oh god no
February 22, 2014 8:23 PM   Subscribe

I was searching under my bed with a flashlight for an earring I dropped and in the process discovered a bug near the edge of my bedsheets. I killed the bug with a Kleenex and flushed it but didn't think to take a photo of it and now I am paranoid that it was a bedbug. Am googling pictures of bedbugs and the thing I found does look similar to what Google is showing. So...I guess I found a bedbug. Help me figure out my next steps.

I guess that's it...what do I do now that I found what might be a bedbug? Call an exterminator in the morning? What else can I do in the meantime? I am panicking a little bit right now - I work in the hospitality industry and given the bedbug panic of the last few years this is literally my worst nightmare - and I'm kind of freezing up and dont know what to do and am sort of afraid to go to sleep.

Haven't noticed any bug bites in the last few days, nor is there any evidence of bug droppings anywhere. This is the first time I have encountered a bug in my bedroom. I have no idea what my next steps should be. Please help me figure out what to do before I flip out and like burn all of my sheets and clothes and stuff.
posted by thereemix to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
I think they say you can put some double sided tape around your bed frame to catch some overnight? I totally feel you, though. I wouldn't feel great right now, either. My sympathies.
posted by ancient star at 8:29 PM on February 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Before you freak out, it might of been a carpet beetle or fur beetle. They look quite similar to bedbugs.
posted by littlesq at 8:33 PM on February 22, 2014

Haven't noticed any bug bites in the last few days, nor is there any evidence of bug droppings anywhere. This is the first time I have encountered a bug in my bedroom.
You found one bug that vaguely resembles a bedbug. Right now, you have nothing to worry about. Have a good night's sleep, and in the morning, look for other bugs. If you find one, put it in a ziplock bag and take it to your local university extension service to have it identified.

Does your bedroom have a strong smell of cinnamon? Then you might want to be more concerned (unless you routinely burn cinnamon-scented candles). A bedbug infestation can smell like cinnamon (I speak from experience). Otherwise, don't sweat it.

And by "bug," do you mean a true bug, with piercing mouth parts, or just an insect? Most insects are beetles, and have no interest in sucking blood, plant juices, or anything else.
posted by brianogilvie at 8:34 PM on February 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Bedbugs don't leave "droppings". Bedbugs leave stains that look like black ink, on your sheets.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:52 PM on February 22, 2014

For the moment I wouldn't panic, but just keep an eye out for bugs (double sided tape if needed). If you are in an apartment building check with your neighbors.

If you need more peace of mind you could get a mattress cover that's rated for dust mites (bedbugs can't get through it) and a plastic cover for your box spring. That will keep the bugs from nesting in your mattress.

If you do turn out to have a bedbug infestation, don't freak out too much. They can be dealt with. Don't accept any exterminator who doesn't give at least two treatments (the sprays don't kill the eggs, so they need to come back within 2 weeks), get drione dust, gentrol tabs, apply extreme heat to clothing and bedding.
posted by brookeb at 10:49 PM on February 22, 2014

As you squished it, did you notice any blood (like one would with a mosquito)?
posted by angrycat at 3:01 AM on February 23, 2014

How big was the bug?
posted by Quilford at 3:36 AM on February 23, 2014

No blood when I squished it, and the bug was about 1/2 - 3/4 of an inch long.
posted by thereemix at 8:14 AM on February 23, 2014

Your bug was about three times as big as a bedbug. I think you're safe.
posted by Kriesa at 8:41 AM on February 23, 2014

Fully-grown bedbugs are about the size and shape of apple seeds, so it does sound like your bug was too big.

Cockroach nymphs can look similar to bedbugs, and range in size from teensy to definitely-bigger-than-bedbugs. If you find more bugs that look like the one you squished, take a look at its antennae and back legs: if they're long, you've probably got a roach. If you see them in places other than on or around furniture (especially the bathroom or the kitchen), that's also a good sign they're roaches and not bedbugs. A cockroach infestation isn't ideal either, but I'd choose them over bedbugs any day.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:38 AM on February 23, 2014

You have probably resolved this already, but it could have also been a spider beetle. I once mistook one for a bedbug (and had a prompt freak out about it).

If you have any lingering doubts and have $25 to spare, buy a passive monitor and put it in your bed as directed. It will alert you to any problems if they exist, and if not, it will keep you from wasting hours obsessively poring over and over your bedding with a magnifying glass. Not that I've done that, or anything.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:54 PM on April 12, 2014

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