In the United States, bed bug infestations are on the rise.
If you think you may have come across a bed bug or have seen signs of a potential bed bug infestation, it’s important to start treatment right away in order to quell the problem before it becomes overwhelming. But since bed bugs are nocturnal and expert hiders, finding them before an infestation is out of control can be tough.
But don’t worry. We are here to help you out with this guide on how to find bed bugs during the day. We are also going to cover which treatment methods for bed bugs work best, which products we recommend, and even give you some tips and tricks on home remedies you can use to keep these nasty bugs from returning.
But before we begin, let’s talk a bit about bed bugs and what these pests actually are.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small, parasitic arachnids that survive on human hosts.
If you have arachnophobia, you’re not going to like this news. Mistaken for insects, bed bugs are actually arachnids closely related to spiders, scorpions, ticks and mites. They are also parasitic in nature, providing very little importance to a healthy ecosystem and relying solely on blood meals of other living hosts in order to survive.
Bed bugs reproduce rapidly and infiltrate homes where they can gain easy access to their favorite food, which is human blood. While a bed bug infestation can start out small, these critters are quick to spread from room to room, where they lay low and patiently wait for access to their human meals.
Staying one step ahead of a bed bug infestation can be tough, even if you know how to find bed bugs during the day. Remember, these pests are nocturnal, but this isn’t the only reason they can be hard to find.
Bed bugs are super small, only growing to be between 2.0 mm – 2.5 mm in length once mature. But don’t worry. When bed bugs are fully engorged after a nice big blood meal, they are much larger and easier to spot. (Gross).
While bed bugs have not been found to carry or transmit diseases to humans and pets, they can be quite problematic. They spread rapidly in homes where conditions are right and, though they are generally harmless to people and pets in the long run, their bites can be painful, itchy, and just downright annoying.
Worse, if you’ve recently found a bedbug in your home during the day without actively looking for it, chances are your infestation is already out of control. These pests are generally expert hiders and you won’t find them unless their numbers are vast.
This is one of the reasons it’s so important to know how to find bed bugs during the day. If you have an inkling that you may have a bed bug problem, it’s really wise to start looking for the nest.
That said, keep in mind that there could be multiple nests in a single home and even in a single room. This is because of the bed bugs’ incredible reproduction rate. When they aren’t sucking your blood in the middle of the night, bed bugs are spending their time mating. A single female bed bug lays up to five eggs per day and can lay over 500 eggs in her lifetime.
Bed bug nests quickly become overcrowded, leading to some bed bugs moving on to find new spaces to feed, sleep and mate. Bed bugs can also get from place to place via human travel.
Wondering why you have bed bugs?
Don’t worry. It’s probably not because you’re “dirty”. A single pregnant female bed bug can contribute to an entire infestation, and you may have picked her up from anywhere including movie theaters, hotels, restaurants, at your place of employment, or even driving in a friend’s car.
Once a female bed bug lays her eggs, it can take up to 37 days for a bed bug infestation to become noticeable. This is because bed bugs go through five stages after hatching, which include:
- The First Stage Nymph (1.5 mm)
- The Second Stage Nymph (2 mm)
- The Third Stage Nymph (2.5 mm)
- The Fourth Stage Nymph (3.5 mm)
- The Fifth Stage Nymph (4.5 mm)
And then adulthood.
The below video discusses these five stages in more detail.
Once an infestation begins it can be hard to identify and quell. This is because bed bugs don’t need to feed every single day and some reports even note that bed bugs can survive for up to one year without a blood meal.
With that said, it’s vital to stay vigilant and know how to find bed bugs during the day, identify the problem as quickly as possible, and move on to proper methods of treatment.
Now, without further ado, let’s talk about how to find bed bugs during the day. Keep reading.
How To find Bed Bugs During The Day
Bed bugs are small and nocturnal, but it is possible to find them during the day when you know where and how to look.
