Bed Bug Protection International, LLC



Bed bugs are often discovered in areas where the untrained eye would not think to look.

As such, all items located within the suspected area, in addition to common furnishings such as beds, bed frames, headboards, carpets, dressers, and wall fixtures, are candidates for inspection, and only those items that are sealed or made in such a way that external access is not possible should be ignored.


Prior to beginning a home bed bug inspection, the following tools should be on hand:

• Disposable gloves
For use when cleaning

• Flashlight
A flashlight is necessary to illuminate the dark areas and cracks and crevices bed bugs hide in dark areas and will make them easier to find

• Magnifying glass
A magnifying glass can assist in finding bed bug eggs and nymphs during the bed bug inspection

• Playing/credit card (or putty knife, nail file, etc.)
These tools can be used to probe crevices and other hard to reach places bed bugs will hide

• Plastic bags or glass jars
Bags or jars can be used for collection of insect specimens for proper identification (if necessary)

• Adhesive tape
Adhesive tape can assist with catching suspected bed bugs to enable close visual examination and to dispose of

• Screwdriver, Pliers
Screwdrivers and pliers will be needed for removal of electrical outlet covers as well as disassembly of certain furniture and appliances that bed bugs are known to hide in

• Large clothing /trash bags/
These types of items will be needed to store items such as clothing and bedding materials.  Bags or bins must have zippers or lids.

Researchers have determined that approximately 80 percent or more of bed bug infestations are found inside mattresses, box springs, bed frames and nightstands. Nearby upholstered furniture similarly is a likely location for bed bugs to hide.

Accordingly, a methodical physical inspection should begin with these items to reduce the risk that any hiding places will be overlooked. 

How one looks for bed bugs is important. While inspecting the bed and other suspected areas of infestation, it is best to move slowly and deliberately to not startle any bed bugs that are present, minimizing the chances of causing them to spread to other locations.


The bed bug inspection should begin with the bed since this is the most likely site of an infestation. Several steps are needed to perform a thorough inspection bed inspection. These include:

• Looking along all seams, top and bottom
• Searching beneath mattress handles
• Lifting the mattress to see between it and the box spring
• Inspecting beneath buttons
• Delving into any material folds
• Searching seams and rips of vinyl covers

If stains suspected of being possible bed bug droppings are discovered, wipe such stains with a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol. Fecal matter will produce a reddish-brown color, providing another indication of a bed bug infestation.


Next, the box spring must be inspected. Once again, several steps are necessary, such as:

• Lifting the box spring to look for bed bugs between it and the frame
• Inspecting the surface of the box spring
• Inspecting all seams
• Removing the box spring fabric cover to permit internal inspection
• Using a flashlight and magnifying glass to look between closely fitted components
• Searching beneath tack heads and staples
• Using compressed air to force bed bugs out into the open


Bed bugs do not just hide in mattresses and box springs. The next most likely places that they will be discovered is in the bed frame or headboard. Wicker headboards are particularly susceptible, which means that they are worthy of an extremely close inspection. Although wooden bed frames and headboards are preferable to bed bugs, they are known to live in metal and plastic frames as well.

Then inspect these items as follows:

• Visually inspect all areas of bed frame prior to its disassembly
• Inspect the underside of the frame
• Examine screw and nail holes
• Methodically disassemble bed frame while inspecting each component.
• Remove the headboard from the frame or wall
• Check behind the headboard
• Inspect all seams and joints
• Disassemble multi-piece headboards to inspect all parts

Because wicker provides such ideal hiding conditions, it is sensible to discard these items if an infestation is discovered.


Although the bed and its various parts are the most likely hiding places, an infestation that has been allowed to grow may force the population to spread. This means that nightstands and other furniture within a span of 20 feet or more of the bed should be considered high-risk areas.

