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“Do-it-yourself” Bed Bug Inspection Guide

You found this page because you suspect that you might have a problem with bed bugs.  Bed bugs will leave tell tale signs of their presence in a home or office.  The primary purpose of a bed bug inspection is to find conclusive evidence of bed bugs.  A secondary objective is to rule out bed bugs and identify other pests that might be causing you discomfort. 

Be sure to check the 5 most common places bed bugs like to hide. 

Examine the Mattress and BoxSpring

Bed bug fecal matter looks like black ink dots, if you find black dots near the folds or seams of the mattress/boxspring carefully and slowly pull pack the fabric to get a better look.  You may find nymphs or adult bed bugs in the area.   We recommend you look slowly so you do not disturb the bed bugs, you don’t want to encourage the bed bugs to spread.  Take photos of what you find.  HeatRx will happily help identify pests through photos. 

Examine the Bed Frame

The cracks and crevices of bed frames are prime hiding spots for bed bugs.  Pay close attention to where the boxspring touches the bed frames.  Bed bugs are opportunistic and you may find some bed bugs in the space between the boxspring and frame.  Bed bug eggs are tiny and look almost like two pieces of salt stuck together.  You may be able to see them if your bed frame is a dark color. 

Examine the Baseboards

Bed bugs will often seek shelter behind the baseboards or down near the tack strip in carpeted rooms.  You may find a other insects as you search along the baseboards.  Please take photos before vacuuming up or disposing of the insects.  Bed bugs aren’t the only bugs that can cause bite like reactions.  Document what you find so a licensed professional can identify and assist. 

Examine the Bedding

Bed bugs feed on human blood and after a blood meal if the bug is squished it will leave a blood stain. Remember, a bed bug that can feed is big enough to be seen with the naked eye. A bed bug nymph looks significantly different than an adult bed bug although they do have the same key features.  Adults and bed bugs both seek blood meals and both will leave a stain if squished after feeding.

Examine Furniture Near the Bed

Bed bugs can often be found in nightstands and lamps near beds.  Check the areas that are typically out of sight and are relatively undisturbed.  Areas like the backside or bottom of the furniture are common hiding spots.  Please document anything you find. 

Would you like help with the bed bug inspection?

We are happy to send a licensed inspector to your property and give you our professional opinion. In the event that we identify bed bugs, we will leave you a quote for a bed bug heat treatment, and if we are unable to conclusively identify bed bugs we may recommend a precautionary bed bug treatment. You will find that we are respectful of your time and try to be extremely helpful.  

Bed bugs aren’t a “wait and see” pest.  If you suspect you have a bed bug problem you will want it checked out immediately! 

Bed bug populations can grow exponentially.  There have been multiple studies on this topic and the information presented below was sourced from the University of Michigan Extension office.

Fact: An individual bed bug can lay 200-250 eggs in her lifetime.

Fact: Eggs typically hatch in fewer than 10 days, and can start laying eggs after their first blood meal.

Bed Bug Population Calculator

It is common knowledge that bed bug populations can grow very quickly. We decided to dig into the biology and population growth charts and build an interactive model demonstrating exactly how fast a bed bug population can grow under ideal conditions.

New Infestation:

Use this calculator to learn how quickly newly introduced bed bugs can multiply.

Results:

Total EggsTotal NymphsTotal Adults

Total Eggs:

Total Nymphs:

Total Adults:

Bed Bug Eggs
Very tiny, but still visible with the naked eye. Sticky and often found near bed bug fecal matter. Can be found in screw holes, furniture joints or folds of fabric.

Bed Bug Nymphs
After hatching out bed bug nymphs immediately seek out a blood meal. There are 5 nymphal stages and a blood meal is required at each stage.

Bed Bug Adults
Adult bed bug can move quickly, but will usually just meander. Adult bed bugs can reproduce quickly. A female bed bug can lay more than 200 eggs in a lifetime.

Bed Bug Identification

When most people think of bed bugs they are thinking of the Cimex Lecturlarius. Bed bugs are small but larger than the typical ants encountered in California.  If you scroll over the pictures in our bed bug calculator you will see different images of bed bugs that will help put their size into perspective. 

The California Department of Public Health describes bed bugs this way: 

“Adult bed bugs have flat bodies about one-quarter of an inch in length; they are copper-colored and wingless. Young bed bugs are nearly colorless and very small (1/16 inch). Bed bugs do not fly; they either crawl or are carried from place to place. When a bed bug feeds, its body swells and becomes bright red, making it appear to be a different insect. In homes, hotels, or other dwellings, bed bugs feed primarily on human blood, usually at night when people are sleeping.”

https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/BedBugs.aspx

Adult bed bugs and bed bugs in the nymph stages will seek out humans for a blood meal. Bed bugs don’t have to eat every day, and they are not limited in only feeding on humans.  Bed bugs have been documented feeding on other mammals like household pets.  Bed bugs can go months without a blood meal, although it is important to note that a bed bug will typically feed if given the opportunity. 

