Bed Bugs 101: Pesky Hitchhikers

Bed bugs have been pestering humans for centuries. They are oval in shape, can grow to about 3/16th of an inch, and look similar in shape and size to an apple seed. These insects are brown and flat, but look elongated, swollen, and reddish after a blood meal. 

Bed bugs are known as “hitchhikers” since they latch on clothes, bags, shoes and can end up anywhere. This is the main reason why bed bugs spread so easily and can be found anywhere. Once introduced to a new environment, they hide in a variety of places including mattresses, bed frames, baseboards, and even behind light sockets.

Adult bed bug up close

The Life Cycle Of A Bed Bug

Egg. Bed bug eggs are white, oval and about 1mm in length. These eggs are also sticky so they usually remain in the area where they are laid. Bed bug eggs are notoriously difficult to kill due to the fact that they’re resistant to many chemicals as well as relatively high and low temperatures.

Nymph. Bed bug nymphs go through five molts before finally reaching maturity. They look similar to adults, but are a bit smaller and not yet sexually mature. Even at this stage, they are ready to eat.

Adults. Under normal circumstances, adult bed bugs can live for about 2 to 4 months.

Bed bugs use their piercing mouths to suck blood. While this bite is not always felt, it may cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.

These pests eat at night, yet in heavily-infested areas, blood meals can also take place during the day. Feeding takes just a few minutes. Right after that, they move back to their hiding place where they’ll remain for 5-10 days until they are ready to feed again.

How Bad Is A Bed Bug Problem?

Bed bugs aren’t just blood suckers that leave red, itchy marks on your skin. They also trigger allergies as they raise histamine levels in your house.

One of the most frustrating things about having them is that they can hide their eggs in the smallest areas making it nearly impossible to find them. These eggs can endure high and low environmental temperatures and even store-bought insecticides. In fact, bed bugs are one of those pests that you can’t fully treat without professional help.

Signs Of Infestation

  • Live bed bugs
  • Presence of bed bugs eggs
  • Blood spots or stains on your mattress
  • Reddish-brown droppings
  • Empty bed bugs shells
  • Molten skins of bed bugs

Problems That Come With Bed Bugs

  • Allergic reactions of the host to bed bug’s saliva
  • Stress, anxiety and lack of sleep from bed bugs’ bites
  • Reproduces rapidly and can infest an entire household or a building
  • Their itchy bites can cause secondary skin infections from scratching
  • With extended exposure to their bites, humans may reach a point of no longer having a reaction or having more severe ones

Why Do I have Bed Bugs?

As per The National Pest Management Association’s 2018 Bugs Without Borders Research, bed bugs can be found just about anywhere. They are a problem not just nationwide, but also worldwide. As such, there are a million different ways you can get them.

Bed bug infestations are prevalent in the United States. In fact, they have developed resistance to just about anything you can buy over the counter which is why bed bug problems require professional help.

Bed bugs are often found or picked up in the following places:

  • Hotels/models
  • Dormitories
  • Planes, trains, buses, taxis, or even private cars
  • Laundry facilities
  • Hospitals and nursing homes
  • Movie Theatre
  • Restaurants
  • Schools and daycare centers
  • Public libraries
  • Office buildings
  • Parks

It’s also possible that they came from your airport luggage, second-hand furniture or your child’s school backpack.

Bed Bugs Nesting Sites

Do you know that bed bugs can also be found in electrical switch plates, picture frames and wallpaper? Basically, they can go anywhere that a bug the size of an apple seed could hide. Though, these are their most common nesting areas:

  • Your bedroom: the mattress, seams, headboard, boxspring, bed frame
  • Your living room: the side of the couch, under the carpet, in the pillow cases
  • Wood and wall cracks and crevices

Effective Ways To Prevent Bed Bugs

  • Be observant when using public transportation, or sitting in public spaces

  • Vacuum your luggage, and check for any signs of bed bugs upon returning from a vacation
  • Wash your clothes on hot cycles, whether worn or not, when you return home
  • Hotel rooms, beds, and mattresses must be thoroughly inspected before you stay for the night
  • Regularly change comforters, bed sheets, and pillow cases
  • Maintain a clean room all the time
  • Avoid buying second-hand furniture, or inspect it meticulously before bringing into your home

Getting Rid Of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are prevalent hitchhikers, and are tough to eliminate. Only expert pest control specialists can solve the problem and prevent it from coming back. Contact Andy Howard’s Pest Control now for a free instant quote.