How to Check for Bedbugs

Bedbugs can make you itch. These tiny, reddish-brown insects that feed on blood are notorious for infiltrating hotel rooms and luggage, hitchhiking their way back to a new home virtually undetected.
Bedbugs, reddish-brown insects that feed on blood, are notorious for infiltrating hotel rooms and luggage virtually undetected.(Representational Image: Unsplash)
Bedbugs, reddish-brown insects that feed on blood, are notorious for infiltrating hotel rooms and luggage virtually undetected.(Representational Image: Unsplash)
Understanding what to be on the lookout for when checking for bedbugs is key.” If you’re able to catch the infestation early enough you can avoid bringing a problem home, which can save a lot of frustration. However, these insects are tiny and that’s not always possible.
Danilo Del Campo, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in Chicago

To find bedbugs before they find you, Dr. Del Campo and the AAD recommend following these tips to check for the pesky insects while traveling and back at home:

1. Store your luggage. When you arrive at your lodging, temporarily place your luggage in a tiled area, like the bathroom, while you inspect your room. There are fewer spots for bedbugs to hide in bathrooms, so you can check your room without worry.

2. Check your furniture. Bedbugs often hide in upholstered areas. Carefully inspect your bedding, mattress, headboard, and any fabric-covered furniture for:

  • Rusty or reddish specks of blood.

  • Tiny, blackish dots that look like dots made by a marker—these may be bedbug feces.

  • Whitish, oval bedbug eggs the size of apple seeds.

  • Shell-like bedbug exoskeletons.

  • Live bedbugs.

Bedbugs, reddish-brown insects that feed on blood, are notorious for infiltrating hotel rooms and luggage virtually undetected.(Representational Image: Unsplash)
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3. Check your room. Make sure to check the seams of fabric, in dressers, behind wall hangings or wallpaper, in corners, and in between cushions. If a credit card could fit in a crack, a bedbug could fit, too—they are that small.

  • After you check your room, you can bring your luggage in.

  • Place your bags on a luggage rack away from the wall.

  • If you find signs of bedbugs, request a new room.

4. Check your luggage when you get home. After your trip, look at your belongings before unpacking to make sure no bedbugs came home with you.

  • Use a flashlight to check the contents of your bags, including the seams of your clothing—look closely at your luggage to make sure no bedbugs are hiding inside.

  • If you find signs of bedbugs in your luggage, wash your clothes on high heat and use a hand steamer to clean your luggage.

If you notice any physical signs of bedbugs on your body or experience blistering, a skin infection (bites feel tender or ooze discharge, such as pus), or an allergic reaction (red or purple swollen skin or hives), make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist.(Representational Image: Unsplash)
If you notice any physical signs of bedbugs on your body or experience blistering, a skin infection (bites feel tender or ooze discharge, such as pus), or an allergic reaction (red or purple swollen skin or hives), make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist.(Representational Image: Unsplash)

If you notice any physical signs of bedbugs on your body or experience blistering, a skin infection (bites feel tender or ooze discharge, such as pus), or an allergic reaction (red or purple swollen skin or hives), make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist.

Bedbug bites are not usually dangerous, bedbugs can come home with you, infest your home, and cause a great deal of discomfort and anxiety. If bedbugs are present in your home, you will likely find bites on your body. These bites sometimes turn into itchy, red or purple welts and are often found in zigzag clusters of 3 to 5 bites.

You’ll rarely see bedbugs due to their small size, so many people mistake their bites for mosquitoes, fleas, spiders, or common skin conditions such as a rash or chickenpox.

“Unfortunately, bedbug bites can look similar to other insect bites,” said Dr. Del Campo. “A dermatologist will be able to help determine the cause of your bites and symptoms.”

(AP/Newswise)

Bedbugs, reddish-brown insects that feed on blood, are notorious for infiltrating hotel rooms and luggage virtually undetected.(Representational Image: Unsplash)
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