Bed bugs – cimex lectularius – are insects that feed off of warm blooded animals. They are extremely small and can be very difficult to detect and identify. While bed bugs have been known to live for up to 18 months, the average lifespan of a bed bug is around 9 months.
Because they can go for months without a blood meal and are resistant to many insecticides treatment for them is very difficult and time consuming.
The most common comparison would be to a tick in terms of general appearance and size upon reaching adulthood but they are much smaller in early life cycles and therefore can be very difficult to locate. A female can lay up to 5 eggs per day and may very well relocate to areas far removed from the mattress to lay those eggs again making detection and control very difficult.
SIGNS OF BED BUGS
Bed bugs will leave 4 types of primary sign.
- Most common are blood smears on a mattress or sheets where feeding has occurred.
- Next are stains or smears from excrement. Since they feed on blood their excrement is rust colored and can also be very difficult to remove from sheets and bedding.
- Third on the list would be shed or cast skins left behind by bed bugs as they molt or complete another life cycle. These cast skins may be found anywhere bed bugs feed or travel.
- Finally would be bed bugs themselves. Since most bed bugs will be found within a 5 foot radius of the bed, at some point an infestation builds to where there are bed bugs there to be found even during broad daylight.
Location of infestations
The difficult thing about bed bug control is they will use any crack or crevice as a harborage during the day while there is no host around. This means bed bugs could be found anywhere within 100 feet of a bed or host site.
Some such places would be wall voids, cracks in drawers or dressers, the dressers themselves, adjacent furniture such as chairs or couches, behind baseboards, wall voids or any place that offers shelter until the host comes back.
Bites are often one of the first signs of an infestation. The bites result in a raised red welt in the bite area. Bed bugs first inject a numbing agent into the skin so as to not awaken the host while feeding. They then inject an anticoagulant which helps keep blood flowing for an easier time feeding. Since not everyone is allergic to the bites it is not uncommon for two people sleeping in the same bed to have one showing signs of being bitten while the other has no welts or signs whatsoever.
Treatment for bites
Presently bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases to humans. If someone scratches the bites there is the chance a secondary infection could occur. If in doubt it is always best to consult with your physician.
Treatment for bed bugs
Because of the biology of bed bugs treatment for them must be very thorough and done by a pest management professional. In addition to cleaning of the bedding and infested areas a professional will use many tools such as vacuuming, steam treatment as well as insecticides to eliminate an infestation.
If in doubt – CALL FOR A FREE INSPECTION TODAY!
A flashlight is a must. While it doesn’t have to be able to light up an entire room, many small models are available that are plenty bright and easily carried.
Inspect bed, mattress and frame by taking apart bedding and looking at seams along edge of mattress. Additionally, look along headboard and baseboard adjacent to bed. Although bed bugs can travel most of the infestation will be in close proximity to the bed so searching there first makes the most sense.
Perform inspection upon entering room and before you unpack your suitcase or any belongings. A good idea is to place your belongings in the bathtub or shower while you search room.
Should you find bed bugs immediately report this to the management of the facility where you are staying. They will be GLAD to provide you with another room!
Should your suitcase ort clothing become infested seal them in plastic trash bags.As soon as you are able place the infested items in a clothes dryer and set it on the highest setting possible for at least 60 minutes.
Bed bugs are one of if not the most difficult pests for consumers and professionals alike. Should you have any doubts call a pest management professional and have an inspection performed. It is typically free and can help get started on the road to a solution for your home!