Bed bugs near windows are a sure sign of a widespread infestation. Spotting them on a sill is less common than seeing them on bedding, mattresses, clothing, or furniture. But it does happen. Bed bugs don’t enter homes through windows. They are transported on other objects, like clothing, furniture, and other items that travel from home to home, or school to home, or business to home. If you see a bed bug near a window, know that it is from inside the home, and there are most likely infested areas within the structure. The infestation is extensive and needs to be dealt with right away. Let’s discuss what you need to know, what you need to do, and where you can get help on what to do if you find bed bugs near a window.
What To Do If You Find Bed Bugs Near A Window
- Determine what kind of bug it is.
- Inspect the home to determine the extent of the infestation.
- Treat the affected area or areas.
One or two bed bugs near a window is either a signal of a widespread infestation or a precursor to one. It is wise to take immediate action to gauge how bad the situation is, and then treat it before things get worse. Verify what kind of bug you are looking at. Bed bugs can resemble several other insects, some of which are more commonly found on windowsills. If it is bed bugs, inspect other areas where bed bugs are usually found. This includes bedding, clothing, and furniture. Look to determine the full extent of the infestation. Then have the contaminated area(s) treated. You can spot-treat some of the places to get rid of some of the bugs. But know that established bed bug infestations won’t be resolved with a quick fix. You will need to solve the issue permanently, so it is critical to get professional help.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Bed bugs are insects with a segmented beak, vestigial wing remnants, three pairs of legs, two antennae, and short hairs on the abdomen. They have flat, oval bodies with front non-flying “wings” in the form of pad-like structures. These insects are tiny, with adults growing to be 4 to 5 mm or ¼ inch long at the largest. That’s the size of an apple seed. Younger and earlier-stage bed bugs can be the size of a poppy seed.
Bed bugs’ coloring is typically a dark reddish brown. Adult bed bugs are dark orange to reddish brown. Young bed bugs or nymphs are translucent pale white, yellow, or yellow-white and become darker as they mature. All bed bugs have a bright red abdomen while feeding and right after. Recently fed bed bugs swell up with blood and can elongate to look like a long torpedo.
Bed bugs look similar to cockroaches and beetles but move more like ants. They can crawl rapidly but don’t fly or jump.
- Flat, oval bodies with three pairs of legs and antennae
- Segmented abdomens with short, golden hairs
- Front vestigial wings
- Poppy seed to apple seed size
- Dark reddish brown, sometimes orange
- Young ones are translucent
- Bright red after feeding
- Crawl, but don’t fly or jump
Examine the legs, abdomen shape, and color to identify the stage. Also, look around for eggs and nymphs.
What Other Pests Could It Be?
Bed bugs are sometimes confused with other common pests. Bed bugs near windows could turn out to be cockroaches, fleas, ticks, mites, or lice.
Baby Cockroaches or Cockroach Nymphs
Baby cockroaches or cockroach nymphs look like bed bugs but are more oblong. These pests don’t feed on people or live in bedding and clothing. Cockroaches are usually found in high-moisture areas with food.
Fleas are reddish-brown bugs, around 1/3 of an inch long. These insects have long legs, round heads, and small, flattened, hairy bodies. Fleas aren’t as oval as bed bugs.
Ticks are tiny, eight-legged bugs that bite and feed on animals. These blood-sucking pests primarily live outdoors, but once indoors, ticks inhabit beds and clothing, just like bed bugs do. Be careful when looking at a potential tick or bed bug. Ticks are more petite than bed bugs and usually around the size of a sesame seed. These are carriers of human diseases and can latch onto people. Contact your doctor if a tick bites you.
Clover mites are reddish, semi-oval bugs transported on plant matter. If you have potted plants near the window, this might be the pest you’re looking at.
Carpet Mites, aka Carpet Beetles
Bed bugs are often confused with carpet mites. Carpet mites or beetles are flat, winged, varied oval-shaped insects even smaller than bed bugs. An adult mite is only 3 mm long. Carpet mites have antennae, which can be seen from above. These mites have a varied or mottled appearance. The body is black, with brown, orange, red, yellow, or white scales. The darker ones look incredibly similar to bed bugs, but they can also resemble ladybugs. Carpet mites are winged and mostly fly in the daytime. Bed bugs don’t have wings, so if you see a pest flying, it isn’t a bed bug.
