Bed bugs are a common worry among the pest-conscious, and for very good reason. Flat, oval, and about the size of an apple-seed, they can be very difficult to see until well after they’ve gotten a foothold in your bedding. While they’re usually found in hotels, they can also invade apartments and single family homes. These pests love crevasses, like sheets and mattress seams, and other hiding places like the spaces behind furniture, baseboard, outlet covers, and picture frames.
Diet and Activity
Bed bugs feed exclusively off of blood from the host and from others in the house. They feed often but can last for up to a year without food in cool conditions. They prefer to be active at night when the host is most likely to be asleep, which makes them more difficult to detect in the early stages of infestation. You can tell if a bed bug has been feeding because they will look swollen and more red than their usual reddish-brown color.
Seeing the bugs is the most obvious way of finding out you have a bed bug problem, but there are there are other, usually less obvious signs to watch for if you suspect you may have an infestation. These are also good things to check for when staying in a hotel during trips to help ensure that you don’t end up bringing bed bugs home as a souvenir.
As bed bugs grow, they shed their exoskeleton. Finding these shed casings indicates there are juvenile bugs in the area. After feeding, bed bugs will return to their hiding places and defecate. If you find black or brown stains on soft, porous surfaces, or black or brown mounds on hard surfaces, this is another indication of bed bug activity.
Additionally, small red welts on the skin may result from bed bug bites and are another indication of the material being infested.
How Did I Get Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs have been known to hitchhike on luggage, clothing, and even on people as they move from place to place. If you’ve traveled recently, you may have picked up these pests in your hotel room. They may have even come from your office. Catching them early gives you the best chance of controlling these critters without the help of a specialist.
You can also take steps to guard against bed bugs and prevent them from making your home into their home. Decluttering your space will make locating any evidence of bed bug activity much easier, and running your bedding through the wash at the highest temperature allowed will help to knock down any bugs that have invaded your home. Taking precautions such as inspecting your home after trips and hosting guests and carefully looking over any secondhand furniture or clothing before bringing it home will also help reduce your risk of bed bugs.
Are Bed Bugs Dangerous?
Thankfully, they don’t appear to be. While bed bugs can carry diseases, they don’t appear to be capable of transmitting those diseases to humans. The main trouble comes from how quickly they multiply. A female bed bug can lay between 200 and 500 eggs in her lifetime which means they can quickly take over any space they’ve invaded. Under good conditions (normal temperatures with an adequate food supply), a bed bug can live for more than 300 days.
Bed bugs can quickly get out of hand so early detection and control is important. If you have any reason to suspect an infestation, contact the property manager if you’re renting or contact a specialist yourself if you own the home. If you’ve realized you have a bed bug infestation, contact us and we’ll help you get it under control.