How Can I Tell If I Have Bed Bugs?


Bed bugs    General Pest Control    Tips/Solutions   

The great Google machine returned over 166,700 unique web searches for “bed bugs” in Washington D.C. so far this year, and as the data suggests, that number is only climbing. Every month we can anticipate a minimum average of 14,800 people in D.C. searching for information about bed bugs—from how you get them, to how to treat them, to signs and symptoms of bed bugs. When we add in the entire metro area, we're looking at over 50,000 internet searches for bed bugs every single month. Pages and pages of web content is dedicated to answering your questions about home remedies, and how to identify bed bug bites. At American Pest, we’ve collected some of the most useful information for you in one place. Please share your comments with us below!

Bed Bug Pictures

Pictures of bed bugs are easy to find on the internet. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that the relative size of this pest is much smaller. To the naked eye, bed bugs range in size from about 1 millimeter to 4.5 millimeters, with the eggs being hardly detectable at .09 millimeters. That’s smaller than the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Case in point, bed bugs are small.

 bed bug feeding on a man in md  bed bug infesting a home in virginia

Picture of a bed bug feeding
Picture of a bed bug biting its human host

Picture of bed bug
Close up picture of an adult bed bug crawling over skin

 signs of bed bugs on a mattress in a dc home  bed bug infested mattress in a maryland home

Signs of bed bugs
Picture of bed bugs, shed skins, and fecal spotting inside the seam of a mattress


Signs of bed bugs
Picture of bed bugs, nymphs, eggs, and fecal spotting on mattress pad


How do you treat bed bugs?

Traditionally, bed bugs have been treated with liquid and aerosol products that are applied to the areas inside a dwelling where bed bugs are known to hide. These products generally contain components that kill bed bugs on contact, as well as provide some residual protection from newly hatched instars (immature bed bugs). This process is typically repeated until bed bugs are no longer present in the home or apartment.

In recent years, bed bug treatment technology has improved. Manufacturers have developed a form of bed bug treatment, called Thermal Remediation (Heat Treatment), which is as family-friendly as it is effective. In this type of bed bug treatment, mobile heating units are used to “super-heat” the areas inside a home or apartment, to kill all stages of bed bug development. The process is rarely performed more than once, as it is currently the most effective bed bug treatment used by pest management professionals.

Read more about Bed bug heat treatments

Bed bug Traps – Do They Work?

There are numerous bed bugs traps on the market today, many claiming the ability to completely clear an infestation. While these traps may help to reduce the number of bed bugs that you are seeing, they will not eradicate bed bugs. However, when used correctly, they are proven to be a valuable part of the larger bed bug treatment solution. We recommend ClimbUp® interceptor cups for use in homes and businesses.

Interceptor cups are helpful in trapping bed bugs as they move from one area to another in search of a blood meal. The cup itself is designed so that once a bed bug crawls into it, it cannot escape, effectively “trapping” the bed bug. Interceptor cups are also in monitoring for bed bugs in situations where one is having challenges locating the presences of insects.

Bed bug Mattress Protectors – How Do They Work?

Yet another effective addition to any complete bed bug treatment for your home, is the installation of quality bed bug mattress covers. These covers are designed to keep bed bugs from hiding in the seams of the top and bottom mattresses. They are usually white in color, making it easier to identify activity from bed bugs, and in active infestations they can be used to “lock” any remaining bed bugs inside the cover, after treatment has been performed. They are also beneficial in preventing the need to remove or replace mattresses.

Close-fitting, quality mattress encasements are typically made of polyester, or some other tear-resistant material/fabric. The best bed bug mattress protectors are tested and certified by a reputable third party. Check the product labeling for this information before you buy. Also be sure that the zipper is reinforced, making a tight seal. In some cases it may even contain a strip seal, for added security.

Bed Bug Bite Treatment Relief

It is very difficult to distinguish bed bug bites from other insect bites. Mosquito bites, specifically, may also resemble beg bug bites. It’s important to understand that a doctor or nurse cannot identify bed bug bites just by looking at them. For some people, the itch caused by bed bug bites can be extreme. While there is no medical treatment associated with bed bug bites, some may find relief in an over the counter antihistamine (pill or cream) such as Benadryl or Calamine lotion. In rare cases, severe allergic reactions may require a visit to a physician.  

Home remedies for bed bug bite relief are similar to other types of insect bite relief tips. Typically, a baking soda paste (made from baking soda and water) can be applied to the skin to help alleviate bite symptoms. Other sources suggest dabbing a lemon-soaked cotton ball on the skin several times a day.  

Where To Get Help?

If you suspect a problem with bed bugs in your Washington D.C. home or apartment, you are not alone. At American Pest, our professionals are expertly trained in bed bug eradication and can help you quickly and effectively get rid of your bed bugs. Contact us for more information about our bed bug services.


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