Bed bugs are tiny, brownish orange insects with an almond-shaped abdomen that can be difficult to see, but large enough to find if you know where to look. They like wood and fabric, and hide in cracks, crevices, narrow spaces and voids near where you sleep or rest; mattresses, box springs, bed frames, nightstands, pictures, dressers, desks, recliners, sofas and even books. They can live 10 months or more without food/blood and can be transported by luggage (especially foreign travel), guests, pets or wildlife, and used clothing, furniture or books. Bed bugs are a serious problem for homeowners and business owners due to the emotional stress it can cause and the difficulty that comes along with trying to get rid of them. If you think you may have a bed bug infestation, use the following guide.
How to Check for Bed Bugs
Many people wonder, “How do I know if I have bed bugs?” Determining if you have bed bugs comes down to some investigation of the area you suspect to be infested. Bed bugs are very cryptic insects that like to hide in tight corners and spaces when they’re not feeding. Common bed bug hiding places include but are not limited to:
- Box springs
- Bed frame
- Crevices of couches and upholstered furniture
- Dresser drawers
- Behind peeling wallpaper
- Behind electrical outlet covers
Bed bugs look like small, rust colored apple seeds that crawl around at night. They molt as they grow, leaving behind a shell of their body that looks like translucent pieces of bed bugs. It’s possible that you’ll find these shells around infested areas. You might also find evidence of bed bugs by finding the droppings they leave behind. Fecal spotting looks like someone used a black marker and made spots that are irregular in shape and close together. These can be found wherever the bed bugs are resting, such as wooden bed frames or piping around mattresses. You should always consult with a professional regarding signs of bed bugs and a positive verification that your residence or business has an issue.
How do bed bugs spread?
Bed bugs do not live outdoors in your yard like ticks or trail in colonies around your kitchen like ants. Bed bugs need to be brought in by an infested item or within a suitcase, backpack, or second hand thrift store items. They can even hide in non-upholstered items such as antique or used wicker furniture and books. By bringing these infested items into your home, bed bugs have a chance to find a live host and survive.
Hotels are also an accessible location for bed bug infestations as bed bugs like to remain within a few feet of their primary feeding source or host. Hotels see a lot of traffic from guests traveling from all over the world, which makes them a likely place for bed bugs to congregate. Whenever you stay in a hotel, make sure to pull back the sheets and inspect them and the mattress closely for bed bugs. Suitcases are the primary mode of transportation for bed bugs that come home with you from a hotel. If you aren’t careful or proactive in avoiding bringing bed bugs into your home, post-vacation life can be a disaster.
How To Avoid Bed Bugs
Search for bed bugs before unpacking in a hotel room. If you find indications of bed bugs in your hotel room, you should move to another room or hotel immediately. If you move rooms, request a room that is not adjacent to, directory above, or directly below the infested room. Bed bugs can quickly move between units just like they do in apartment complexes. They always spread by getting a ride from one location to another, so it’s a good idea to scrutinize your luggage after any trip and consider steaming it as an extra precaution using a hand steamer. Throw all clothing into your dryer and run a cycle on high heat to kill potential bed bugs.
Carefully examine (or completely avoid) secondhand clothing, accessories, linens, and furniture. If you are unsure, don’t purchase it. Are you still concerned about bed bugs? Call Certified for a professional bed bug inspection.
When should I call a professional?
If you suspect that you have a bed bug infestation in your home or business, do not wait. Low-level infestations can very quickly progress to a high-level if they are not taken care of professionally. The more bed bugs there are living in your home, and depending on how many rooms they are living in, it will take more time and effort to eliminate them. DIY methods are never a good idea for an active bed bug infestation. By using repellents or store-bought products, you will most likely spread the bed bugs to other rooms and parts of your home. This makes it significantly more challenging for even the most experienced bed bug technicians to control.
Certified Termite & Pest provides heat treatments for our residential clients in the DFW area. If you have a current bed bug issue, our specialists can eliminate the infestation in as little as one treatment. Service is guaranteed. Call us to learn more about our bed bug treatments and how we can get rid of bed bugs without extensive prep work, throwing away your personal items, or excessively toxic treatments.