Follow these steps to inspect these items:

• Remove all items from drawers and shelves
• Place each item into plastic bags for later inspection and possible cleaning
• Lamps, alarm clocks, radios and remote controls should be similarly bagged
• Remove all drawers for physical inspection
• Inspect bottoms of all furniture
• Pay particular attention to crevices such screw and nail holes

Furniture that is made of metal or plastic is just as susceptible to harboring a bed bug infestation. Accordingly, the same inspection techniques can be used for these pieces of furniture.


Sofas and easy chairs, even those that are not kept close to where people sleep, are likely sites for an infestation, Inspecting this type of furniture must be systematic and methodical because of the many places bed bugs can easily hide.

Follow these steps to check for bed bugs in plush furniture:

• Carefully examine each pillow or cushion, paying particular attention to the seams and folds
• Feet and legs should be carefully reviewed, including under the feet
• Place furniture upside down, remove cloth covering to inspect the inside of the item
• Look under tack heads and beneath staples
• Use a flashlight and a crevice tool to check all joints in the furniture

If an infestation is discovered, the infected furniture must be treated or disposed of.


A thriving infestation will force bed bugs to claim additional territory. This can include some unlikely hiding places. Unless these places are discovered, it will be virtually impossible to eradicate the problem. Accordingly, if bed bugs are found in the bed and surrounding furniture, an inspection of the room's outlying areas will be imperative.

The interior room inspection should be conducted as follows:

• Begin on the wall behind the headboard
• Pay particular attention to the baseboard, using the crevice tool and a flashlight while inspecting.
• Check behind the door frame and trim with the crevice tool
• Roll up the edges of wall-to-wall carpets to detect bed bugs living beneath it
• Inspect the carpet's tack strip
• Slowly roll up area rugs, checking every inch of the underside for an infestation
• Remove plates for outlets, light switches and phone jacks
• Look behind the plates and inside the electronics in the wall
• Remove clocks, photos and art from the wall.  Inspect the backs of each item
• Peeling paint and loose wallpaper can be ideal hiding places, so inspect each of these
• Perform a close inspection of curtains and curtain rods
• For each door in the room, inspect the frame and along its hinges
• Look at ceiling and crown moldings
• Search light fixtures
• Examine smoke detectors for signs of infestation


Moderate to large infestations may spread to unlikely spots in the residence, making a fuller inspection essential. Some of these additional locations to consider for inspection will include: 

• Brick walls and fireplaces
• Lamps
• Remote controls
• Telephones and cell phones
• Books, magazines and papers
• Jewelry boxes
• Computers
• Stuffed animals
• Heating units


Bed bugs are quite adept when it comes to striking out into new territory. They may move not only from one room to another, but also from one apartment, townhouse, condominium, or office space to another when those units are connected. They use electrical wiring and conduits for phone lines and heating units to travel from place to place. In some instances, bed bugs have been known to travel across hallways and crawl under doors to access new areas that have not been infested yet. Accordingly, when a large infestation is discovered in one room, it therefore becomes imperative to search adjacent rooms and units to assess how far the problem may have spread.

The signs that an infestation may have grown beyond a single room include the following:

• Infested ceiling light fixtures that have wiring that stretches from one room to the next
• Bed bug droppings inside electrical switch plates
• Bed bugs spotted moving into and out of electrical outlets
• Bed bugs seen in a kitchen or bathroom.

These are unusual places to find an infestation, which means that an adjacent bedroom may be heavily infested. Water pipes can be used by bed bugs to travel from one place to another.

Patience is paramount.

Due to their size and body shape, bed bugs have the ability to conceal themselves practically anywhere within a structure.  As such, conducting a thorough bed bug inspection in most cases will require considerable time and effort

Those attempting their own bed bug inspections should realize that it may take as much as 1-2 hours to properly inspect an average-sized room when looking for bed bugs.

Think you may have bed bugs?

Call Bed Bug Protection International (215) 494-3484.

10871 Bustleton Avenue Suite 220
Philadelphia, PA 19116
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