If you find bed bugs on your couch but none on your bed, it can mean one of two things, it is either your couch is infested while your bed is not or your couch is infested and your bed is only in the early stages of infestation.
Unless you change all of your outside clothes before getting into bed, it will only be a matter of time before your bed is also infested.
Signs of bed bug infestation in your couch
The first step in eliminating bed bugs is to locate the exact areas in your home that have been infested. The couch is a hotspot because of the ample space under the cushions, as well as on the wooden frame of the couch.
The most telling sign of an infested couch is the presence of live bed bugs and baby bed bugs, or nymphs. Bed bugs rarely come out of hiding when there is a person present. They avoid potential danger at all times and only come out in the dark where they are safe. So if you spot a living bed bug out and about, that usually means that your infestation is somewhat sizable and no longer in its early stages.
Discarded shells from nymphs are another sign of infestation. The nymph goes through five stages before it becomes an adult, and before advancing to the next stage, they shed their old shell. Finding these discarded shells on your couch means that the bed bug population that lives there has been reproducing efficiently.
Bed bug eggs are quite difficult to spot because of their size and color. They only measure about 1mm in length and are pearly white. Female bed bugs find the most hidden and darkest corners of your couch to lay their eggs in to keep them safe. You might need to flip your couch to check the wooden bed frame as well as the seams to find them.
Bed bug feces also leaves ink-like stain on the fabric of your couch. Their feces comes out liquidy so it absorbs into the fabric before drying.
Blood stains on your couch is also a sign of bed bugs because you might have rolled over one that had just fed. Full bed bugs are filled with blood and when they are squashed, the blood inside them leaves a stain on your couch.
How does my couch get infested with bed bugs?
Bed bugs infest a new home because they were taken there from another place that was already infested. One bed bug must have crawled into your clothes or into your luggage, and once you got home, you sat on your couch or placed your bags on it. The bed bugs crawl off your things and lay claim to the couch. After a few days, the bed bug realizes that you like to lounge and take naps on your couch. Bed bugs will feed on you when they know you are not awake. They make sure you do not know you are being fed on.
Over time, that one bed bug will lay eggs and the bed bugs that will hatch from those eggs will have their own families. The many seams and crevices on a couch is conducive to bed bug life. They like to squeeze into and hide into those areas and lay their eggs, knowing that their food source is always going to be around.
If there are bed bugs on my couch does that mean my bed does too?
It depends. It is possible to just have bed bugs on your couch and not your bed if you change your clothes and leave your bags outside your bedroom. If you wash up before getting in bed could also be a factor. Bed bugs are taken from one area to another by them hitchhiking on a person’s clothes or belongings. If you do not take anything from the outside into your bedroom, it is possible that your bed does not have bed bugs despite your couch being infested.
It is also possible that your bed is actually infested but because it is in its early stages, you have not been able to spot any signs of bed bugs. Bed bugs are experts at hide and seek, so for the first couple of weeks in your home, they are bringing their numbers up and staying in the dark, only coming out at night when you are sleeping.
It is quite difficult to keep your bedroom unaffected by bed bugs while your couch is. All it takes is one pregnant bed bug to grab onto your shirt while you lay on the couch. You get up to grab something in your room, sit for a few minutes on your bed, which is enough time for the bed bug to climb down to the bed and search for its new home.
How to remove bed bugs from couch
Remove all the couch cushions and vacuum them one by one, concentrating on the seams and edges. Vacuum all the corners of the couch. Flip the couch over and vacuum the wooden frame as well. Make sure you empty the canister in your garbage bin outside the house.
If your couch cushions have removable cover, take them off and place them in a sealed plastic bag. Place them in the washer on a hot cycle with detergent. After the wash, dry them at the highest temperature setting for at least 30 minutes. The water, soap, and heat will kill all bed bugs and their eggs.
If your washer is capable of washing your cushions, do the same process with them. If not, take them to a laundromat that is willing to wash them.
Spray all the surfaces, joints, and corners of your couch. Be generous as the spray will linger on the couch and kill bed bugs for the next few days.
If you can afford to, hire a professional pest control service to do a heat treatment on your house. This is when they bring in industrial heaters to elevate the temperature inside your home to over 120 degrees Fahrenheit to kill all the bed bugs and their eggs. The heat permeates even the thickest couches, so all the hidden bugs will be killed.
It is possible for your couch to be infested with bed bugs while your bed is not. It can be because you change all your clothes and leave your things outside your bedroom, thus eliminating the possibility of bringing bed bugs from the couch over to your bed.
Another possibility is that your bed is probably already has bed bugs but because it is still in its early stages, you will have a hard time spotting the signs of an infestation.
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