Bed bugs may be the most common pest infestation in the United States, but it’s also the pest that tends to be the most misidentified. What many people perceive as fleas or cockroaches often turn out to be bed bugs.

Unfortunately, early treatment is necessary because bed bugs can spread behind walls and baseboards without your knowledge. 

Therefore, knowing how to identify bed bugs and the immediate actions you should take is imperative to getting rid of bed bugs for good. Here is a detailed step-by-step guide to help you manage your bed bug infestation. 

Step 1: Identify Bed Bugs

Knowing how to identify bed bugs may be difficult because they can easily be perceived as other pests. 

Bed bugs are typically a reddish brown, wingless, and about the size of an apple seed. Bed bugs can be easily confused with lice, fruit flies, or other small houseflies, but it is important to note that bed bugs have their own unique appearance so that you can easily spot them and treat the problem. 

Some young bed bugs and larvae can be spotted with the naked eye, but this may require some close concentration. 

Therefore the best way to identify bed bugs is to understand the signs of an infestation.

  • Bloodstains on sheets: These most likely result from bed bugs feasting on your skin or squashing them when you roll over in the bed.
  • Musty odor: Bed bugs often release pheromones when threatened and will produce a musty smell when dead. 
  • Bed bug bites: Bed bugs are parasites, meaning they feast on your blood for survival. 
  • Bed bug shells: Juvenile bed bugs shed their skin as they age. Typically, the presence of bed bug casings indicates a sizable infestation has begun. 
  • Live bed bugs in your home: Spotting bed bugs easily and frequently will alert you that you have a large infestation on hand. 

Step 2: Seal Off the Infestation

Once you discover bed bugs in your home, you need to seal off the infestation to prevent these pests from entering other parts of your home. 

If you find bed bugs in your bedroom, close the door to prevent any pets or small children from entering the infested space. Bed bugs can also infest things like electrical outlets, so it may be a good idea to purchase outlet plugs to keep any pests that may be inside from entering other rooms in the home. 

Other ideas may include caulking and weatherstripping areas of your home where bed bugs can escape. 

At this stage, we highly recommend you contact a pest control professional to treat the problem. If you feel that is not the best option, there are some bed bug remedies that may be effective. 


steam the furniture in your home

Step 3: Prepare Your Home for Treatment

After you’ve contacted a pest control company, you will want to prepare your home for treatment. To give your exterminator the best chance at eliminating these pests, be sure to remove any clutter from the infested area and wash any linens that may have been affected. 

You can also seal any cracks and crevices in your home using a silicone caulk to eliminate any possible hiding places for these pests. We also recommend moving couches and furniture out from walls to give clear exposure to every hiding place a bed bug may dwell. 

Step 4: Kill the Bed Bugs

While your exterminator will do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to dealing with a bed bug infestation, there are certain things you can do yourself to stem the tide. Washing all sheets and garments on high heat should kill most of them, as bed bugs cannot survive high temperatures. 

If you have access to a steamer, you should also steam the furniture in your home, making sure to get into the cracks and crevices, such as mattress seams and under couch cushions. Steam any carpets or rugs as well, as bed bugs can hide in the thick fibers of these materials without you knowing. 

Lastly, wrap any remaining furniture in protective plastic to force bed bugs out into the open, where you can trap and kill them. 

Vacuuming works well, but you must dispose of all bed bugs meticulously, lest you risk an infestation coming back. 

Step 5: Perform Another Inspection

After your pest control specialist has treated your home for bed bugs, they will likely follow up with another inspection to make sure all of the pests are gone.

Keep an eye out for any signs of returning bed bugs, such as bloodstains on your bed sheets or mysterious bug bites. If you do sense that the bed bugs have returned, contact your exterminator immediately for a return visit. 

Our K9 bed bug detection can spot bed bugs with a 99.99% accuracy rate to prevent re-infestation. 

Step 6: Practice Proper Prevention

Knowing how to prevent bed bugs is imperative to keep them from returning to your home. Here are some important bed bug prevention tips to implement: 

  • Inspect secondhand furniture and goods
  • Be careful when using public or shared laundromats
  • Clean up clutter around the home
  • Read guest reviews and perform inspections when staying in a hotel or Airbnb
  • Seal cracks in your home

How Do Bed Bugs Enter Your Home?

Contrary to what you might think, bed bugs can make their way into even the cleanest homes. Bed bugs are known for latching onto clothing and luggage, which is how many people unknowingly pick them up while traveling. They can also enter residential homes through used furniture and goods, so be careful when shopping at the thrift store or taking items off the street. 

Bed bugs can strike at any time, even if you practice due diligence. For this reason, it pays to have a plan in place to treat and eliminate any infestations that make their way into your home. 


What kills bed bugs instantly?

High-temperature steam can kill bed bugs effectively. Use a steamer to vacuum mattresses and carpets where bed bugs dwell. Likewise, using the hot cycle on your washing machine and dryer should do the trick. 

Do bed bugs go away naturally?

Most bed bugs will tend to dwell in your home for long stretches of time, especially if there is a ready food source (i.e., you). Don’t count on bed bugs going away naturally.

Can I get rid of bed bugs myself?

Bed bugs can be difficult to control DIY because they are so difficult to locate. Though getting rid of some bed bugs with a steamer may be enough, they can also crawl behind electrical outlets and walls, making containment very difficult. 


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