Bed Bug Blog Series: Begin with the Bed

Bed inspections for bed bugs should start where you sleep and move out from there to other parts of the bed. It’s best to conduct this search before room preparation steps are taken or pest control experts are called in. The lists below will help you make the most complete inspection possible without a professional.

Bed Bugs Bed Inspection

Mattress Inspection

  • Along the top and bottom seams and along each side of the piping material sewn onto these edges
  • Under mattress handles and along or inside air holes
  • Between the mattress and box spring, platform or frame
  • Inside folds of material and under buttons
  • If covered in vinyl plastic, inside seams and rips in material.

If you think you see bed bug droppings, rub the area with alcohol or baby wipes. If the spots dissolve into a reddish brown color, this could indicate bed bug droppings and should be a reason to continue your inspection until a live bed bug is found.

Box Spring Inspection

  • Points where the box spring sits on the bed frame (lift slowly to avoid scattering bed bugs)
  • Top surface of the box spring, inside folds of material
  • Along seams and where the material is tacked to the frame
  • In spaces between box spring frame parts (turn over the box spring and remove the thin cloth layer on the underside, then use a flashlight, a hand lens and a crevice tool)
  • Around and beneath furniture staples and tacks

It’s a good idea to use a flushing agent (such as compressed air) to chase bed bugs out of hiding spots during your inspection of these areas.

Here’s another inspection trick: place double-faced tape or carpet tape on the underside of furniture to catch wanderers. Note that this is a monitoring tool only, though, and not a control strategy!

Bed Frame and Headboard

Bed bugs prefer wood beds and headboards to metal bed frames, but they’ll hide in crevices on metal and plastic, or where a mattress touches a metal frame. Here are tips for making the most of your frame and headboard inspection:

  • Visually inspect and use the crevice tool in all joints of the frame where parts meet
  • Turn the frame over and inspect from the underside
  • Check screw and nail holes for bed bugs
  • Take the bed apart to check between parts
  • Remove the headboard from the bed and check for bed bugs along the joints and on the wall behind it
  • Wicker furniture provides infinite hiding spots for bed bugs. Anything made of wicker should probably be discarded properly.

It’s important to note that even if the bed area does not display outward signs of bed bugs, you may still have a bed bug problem. It’s crucial to continue your inspection in other areas. The next blog in our Bed Bugs Blog series will discuss where and how to do that.

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