If you see carpet mites near windows, check the curtains and clothing. These insects don’t bite but are incredibly destructive. They feed on natural animal materials and fibers, such as leather, wool, felt, silk, fur, and feathers.
Booklice are tiny, gray bugs that may resemble young bed bugs. Lice eat mold spores, fungi, and algae and thrive in moist, humid, and warm environments. Bugs near windows that look like crawling dust specks are likely to be booklice, especially if the room is damp. Booklice don’t bite, but these pests will destroy books, paper, wallpaper, and other items. If left untreated, a windowsill infestation can spread along the walls and reach areas where food is stored.
Bat bugs look almost precisely like bed bugs, except bat bugs have long hairs on their head. These are only found where bats live. If your home has a bat problem, this might be it.
Window or Wood Mites
Window or wood mites are tiny bugs that feed on rotting wood. Those are common wood mites if you see bed bugs near windows with aging wood.
What Are The Signs Of Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are filthy pests that leave contaminants and evidence of themselves wherever they go. Signs of them include fecal excrement, eggs, eggshells, blood, and shed skin. As the population grows, bed bugs cluster together in aggregations, often resembling mold or mildew. Collections include live bugs, dead bugs, nymphs, eggs, eggshells, shed skin, and excrement. Bed bugs produce an odor that’s more noticeable with large infestations. Since these are blood-sucking insects, their signs include bites and rashes on people or pets.
Visible Bites, Rashes, Welts, and Skin Lesions
Bed bugs are blood-feeding insects that inject anticoagulants, numbing agents, and other substances as they bite. Symptoms of bed bug bites include hives, rashes, visible puncture marks, and itching. Rashes look flat, swollen, and red. The puncture site may be visible, resembling a dark blood spot in the center of a rash. Bites can also resemble eczema and other common skin problems. Bites can occur anywhere but are most common where the skin is most exposed. Check around the neck, shoulders, hands, and feet.
Signs of bites include:
- Itching rashes
- Flat or swollen red rashes
- Flat or swollen red lesions or welts
- Rashes with a blood spot in the middle
- Rows of rashes, bumps, or lesions
Bed bugs’ excrement, shed skin, eggs, and other excretions create airborne allergens. Breathing problems or asthma can occur.
Blood Stains or Smears
Bed bugs may leave behind blood stains as they feed. These look like dark, rust-colored specks, dots, or smears.
Bed bugs produce a lot of waste that excretes as they feed, breed, and live. Bed bug waste can be found in the form of either droppings or stains. It mainly consists of dried blood and is usually dark red to black. Excrement is found wherever the bugs are or have been. Clusters and clumps are common. Bed bug droppings are smaller than the bugs, with most looking like tiny dark dots. Dried droppings are dark rust, dark brown, or black in color. Fresh droppings are wet, semi-liquid, and dark red.
Infested bedding, furniture, and other fabrics will be covered in dark-colored stains. Stains are formed when fresh, wet droppings soak into soft surfaces. Hard surfaces can also become stained, which may look like dark bumps. Bed bug fecal matter is usually found along baseboard tops, around carpeting edges, at or in electrical outlets, in curtain seams near the rod, behind headboards, in box spring wood frames, behind pictures, and in corners.
Bed bugs lay white eggs that are pinhead-sized and around 1 mm long. Eggs older than five days old will have a visible spot. Adults typically lay eggs in crevices, corners, and other hiding spots. Eggs and discarded eggshells are also found among droppings.
Adult bed bugs produce a glandular, musty, somewhat sweetish scent. This odor is more potent when they’re crushed. Bed bugs aren’t known carriers of human diseases. You can crush one to see if it produces a scent.
Bed bugs shed their skin while maturing from nymphs to adults. Cast skin is translucent and retains the shape of the bug. It can be found along baseboards, in mattress seams, in ceiling or wall corners, behind headboards, and stuck on personal items. The skin, eggs, and droppings are often found together. Shed skin in a small infestation will be anywhere. Shed skin in a large infestation is typically found in bug aggregations.
