The more you know about bed bugs, the more aware you will be of the need for regular bed bug inspections.Bed Bug Eggs
To the untrained eye, because of their incredibly small size, bed bug eggs are almost impossible to spot. Under a microscope however, you could easily see that they are whitish, slightly pear-shaped and no larger than 1 mm. Frequently, bed bug eggs are found in crevices, in clusters of 10–50 eggs. Eggs take roughly ten days to hatch, but until that happens, in addition to being difficult for the untrained human eye to see, they are exceptionally sticky. They are so sticky it makes it easy for them to adhere to luggage, boxes or people. At BBIG, our trained bed bug sniffing dogs and handler can rapidly identify the presence of egg through their faint smell.
Newly hatched immature bed bugs (nymphs) resemble adult bed bugs in one respect: both share an oval body shape. Nymphs take five to eight weeks to reach adulthood. During this adolescent stage, all nymphs must pass through five developmental stages, progressively becoming larger and darker with each successive stage. The reason their color changes during this phase is that before they can shed their skins and grow, nymphs must take a blood meal, which will make them appear bright red in color. The skins they molt on their journey to adulthood are more visible and often a clue to our trained dogs and their handlers as to their whereabouts.Adult Bed Bugs
A full-grown adult bed bug is wheat to reddish-brown in coloration and its oval shape is more defined. Their upper bodies are also covered with short hairs and are about the size of an apple seed yet nearly as flat as a piece of paper—which is why bed bugs slip into extremely narrow crevices. Adult bed bugs are easier to for an untrained eye to spot. After they feed, they become bloated and dark red.How quickly do bed bugs multiply?
Bed bugs have an average lifespan of ten months to a year and unfortunately they breed throughout their lifespan. During her life, a female can lay up to 5 eggs a day, and most will lay over 500 eggs in a lifetime. However, the reproduction abilities of female bed bugs depend solely on the amount of food available: female bed bugs must have a blood meal before they can lay eggs.What do bed bug bites look like?
Pictures of bites can be useful for some people. Individuals experience a wide range of reactions to bites from these blood-sucking insects. Some people are hardly aware they’ve been bitten, while others suffer an allergic reaction to the saliva injected and may develop painful swellings. In short, bed bug bites vary in size, appearance and intensity from one person to another. Bites can have a red dot in the center, or a scab, or neither. Some can look like mosquito bites or pimples. Others bed bug bites are in clusters of two or three and resemble a rash. They can also surface in a line or a circle. The less allergic a person is, the longer it can take for bites to become visible.
TIP: See a doctor to make sure you have a bed bug bite. Next, call a professional bed bug inspector to learn whether bed bugs are present in more than one location in your home or facility.What are bed bug’s feeding habits?
While you sleep bed bugs can feed on you for five to ten minutes, drop off you once they are satiated and skitter to a sheltered crevice to remain in hiding for several days as they digest the meal. Nymphs and bed bugs can bite anywhere on the body, but especially on the areas that are more exposed during sleep, such as the face, neck, arms, and hands. Bed bugs prefer to feed on humans. In the rare case s in which they do feed on cats and dogs, or other animals, they drop off immediately following feeding.
Tip: Not even an empty apartment is an all-clear sign. You don’t have to have a single bite to have bed bug problem. In the absence of a host, bed bugs can continue to survive for many months or even up to a year without a blood meal.Do bed bugs transmit disease?
Many of our clients are concerned that bed bugs transmit diseases. Although bed bugs can harbor pathogens in and on their bodies, transmission to humans is considered unlikely. Their medical significance is chiefly limited to the itching and inflammation from their bites. Though not known to carry diseases, bed bugs can severely reduce quality of life by causing discomfort, sleeplessness and anxiety. It’s also possible for children bitten over time by bed bugs to develop anemia.Where are some of the places to hide?
Don’t let their name fool you. Bed bugs don’t need a bed to survive. They can live in almost any crevice or protected location from a movie theater to a store. In residential homes, the most common place to find them is in or near a bed. As they procreate they can spread to baseboards, pictures, window and door casings, wallpaper and other similar shelters. Our teams search for molted skins and eggs near crevices. We check pillowcases, sheets, and the mattress for bloodstains, smears, or flecks (the sign of their feeding). If there is already a highly significant population present, a pungent, sickly-sweet odor that smells like raspberries will alert us to the scope of the infestation.
Bed bugs hide in places such as:
How do bed bugs spread so quickly?
To many people, the dramatic spike in bed bug infestations is a bit mysterious. Yet so many people travel these days both domestically and internationally that the spread of bed bugs is actually a predictable consequence. Bed bug eggs are born hitchhikers and are usually transported in luggage, clothing, beds, furniture, and other items. This is a particular problem for hotels, motels and apartments, where turnover of occupants is constant.
Travel isn’t the only means of transmission. Acquiring secondhand beds, couches and furniture is another way that the bugs are transported into previously non-infested dwellings. Worse yet, bed bugs are so small they can even be unknowingly transported on a person’s clothing or shoes, resulting in a new infestation. Unfortunately, once bed bugs are introduced to even a single location, they often spread throughout a building. The bugs can travel from room to room or floor to floor either by crawling or via a person. Unlike cockroaches that feed on fifth, the level of cleanliness has little to do with most bed bug infestations. Pristine homes, hotels and apartments have plenty of hiding places and an abundance of warm-blooded hosts. Thus, they are every bit as vulnerable to infestation as are places of squalor. Regular professional investigations are a modern necessity.How can I avoid bed bugs and infestations?
As difficult as it can be to eradicate bed bugs, there are precautions you can take to avoid them in the first place. Be particularly careful when acquiring used furnishings, especially beds and couches. Curbside items should be avoided, and secondhand articles should be examined closely before being brought into the home, and perhaps laundered or placed in a dryer. Avoiding problems with bed bugs is most challenging in apartments, hotels and other places where there are ongoing opportunities for the bugs to be introduced. So once you enter a hotel room take precautions and check the bed and headboard at a minimum.
TIP: Preventative inspection by a bed bug inspection professional with a trained dog is the best way to uncover infestations in their initial stages when they are easiest to control.What can I do to avoid bed bugs when traveling?
Whenever you are traveling, check the bed for signs of bed bugs. Look closely at the bed sheets, the box spring and the upper and lower seam of the mattress. Also look closely along the head of the bed. If bed bugs or molted skins are discovered, immediately request another room, preferably in another area of the building.
Once you return home it’s a good idea to place all clothing in disposable plastic bags and then empty the bags directly into the washer and/or dryer. (Inspecting or vacuuming luggage upon arrival home is less useful since it’s hard to spot bed bugs inside a suitcase.) If you experience itchy welts suggestive of bed bug bites during your travels, see a doctor --and call the Bed Bug Inspector Group.What should I do if I think I have bed bugs?
Bed bugs are extremely difficult to control if they are not caught during the early stages of the infestation. If you have reason to believe that you may have a problem with bed bugs it is very important that you act swiftly and contact an unbiased bed bug inspection group such as BBIG to conduct a thorough inspection and evaluate the situation. That way if you do have bed bugs you’ll know the location of your particular problem and you won’t end up paying for far more extermination services and invasive procedures than you actually require.