Bed bugs can be difficult to treat. Their size, habits and harborages often make it a challenge for even the most seasoned pest control expert. However, having some knowledge about bed bugs can help you identify areas that may be inhabited or infested by bed bugs as well as how to get rid of them. If you can learn how to recognize potential problems, you can call the best bed bug exterminator services experts in to head them off before they become large, out of control and costly.
Cimex lectularius, bed bugs, are very tiny, about 3/16 of an inch. Their bodies are flat which makes it easy for them to hide in very small areas. They are a dark brown are often mistaken for ticks or baby roaches. Bed bugs feed on blood, preferring humans. They pierce the skin of their host with a sharp, elongated beak. When they “bite” their host, they release an anti-coagulant that is what most people react to with itching, redness and swelling.
The bed bug goes through several life stages. A female will lay one, two or more eggs each day which adds up to hundreds of eggs throughout her lifetime. The eggs are tiny, about the size of a speck of dust, and whitish in color. They are very difficult to see without a magnification glass. Young bed bugs (nymphs) are straw colored and about the size of a pinhead. They molt, or shed their skin, five times before they become adults. Between each molt, they must have a blood meal. When conditions are favorable for bed bug growth, meaning the environment is between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, they can complete their growth cycle within a month.
Bed bugs typically feed at night. They typically hide during the day in furniture, bedding, clothes and carpet, then feed on their host when it is dark. However, the presence of light does not seem to deter their feeding. Therefore, sleeping with the lights on will not stop bed bugs from biting. Additionally, while bed buds do prefer humans, they have also been known to bite dogs, cats, rodents and even birds.
Bed bugs hide close to where they eat. They can also be transported from one area to another via luggage, clothing or even people. This presents a significant problem for hotels, dorms, rental properties and apartment buildings. An infestation in one apartment can spread throughout the entire building. Once in an area, they hide in the mattress, in the box spring, even in the joints of wooden furniture. They are creatures of habit, returning to the same harborage again and again.
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Identify an Infestation
The first sign of an infestation would be small bites indicated by itchiness, redness and swelling while you sleep. Another indication is red spots on your sheets. This is caused by the crushing of engorged bed bugs. You may be able to see the insects on your bed, bedding or clothes, but it isn’t likely. You are more likely to see excrement from the bed bugs, egg casings and blood spots. When you begin to see these signs, it is time to call in an exterminator for more bed bugs info and to get help from a professional.