Do A Thorough Bed Bug Inspection
Bed bugs congregate where they can feed on human or animal blood. Beds, furniture, clothing, and pet items must be scrutinized, along with carpeting, rugs, electrical outlets, door frames, fixtures, and the rest of the area. Bed bugs like to hide and lay eggs in crevices, so you will need to examine surfaces, corners, cracks, and all the little nooks and crannies.
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. It’s a good idea to use a flushing agent (such as compressed air or steam) to chase bed bugs out of hiding spots during your inspection of these areas.
Here’s another inspection trick: place double-faced 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!
Gather Some Supplies
- Magnifying glass
- Plastic zip-top bags for collecting specimens
- Probe for checking narrow spaces, such as a “credit card tool,” made by cutting any plastic card into a long triangle
- Pyrethrin or compressed air to flush bedbugs from cracks and crevices
- Screwdrivers for removing light switches and electrical plates
- Tools for disassembling furniture
- Alcohol or cleaning wipes for evidence that stains are bed bug droppings
- Cotton swabs for checking stains in crevices
- Sticky traps to place under a bed or furniture
Inspect The Beds For Bed Bugs
Begin by thoroughly inspecting the bed and surrounding area. The bedroom is an ideal place to start because bed bugs are “nesting” parasites that prefer feeding while people and animals are sleeping. They come out to provide, then flee to darker hiding spaces, usually within eight feet. The bed bugs will spread out more as the infestation grows.
First, look around the bed for evidence. Bed bugs or waste may be found on the floor directly around or under the bed. Then check the bed with the bedding still on it. Look around the pillows and near the bottom of the bed. After that, strip the bed of linen and check it for signs of pests or blood spots. Then remove all the bedding and check the mattress, box spring, headboard, and bed frame.
Bed bugs are often found niched into the seams, piping, and other narrow areas of mattresses. Check these carefully, along with the different surfaces.
- Top, Bottom, and Sides: visually inspect the flat surfaces of the mattress.
- Seams and Piping: examine along the top and bottom of any mattress seams and the Piping.
- Air Holes or Rips: check down into any air holes or any rips.
- Mattress Handles, Buttons, and Tags: inspect underneath and around any mattress handles.
- Mattress Folds and Air Holes: check inside any material folds or air holes.
- Vinyl or Plastic Covers: if the bed is covered in plastic, examine it for tears, seams, and rips, then inspect those areas.
- In Between Mattress and Box Spring, Platform, or Frame: remove the mattress and look for pests between it and the rest of the bed.
Box Spring, Headboard, And Bed Frame
If bed bugs are present, they will likely be on the box spring, headboard, and bed frame. There are many hiding places here. Check all surfaces, cracks, crevices, joints, and covered areas. This inspection should include the box spring’s surface, staples, seams, tacking, and in-between material folds. Then turn the box spring over to examine its interior. Remove the cloth on its underside and inspect the interior with a flashlight and magnifying lens.
Be sure to inspect all of the headboard and bed frame’s surfaces, joints, screws, nail holes, and undersides. Remove the headboard and examine it, along with the wall behind it. Turn the frame over and take the bed entirely apart. Do a visual inspection and use an air compressor or other flushing tool.
Inspect The Room’s Perimeter
Bed bugs typically enter a room on clothing or objects people bring in. The bugs then concentrate on items that come into contact with people or animals, such as seats and beds. The bugs spread out as the infestation grows, moving to the room’s perimeter and burrowing into cracks, edges, and crevices. Rugs, walls, molding, electrical outlets, and other fittings eventually become infested.
Seeing a bed bug near the windows is a tell-tale sign that the infestation has spread throughout the room. Once you’ve examined the bed and furniture, scrutinize the rest of the room. Use a flashlight and magnifying glass, especially when inspecting carpets or dark crevices. Examine the molding, joints, carpets, area rugs, switches, outlets, fixtures, walls, window treatments, and door frames.
Molding and Joints
Inspect the wall moldings and floor joints. Use something narrow, like a credit card or stiff business card, to sweep up behind the moldings and in between the joints. This process will bring up eggs, waste, and other contaminants. Live bugs will go running. Scrutinize the joints and wall moldings closest to the bed.
Check the surface, edges, and underside of the carpet for signs of bed bugs. If the rug is high, move the fibers back and look into them with a flashlight. Fold back carpet edges and inspect the carpet, edges, carpet tack strip, and floor underneath. Pay careful attention to the tack strip. You should use something sticky.
