What is the first thing I should check for when visiting a "home away from home?"
First, grab your flashlight and don't unpack just yet. Use your flashlight to check behind headboards, dust ruffles, mattresses, bedframes, pictures, lampshades, bedside tables, or any other room furnishings. You will be looking for tiny black spots (feces), small red stains where bed bugs have been crushed, translucent light brown cast skins or live bed bugs. You may want to take a picture to help a pest professional confirm infestation.
What do bed bugs look like?
The bed bug is oval in shape, wingless, and reddish or mahogany in color with a flattened body. It is about 1/5 of an inch long, or the size of an apple seed.
Can a bed bug be seen with the naked eye?
Yes, if there is a bed bug on you or crawling around on your sheets, you will likely see it. The problem is that bed bugs do not often just crawl around in the open. They stay well hidden in tight spaces during the day, and come out only at night for feeding; however, the nymph stages and eggs are quite small and very hard to see.
Do bed bugs really feed on human blood?
Yes. A bed bug can take in six times its weight in human blood during a typical nighttime meal, and feeding can take from 3 to 12 minutes.
How long do bed bugs survive without a blood meal?
Nymphs can survive without food for up to 90 days without feeding; adults can survive up to one year or longer without feeding.
How will I know I have bed bugs?
You may suspect bed bugs if you wake up with bites or welts on your body that are itchy and sometimes painful, especially if this happens repeatedly. Other signs of infestation can be detected with a magnifying glass and a flashlight.
What to look for:
- Tiny black spots (feces) on linens or other objects.
- Small red stains where bed bugs have been crushed.
- Translucent light brown cast skins.
- Live bed bugs.
Will I get sick from bed bugs?
While bed bug bites are uncomfortable bed bugs are not known to transmit disease and are not considered harmful.
I've tried to control the bed bugs myself but I don't seem to get anywhere. When should I call a professional?
Even light or small infestations are not easy to control. If you feel uncomfortable with your efforts or they seem to be increasing out of your control, it is best to call a Pest Management Professional.
I keep my home very clean. Where did the bed bugs come from?
Bed bugs, unlike roaches, are not sanitation driven so a clean home is just as susceptible to bed bugs as a not so clean one. All that is needed for an infestation to occur is for an infested item to be introduced into an un-infested environment. Bed bugs are most likely to be introduced upon returning from travel, particularly out of the country or when an overnight guest stays with you who has previously stayed at an infested location. They can also hitch a ride into your home on items purchased at secondhand stores or on furniture and bedding that is delivered to your home from an infested location. Immediately after any of these events have taken place would be an ideal time to inspect for live bed bugs and other signs of infestation.
Do I really need special mattress covers? Why not a regular cover?
For bed bug prevention and control, an ordinary mattress cover will not suffice. The reason for this is that newly hatched nymphs are extremely small and can escape or feed through the fibers of an ordinary cover. Nymphs are also able to find their way through the loose teeth of the zipper on ordinary covers unless it is specially designed. Using an ineffective casement that was not designed for bed bug control will actually prove more detrimental than not using one at all because it can offer them protected harborage areas. Specialty covers are designed to prevent entry and exit. If you have questions about that bedbug proof mattresses and box spring covers or where to obtain them, ask your Barnes representative for more information and we will be happy to provide this for you.
Once I start a control program how long will it take to achieve complete control?
You will see a significant improvement after the initial bed bug treatment. However, complete bedbug elimination takes patience, persistence, and time. Following an initial treatment and program implementation, you should have regular monitoring performed every one to two weeks to monitor populations. Treatment will then need to be repeated on a monthly or even a bimonthly basis until all signs of infestation disappear completely.
Another option is”Barnes Thermal Pest Management System” which utilizes heat as a control measure and can normally be accomplished in only one day.
If you have questions about either one of these procedures, call for more information from a Barnes representative.