Nothing causes people’s blood to freeze faster than two little words: bed bugs. Those who have never encountered them, and count your blessings, have no idea why they’re so terrifying. They’ve heard stories and seen pictures of chewed up limbs and shiver. People staying in a hotel for vacation automatically rip off the covers to check the beds before they even unpack. Nobody allows furniture, appliances or even clothing into their homes until they’ve been minutely checked out. All this fright is over a little thing just a little bigger than a comma. So here are the facts and myths for those who’ve never seen one.
In appearance, the pests are reddish-brown. They are about the size of a tick. Baby bugs are literally no bigger than a comma, but they are whitish in color. Like cockroaches, they shed every now and again. They are flat. They have no wings to fly but must walk. They don’t do that too fast. Other facts are:
- The pests feed on animals as well as humans as they sleep
- They usually feed between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. or around dawn each morning
- They can exist without a meal of blood for around 12 months
- Their presence has literally exploded across the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom
- They first arrived in America in port cities and were carried into hotels and apartment buildings in luggage
- The pests live wherever they can get under, in the cracks of or between such as the seams on mattresses and covers, wallpaper, electrical outlets and light switches and clothing
As the problem has grown, so have the myths and misinformation. The Centers for Disease Control or CDC takes some of the mystery out of the bugs.
Myth: Bed bugs live in messy places.
Fact: Actually, neatness is not the issue. The bugs can live anywhere no matter the state of cleanliness of the place.
Myth: The bugs spread disease.
Fact: Unlike other critters, bed bugs do not carry diseases.
Myth: They only infest bedrooms.
Fact: The bugs will appear wherever someone sleeps. If someone sleeps on the couch in the living room, there will the bugs be also. Got a sleeping area in the basement or an attic apartment? Be on the lookout.
Myth: Bite marks are unsightly and irritating.
Fact: Not all people get bite marks. Their skin does not blotch nor swell and itch.
Myth: I’m immune from bed bugs.
Fact: If you sleep in a place others have slept before you, then you’re at risk of being a meal. Apartment complexes, hotels, buses, planes, private homes and many more sleeping places are susceptible to infestations.
Myth: The bugs only come out at night.
Fact: The pests are not necessarily nocturnal. They do run around in the daytime and will be found around beds, night stands, the seams of curtains (if they’re near a bed), the seams of clothing, the seams of bed linens and the like.
Myth: There are no signs of an infestation other than bites.
Fact: Signs of an infestation often include shed skin which looks like popcorn kernels. Blood spots will also be spotted on bed linens and furniture near beds.
When people suspect they have an infestation problem, they should gather evidence. Gather some of the shed skin, blot up the blood spots with tissue or get a picture of it, see if you can capture one or two of the pests and bag them up in plastic baggies. Immediately call a pest control company for analysis of the evidence.
Alerting the management personnel of the place you’re in such as an apartment complex, hotel or public buildings like schools and office complexes often has the result of a massive extermination event.
Do you suspect a bed bug infestation in your home? Miller the Killer has been targeting these and other pests for fifteen years. We are experienced and careful in carrying out our job. When you need peace of mind as well as working with knowledgeable friendly people, contact us TODAY to schedule our bed bug treatment Des Moines at 515-518-8864 and we’ll get right on it.