Bed bugs have become a major pest control concern, as their populations have continued to rise over the last decade. According to a survey – the 2013 Bugs Without Borders survey, conducted by the National Pest Management Association and the University of Kentucky, found that 99.6 percent of U.S. pest management professionals have encountered bed bug infestations in the past year; in addition, infestations have increased in the majority of locations typically treated for bed bugs. Prior to 2000, only 25 percent of respondents had encountered a bed bug infestation.
The best way to fight bed bugs is to raise your awareness about them and learn what you can do to prevent them from getting into your home.
You should know what to look for: bed bugs are visible with the naked eye. Make sure you can identify them so you can be on the lookout.
Bed bugs like to travel and are good hitchhikers. They will hide in suitcases, boxes, and shoes to be near a food supply. They are elusive, nocturnal creatures. They can hide behind baseboards and in cracks. They also hide in crevices, the folded areas of beds, bedding and adjacent furniture, especially mattresses and box springs. Bed bugs can also hide in electrical switch plates, pictures frames, wallpaper and nearly anywhere inside a home, car, bus, or other shelter. Bed bugs usually come out at night for blood meal. However, they are opportunistic insects and can take blood meal during the day, especially in heavily-infested areas. Bed bugs usually require 5-10 minutes to engorge with blood. After feeding, they move to secluded places and hide for 5-10 days. During this time, they do not feed but instead digest their meal, mate, and lay eggs.
Bed bugs like to hide in small cracks and crevices close to a human environment. They can be found behind baseboards, wallpaper, upholstery, and in furniture crevices. Bed bugs are also known to survive in temporary or alternative habitats, such as backpacks, luggage and under the seats of cars, busses, airplanes, and trains.
Although bed bugs can dine on any warm-blooded animal, they primarily dine on humans. Bed bugs do not transmit diseases, but their bites can become red, itchy welts.
- Vacuum suitcases after returning from vacation.
- Check your bed sheets for tell-tale blood spots.
- Consider bringing a large plastic trash bag to house your suitcase during hotel stays.
- Carry a small flashlight to assist you with quick visual inspection.
- Never bring second-hand furniture, especially mattresses and box springs, into a home without thoroughly examining for signs of a bed bug infestation. You might consider having a pest control professional inspect the furniture, as it is difficult to detect an infestation if you are untrained.
- Regularly inspect areas where pets sleep for signs of bed bugs.
- Seek professional pest control to address an infestation because bed bugs are elusive creatures.
Call for Help!
If you think you have bed bugs, call a professional right away.
Bed Bug FAQs
Why are bed bugs so hard to treat?
Bed bugs should not be equated with filth or sanitation problems—in hotels or in homes, for that matter. Bed bugs are very elusive, transient pests. They are often found in other areas besides the bed. They are hardy, too. They can live for a year or more without eating and can withstand a wide range of temperatures from nearly freezing to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Bed bugs can be controlled with vigilance, constant inspection, and treatment by professional pest control companies.
What can a consumer do to protect themselves from bedbug infestations?
To prevent bed bug infestations, consumers need to be vigilant in assessing their surroundings. When returning from a trip, check your luggage and clothing. If you think you may have a bed bug infestation, contact a pest control professional. This is not a pest that can be controlled with do-it-yourself measures.
Why are bed bugs an issue for hotels, visitors, and homeowners?
Bed bugs leave itchy, bloody welts on human skin. Adult bed bugs can live for a year without eating, making them especially hard to control. Once inside a hotel or home, bed bugs spread rapidly from room to room—through pipes, in vacuum cleaners, on clothing and luggage. In a hotel, bed bugs can even spread to neighboring rooms, since guests often end up moving to another room.
Are bed bugs just in beds?
Bed bugs are not just in beds. They can be in chair cushions, sofas, behind electrical outlets, cracks and crevices around baseboards, or even behind picture frames. In other words, they can be live pretty much anywhere.
How can you control bed bugs?
Any effective bed bug control strategy should start with a pest control professional’s careful, thorough inspection of all known and suspected spots of infestation. This is not a pest that can be controlled effectively with do-it-yourself measures. Depending on the extent of the infestation, the pest control professional will develop an appropriate treatment and control strategy with the customer.
Can I get sick from bedbugs?
Bed bugs are not known to spread any diseases to humans. However, their bites can leave behind itchy, red welts that can become infected from scratching.