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AUGUST 15 2023 / PEST AND TERMITE
Everyone has heard of bed bugs, but if you’ve never had direct experience with these pests, you probably don’t know much about them.
Perhaps you’ve heard the bedtime rhyme, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite,” so you know that they’re unpleasant bugs that might come after you at night.
Maybe you’ve heard things about the types of places they’re found and think you don’t have to worry about them. Unfortunately, you may be misinformed about the bed bugs in Maryland, so American Pest is here to clear things up.
Before we get into the common misconceptions about bed bugs, it helps to have a little bit of background information about how to tell if you have a bed bug infestation.
Knowing what bed bugs look like and knowing the signs of a bed bug infestation are both vitally important in identifying an infestation in its early stages.
The earlier you can treat a bed bug infestation, the easier it is to get rid of these pesky bugs.
In order to determine if an insect you find in your house, on your clothing, or in a bag or box is a bed bug, you have to know what bed bugs look like.
Adult bed bugs are reddish brown in color and about the size of an apple seed.
Their bodies are wide and flat, with a tapered back end and a small head. After they’ve eaten, their bodies appear swollen and elongated. Bed bugs have six legs and two antennae that stick out sideways.
Bed bug nymphs are smaller in size than adult bed bugs and are a translucent whitish color. The nymphs are very difficult to see due to their small size and tendency to blend into their surroundings.
Bed bug eggs are white and no bigger than the head of a pin. Eggs are laid in clusters, so they are often easier to spot than the nymphs.
It’s possible to identify a bed bug infestation without ever laying eyes on a bed bug.
They leave signs of their presence around, and if you know what to look for, you can determine if there is an infestation by spotting these signs of bed bug activity.
Often the first sign of bed bugs that you’ll notice is if you end up with bites. Bed bugs feed on blood, and they usually do so at night while you sleep.
If you wake up in the morning to discover small, red, itchy bumps on your body, they may be the result of bed bugs.
However, fleas often leave the same evidence behind, so you may be unsure about which pest is to blame.
Although similar, flea bites are typically found on the lower half of your body, especially around your ankles and in warm, moist areas like your elbows or the backs of your knees.
Bed bug bites are usually on the upper half of the body, often around the face, neck, or arms. One other difference between the two is that flea bites are usually in clusters while bed bug bites are more often in a linear pattern.
When bed bugs have a meal, they become engorged. Once they’re finished, they’ll crawl off of you to head back to a safe, hidden area.
As they walk, they can sometimes dribble tiny drops of blood onto your sheets or blankets. Although easier to see on light colored sheets, if you see tiny, pinprick sized red dots, it’s an indication that bed bugs are present.
Not only will bed bugs leave drops of blood around, but they can also leave behind excrement as they walk. Small tan, black, or brown smudges on your sheets or blankets could be a sign of bed bug activity.
Bed bugs prefer to remain hidden. If you search for them, you may not see the bugs themselves, but you may see their shed skins or left behind eggshells.
These will be light colored, so they could be easy to miss if you’re not specifically looking for them.
Bed bugs give off a slightly musty odor, similar to when you leave a pile of wet towels laying around for too long. If you have a small bed bug infestation, this smell won’t be noticeable. Only in very large infestations will the smell become apparent.
Perhaps one of the biggest pieces of misinformation out there about bed bugs is this: They only infest dirty, messy houses. If this were true, keeping bed bugs at bay would be as simple as keeping your house clean.
Unfortunately, this information is entirely untrue. Bed bugs can and will infest any type of home, no matter how clean or dirty.
This misconception began because of the fact that bed bugs like to stay hidden. Messy homes tend to have more clutter giving bed bugs more areas to hide.
Oftentimes, simply because they have more places to hide, bed bug infestations are not discovered as quickly in a messy home as in a clean home.
Furthermore, even if the infestation is caught early, it can be more difficult to treat a bed bug infestation and eliminate all of the bed bugs because they have more places to hide in a messy or cluttered house.
If cleanliness was an indication of whether or not bed bugs got into your house, it would be easy to avoid an infestation.
However, the way that bed bugs get into homes has absolutely nothing to do with clutter in your house and everything to do with how bed bugs travel from place to place.
Bed bugs love to travel. They are the jetsetters of the insect world. If they have a chance to climb onto your shoe or pant leg, they’ll take it.
If they can find a box, bag, or piece of luggage to explore, they’ll climb inside it. Then, they’ll stay there while you go on your way, only exiting their mode of transportation when you arrive in a new location.
Because of this way of hitchiking from one place to another, bed bugs can be found almost anywhere.
Homes and hotels are two of the most common places to find bed bugs, but they are also commonly found in schools, in libraries, and even on public transportation.
Because of their name, another common misconception about bed bugs is that they are only found in beds. Although they received that name for good reason, it doesn’t mean that’s the only place they stay.
Bed bugs get their name because they are most often found in beds. Beds are a favorite location for bed bugs because they come out at night to snack on the people in the beds.
Staying in the same area during the day makes it easier for the bed bugs to access their food source at night. However, that doesn’t mean that they’ll only stay in that one spot.
They can be found in locations all over your house. Some of the many areas where bed bugs are frequently found include:
If you find bed bugs or signs of bed bugs in your house and google what to do, you’ll probably come upon many articles telling you about “surefire” DIY bed bug elimination methods.
You’ll find traps, sprays, steam machines, and heaters for sale, with the retailers claiming that these items will take care of your problem.
As wonderful as it would be to be able to eliminate bed bugs with these DIY treatments, unfortunately, effective DIY treatments are another example of misinformation regarding bed begs because they just don’t exist.
That’s not to say that some DIY treatments won’t appear to eliminate your bed bug problems.
There are treatments that will kill some of the bed bugs in your home. You may even stop seeing activity or signs of bed bugs following your treatment.
However this is probably not a result of you eliminating every bed bug in your home.
Instead, it’s a result of the remaining bed bugs in your home going deeper into hiding. Bed bugs can retreat into your walls and go without eating for months on end.
Eventually, after three to five months, they’ll reemerge and your problems will begin all over again.
So what are you to do when bed bugs invade? Treatment is a necessity, and it needs to be done by professionals who not only know how to eliminate the entire infestation, but who also have the tools to actually carry out this plan.
They need to eliminate everything - from eggs to adults, and from the bed bugs you can see to the ones hidden deep in your walls.
Thermal remediation has several advantages. Since no chemicals are used, it is safe for your belongings and the environment. It kills all bed bugs in one treatment.
Finally, it only takes one day to perform the treatment, and when it’s done, you can come back into your Maryland home with the knowledge that you no longer have a bed bug problem.
If you suspect bed bugs are in your home, contact American Pest. We will perform a thorough inspection to determine if bed bugs are present and the severity of a bed bug infestation.
We’ll then work with you to set up treatment, going over all the details and giving you a pre-treatment checklist to complete before the treatment takes place.
Taking care of bed bugs has never been so easy. Contact American Pest today.