Bed bugs don’t just live in your bed. They show up almost everywhere—over floors, along the walls, on the ceilings, and even among your clothes. Despite their small size, they can be a big problem for homeowners.
Bed bugs are those tiny, brown, flat, oval-shaped insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. They are as small as apple seeds, but bed bugs can be still seen by the naked eye and can often be found in cracks and crevices where they hide. What cannot be easily seen are nymphs, which are immature bed bugs that are only as big as the head of a pin.
Bed bugs drink the blood of sleeping people and animals by piercing the skin and withdrawing blood using their elongated beaks. Though the bites are painless at first, they eventually turn into itchy welts that are often attributed to other insects like mosquitoes.
How Bed Bugs Invade Your Home
Even if they are visible to the naked eye, bed bugs are still so tiny that you may not notice them once they enter your home in a variety of ways: through your luggage, clothing, couches, beds and other items. They can easily fit into tiny spaces because of their flat bodies. They form groups and hide well into cramped spaces like mattresses, bed frames, box springs, and headboards.
Under favorable conditions, bed bugs can survive up to a year. Female bed bugs may lay up to 500 eggs in one lifetime—around one to five eggs per day. These eggs can fully mature within a month, which is why bed bugs often produce three or more generations per year. As they grow in number over time, they tend to scatter to different parts of the bedroom and the rest of the house, thus making it more and more difficult to catch and control them.
Signs of Bed Bug Infestation
There are several indications that you may have bed bugs in your house, and these are as follows:
Apple Seeds. If you look at the underside of your mattress or those hard-to-reach parts in your bed frames and notice dots the size of an apple seed, those might be bed bugs.
Shedded skins. Before nymphs grow into adult bed bugs, they need to shed off their skin repeatedly for at least five times. Discovering their skins may indicate an infestation of bed bugs.
Excrement. Do you see dark or rusty spots on your sheets, mattresses, and walls? Those are possibly bed bug feces. After feeding, these bugs return to their hiding places and defecate. These look like stains on porous surfaces and mounds on nonporous surfaces.
Bite marks. Bite marks from bed bugs look like small, flat, or raised red areas that are somewhat darker in the center. They may become itchy, inflamed, or blistered. They are often grouped together in a small area, sometimes even forming a line or zigzag pattern. They are also found in exposed areas like the face, neck, arms, shoulders, hands, and legs. However, the appearance of bed bug bites is not a clear indication that there are bed bugs in your area since there are also other reasons why such marks might develop on your skin.
Blood stains. Since bed bugs suck the blood out of your skin, you might notice tiny blood stains on your pillows and sheets.
Musty odor. The scent glands of bed bugs emit a musty odor often described as similar to the scent of coriander. If your home smells like wet, moldy clothes, then you might need to have some pest inspection done.
Getting Rid of Bed Bugs
Once you see the signs of bed bug infestation, the first thing you need to do is to reduce its chances of spreading further. Here are some measures that you need to do as soon as possible:
Remove all clutter to make finding bed bugs easier. Check all beddings for any sign of dead bed bugs or excrement. Remove the dust cover of the box springs and examine the seams in the wood framing. Peel back the fabric stapled to the wood frame. You also need to check areas around the bed and even in the closet, for bed bugs can attach to clothing.
Wash and dry your linens and beddings in the hottest possible temperature. Bed bugs cannot live in extremely high temperatures. Infested fabrics should be placed in a clothes dryer set on high heat for about 10 to 20 minutes. The temperature should be about 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Clean the areas where the bed bugs hide. Use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams to remove bed bugs and nymphs, and then vacuum the bed and the surrounding area. After vacuuming, place the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag before disposing of properly.
Hire a home pest control company. Getting rid of bed bugs that have already infested your home necessitates chemical treatments. Instead of trying out these chemical treatments on your own, hiring an experienced commercial pest control professional is the safest and most effective way to control bed bugs and prevent an even larger infestation.
Remember that the presence of bed bugs does not necessarily mean that your house is filthy. They live solely on blood, so it is natural for them to stay close to their food sources. You may even find them in immaculately clean hotel rooms and squeaky clean homes.
About Brezden Pest Control – Brezden Pest Control was founded in Cayucos by John and Maria Brezden in 1980. As the business grew, it expanded to serve all of San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, Los Osos, Cayucos, Cambria, Five Cities, Atascadero and Santa Maria. Professional pest control services which Brezden provides include dead animal removal, pest inspection, rodent control, and termite treatment. Visit the website and Facebook page or call 1-800-464-9446 for a free estimate or copy of the “Top 10 Reasons Customers Choose Brezden Pest Control.”