There are different roads you can take when it comes to how to find bed bugs during the day, but most experts agree there are a few steps you shouldn’t skip. These steps include:
- Stripping Your Bedding
- Checking For Signs Of Bed Bug Activity
- Setting Bed Bug Traps
- Checking Other Areas Prone To Harboring Bed Bug Nests
Once you have managed to successfully figure out how to find bed bugs during the day, your next step should be on treatment and prevention. We will discuss all of that further down, but for now let’s go into more detail about the steps you should take when it comes to how to find bed bugs during the day.
Strip Bedding, Furniture, and More To Do A Thorough Examination
Strip your bedding including sheets, pillow cases, mattress covers and more.
The first thing we recommend you do when looking for how to find bed bugs during the day is to strip the bedding. Even if you think your room is the only room in the house with bed bugs, it is always wise to search every room in the home that is inhabited by people.
Even baby cribs, playpens, carseats and strollers can be victim to bed bug activity. Remember, a bed bug infestation may start in one room but can quickly spread throughout the home. In order to completely get rid of bed bugs, you must not only know how to find bed bugs during the day but also be aware of which rooms in the home they could have potentially spread to.
Once you have stripped bedding, examine mattresses carefully. Fold back any seams and inspect tears in fabrics. Look along baseboards, headboards, and inside pillow cases, sheets, duvet covers, and folds or seams in clothing, pillows, bedding, and plush toys that are slept with often.
Check For Physical Evidence Of Bed Bug Activity
Look for signs of bed bugs, shed skins and egg casings, which are all prevalent in the above image.
Signs of bed bug activity may not be obvious, but once you know what to look for you won’t be able to miss them. That is why next on our list of how to look for bed bugs during the day is to look for and know the signs of bed bug activity.
Bed Bug Bites
Typically, the first signs of bed bugs are going to be signs of bites. When looking for bed bug bites, keep in mind that not everyone will experience the same reaction. This can make identifying bug bites somewhat difficult.
However, for many people, bed bug bites appear in clusters, where multiple bed bugs were feeding at the same time. Bed bug bites can be similar to mosquito bites in that they itch, or they may not itch at all. The bites can also be small, flat red spots or swollen itchy red bumps. Other types of bites may not have any reaction at all but can still be red, while some bites only turn red due to irritation when the victim is itching.
Bed bugs do not only target people, though people are their first choice. To find bed bug bites on your body, note that they can appear anywhere on the body where skin has been exposed.
Blood Marks On Sheets
Another common sign of bed bugs are signs of blood spots on sheets or pillows. This is an important thing to look for when looking at how to find bed bugs during the day, especially considering not everyone will experience a reaction to bed bug bites.
For example, many years ago when my home was infested with bed bugs, some family members were riddled with bites while others were not. We later found out that the baby of the house was likely bitten most, as the bed bug nest was eventually found in his crib. Amazingly, the baby had absolutely no bites or any reaction for that matter on his skin.
On the flip side, there were small blood spots on his sheets and in his bed from where bed bugs had either defecated, been squished in the night, or the baby had bled a small amount after being bitten.
Bed bugs go through five stages, as we covered above, and they often shed their skins as they molt. One common sign to look for when working on how to find bed bugs during the day is to keep an eye out for any shed skins. These skins often look exactly like a bed bug, though they can appear lighter and upon closer inspection are clearly shells or skins.
These skins will often be found in and around food sources, (aka YOU or your family members), and are often found in the proximity of where bed bugs feed, nest and mate.
Small, Black Spots On Bedding
When wondering how to find bed bugs during the day, one thing experts will tell you is to search for small black spots on bedding that look almost like black Sharpie marks. These spots are left behind from bed bugs defecating and are clear signs that bed bugs are present.
Like skins, bed bugs also leave behind egg casings. Egg casings look similar to small, brown, tan or white grains of rice and are generally around 1 millimeter in length. While you can see these casings with the naked eye, it does help to use a magnifying glass to properly identify them.
Seeing Live Bed Bugs
Last on our list of physical signs to look for when wondering how to find bed bugs during the day are actually sightings of bed bugs. If you do see a bed bug without actively looking for one, you’re probably in the midst of a pretty large infestation, as we mentioned above.
