The only way to be sure you have bed bugs is with a visual confirmation — that means finding actual bed bugs, bed bug cast skins, bed bug eggs, or bed bug fecal stains, and having these confirmed by someone who is qualified to ID them. It’s helpful to become familiar with what bed bug cast skins (also known as shed skins) look like, as well as some other common varieties from other insects.
Thanks to Franco Casini for this excellent set of photos comparing bed bug cast skins (on the right) and other types of cast skins such as those from dermestid beetle larvae, carpet beetles, and German cockroaches (on the left):
Franco has also generously shared a photo comparing bed bug cast skins from bed bug nymphs at various stages:
Photo credits: Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved, Franco Casini, www.pest2000.it
Many thanks to the photographer Franco Casini, a.k.a EffeCi in our Bedbugger Forums!
You may also be interested in Lou Sorkin’s images of bed bug shed skins here.