Most people know bed bugs as a whimsical threat in a nursery rhyme. The reality of bed bugs is much more sinister. These tiny invaders leave bites and welts on everyone they encounter and hitch rides on clothing to spread to new places. Once they land somewhere new, they multiply like few other pests can.
The bed bug problem seems to be getting worse. With travel becoming easier and easier, more people and luggage have opportunities to pick up bed bugs in foreign places, bring them home, and start spreading them in a new area. 97 percent of pest control companies say they’ve dealt with bed bugs.
Bed bugs are extremely difficult to eradicate once they’ve infested a home, and the problem only grows worse and worse if it isn’t dealt with by a professional, as the agile insects can crawl from room to room. Because they can survive for up to a year without food, they can lay dormant and travel long distances. If you or your family is getting bit by these nearly invisible parasites, you need to call the expert bed bug exterminators at Bug PRO Florida.
Spotting the Signs of Bed Bugs
Unfortunately, bed bugs can be tough to spot. They’re nocturnal, so they hide during the day. They’re miniscule and extremely good at hiding.
Bites are the most common first sign of bed bugs. While some people break out in bite marks and welts, others have no reaction at all. These reactions are also common to other household pets like fleas or could come from things like allergic reactions. Before you jump to the conclusion that you’ve got bed bugs, you need to consult with a doctor regarding your bites.
Unlike mosquitos, which suck blood for protein used in their reproductive cycle, bed bugs are actually feeding on you. They need to feed on blood once before each of their molt cycles, which will happen four or five times in a lifetime.
Luckily, bed bugs aren’t known to transmit any diseases to humans. But many find waking up with unexplained bites a maddening experience. Some have allergic reactions to bed bugs’ saliva.
Bed bugs release a musty scent that’s often described as somewhat sweet. They emit pheromones when threatened to cause other bed bugs to hide, and their pheromones can add up with the scents of their husks, corpses, and excrement.
Given the small size of bed bugs, you need a lot of them to make enough of a smell for a human to notice. That’s why bed bug odor indicates a very severe infestation.
Because of how fast bed bugs reproduce, if you find one, you’ve got a big problem. They are tiny, but not invisible, so if you think you have a bed bug infestation, you can confirm it by looking. You want to go to their common hiding spots like headboards, mattress seams, wall junctions, outlets, and any creases and crevices near where you sleep. Since they’re nocturnal and feed on people, they don’t venture further than about 8 feet from their host’s sleeping spot.
What are you looking for? Mature bed bugs are about 5 millimeters (an apple seed), reddish-brown and flat, but they swell up if they’ve been feeding.
Shells, Eggs, and Corpses
Bed bugs are great at hiding, but they leave some telltale signs. They shed their husks up to 5 times in their lifespans, so you may spot abandoned shells in the places bed bugs normally hide.
Their eggs are hearty and don’t need special conditions to hatch, so bed bugs lay them where they live. A bed bug can lay 12 eggs in a day and up to 500 in a lifetime. Bed bug eggs are white and oblong and about 1 millimeter long.
You may also find bed bug corpses, although their lifespan is normally about 2 to 4 months (only getting up to a year or older in very favorable conditions), so if you find a lot of corpses, you’ve got a serious problem on your hands.
Bed bugs leave a few kinds of stains that you should be on the lookout for.
The first are bloodstains. You’ll find them where they feed, so on sheets, pillows, mattresses, carpets, and more. Bed bugs are messy eaters, so their meals can spill over. A bed bug who has fed recently and gotten crushed can also leave a blood splatter.
Black or dark brown stains on in mattress or box spring seams are fecal matter stains. You’ll find these anywhere bed bugs are hiding because they congregate together in good hiding places.
What Do I Do if I Find Bed Bugs?
If you find bed bugs, it’s time to call the experts. The internet will recommend a lot of DIY solutions like sprays, vacuuming, steaming, and insecticides. The fact is though that you’re out of your depth. You don’t know how to apply best practices, what is or is not effective treatment, or even what to look for to determine if a treatment has been successful or not.
The downsides of ineffective treatment are numerous. Bed bugs can lay low for months at a time when they feel threatened because they don’t need to eat a lot. They breed like crazy and spread to every room of a house in short order. You can even give them rides on your clothing to your friends and family’s homes, spreading an infestation around your community.
You don’t want to be the Typhoid Mary of bed bugs in your community. At Bug PRO Florida, we have decades of combined experience in tackling tough bed bug problems. We have proven solutions that use best industry practices to get rid of your problem for good. Our trained technicians will explain what they’re doing every step of the way. We will not stop until your bed bug problem has disappeared for good!
Contact us today to set up a free initial bed bug consultation!