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Bed Bugs

How to find bed bugs

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​​​​If you think you might have bed bugs you need to do a thorough inspection to see if you have them and how far they’ve spread.

Collect the tools below so you can find and clean the bed bugs up as you go:

  • Flashlight to look in dark gaps and cracks and on dark surfaces. Sometimes the light startles bed bugs. They’ll stop moving for a few minutes and then move quickly to get away from the light.
  • Magnifying glass to make it easier to see and confirm that they are a bed bug.
  • Narrow tool such as an old credit card or thin putty knife to force them out of cracks and crevices (gaps).
  • Plastic bags to capture and discard any bed bugs you find.
  • Paper towel to clean surfaces and to squish the bed bugs.
  • Vacuum cleaner that has a crevice tool to vacuum the bed bugs as you find them. Empty the bag or canister immediately. Put these into a sealed garbage bag and put them in the trash outside of your home. The vacuum won’t destroy the bed bugs or eggs.
  • Bucket of soapy water and sponge to clean up signs of the bed bugs (like the brown or red spots). This makes it easier to watch for new signs of bed bugs.

Start close to where you sleep. Keep moving out until you don’t see any more signs of bed bugs.

Look in all the places that might hide a bed bug. For example:
  • Beds: Look along seams of mattresses, between the mattress and box spring, and on all sides of the bed frame, including the underside and behind the headboard.
  • Other furniture in the bedroom: Along drawer runners, undersides of drawers, and any hidden cracks, crevices (gaps), and spaces and ​​joints between parts of furniture.
  • Room: Look along baseboards and along other trim around windows and doors. Look behind pictures or anything else hanging on the wall, as well as in cracks in the drywall and under torn wallpaper.
  • Look in and under smaller items such as books, clocks, toys, and anything else in the room that is small.

Move to the next room and repeat the inspection.

Once you have finished the inspection and cleaning you will have a good idea of how far the bed bugs have spread.​​


Current as of: July 14, 2023

Author: Environmental Public Health, Alberta Health Services