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How to Check for and Prevent a Bed Bug Infestation

Bed bugs are considered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as a public health pest. Don’t worry, though, bed bugs do not carry diseases, and in no scientific study have bed bugs ever been found to transmit diseases to a human host. Bed bugs can be a serious concern in the Boston area. Don’t wait to inspect your home, and if you suspect that your home or business in Boston is infested, follow the guidelines below and seek help from a pest professional.

There is good news: There are things you can do to find and prevent an infestation in your home or business.

Learn the Facts about Bed bugs

In the middle of the 20th century, Bed bugs were almost completely eradicated from the United States due to the use of DDT as a pesticide. However, a lack of understanding of what to look for when traveling abroad and general ignorance about them brought these parasites back to the United States, and now they are found almost everywhere, especially in temperate climates or along the coasts. Learn the facts and learn how to protect yourself.

As blood parasites, bed bugs feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals, including humans. The two common types found in the United States, Cimex lectularius and Cimex Hemipterus, love to feed on humans and are the major culprits for infestations in homes, apartment buildings, public transportation, and businesses. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t matter how clean you keep your house. Anyone can have a bed bug infestation. They are nocturnal, but they will come out if you keep your lights on at night. They try to keep hidden, but occasionally you might see one in an area that is infested.

Bed bug bites can elicit an allergic reaction. If you suspect you have slept in an infested room and have a reaction to a bite, consult a doctor immediately.

Bed bugs look similar to other insects, such as ticks, small cockroaches, or other small insects. The misidentification will only prolong the problem, so be careful when identifying them. Consult a pest professional to be completely sure of a bed bug problem.

    Appearance

  • Similar in appearance to a large wood tick
  • When unfed: Flat, oval-shaped, ranging in color from tan to brown or light brown
  • Fed: Distended, like a balloon, reddish-brown in color
  • Life Cycle

  • 6-12 month life span
  • 4-12 days for eggs to hatch.
  • Bed bugs have 6 life cycles. They molt, or shed their exoskeleton, before each cycle. A bed bug needs at least 1 blood meal before they can progress to the next cycle, though they may feed many times before molting to the next cycle.
  • A female may lay 1-3 eggs per day and as many as 200-500 eggs in her lifetime
  • Lifestyle

  • The may travel 5-20 feet from their hiding place, or harborage, to find a host
  • Although nocturnal, they can come out during the day.
  • Feeding time takes 3-12 minutes
  • During 1 out of 5 feedings, bed bugs defecate the remainder of their last feeding. This is important to know since this will leave signs on the sheets. (See below for details)
  • Nymphs (juvenile insects) can live for long periods without a blood meal, even a month or more. Adults can survive as long as a year without feeding on a host. This resiliency is another reason for their strong comeback to the US.
  • Ideal conditions for bed bugs are temperatures between 45 - 112 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures of 113 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will kill them.
  • They can live in any location, so long as they get a blood meal.

Signs of a Bed bug Infestation

Look closely for these signs in your home or office to identify the presence of bed bugs. Bedbugs bite in clusters, however, bites are not good indicators of an infestation of bed bugs, since many different insect bites look similar to those of bed bugs.

Never sleep in a hotel, house, apartment, or other location if you find these signs. In a hotel or motel, check for these signs before opening or depositing your luggage. If you find these signs, ask for a different room, or change venue altogether.

    Signs of Bed bugs

  • Molts | Since bed bugs molt six times before adulthood, these can be left anywhere. They look like pale, yellowish bugs or crumbs left on the floor.
  • Fecal matter | These appear as little black dots slightly larger than a period, similar to black pepper dots.
  • Egg shells | Eggs are laid with an adhesive coating that makes it difficult to move. Once the eggs are hatched, you may see the pale yellow shells lying around.
  • Stains on Bed Sheets | Reddish stains from squished bed bugs during the night are a telltale sign of a bed bug problem. However, this sign alone is not enough to diagnose an infestation. If you see this, consult a pest control professional for help.

Bed bug Hiding Places

Inspect the following areas for signs of bed bugs (listed above).

  • Seams, cracks, and joints of furniture, chairs, couches, cushions on couches or chairs, mattresses, box springs.
  • Curtain folds.
  • Drawer joints and drawer runners.
  • Seams, gaps, cracks and crevices on bureaus, bookshelves, wardrobes, armoires, and dressers. Check the back and underside of these items as well.
  • The underside of all furniture.
  • Seams and cracks of mattresses and box springs and bed frames. Mattress seams are one of the most common places to find them.
  • The junction where the carpet and the baseboards meet.
  • The junction where the wall and ceiling meet.

Bed Bug Control

Follow these steps to help control a bed bug infestation in your home.

  • Inspect for these signs in hotels or other places you visit. Inspect every item that enters your home, business, or apartment.
  • Purchase tear-resistant mattress covers and keep them in good repair. This will help reduce their hiding places on the bed and make them more visible if they do appear.
  • Keep a clean house. Although bed bugs are attracted to a warm-blooded host and not a dirty environment, clutter, grime, and dirt will help them hide.
  • Vacuum frequently, especially in known infested areas, to catch any stragglers. Also, note that the sound of the vacuum frightens them and forces them to move around more.
  • Wash your clothing thoroughly and dry on high heat. High heat will kill bed bugs. Transport your clothing in plastic bags and store them in a plastic container that you are certain is not infested with bed bugs, such as plastic drawers, tubs, or bins with lids.
  • If you live in an apartment, seal the doors from neighbors if they have bed bugs. Install door sweeps on all the doors, and thoroughly inspect each item that enters your apartment.
  • Some insecticides exist to help eradicate bed bugs -- bug bombs and so on -- but we don’t advise their use. Look to a pest control professional for help if you have bed bugs. Keep in mind that even if bed bugs are eliminated, there is still a chance of re-infestation if necessary precautions are not observed.

Fox Pest Control is Here to Help.

Do not try to get rid of bed bugs on your own. Call today for a free estimate, and our highly trained technicians will restore your peace of mind. Eliminate a bed bug infestation. Don’t wait. Call today to create a plan with your Pest Professional Technician from Fox Pest Control, and eliminate the problem now. Our products are proven to work on your behalf and rescue you and your loved ones or your business from the threat of these parasites.

Posted on December 2, 2019.

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