Bed bugs are often the most dreaded bug infestation in the eyes of the general public. If you’re terrified of bed bugs entering your home, you’re not alone! Let’s take a look at bed bugs: their appearance, their behaviors, myths, prevention, and, the topic everyone wants to know about, bed bug treatment.
WHAT DO BED BUGS LOOK LIKE?
Adult bed bugs are around 1/4” long with oval shaped bodies. Unfed bed bugs have flat, brownish colored bodies while a fed adult body becomes engorged, elongated, and a darker reddish-brown in color. They have six legs and antennae. Despite a common misconception, adult bed bugs are visible to the naked eye if you know where to look for them.
A bed bugs life cycle consists of 5 stages before becoming an adult. At the youngest stage (known as nymphs), bed bugs are the size of a speck of dust and imperceptible to the naked eye. At each stage, the bed bug sheds its skin, but a blood meal is required to do so.
BED BUG BEHAVIORS
What makes bed bugs so dreaded? Bed bugs are the ultimate hitchhikers. While they are most known for their presence in and around a bed, they can be found in vehicles including public buses, school buses, and airplanes. Additionally, they can be found in hotels, offices, and schools. While bed bugs do not fly, they move quickly, and can easily find their way into the crevices or seams of a purse, backpack, luggage, stuffed animal, and even shoes. Once they make their way into your home, they take up residence close to human presence in the seams or folds of mattresses and box springs, baseboards, electrical outlets, upholstery, etc.
They are nocturnal creatures and come out at night to feed on blood (preferring humans to animals, though they will feed on animals, too). These bites leave itchy, red marks on the skin. The good news is that bed bugs are not known to spread disease. However, secondary skin infections can arise, and folks living with a bed bug infestations often experience anxiety and insomnia.
An unfed bed bug will feed on it’s host for an average of 5-10 minutes to become full. Once full, a bed bug will retreat to its hiding place for around ten days during which time they mate and lay eggs. If, after ten days, no host is found, a bed bug can live for several months between feedings.
MYTHS ABOUT BED BUGS
Bed bugs are attracted to filth. Many people believe bed bugs are attracted to dirty homes, however that is not the case at all. Bed bugs are just as often found in immaculate homes because all they look for is warmth and carbon dioxide (a human presence).
Bed bugs won’t come out in the light. While it’s true that bed bugs prefer darkness, they will come out during the day to feed on their hosts. So, sleeping with the lights on will not deter these pests.
You can’t see bed bugs with the naked eye. As mentioned above, this is not true. Adult bed bugs are the easiest to spot because they are fully grown and dark reddish to brown in color.
Bed bugs travel on their hosts. While it’s true they are well travelled, they do not actually latch onto their hosts in transit. They stow away in personal belongings like backpacks, purses, and luggage.
Bed bugs are only found in highly populated cities or third world countries. It’s true that bed bugs are found in large cities, but they are just as often found in rural areas. Bed bugs exist in all 50 states.
HOW DO YOU PREVENT BED BUGS?
Now that we’re familiar with the appearance and behaviors of bed bugs, let’s discuss ways to prevent bed bugs from entering your home. The best prevention is inspection! There is no fool proof method to keeping them out 100%, but these tips can help.
- Don’t bring second hand mattresses and other furniture into your home without a thorough inspection.
- Travel with a small flashlight to make it easier to inspect for signs of bed bugs in the places that you stay.
- Thoroughly vacuum luggage when returning from a trip and dispose of the vacuum contents outside of the home.
- Consider washing all garments and stuffed animals that have travelled with you upon your return. Dry on the hottest dryer setting.
- While bed bugs are not any more attracted to dirty homes, reduce clutter around your bed to limit the number of hiding spots.
- If at all possible, do not place purses, backpacks, briefcases, etc., on the floor or other cushioned areas. If hooks are available for hanging these items, use them!
- Vacuum often.
- Check around pet beds for signs of bed bugs, and wash the pet beds often on the hottest settings.
BED BUG TREATMENT
If you see bed bugs or any sign of them in your home, the FIRST step is to call 855Bugs for a FREE professional bed bug inspection. Signs include visually seeing bed bugs as well as small blood spots or rust colored stains on your sheets and/or mattress. Do not attempt bed bug treatment on your own. Although there are many do it yourself products on the market, none replace a thorough inspection and professional treatment. 855Bugs is well trained in getting rid of bed bugs. We use a multi step process to treat for bed bugs. Our process includes first determining the level of infestation, step two is the initial treatment, followed by one to two follow up treatments depending on the level of infestation. 855Bugs has been helping people in the Waco and Temple area manage bed bugs for over 10 years! Call 855Bugs now for a free inspection!