Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite!
Bed bugs, once thought to be folklore, have become a common nuisance in all areas, not just the big cities! They can be found in the residences of people in any income range. Virtually every hotel and motel have experienced them at one time or another needing pest control.
Adult bed bugs are about 1/8 of an inch long, with reddish brown, oval, flattened bodies. Female bed bugs lay their eggs in secluded areas. They can lay up to 5 eggs per day and 500 in their lifetime. The eggs are whitish in colour. They are about the size of a speck of dust and very hard to see without magnification. Newly hatched nymphs are no bigger than a pinhead and are lighter in colour than the adult. They shed their skin 5 times before reaching maturity. This takes about a month, producing three or more generations per year.
Bed bugs need to feed between each molt. They only feed on the blood of animals. The common bed bug prefers human blood, but may also bite your pets. Bed bugs require blood to survive, however, the nymphs can live up to a year without feeding. They feed by piercing the skin. You seldom feel them bite. Bite reactions can vary from an itchy welt to little or no swelling. Bed bugs tend to leave 3 bites in a row. Think of them as their breakfast, lunch and supper! Transmission of disease is highly unlikely.
Bed bugs do not have nests. They hide in mattresses and upholstered furniture, behind baseboards, and on clothing. They are mostly active at night, and prefer to hide during the day. You may see dark spots and staining (feces) on your sheets. There will also be eggs, eggshells and, molted skin. Bed bugs do not fly but can move rapidly. They can crawl over 100 feet for a meal. Bed bugs can be carried home on clothing, backpacks, or in suitcases.
Early professional pest control treatment is essential! Homeowner treatments have usually proven to be temporary. Prior to pest control treatment you should remove, launder and bag bed linens and clothing. Any infested mattresses or furniture should be destroyed. A professional pest control service will treat all beds as well as behind baseboards, picture frames, furniture, and switch plates.
To reduce further spread of bed bugs you should clear away any clutter on the floors, repair holes and other damage in walls, re-glue peeling wallpaper, repair peeling paint and fix other damage which may provide hiding places for the bed bugs. If applicable to your situation, seal or caulk cracks and crevices near beds, around heating and AC units, and seal around pipes and conduits. Professional quality mattress and box spring encasements will help prevent future infestations. At any sign of return of bed bugs call your pest control professional right away.
Night night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!