For those who have the unfortunate experience of being in close contact with bed bugs, then you already know how uncomfortable they are. Their itchy bites make resting and sleeping nearly impossible. If you have a severe infestation, they can give your linens an off-putting musky odor that seems impossible to eliminate.
But how do you get bed bugs on your property in the first place?
Bed bugs get their name from their habit of residing in beds and feeding on the blood of sleeping humans. They are known to be consummate hitchhikers, which means they rely on others to travel long distances. Bed bugs latch onto clothing, suitcases, or linens and end up wherever these items are taken. If you are experiencing signs of infestations in your home or business, the bugs most likely snuck in as a stowaway.
What Bed Bugs Look Like
Identifying bed bugs is the first step in eradicating them. Since you already know what to look for and where they reside, it will be easier to devise a strategy to get rid of them for good.
Bed bugs have brown, flat bodies. However, these pests swell up after each feeding and turn reddish-brown due to the blood they just consumed. They are so small that they are very challenging to spot with the untrained eye. Plus, they move very quickly and can climb up walls and ceilings.
Due to their size and speed, it can be hard to notice a bed bug infestation in its early stages. Unfortunately, their presence only becomes apparent when they grow larger in number. For this reason, most property owners call pest control companies when the bed bugs infestation is already difficult to control.
Where Bed Bugs Commonly Live
Unlike other common pests, bed bugs don’t have nests, but they live in groups in their hiding places. They have the width of a credit card, which means they can squeeze through tight spaces easily. Typically, they hide in mattresses, bed frames, and couches because they want to be as near as possible to humans, which are their primary food source. However, bed bugs are also commonly found in the following areas:
- Drawer joints
- Curtain folds
- Electrical outlets
- Book spines and bindings
- Behind wallpaper
- Inside electronics such as clocks and lamps
- Inside the head of screws
- Wall and carpet seams
- At the junction where the wall and ceiling meet
5 Sure Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation
If you are unsure whether you have a bed bugs infestation on your property, keep an eye on the following signs:
Bed Bug Bites
If you wake up to red bumps on your skin that weren’t there when you went to sleep, there’s a good chance that you have an infestation in your hands. Bed bugs are nocturnal creatures and prefer to feed while humans sleep. Their bites appear in clusters or zigzag patterns on the arms, legs, hands, and neck.
When bed bugs feed, they eventually become engorged in blood. If you move in your sleep, there’s a good chance that you will squeeze them after feeding. This movement won’t kill them, but it will cause some of your blood to leak out from their body, causing a noticeable red stain on your sheets. Sometimes, the stains can come from the bite itself. Bed bug saliva contains an anticoagulant that prevents blood from clotting while they feed. After they finish eating, the bitten area might continue to bleed for a short amount of time.
Bed bug droppings are the most blatant signs of an infestation, and they are usually the first things inspectors look at when carrying out a pest inspection. Fecal marks look like blank ink stains typically found in mattresses, bed frames, and box springs. However, in a heavily infested area, droppings can also be spotted on the carpet, behind the headboard, and in other places where the pests typically hide.
Like many other insects, bed bugs have tough exteriors encasing their body. This is referred to as an exoskeleton, which they must shed periodically as the bug matures and outgrows it. The growth cycle of bed bugs consists of five stages before adulthood, and they shed their shell casing at the end of each step. For this reason, you can find molted skins in an infested area. The bed bug shell casing looks very similar to the insect but is generally translucent in color. They will be in various sizes since the pests molt skin at different stages of development.
A bed bug-infested room has a musty odor. The smell only arises if the insects are squashed or disturbed. This is because bed bugs release pheromones when they feel in danger to alert others nearby. If you are detecting a found scent without touching anything, then it’s likely the infestation is already severe.
Are Bed Bugs Dangerous?
Unlike many insects, bed bugs do not carry diseases and are also not poisonous. So, what makes them dangerous?
The most common health issue they cause is often related to the itching that comes from their bite. Bed bug bites affect each person differently. While some can’t see or feel any signs, others can have severe allergic reactions. The bites cause red bumps on the skin that typically disappear after a few days. However, if there is persistent redness and irritation for longer than a week, contacting medical professionals is the best thing to do.
In addition, excessive scratching causes damage to the skin that may cause infections. Plus, prolonged exposure may lead to stress and anxiety due to the lack of sleep.
Who Is at Risk for Getting Bed Bugs?
A common misconception is that when a place is infested with bed bugs, it’s because the area is unsanitary. However, this is not the case. Unlike other insects that look for clutter and crumbs, bed bugs are attracted to humans because they need blood to survive. As long as a place has a person or other warm-blooded animals, bed bugs will come, and they don’t discriminate between clean or unclean spaces.
How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Although bed bugs pose less risk than other insects, like cockroaches and mosquitoes, their presence can be highly troublesome to homeowners and businesses. If you are running a hotel or spa, having these pests in your establishment can turn off some customers. Therefore, exterminating them should be a priority as soon as you spot signs of an infestation.
Below are our top tips on how to get rid of bed bugs for good:
Clean Your Place
Indeed, bed bugs don’t discriminate between clean and dirty areas as long as humans are around. However, regularly changing sheets and vacuuming does help keep their number down. In addition, less clutter and dirt provide fewer hiding spots, making it difficult for them to grow in numbers.
Consider Treatment Options
Insecticides can help rid your property of bed bugs, but they must be products registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are specially made for bed bug use. Pyrethrins and pyrethroids are the most common chemicals used to exterminate bed bugs, but some species have grown resistant to them. Other options include neonicotinoids, desiccants, and pyrroles.
Get Rid Of Possible Hiding Areas
Books and magazines are also possible bed bug hiding areas, so throw out those you don’t need. If you’re hesitant to get rid of your things, seal them in a plastic bag and leave them in the sunlight for a couple of days. The heat from the sun will increase the temperature inside the bag, which is sufficient for killing the pests.
Get Professionals Involved
With the tips mentioned above, you can effectively reduce their numbers. However, killing bed bugs is only possible with professional help. Exterminators know how to get rid of bed bugs in the most successful way possible and are equipped with the proper tools to carry out the task efficiently.
In addition, pest control companies use chemicals and other treatments that are not readily available to the regular consumer. These specialized formulas will kill bugs on contact and stay in cracks to exterminate pests long-term. So, if you have already attempted to eradicate bed bugs but are unsuccessful, it’s time to call the pros.
Call the Exterminators at Pest Control Unlimited
Knowing the answer to how you get bed bugs is the first step in coming up with a strategy that gets rid of them completely. Although they are not an immediate health risk, bed bugs can cause severe stress due to their itchy bites.
So, call Pest Control if you require a bed bug extermination on your property. We are a locally owned and operated company servicing residential and commercial spaces in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, and the surrounding areas.
We are passionate about serving you. Tell us about your bug problem, and we will devise a tailored solution to your needs. Our team comprises experts who know how to track down bed bugs to exterminate them once and for all. Contact us today.