Preventing Infestation: How to Spot Bed Bugs Early
Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of, and an infestation can have serious consequences. We look at how to spot bed bugs before they spread.
Are you worried that you may have a bed bug infestation don’t know how to spot bed bugs? Scientists date bed bugs to over 3,500 years old. They’re believed to originate from the Middle East and are now found all over the world.
Keep reading to learn about these pests and how to find them before they spread.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small, apple seed-shaped insects that feed on blood. Their color ranges from light brown to reddish-brown if they’ve eaten recently. They measure four and six millimeters with short legs and antennae.
There are about 90 different species worldwide, but only four types eat human blood. Of the four, only two seek human blood first.
The adult females lay one to five eggs per day. It takes ten days for the eggs to hatch and five to six weeks to reach adulthood.
In about 73 degrees Fahrenheit, they only live two to five months without eating. Yet, their metabolism slows down in colder climates. This means they can survive a year without feeding.
They often lay eggs before going out to feed. So, even if you kill the adults, you may have new ones hatching and maturing.
Bed bugs crawl quickly but don’t jump or fly. While they often eat at night, they also feed during the day.
They’re also not limited to beds. These insects go where the blood is. This includes couches, chairs, rugs, and any other place humans spend time.
While cluttered homes give them more places to hide, they’re not attracted to dirt. The cleanest homes are still susceptible to bed bug infestations. While they cause sleep loss and anxiety, they don’t transmit diseases to humans.
How to Spot Bed Bugs
Early detection increases your chances of a quicker and cheaper resolution. Often, a first sign involves waking up with red, itchy, welts. The tell-tale bite pattern is three to five bites in a line.
But not all people react to bed bugs bites. Thus, it’s important to conduct routine checks at home and when staying away from home. Check bedding, mattresses, edge seams, box springs, bed frames, headboards, and upholstered furniture.
- Tiny dark spots made by their feces that spread out like a marker would on fabric
- Reddish, rusty stains caused when bed bugs get crushed
- Tiny, one-millimeter eggs, eggshells, and pale-yellow skins
- Live bed bugs
Bed bugs communicate by producing a chemical. This can create a sweet, musty odor in rooms.
When they’re not feeding, they hide in many places. Search drawer joints, electrical appliances and receptacles, wall hangings, and loose wallpaper. They also hide in the heads of screws and corners where walls and ceilings meet.
Since they’re the width of a credit card, they can hide in any crack a credit card fits into.
What’s a Bed Bug Home Inspection?
Identifying bed bugs is extremely difficult. A professional pest control expert is often needed to find and treat them. They will conduct an in-depth inspection.
Passive detection devices are sometimes placed where bed bugs hide. Such as underneath bed frame legs or upholstered furniture. They catch and kill the bugs as move to eat.
Active detection devices attract bed bugs using carbon dioxide, other chemicals, and heat. Again, they’re placed in the expected path the bugs will take when traveling to eat. It traps and kills the bugs.
Getting Rid of Bed Bugs
If you think you have bed bugs, it’s often wise to call a professional pest control company. Common pest foggers don’t affect bed bugs. Leaving one behind prolongs the infestation.
There are steps to take along with professional treatment. Remove all items from the infested rooms. Check each item for visible bed bugs and then place it in a garbage bag and seal tightly.
Thoroughly vacuum carpeted rooms. Then discard the vacuum bag or empty the canister in an outside trash bin.
For people in hot climates, you can set these trash bags outside for several days. Bed bugs can’t survive sustained temperatures above 112 degrees Fahrenheit. This works well for larger items, wall hangings, and small furniture pieces.
You can also use your dryer for cloth items. Place a white sheet on the floor beneath the dryer opening. Put the bag into your dryer and carefully remove items ensuring that no bugs drop out.
Put all used trash bags straight into an outside receptacle. Run the dryer on the hottest setting and for at least 2 hours.
Shake each item over the white sheet watching for bed bugs. When you’re confident that they’re bedbug-free, seal them until after treatment.
It’s best to follow this procedure for all rooms your family frequently uses. The pest control professional can help you identify the rooms at risk.
Isolate Your Bed
Put a bedbug-proof encasement on mattresses and box springs. These covers have zippers that are too tight for bed bugs to get through. Move your bed away from furniture and walls they could climb up.
Put mattresses and box springs on metal or plastic frames to keep them off the floor. Avoid wood or cloth, such as dust ruffles or long bedding, that they can climb on. Put bed bug interceptors on bed frames to prevent them from climbing on the legs.
Pest Control Treatment
Insecticide dust and sprays treat every part of the room. These chemicals are dangerous and require the use of goggles, gloves, and masks. It often takes a combination of treatments to eradicate bed bugs.
Examples of approaches used to treat bed bugs over several weeks or even months include:
- Pyrethrin and pyrethroid chemical sprays
- Pyrroles disrupt the bed bug’s cells to kill them
- Neonicotinoids harm the bed bug’s nervous systems and often work in resistant cases
- Diatomaceous earth and pesticide dust destroy the bug’s outer coating to kill them
- Steaming generates heat to draw out the bed bugs to kill them with chemicals
Vacuuming and reapplication of products are often needed on a weekly basis.
Are You Worried About Bed Bugs?
This article offers a guide for how to spot bed bugs. This is the first step to fighting bed bug infestations. Fast Action treats these and many other types of house pests.
We know that you can’t wait for treatment so we respond fast with proven results. Our technicians have training and years of experience to customize your treatment.
Call or fill out the free inspection form today to rid your home of pests.