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How to Inspect For Bed Bugs

Bed bugs have made a comeback in the United States and if you’re not careful, these bloodsucking parasites may be in your home. It may surprise you to learn that there was a time in North America where bed bugs were not a problem at all. However, due to increased travel overseas for vacation and immigrants and tourists from abroad coming to visit our country, bed bugs have not become a major pest problem all over the country, especially in the larger cities. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, bed bugs don't spread disease but they are notoriously difficult to contain and expensive to exterminate, costing upwards of $500 to $1,500 depending on what service your choose and the exterminators level of experience. We’re going to go out on a limb and assume that most people don’t have money set aside in their budget for big bed bug treatments so this could be a hefty bill that most cannot afford.

At Solutions Pest & Lawn, you can save a ton of money by following our helpful how-to guides and equip yourself with professional quality bed bug control products to effectively get rid of bed bugs without the need for an exterminator. However, to treat bed bugs you first have to track them down and find them, and we will show you how that’s done in this easy to follow guide.

Find Bed Bugs Early For Better Control

If you are worried that you have a bed bug infestation in your home, it is better to start looking for the bugs sooner rather than later because if bed bugs are given a chance to establish themselves, their numbers will rapidly grow and spread, you act quickly the moment you have an inkling or worry of bed bugs on the premises.

Treating a bed bug problem when it is in its starting stage may be a hassle, but if allowed to get bigger, it will be more difficult and much more expensive problem to overcome, not to mention you’ll be saving yourself from some terrible nights of bites keeping you up at night.  

While going on the offensive when bed bug numbers are low is ideal, it can also be a more difficult task compared to a big full-blown infestation because when bed bug numbers are big, it becomes more obvious where the bed bugs are and they can be more easily found because of all the signs they leave behind (blood, fecal matter, etc.). During those times when their is a minor infestation of irritating biting bugs, there's a chance that they may not be bed bugs after all.

Bed Bug Identification Can Be Tricky

 

Bed bug infestations can very easily be misidentified or misdiagnosed. Erroneously identifying a bed bug infestation as a completely different bug, gives bed bugs more time to spread and grow their numbers or even move onto other parts of the house or even outside of the house by hitching a ride in someone else's belongings.

 

So you think you have a bed bug infestation without checking around? Not so fast. If you’re adamant that you have bed bugs because you received some bites at night while you are sleeping, you have to make sure you’re certain before jumping to conclusions. Bed bug bites look very similar to bites from other biting bugs such as mosquitoes, wandering spiders or chiggers. You may have a mosquito flying around that was let into the house via a cracked door or window who just happened to be feasting on you while you were sleeping.

 

Aside from other insect bites, what you fear to be bed bug bites may just be rashes or a skin condition (such as eczema or fungal infections), or even hives. Some people do not get any reactions to bedbug bites at all and never know they have a bed bug problem until they actually see the insect. All these reasons are why a thorough inspection is vital to properly identify that you have bed bugs and to find out where they are hiding.

 

 

Warning Signs To Watch Out For If You Have Bed Bugs

If bed bugs are indeed present in your home but you haven’t been able to physically see one with your own eyes, there are a number of different signs you can look for to be able to confirm you have a bed bug infestation on your hands without seeing the bed bugs themselves. Whenever you are cleaning up the home, changing out the bed sheets or if you are traveling out of town and staying at a hotel room look for these tell-tale signs of bed bugs:

 

Blood stains on your sheets or your mattress - bed bugs primary source of nourishment is blood--our blood. If they are not sucking blood from us, then they are feeding on our pets. Bed bugs themselves are brown and flat, but when they have had a large blood meal, they can swell to a bright red color and can leave blood stains behind wherever they move or when they are crushed. These blood stains are usually not a bright red but a rusty or brownish looking red from being dried up.

Dark spots that are dot sized. - These dark colored spots are bed bug fecal matter. And may bleed onto the fabric or mattress similar to a permanent marker. In particularly bad bed bug infestations you would see the seams and folds of a mattress literally covered in blood stained and these black dotted remnants of excrement.

 

Bed bug eggs and eggshells - Bed bugs produce rapidly especially after having a satisfying blood mean and will leave behind eggs to introduce the new generation of blood sucking pests. Bed bug eggs are very tiny, about 1 mm long. When the bed bug nymphs hatch from the eggs and begin to grow into adulthood, they will shed pale yellow skins which you also may find when inspecting your home and furniture.

