering or escaping your mattress and box spring, and the ClimbUps will trap any bed bugs that try to climb up the legs of your bed to feed on you. If you find bed bugs in your interceptors, you’ll know to start treatment right away.