But don’t panic. Remember, bed bugs are harmless to people and pets and are more unnerving than anything else. There are also plenty of methods you can use to get rid of them once you have identified a problem.
But before we get into these methods, let’s learn about other ways you can go about working on how to find bed bugs during the day.
Set And Check Bed Bug Traps
Set bed bug traps like the above sticky trap around beds and furniture.
If you suspect you have bed bugs but aren’t yet sure, another method you can use for how to find bed bugs during the day is to set bed bug traps.
There are plenty of traps you can purchase but you can also make bed bug traps yourself. The traps most highly recommended by experts for how to find bed bugs during the day are going to be non-toxic sticky glue traps that are designed specifically for bed bugs.
These traps have a folded design that allow you to place them in areas where bed bugs are most commonly found including beneath bedding, furniture, headboards, and along floorboards or in closets.
Once you place the traps, leave them alone for a week or so. You can check them often but do not remove them until you are sure you do not have bed bugs. Remember, bed bugs can go quite a while without a blood meal and may stay hidden for several weeks at a time before venturing out again.
How To Find Bed Bugs During The Day – Other Places To Check For Bed Bugs
Cribs, plush toys, chairs, and pillows can all be home to bed bugs.
Though they are called bed bugs, they don’t only hide in beds. Bed bugs can make a nest anywhere in your home if the conditions are right. Along with looking at bedding, we also suggest inspecting other areas of the home including:
- Mattresses and Boxsprings
- Bed Headboards and Footboards
- Beneath Beds
- Beneath and Around Couches, Chairs, and Other Sitting Areas
- Cribs, Strollers and Carseats (If Applicable)
- Inside Closets
- Inside Drawers
- Along All Baseboards and Floorboards
- Around The Edges of Carpets
- Below and Inside Other Furniture Including Desks, Tables, Dressers and Nightstands
- Along Walls
- Inside Electronics
- Beneath and Around Appliances
- Behind Picture Frames or Hanging Artwork
- Inside Shelves and Books.
How To Find Bed Bugs During The Day – Why Do You Have Bed Bugs?
You can pick bed bugs up in movie theaters, hotels, or even from purchasing second-hand furniture.
If you have been following our tips on how to find bed bugs during the day and you have found signs of bed bug activity, don’t worry. This is not an indication that you’re unclean or that your home is unsanitary. Bed bug infestations are quite common and are even on the rise in the United States.
Remember, bed bugs have the ability to survive without a blood meal for up to an entire year in the right conditions and are most commonly transferred from home to home vai human travel. That, and one single pregnant female bed bug can be responsible for an entire infestation in a new location.
You can pick up bed bugs up from anywhere, whether you stay in a 5 star hotel for one night or visit a discount motel for the weekend. You can also pick up bed bugs at movie theaters, restaurants, clothing stores, second hand stores, outside vehicles, at your workplace, and so on.
Basically, you can pick up bed bugs anywhere. Luckily, once you know how to find bed bugs during the day, you can stay vigilant and crack down on any potential infestation in your home before it gets out of control.
Let’s talk about some products we recommend for getting rid of bed bugs once you know you have them, and then we will discuss some home remedies you can use to protect yourself from bed bugs along with some preventive tips.
Best Products To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs
Diatomaceous Earth is a fine powder dust that is effective against bed bugs but safe for people and pets.
Now that you know how to find bed bugs during the day, it’s important to know how to get rid of them. Because bed bugs are such a common pest in the United States, there are plenty of different products and methods available to you to help you get rid of them.
Many of these products are natural and safe for people, pets and the environment, though some are insecticides that contain harsh chemicals that can be dangerous. Not every method of bed bug control is going to be right for every person, so make sure you do plenty of research before purchasing the product that is right for you and use the product only as directed.
Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer
Diatomaceous Earth is a very popular product you can use after you have figured out how to find bed bugs during the day and managed to identify your problem. This dust is made of fossilized algae and is highly effective against a number of pests like bed bugs, spiders, roaches, ants, earwigs, and beetles.
