Bed bugs are an ongoing problem in the pest industry with no foreseeable changes in the near future. Infestation cases are on the rise and will most likely increase with the upcoming holiday season. So as your family makes plans for traveling, relatives visiting, and students coming home from college, it’s important to know how to keep your home protected from the ultimate hitchhiker: the bed bug.
If you’ve never seen a bed bug, you may have a hard time finding or identifying one. Keep reading to find out what bed bugs look like, where to find them, what threats they pose, and how to prevent and control them.
Bed Bug Identification
Red to brown in color (red after they’ve had a blood meal), six legs, flat and oval in shape, about 1/4″ in size or smaller
Bed Bug Environment
Cracks and crevices close to a human food source – behind baseboards, in furniture, bed frames, mattresses & boxsprings, suitcases, boxes (like shoe boxes or under bed storage), behind electrical switch plates
Bed Bug Threats
Bed bugs are excellent travelers and often go unnoticed since they’re nocturnal. They typically appear at night once you’re sleeping to feed and often leave behind red, itchy welts on the skin when bitten. Although they don’t transmit diseases, bed bugs are extremely elusive and hard to get rid of once an infestation occurs and can’t be eradicated with do-it-yourself treatments.
Bed Bug Prevention
Don’t bring suitcases inside your home after traveling. Remove all clothes first, wash them, and run through a high heat dryer cycle. Bed bugs cannot withstand high temperatures so this ensures you’re killing any that may have travelled back with you from trips, relatives’ homes, school, etc. Vacuum suitcases and leave them somewhere outside your home, preferably in sealed bags or containers, until you need them again. Also, make a habit of inspecting your bed for signs. Dark (blood) spots on sheets, pillows or other bedding is the most obvious indicator of a bed bug infestation. If you’re seeing this, call an exterminator immediately that specialized in bed bug treatment and control.
Bed Bug Control
Because of the elusive nature of bed bugs and their ability to survive in extreme conditions (bed bugs can live for a year or more without eating and can withstand a wide range of temperatures from nearly freezing to 113 degrees Fahrenheit), they can’t be eliminated through do-it-yourself methods. If you’ve identified a bed bug infestation in your home or business, or suspect bed bug activity, call a professional pest control company. A proper inspection is needed to identify all areas of infestation. After an in-depth inspection, a treatment and control plan can be implemented, usually including multiple chemical and/or heat treatments and inspections over several weeks. As part of the treatment plan, you may be asked by your exterminator to remove or reduce clutter, install protective encasements to your mattresses and/or boxsprings, and launder bedding and/or clothing. You should also be advised not to throw out any infested furniture, clothes or other items; this can cause the spread of bed bugs to other locations. It’s also not recommended to purchase new furniture throughout the treatment process as these items will likely become infested with bed bugs.
Request a Bed Bug Inspection
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