What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Bed Bugs vary in size from the size of a pin head (at birth) to almost ¼” large in its adult stage. Young bed bugs are rounder in size, and clear in color. When a nymph bed bug receives its 1st meal, it turns a brighter shade of red. As they obtain additional blood feedings, they turn a dark brownish-red, and become more oval-shaped as they grow in size. Each time a bed bug obtains a blood meal, they shed a skin & grow quickly as it progresses through the 5 stages it will take for them to move from their childhood stage to the adult stage. A bed bug usually completes the growth process in an average of 45 days, but warmer weather can hasten the growth cycle.
Smaller bed bugs can be mistaken for beetles; larger bed bugs can be mistaken for cockroaches. A stage 5 adult bed bug is very easy to see… when he or she is not well-hidden, of course.
How Can I Get Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs possess an ability to survive that has caused their infestations to approach epidemic levels. First and foremost, they have learned to “hitchhike,” and will do so anytime they’re able to latch on to a person’s shoes, clothing, or belongings. Hitchhiking is the means that gives them the best chance of eventually finding a location where they’ll best be able to obtain a blood feeding. We’re aware of motel/hotels, schools, churches, restaurants, movie theaters, day care centers, and taxi cabs that have reported infestations. Within apartment buildings, tenants visiting each other often transport bed bugs without their realizing it. Children visiting & playing at their friends’ homes are transporting bed bugs the same way.
Do I Have Bed Bugs?
The one way to suspect a bed bug problem is that you or someone in your home is getting bit. Bed Bugs are attracted to human beings because of the carbon dioxide gas we omit. They usually bite at night, when the chance of their being detected decreases. One bed bug might bite 1-3 times before finding a spot on our skin they can draw blood from. The bite is very quick, and once they’re engorged with blood, they will move back towards concealment as quickly as possible.
When a bed bug infestation is moderate-to-heavy, the presense of bed bugs is much easier to detect – their signs will be apparent. When an infestation is in its earliest stage, it becomes much more difficult to find them. Our bed bug dog can find 1 or 2 bed bugs in a home much more quickly & accurately than a technician can. We certainly recommend using our service if you suspect a problem, but aren’t exactly sure if you have one, or, if you have seen a bed bug, but want to know what the extent of your infestation is. We’re ready to help – please give us a call.
How Can I Avoid Getting Bed Bugs?
As bed bugs are being found in locations all of us visit on a daily basis, it’s not practical for a person to stop frequenting those places he or she has to go to regularly. However, it’s more reasonable for a person to try to intercept any possibility of bringing an infestation home with them at the point of entry: their front door.
When a bed bug is hitchhiking its way into your home, it can only do so by attaching itself to your shoes, your clothing, or the possession(s) you are carrying with you as you enter your home (ie. briefcase, book bag, pocketbook, etc.). Keeping large plastic storage containers near the front door serves as an excellent preventative measure. You can immediately place items inside the container(s), and if there are any bed bugs on those items, they will be isolated inside the container & unable to escape (because of the container’s slippery walls).
Isolating your clothing can also become a habit-forming process that can without question keep bed bugs from spreading. Whether you’re immediately placing your worn clothes in sealed bags, or whether you’re able to wash & dry them immediately, these measures can help prevent a bed bug problem.
If you live in an apartment building, concerns about getting an infestation from neighboring apartments are justified. Sealing moldings, baseboards, and piping throughout the apartment (including inside closets & behind appliances) is a worthwhile measure. Additionally, placing child-proof outlet covers on any unused electrical outlets is an excellent idea.
Lastly, using ClimbUp Interceptors will help you trap any bed bugs that may move from inside your home towards your bedding, and utilizing mattress & box spring covers will provide permanent protection of those items, while also taking away a primary hiding & resting spot for bed bugs.