That said, it is an all natural product that is completely harmless to people, pets and the environment. You can use it in rooms and apply it along the floorboards, around the bed, in closets, around dressers, and even in the kitchen where food is stored and prepared.
While Diatomaceous earth is effective and safe, it works best when it is dry and may need to be reapplied if it gets wet. Once you are done using it and have managed to get rid of the bed bugs in your home, simply vacuum it up.
Ortho Defense Max Bed Bug Detection and Trap
Traps are one of the most effective tools you can use when looking for how to find bed bugs during the day. For that reason, we have included the above bed bug trap by Ortho Defense. This is a sticky trap that provides you with early detection of bed bug activity in your home.
You can place this trap below beds, furniture, and anywhere else you suspect or fear bed bug activity. However, while this trap is effective, it does contain pheromones that attract bed bugs that could be harmful to people and pets. Use it only as directed and keep it out of reach of children.
HARRIS Bed Bug Glue Traps
Another glue trap you may find effective once you’ve managed to figure out how to find bed bugs during the day are these simple, non-toxic glue traps by Harris. Like the other trap on this list for bed bugs, the Harris glue traps are made with a simple, foldable design that is ideal for placement beneath beds, in closets, below furniture, and other tight spaces where bed bugs may be lurking.
The glue is safe for people and pets, though still be cautious with these traps around curious kiddos and dogs or cats. Pets can get stuck in them, which may lead to an impromptu haircut.
Harris 5 Minute Bed Bug Killer
Once you’ve managed to figure out how to find bed bugs during the day, you’ll probably want something that kills them and kills them fast. The bed bug killer above by Harris does just that, killing bed bugs on contact within five minutes.
It also kills bed bug eggs and all stages of nymphs, and continues killing any newly hatched bed bugs for up to one month. The active ingredients include clothianidin, metofluthrin, and piperonyl butoxide, which are effective against pests but can be dangerous to people, pets and the environment if not used correctly.
For that reason, keep this product out of reach of children and use it only as directed.
Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Powder
The powder is simple to apply and can be used similarly to Diatomaceous Earth. Simply sprinkle it around bedding, door frames, floor boards, and below furniture or along dressers to kill any bed bugs.
Of course, it is best to use this product if you have used our steps on how to find bed bugs during the day and have properly identified a bed bug infestation.
How To Find Bed Bugs During The Day – Home Remedies To Get Rid of Bed Bugs
You can use the above method to make your own bed bug sticky traps.
Bed bugs are certainly nasty, but not everyone wants to use chemical treatments or spend hundreds of dollars on bed bug removal products. If you would prefer to try and manage your bed bug problem at home using do it yourself pest control methods, then this is the section for you.
After covering how to find bed bugs during the day and identifying an infestation, let’s now take a look at some of the best home remedies you can use for the treatment and prevention of bed bugs.
Try Baking Soda
Dust insect killers like Diatomaceous Earth work by dehydrating pests like bed bugs. This is because these pests hold in moisture with their hard exoskeletons. When their waxy exoskeletons are compromised or pierced by drying agents like baking soda or Diatomaceous earth, the moisture can no longer be maintained and the pests die.
Baking soda can work well once you have figured out how to find bed bugs during the day and identified an infestation. However, baking soda may not work alone and should be used alongside other products or treatment methods.
Use A Hair Dryer on High Heat
It is well known that bed bugs cannot withstand heat. Many expensive professional bed bug treatments require the evacuation of your home so professionals can treat the entire space with heat.
However, if you have found out how to find bed bugs during the day and managed to catch your infestation early, you can spot-treat bed bug nests using blow dryers.
Simply turn your blow dryer on high heat and treat the infested areas for up to 30 minutes. This heat treatment will kill bed bugs, bed bug eggs, and all stages of nymphs when done properly.
