Do you manage a youth camp, hostel, shelter, dorm housing or other high occupancy facility? If so, you are likely no stranger to bed bugs; an unfortunate byproduct of many bodies and beds in one place. This scourge of creepy crawlies is the bane of group lodging settings all over the country and it can be challenging to stage an effective defense. Especially if you can’t find them.
In addition to their tiny size, bed bugs are very adept at becoming invisible during daylight hours, making tracking them down a tall order. What to do? Your best approach starts by getting to know what you’re dealing with.
A quick background on bed bugs
Similar to ticks, bed bugs are flat, wingless critters, oval-shaped and about the size of an apple seed. They are typically reddish-brown in color (turning darker after feeding) and sport six legs, a pair of antennae, and mouth parts packed with piercing tools. While most of their species are perfectly content feeding on plants, others are keen on taking up residence in beds, furniture, and clothing in order to be closer to meals of human blood.
But how do they “attack” humans? They can’t fly without wings and their tiny legs limit their ability to cover a lot of ground with any sort of haste. Instead, they adapted into resourceful hitchhikers, jumping onto people or pets passing by. They also favor stowing away in luggage or items like backpacks that are so ubiquitous in dorms, camps, and shelters.
How do bed bugs occupy their time?
The short answer is breeding. Bed bugs lay hundreds of eggs in each sitting and all those eggs can remain dormant for many months. Once the bugs settle into a cozy place like a mattress, sleeping bag or clothing; they breed continuously and spread like wildfire in a tinder-dry forest. With enormous populations roaming the confines of a home or high-traffic facility, bed bugs pause from their prolific breeding at night to emerge and feed.
Getting rid of the pests, then, must happen in daytime for the best chances at elimination.
How to find bed bugs during the day
It’s you against the bugs and this is the time to know thine enemy. How to spot them and where are your main parameters in the fight. The good news is bed bugs are not difficult to find and they don’t resemble any other bug besides ticks. Start your search by identifying any existing infestation. If you know they’re already there, don’t waste your time trying to find and squish every last one; that’s a battle you can’t win. Sprays, traps, and partnering with a reputable bug removal company are far more effective options.
If you want to know how to find bed bugs during the day, your best bet to find a plague of bed bugs is uncovering their hideouts. This is often under a mattress or box spring or other locales where they can hide from the sun and remain undisturbed. Lifting up a mattress upsets their daily routine and they will scatter.
Many people thing bed bugs are invisible but that myth derived because we just don’t see them during the day because they only come out at night; their chosen time to bite and feed. They lay their eggs in hidden places as well, so looking in the same places as you’d find adult bed bugs often reveals eggs as well.
Where to look to find bed bugs
Their wide and flat bodies make it easy for bed bugs to hide in the smallest cracks and crevices. But look closely and you can often still see them, half in and half out of places like the seams of a mattress.
It’s much harder to find them when they are squirreled away behind a wall or under floorboards but it is not necessary to locate every single one to eliminate an entire brood. Remember, a stealthy attack on your part is the goal; plunging in with a fury only inspires the bugs to flee and spread even further. Some likely bed bug hiding places include:
- Mattress piping
- Cracks in walls or floorboards
- Underneath furniture, especially wood frames
- Deeper pile carpeting
- Couch cushions
Ultimately, your best approach to finding bed bugs is look for their signs (blood stains and droppings) and then target their home.
Other helpful resources
- How Long Can Bed Bugs Live in a Plastic Bag?
- Do Bed Bugs Go Dormant in Winter?
- Bed Bugs vs. Ticks: The Differences Between Ticks & Bed Bugs
- 4 Early Signs of Bed Bugs on Mattresses
- Do Bed Bugs Hide in Metal Bed Frames?
ESS Universal manufactures and supplies high-quality, cost-effective commercial grade beds, mattresses, and furniture to camps, hostels, shelters, dorms and more. View our entire line of furniture products including our popular waterproof foam mattress for institutional use, single metal bed frames, single over single bunk beds, single over double bunk beds, and triple bunk beds. Download our catalog for detailed information on our complete product line.