Bed Bug Control: Protect Your Home
- Species: Of the 92 species of bed bugs found around the world, 16 have been reported in the continental United States and Canada.
- History: An invasive pest that has been around as long as mankind, bed bugs appear in the early writings of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans as well as in the New Testament.
- Diet: The common bed bug feeds on the blood of sleeping humans and holds an unnerving presence in the Mid-Atlantic region as well as other temperate zones.
- Control: Tricky to control, bed bug infestations demand immediate attention from pest management professionals.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Size: Adult bed bugs tend to grow no longer than 3/16 of an inch and no wider than 1/8 of an inch.
Color: Unfed bed bugs range in color from light tan to mahogany or brown. After consuming a blood meal, the parasites take on a red color.
Characteristics: Flat and oval in shape, bed bugs possess a pair of antennae, vestigial wing pads and are covered with short, golden hairs.
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What Do Bed Bugs Eat?
Bed bugs feed exclusively on the blood of humans and other animals.
The parasites require blood meals to facilitate reproduction and nymphal development.
By passing through the developmental stages of egg and nymph before reaching adulthood, bed bugs undergo a gradual metamorphosis.
The full life cycle takes an average of four to five weeks to complete, as nymphs molt five times before reaching the adult stage and need a blood meal before each instar.
Access to a host and the temperature of the surrounding environment directly affects the length of the bed bug life cycle. In ideal temperatures with a high availability of host animals, bed bugs can produce up to four generations in one year.
Males target recently fed females for mating. A single female bed bug is capable of laying two to five eggs a day or about 200 to 500 in her lifetime.
- Skins: Look for the skin casings of developing nymphs.
- Odor: May notice a musty, sweet odor.
- Spots: Look for spots of excrement or blood spots on bedsheets and around potential nesting sites.
- Rash: May develop a rash or other physical reactions to bed bug bites.
Problems Caused by Bed Bugs
Despite their longstanding association with unsanitary home environments, bed bugs regularly infest a variety of clean and dirty areas in places such as:
- College dormitories
- Public transportation
- Office buildings
- Movie theaters
- Private residences
Although they can be serious pests, bed bugs do not inflict significant structural damage or transmit diseases to humans.
Instead, their pest status is attributed to the fact that they feed on the blood of humans and other animals including:
The proteins in bed bug saliva cause progressively increasing sensitivity to bites, though not everyone is prone to a reaction.
Still, some people develop rashes or itchy welts and may even experience psychological distress that can lead to constant agitation or sleeplessness.
Signs of Infestation
Bed bugs typically nest in the cracks, crevices, and seams of headboards, bed frames, mattresses, box springs and upholstered furniture.
Bites and Rashes
Adults and nymphs emerge at night to feed on the blood of sleeping humans. Bed bug bites often produce symptoms, such as tiny red welts or a rash that indicate the existence of an infestation problem.
Furthermore, large infestations may give off a sweet, musty odor. The most apparent and telling sign of a bed bug infestation remains the fecal and blood spots that the parasites leave on bed linens and around nesting sites.
Look For Them!
Primarily caused by traveling to and from an infested location, the spread of bed bugs is best prevented by dutifully checking the bedding at hotels, inspecting luggage before returning home, washing and drying all clothes upon return on the hottest advisable setting (for items that can’t be washed like leather shoes and coats, drying alone is effective) and storing luggage away from sleep areas.
Homeowners and residents should also regularly wash bedsheets and check mattress seams, headboards and bed frames for the existence of adult bed bugs.
Regular vacuuming and steaming and using mattress encasements also helps reduce the chances of a bed bug infestation.
Tips for Removal from Home
Once bed bugs become established in the home, eradication generally requires professional assistance.
Call the Experts
Pest control professionals possess the necessary certifications to handle the chemicals and special tools that bed bug infestations demand. While certain bed bug pesticides are available in stores, the ones used by industry professionals regularly prove more effective.
Furthermore, furniture may need to be disassembled to fully banish the pests. Overall, the elimination of bed bugs involves a significant amount of time and effort, and pest control professionals have the best chance of effectively removing the parasitic insects from the home.
Learn more about Western’s comprehensive Home Pest Control Plans.
Call for service: (877) 250-3857