Bed bugs are small, but they’re not invisible to the naked eye, and they leave evidence of their existence in particular places on a bed. If you are buying furniture or waking up to discover bites you did not have if you went to sleep, then inquire into the bed and box spring carefully to make sure that you don’t have an infestation. Because not everybody reacts to bed bug bites, it doesn’t hurt to inspect your mattress periodically even in case you have no reason to suspect a problem. The sooner you find the bugs, the better your odds of controlling the infestation.
Strip the bedding off the bed so that you can see the creases and seams. Pull the bed away from the wall so that you can view behind the headboard. Peel back sections of this paper or fabric protecting the wooden frame of the box spring so that you can see the joints between wood bits.
Look in these areas for live bugs. Usually, the adults hide during the day, but you may spot a few; they’re reddish-brown and about as big as apple seeds. Start looking for smaller, pale, translucent bugs as well, which are bed bugs in earlier stages of their life cycle. Bed bug eggs are the size of pinheads and white; once they hit five days old, they develop visible red spots where the bugs’ eyes is likely to be. Search for them using a magnifying glass to make the job simpler.
Study the bed seams and the area behind the headboard for cast-off exoskeletons. These are as little as the bugs themselves and somewhat translucent, so they might just look like thick dust unless you look closely. If you are not sure whether you are looking at these discard skins, look through the magnifying glass.
Examine the bed seams and the joints in the box spring for fecal spots. These are little black spots that appear in clusters whenever you have a large infestation and individually whenever the pest population is modest. On the bed, the spots bleed slightly to the fabric as they are fluid when the bugs excrete them.