Bed bugs are perhaps the most anxiety-inducing pests to both property owners and travelers alike. While significantly populated areas and high-traffic buildings are particularly appealing to them, the scariest part about bed bugs is that they can be found anywhere and are incredibly challenging to eliminate. However, educating yourself about bed bugs and taking speedy action in calling your local bed bug extermination provider like Eliminate ‘Em if you suspect an infestation are two essential strategies in the fight against bed bugs. To help address your bed bug concerns, the following frequently asked questions aim to help safeguard your property and your loved ones against these pests.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small, non-flying insects that belong to the insect family Cimicidae, which includes three biting species of bugs. Bed bugs feed by sucking blood from humans or warm-blooded animals. Since they don’t fly, they have relatively minimal mobility which is why they rely on carriers of some kind to transport them from one living area to the next. While bed bugs only require food on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, they can survive over a year without a meal, which is one reason why they can be so challenging to eliminate completely. In terms of the history of bed bugs, they had been virtually eradicated as a concern in the early 20th century but have returned with a vengeance within the last few decades.
WHAT CAUSES BED BUGS?
Bed bug infestations are primarily caused by their accidental transportation into the home. Travelers may encounter bed bugs if they aren’t especially vigilant and, unfortunately, bring these unwanted insects back to their homes. Similarly, bed bugs can relocate to your home through second hand clothes or furniture, which is why it’s important to know where any previously used items came from (if possible) or cleaning measures implemented prior to its availability for resale. Bed bugs prefer to be in close proximity to a food source and warm place to hide, so there are many places where you can pick up bed bugs and which may cause bed bugs to infest your home.
WHAT ARE BED BUGS ATTRACTED TO?
As far as what bed bugs are attracted to, their needs are fairly minimal. They appreciate warmer temperatures in general and as produced by a nearby host’s body heat, as this climate may encourage faster development to adulthood and more substantial reproduction. Bed bugs are also attracted to carbon dioxide that people and warm-blooded animals exhale and their body odors. Consequently, many potential hosts in the same warm area makes a location particularly attractive.
Although bed bugs may hitch a ride to your house on that dirty laundry you left on the hotel floor or be attracted to its lingering odor, bed bugs are just as likely to be found in more generally clean and potentially unusual places like laundromats or even hospitals. Basically, bed bugs are willing to dwell wherever there are consistent hosts and hiding spots. Fortunately, understanding how to identify bed bugs and how to guard against accidentally transporting them onto your property can help prevent an infestation.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Recognizing what bed bugs look like is perhaps the most reliable way to determine their presence. Bed bugs are small, oval insects with flat bodies, so they are sometimes confused with ticks. Another reason that they may be confused with ticks is because adult bed bugs are typically reddish brown in color and the red hue may become more prominent after feeding. They are comparable in size to an appleseed or about 5 to 7 millimeters in length. Younger bed bugs, or nymphs, have a whitish-clear color that shows some red after feeding and are just over 1 millimeter, which makes them particularly difficult to distinguish.
WHAT DO BED BUGS DO?
Here’s mostly what bed bugs do: feed, hide and reproduce. Female bed bugs lay several hundred eggs during their lifetimes which is why just seeing one bed bug or two likely suggests a more substantial infestation. Despite not being able to fly, jump or even crawl very far, you may see them move across floors, walls or ceilings. However, it’s really their hiding skills that enable them to hitchhike from one hospitable place to another and avoid detection until their population is significant. The most well-known action of bed bugs is biting the exposed skin of their human or animal hosts in order to feed. In short, by doing what bed bugs do, they cause significant stress and expense.
Bed bugs also prefer to do their activities in groups and as close to their hosts as possible. Consequently, as their name suggests, they congregate in hiding places like mattresses, bed frames, and box springs, although these are not the only spots in which they can be found. In addition to being familiar with what bed bugs look like, knowing how they operate can help you know how and where to check for them.
WHAT ARE BED BUG BITES?
A bed bug bites a host in order to feed on the blood of that human or animal. The evidence of these bites is caused by a reaction between the insect’s saliva and the body’s immune system. However, some individuals may experience delayed responses to the initial bites, so the signs of inflammation associated with bed bug bites may take time to appear. Others may have even more mild reactions, no reaction at all or reactions that appear similar to other skin irritations. Consequently, it’s important to find other visible evidence to confirm a suspicion of bed bug presence.
WHAT DO BED BUG BITES LOOK LIKE?
Typically active while people are sleeping at night, bed bugs sneak out from their hiding places and bite any skin that’s exposed, such as the face, hands or ankles. Since bed bugs survive off of blood, you may start to notice small bites or marks, often in a line or a cluster on the skin. While knowing what bed bugs look like can help you determine the presence of an infestation, not everyone reacts to bed bug bites in the same way. For some individuals, these bites may be painless or not immediately visible. For many people, these bites appear clearly and with accompanying irritation, even if the biting isn’t felt while it’s happening.
Since people may not be aware when bites are occuring, therefore, it is helpful to know what bed bug bites look like. These bites are usually smaller than a quarter of an inch and present as flat or raised bumps on the skin. On lighter skin, they will likely be reddish in color, and on darker skin, they may appear in a fainter pink color. Bed bug bites may also result in swelling and an itching sensation. One way to distinguish a bed bug bite from a flea bite is that there won’t be a red dot at the center of a bed bug bite.
WHAT ARE BED BUGS GOOD FOR?
While some pests like termites may benefit our ecosystem as a whole, bed bugs offer no such service. Instead, they often cause physical irritation, impact people’s emotional and mental well-being and are a financial burden. If there is any aspect to bed bugs that may be considered “good,” it is that they are not known to transmit or spread diseases, unlike other potential home intruders such as mosquitoes. However, some individuals may experience infections or other health problems stemming from bed bug bites.
What are the Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation?
In addition to understanding what a bed bug bite looks like, you may be wondering what the signs of a bed bug infestation are. The following common signs of an infestation may indicate that you have a serious bed bug problem:
- Rust-colored blood spots on your bedding or clothing
- An unusual musty odor
- Remnants of feces, as well as egg shells
- Live bed bugs or bed bug eggs on your bed, other furniture, or walls
Using these tips to protect your home may help you prevent a bed bug infestation from happening to you. However, in the unfortunate event that a problem does arise, take action now by contacting a bed bug extermination expert, like Eliminate ‘Em, to help you once you identify or suspect a bed bug issue.
If you see bed bugs or suspect that you may have bed bug bites, act now! Whether you are in your own home, in a hotel or any other location with a potential infestation, your expedient communication about the bed bug issue is critical is stemming their threat to even more beings and locations. If there is a bed bug concern at your own property, contact an experienced bed bug extermination company such as Eliminate ’Em to deal with this problem. Available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, contact us for bed bug extermination or any other pest and wildlife control services.