 

Live bed bugs - Bed bugs themselves can be quite hard to find as they are expert hiders. Perhaps the times that they are most likely able to be seen is at night when they begin to feast on sleeping humans. Bed bugs feed on blood usually while the host is sleeping. They inject a numbing agent first so you don't feel it. After about 10 minutes the bug goes back into hiding usually somewhere nearby. By rising up and aiming a flashlight at your bed you can catch a now swollen bed bug trying to get away.

 

Where Bed Bugs Like To Hide

 

Now that you know what bed bugs look like and what they like to leave behind, it’s time to learn where you should look for them. When bed bugs are not feeding on our blood, they are hiding and waiting for their opportunity to feed. They like to stay in areas close to where us humans rest so the typical areas such as around the mattress, the seams and around the piping of bed bug frames are the main hot spots to look for first when trying to find bed bugs, but while they are called bed bugs, the bed is not the only place to look:

 

The mattress- of course the mattress itself is a notorious hiding place for bed bugs.They're known to nest along the seams the sides and around vents or grommets.

Don’t forget the box spring! Look carefully at and under it as bed bugs can find lots of places to hide here just out of sight.

Carefully examine the bed frame, behind the headboard, and the storage under your bed and of course everything on the floor around the bed including nearby furniture.

Bed bugs will hide on or in wood, fabric, metal, phones, electronics, ANYTHING so long as it’s close to their food source--YOU.

Don’t limit your inspection to just the bedroom. You’ll want to check the couch, easy chairs and desk areas wherever you sense significant time lying or sitting still.

You should even check wall hangings as bed bugs are known to hide under loose wall paper and wall hangings such as framed photos and artwork.

 

It’s important to go layer by layer and repeat these steps until you find the wandering bed bugs you seek.

 

What is interesting to note that while bed bugs can be found everywhere in the house, this is only during really bad infestations. Heavy infestations often take months to get really bad to where bed bugs are in every room and have gotten to out of control numbers. If you are proactive and check your home regularly, you will find bed bugs long before they’ve developed into a large infestation.

 

For example, if you may have picked two bed bugs up in your belongings and brought them into the house and they are in your bed for about 3 or 4 days, the bed bugs are going to stay there. There has to at least be a large population of about 80 to 100 bugs that has to be present for bed bugs to start moving away from the bed to other places in the home.



Learn how Bed Bugs Operate

By being informed about how bed bugs behave and their various tendencies (such as how they eat, live and reproduce) can only help make your bed bug inspection easier and will help you find bed bugs before they become established. Here is a gathering of bed bug tendencies we have gathered:

 

Bed Bug Eating Habits

Primarily feed upon humans, but bed bugs have also shown to feed on birds and animals like dogs and cats.

Bed bugs can travel between 5-20 feet from their hiding spots to go feed on a host.

Bed bugs are most active at night time, but if they are particularly hungry, it is not uncommon for a bed bug to look for hosts to feed on in broad daylight.

The timespan of a bed bug feeding lasts between 3-12 minutes.

The darkish black fecal stains that are found on bed sheets or places where bed bugs are in hiding are due to bedbugs dropping remains of earlier blood meals while feeding on new blood.

Bed Bug Reproduction

In order to reproduce and develop to the next of six life stage, bed bugs need to eat at least one blood meal.

        • Bed bugs can feed more than once at a time, (hence you will find multiple bites from the same bed bug on the body)

        • Each stage of the bed bug life cycle involves the molting of skin.

Male and female bed bugs need to feed at least once every two weeks in order to be able to mate and produce eggs.

Female bed bugs can lay between 1 to 3 eggs per day and in a single female bed bugs life span can lay 200-500 eggs per her lifetime, which is usually between 6-12 months.

Living conditions

    • Bed bugs can survive and remain active at temperatures as low as 7°C (46°F), but they die when their body temperatures reaches 45°C (113°F).

          • To kill bed bugs with heat, the room must be even hotter to ensure sustained heat reaches the bugs no matter where they are hiding. This can be achieve via putting bed bugs in the dryer or using a steam cleaner or other heat treatment instrument.

 

Conclusion

Bed bugs are a troubling issue to have in the home, but with the help of the tips we’ve outlined above, you can safely and easily conduct a bed bug inspection yourself without the need for shelling out big bucks for an exterminator to do an inspection.

 

To be on the safe side, we recommend checking for bed bugs around the home regularly, at least a minimum of 4 times a year. You could also stay on top of bed bug prevention by inspecting for bed bugs as part of your weekly laundry routine. If you find nothing, you’ll at least have some peace of mind and if you can catch a bed bug infestation early it will be a lot less costly and stressful to deal with.

 

For more helpful tips and information, call us at 800-479-6583 or email us at askapro@solutionsstores.com.

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