Bed bugs are “hitch-hikers. You can bring them home or take them to other locations.
They are attracted to heat, carbon dioxide and other factors that are given off by their victims.
The most common way to bring bed bugs home is from a business trip or vacation.
It could take weeks to months to realize that you have brought bed bugs home.
By the time you notice that they you are bitten, then the problem has already been established in your home.
You are most likely to first notice the telltale signs of bed bugs rather than see an actual bed bug.
They can live up to a year without feeding.
They suck blood from their host. Later the blood is expelled as a dark like fecal liquid. This is what creates the stains that are found in areas where there are bed bugs.
If necessary, bed bugs can feed on your pets.
They will bite all over a human body, especially around the face, neck, upper torso, arms and hands. Individual bed bugs need 3 to 15 minutes to feed.
An adult bug can extract 7 times its weight in a single feeding session.
Bed bugs appear white in color after molting and they get a dark rusty color after feeding.
All bed bugs have six legs; ticks and spiders have 8 legs.
After they have fed their abdomen grows many times its original size.
Adult bed bugs are about 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch long by about 3/16 inch wide.
Female bed bugs glue their eggs in hidden areas. They lay 5 eggs per day and up to 500 during a lifetime.
Bed bug eggs are very small. They are about 1/32 of an inch long. They look flat when viewed from the side and are shiny, translucent with a milky white color. They can be thinner than the width of a business card.
The eggs hatch in about three to five days.
Bed bugs go through 5 stages to become adults.
Newly hatched bugs (nymphs) are similar to the adult except they are much smaller and almost colorless.
They grow by molting.
Each nymph must have a blood meal to be able to molt to the next stage.
They spend most of their time in hiding. They prefer undisturbed areas.
They will usually hide in areas near where people sleep.
In homes, the top hiding areas are the mattress, box spring and bed frame. Usually in the tufts, seams and folds of the mattresses and bed covers.
In hotel rooms, the top hiding area is the headboard area. Usually, because they change the sheet on a regular basis in hotels.
Other places they are known to hide but are not limited to: night stands, lamps, clock radios, wall outlets, telephones, shoes, hangers, pet bedding, furniture, stuffed animals, wall hangings and under carpets.
They could basically hide anywhere in the house, but they will tend to stay close to the food source (which is you). They will wander off if your house has become “bed bug ground zero”. They will even go from room to room and apartment to apartment in search of another host.
They generally feed at night between the hours of 1 am thru 5 am, but if starved, they will feed during the day.
It also depends on their host. They will also feed in the daytime if the host sleeps in the daytime.
Generally the bites appear as raised, reddened bumps that are usually itchy.
The reaction can be different from person to person.
Some people may be bitten over extended periods of time without knowing that they are being bitten.
Just like mosquitoes bed bugs inject an anticoagulant so the blood flows and an anesthetic so you don’t feel the bite.
You find bite marks on your body. Patterns of up to five bites in a row on the skin are typical as an adult bed bug may not receive their blood quota while feeding from one penetration.
You find their fecal stains. Black and brown spots of dried excrement (composed primarily of blood). You may also find eggs and molted skin in the area.
The fecal stains on walls will run when sprayed with water.
Heavy infestations are also accompanied by a distinctive sweet, sickly smell, akin to that of ‘stink bugs’.
Rapid freeze is effective in killing bed bugs and their eggs on contact.
High heat over 115 degrees.
Don’t throw out your mattress or furniture.Buying a new mattress will not solve the problem.
Don’t sleep with a light on. Bed bugs usually feed when the host is inactive.Usually that’s when it’s dark and you are asleep. If they get hungry they will feed anytime.
Don’t sleep in a different room. Bed bugs will start wandering through the house and they will eventually find you.You will only be spreading the infestation to the rest of the house.
Don’t apply pesticides unless you fully understand what you are applying. Make sure you follow the label and you know the risks involved.
Do not use pesticide bombs or foggers to control bed bugs.They can make conditions worse.
When entering a hotel room do an inspection before bringing your belongings in. Use a strong flashlight preferably an LED type and look for bed bugs, fecal stains, and their molted skin. Look all around the mattress and the box spring, in front and behind the headboard, around the night stands, the wall coverings and anything around the vicinity of the bed.
Bring large bags with you. Keep your luggage and clothes in the bags sealed the whole time.
When you come home wash the clothes and dry them in a high heat setting. Seal the empty bags and discard them.
Remove debris from around the house.
Repair cracks in walls and caulk windows and doors.
Avoid bringing home second-hand furniture and/or bedding.
Early detection of bed bug activity is the most important way to protect yourself from a heavy infestation.
Mattress and box spring encasements that have been specifically designed for bed bugs should be used to restrict them to the exterior of the encasements where they can be readily detected.
It is very important that you act swiftly and contact a Pest Management Professional to conduct a thorough inspection and evaluate the situation. Bed bugs are extremely difficult to control especially if they are not caught during the early stages of the infestation.