Inspect area rugs in the same way. Examine the surface, then lift the carpet up to check around all the edges and underneath.
Electrical Switches, Outlets, And Phone Jacks
Unscrew and remove any electrical switches, outlets, and phone jacks. Inspect the plates and electricals for signs of bed bugs. Make sure to check along the edges and back of the plates.
Remove and inspect everything hanging on the walls. Look for bed bug evidence on frames, clocks, or other features. Open the frames, look behind paper backings, and check the wall behind them for signs of pests.
Walls, Wallpaper, And Peeling Paint
Look over the walls as you may see live bed bugs crawling across them. Be especially careful to check the walls near beds or furniture. Check around. If there is wallpaper, check all of it for any open areas, as bed bugs often hide there. Look for loose wallpaper. Use a little tool to swipe.
Window Treatments and Hardware
Remove the curtains or blinds and the rods, if possible. Inspect the fabric, rods, and remaining wall hardware for signs of pests. Check the surface, inside the fixtures, and underneath the wall hardware.
Door Frames And Hardware
Inspect all the door frames, hinges, handles, and inside each door latch’s borehole. Remember to inspect closet doors, bathrooms, and other edges.
Ceiling Moldings, Smoke Detectors, Lights, and Fixtures
Bed bugs can travel up to the top of walls, so you must inspect the ceiling and any moldings, fixtures, or crevices. They may move into smoke or carbon detectors, ceiling moldings, and fixtures if there’s a dirty upper floor. Use a little tool to investigate. Check the fixture and detector components carefully, then examine the fittings with a flashlight. Remove any light fixtures and unscrew the fire/carbon monoxide detectors, if possible.
Bed bugs will also hide in other furniture, especially as the population grows. Start by inspecting the framing of furniture closest to beds, such as nightstands and wardrobes. Use a flashlight, crevice tool, and air compression tool.
- Remove any items in them, including clothing and electronics, and place them into plastic bags. Label the bags with which piece of furniture the items came from. Take a closer look at these if you find bed bugs on the furniture.
- Inspect around screws, nail holes, corners, undersides, seams, joints, and metal drawer guides.
- Pull out any drawers and look into the corners, bottoms, seams, and joints.
- Turn over all pieces, remove the thin cloths, and check the undersides carefully.
- Inspect cushions, pillows, and plush furniture carefully. Bed bugs often hide in these places and are difficult to detect.
Inspect Items And Objects
Bed bugs can get into virtually everything, including electronics, walls, books, HVAC systems, etc. Room items should be inspected if other signs of bed bugs are visual.
- Televisions, computers, and other electronics
- Telephones, cell phones, and cordless phones
- Remote controls
- Battery compartments on electronics
- Lamps and alarm clocks
- Cardboard boxes in closets and under the bed
- Toys and stuffed animals
- Jewelry boxes
- Brick walls and textured ceilings
- Books, magazines, newspapers, and files
- Hollow door interiors
- Heating units, air conditioners, and ducts
- Wheelchairs, canes, crutches, and assistive devices
Cars and vehicles aren’t ideal residences for bed bugs. These won’t be found in large numbers there, but it is possible to transfer bugs from clothing into the vehicle. If bed bugs get in, they can live in vehicles for months. If your home has an infestation or you’ve been around one, inspecting your vehicle for bed bugs is a good idea. Check the fabrics and crevasses for bed bugs, stains, excrement, shed skin, and eggs.
How to Get Rid Of Bed Bugs Near Windows
Infested areas can be spot treated to kill the bugs. Bleach, steam, or diluted vinegar and water are relatively effective. Wipe the area with bleach or equal parts vinegar and water. You can destroy live bugs and eggs by spraying them with steam.
Bed bugs are tiny pests that travel far and burrow into cracks, corners, and hidden areas. It’s easy to miss them, especially in the form of eggs, hatchlings, and nymphs. These remedies will help but won’t eliminate an infestation. Bring in a professional exterminator to do a thorough inspection. Enviropest will give you a free assessment. Contact us if you see bed bugs near windows or anywhere else. For more information on what to do if you find bed bugs near a window, check out some of our details on inspecting for bed bugs.