Science Based Bed Bug Treatments

There are a wide variety of possible bed bug treatments, science based treatments are most effective.  HeatRx is a specialty bed bug exterminator and we are committed to making the industry better by doing our research and then sharing what we learn to our customers and other industry professionals.

Bed Bug Heat Treatments

Heat treatments are highly effective at eliminating all stages of bed bug activity.  I would estimate the 85% of the bed bug treatments we provide are bed bug heat treatments.  We are proud that we have built a reputation of delivering exceptional value to our clients and allowing them to become bed bug free in just one day! 

Benefits to a bed bug heat treatment:

  • All stages of bed bugs are eliminated in just one visit. 
  • Natural treatment, bed bugs do not tolerate heat well. 
  • The heat finds the bed bugs and eliminates eggs, nymphs and adults!
  • Immediate piece of mind and relief.
  • Very little preparation efforts required (no need to wash/dry clothes).

The day of the heat treatment our team will arrive between 8-9am, usually closer to 8am but with Bay Area traffic one can never be certain.  We will do a pre-service walk through to answer any remaining questions and help with any last minute preparation needs.  We then get to work.  We will keep the temperature at lethal to bed bug levels for at least 4 hours.  During the treatment we will enter the property often to make sure lethal to bed bug temperatures are reached and maintained in all critical areas.  We will rotate beds, adjust fans, rotate items in drawers, etc.

Our team will apply long lasting residual products that will reduce the chances of bed bug being reintroduced and creating another problem.  I always like to say, “if you can eliminate the handful of bed bugs when they get introduced, you have already eliminated the 5000 bed bugs they would have become.”  Benjamin Franklin would have agreed with me, he reported said “an ounce of prevention, is better than a pound of cure.” 

Bed bug heat treatments are typically a bit more expensive than other treatments; however it is important to recognize that it is an 8 hour treatment and you will get immediate relief. A bed bug heat treatment by HeatRx is the gold standard of bed bug extermination. 

    Bed Bug Chemical Treatments

    Chemicals can be effective at eliminating bed bug nymphs and adults.  One of the limitations to a chemical bed bug treatment is it is very unlikely that the applicator will be able to get the products directly onto the bed bug population. The majority of pesticides approved for bed bugs do not do a very good job of eliminating the bed bug eggs.  It is necessary for the bed bug eggs to hatch out and then rely on the products to kill the newly hatched nymphs as the bed bugs move on their journey to get a blood meal.   

    Bed bug chemical treatments are often a little less expensive than a bed bug heat treatment.  Unfortunately, it will take at least 2-3 treatments before the bed bug population is eliminated.  The majority of people we work with find it is worth the extra cost to get a bed bug heat treatment. 

    Biological Bed Bug Treatments

    The HeatRx Bio-Pesticide Bed Bug Treatment is a cost effective treatment that is proven to eliminate bed bug populations.  Unlike other bed bug treatments this bio-pesticide has a unique transfer effect.  Bed bugs who encounter the bio-pesticide are able to spread the active ingredient to other bed bugs.  The materials used during this treatment are specifically designed to reduce and eventually eliminate bed bug populations.  The product will have no noticeable impact on spider, mite, carpet beetle or other pest populations.


    The primary product used during this treatment is Aprehend®; a professional grade product available to licensed pest control operators. It has only recently become available for use in California and has been proven effective by pest control professionals across the United States.  Aprehend® will remain effective for approximately 90 days.  Residents are advised to remain outside the treatment area for 4 hours after application.  Please do not clean up after our application as water will dramatically reduce the effectiveness of the active ingredients.  Aprehend® is a slow acting product, bed bugs who encounter the spores will perish within 3 to 7 Days.

    Precautionary Bed Bug Treatments

    The HeatRx Precautionary Bed Bug Treatment is a recommended treatment when we are unable to find conclusive evidence of bed bugs during an inspection. Just because we were unable to physically identify the presence of bed bugs doesn’t mean they don’t exist in the home; it could just be the early stages of a potential infestation.

    The problem may also be caused by another pest entirely. Carpet beetles can cause dermititis that can cause bite like reactions. Also, mites can often cause discomfort in the home.  Spider, mosquitoes or other pests can be the cause of the problem.  Our precautionary treatment utilizes a localized heat via a high temperature, low moisture steamer along the bed frame and other locations pests love to hide. We then apply a broad label pesticide that is formulated to eliminate a wide variety of insects. 

    The good news is if we take precautionary measures now we can often eliminate the potential problem before it spirals out of control. In the event an infestation does occur the cost of this treatment will be deducted from any future bed bug heat treatment provided by HeatRx.

    The HeatRx Sales Process. 

    Our team will provide a detailed bed bug inspection. Our licensed inspector will leave a competitive quote and will review our preparation guide.  It is a 12 page booklet that describes the process from start to finish.  One of our core values to “Deliver Incredible” and we find that happens best when the proper expectations are set and the client is knowledgeable about our process. 

    We enjoy solving problems and helping people feel comfortable in their own homes.  We will help you determine the best bed bug extermination service for your situation.  

    Call HeatRx for a FREE bed bug inspection. 

    We are also happy to identify bed bugs through images through email or text.  Reach out!  Our goal is to be of service.