How to Find Bed Bugs During the Day By Vacuuming
Vacuuming is a key element in how to find bed bugs during the day because you can inspect the contents of the vacuum bag for evidence. However, vacuuming also helps to eliminate potential bed bugs and alleviate infestations.
You can further kill bed bugs while vacuuming by first vacuuming up a drying powder like baking soda or Diatomaceous Earth. Once you are done vacuuming areas that are potentially infested with bed bugs, dump the contents of the vacuum bag in an airtight trash bag and throw it away in an outside garbage container.
How to Find Bed Bugs During the Day Using Tape
As we mentioned above, traps are some of the most effective tools you can use to help you work on how to find bed bugs during the day. Most of these traps are glue traps, which work by capturing bed bugs as they walk across the surface on their way to a blood meal.
You can make your own bed bug traps for how to find bed bugs during the day by using double sided tape or by folding tape inside out.
Simply place this tape along bed boards, floor boards, beneath bedding, in closets, and along furniture or door frames to capture bed bugs and identify a potential infestation.
Wash And Dry Laundry On High Heat
Another home remedy to kill bed bugs is to do laundry on high heat. Remember, bed bugs cannot withstand heat. However, they may be able to survive a wash if it’s cool or cold. This means that after washing your clothes, you should toss them in the dryer to kill any surviving pests.
If you are worried about shrinking clothes or bedding, you can always wait until these fabrics are dry and put them in the dryer afterwards on high heat. This will have the same effect in killing any living bed bugs or bed bug eggs.
Homemade Cayenne Pepper, Oregano and Ginger Spray
Another way to manage and eliminate a bed bug infestation after learning how to find bed bugs during the day is to make your own bed bug repellent spray. You can make this simple spray using household ingredients.
- 1 tbsp of cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp of grated ginger
- 1 tbsp of oregano
- 2 cups of water
- 1 spray bottle
Add the above ingredients in a spray bottle and shake the bottle to mix the solution. Then you can spray the concoction along floorboards, headboards, around furniture, in closets, and wherever you notice or want to prevent bed bug activity.
Bed bugs hate the smell of cayenne, ginger and oregano. Plus, the spice of the cayenne and ginger can irritate bed bugs on contact. That said, cayenne especially can be irritating to people and pets as well, so use this with caution and apply it carefully.
Different types of essential oils can repel different types of pests. The specific essential oils that work best for bed bugs include:
- Peppermint oil
- Clove oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Tea Tree oil
- Cinnamon Oil
- Lavender Oil
- Lemongrass Oil
- And Thyme Oil
Once you have figured out how to find bed bugs during the day and have indeed identified an infestation, you can make your own essential oil bed bug spray by following the below instructions:
- 1 tsp essential oil of your choice
- 1 cup of water
- 1 spray bottle
Add the ingredients to a spray bottle and mix the solution carefully. Then you can spray the solution on bedding, furniture, floor boards, baseboards, and more.
Tips On Preventing A Future Bed Bug Problem In Your Home
Wash clothing and bedding on high heat after traveling to ensure you kill any potential bed bugs you may have picked up.
Along with knowing how to find bed bugs during the day, it’s also important that you know how to prevent them.
Just because it is possible to pick up bed bugs while out and about doesn’t mean you have to simply accept an infestation. There are steps you can take including knowing how to find bed bugs during the day, staying vigilant, and using other preventative tactics to keep these pests from becoming an overwhelming problem.
Some of the best steps you can take to prevent future bed bug infestations include:
- Washing clothing, bedding and toys after a vacation or hotel stay
- Vacuum your home often and discarded the contents of the vacuum bag outside
- Invest in a quality bed bug mattress to protect bedding
- Refrain from low hanging curtains, throws, bed skirts and more that touch the floor
- Clean up clutter and debris around your home to reduce potential hiding places for bed bugs
- Do not purchase or take in second hand clothing, furniture, curtains, bedding, or mattresses without careful inspection
And that’s that. We hope this has been a helpful guide on how to find bed bugs during the day and a good source of tips and products you can use to identify, treat, and prevent any bed bug infestation you may come across.
Best of luck.
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.