Bed Bug Inspection
An adult bed bug is about 1/5 of an inch long and 1/8 of an inch wide. It is reddish or mahogany in color and its body is greatly flattened and oval-shaped. After feeding, the bug’s body enlarges considerably, becoming longer and much less flat. Although the body is covered with tiny hairs, these hairs are so small that they are almost invisible to the naked eye, so the general body appearance is shiny. Bed bugs have piercing-sucking mouth parts that enable them to pierce the skin and suck blood from their hosts.
Bed bug eggs are elongated and usually attached to any available surface when laid. Each female bed bug lays one to five eggs per day until she has laid approximately 200 to 500 in her lifetime. At normal room temperature these eggs will hatch in 6 to 10 days, producing small, almost colorless nymphs that have the general body appearance of an adult. Bed bugs are very hardy insects. Both adults and nymphs can survive prolonged periods without food or under adverse temperature conditions. Adults can live for a year or longer without feeding and can survive over the winter in an unheated building. Nymphs are not as hardy as adults but can survive for considerable periods under adverse conditions. Humans are the preferred host of the common bed bug, but it will feed readily on other animals. Bed bugs generally hide in cracks and crevices during normal daylight hours. When inspecting for bed bugs one must look into any place that offers darkness, isolation and protection. For this reason they are extremely hard to control.
Reasons for the resurgence of Bed Bugs
There are several reasons why bed bugs have made a comeback after years of absence. One reason is based on changes in general pest control methods used in past years including the use of liquid sprays and broad spectrum insecticides, to more targeted treatments with baits and site-specific products. A second reason for the increase in bed bug calls has to do with increased international travel. Travelers from countries where bed bugs have continued to be problems are believed to have brought them to the United States in baggage, clothing, and other forms.
Bed Bug FAQ's
- Q: What do bed bugs look like?
- The bed bug is oval in shape, wingless, reddish or mahogany in color after a blood meal, and has a flattened body. It is about 1/5 of an inch long, or roughly the size of an apple seed.
- Q: 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. However, the nymph stages and eggs are quite small and very hard to see. The problem is that bed bugs do not often crawl around in the open. They stay well hidden in tight spaces during the day and come out primarily at night for feeding.
- Q: 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.
- Q: How long do bed bugs survive without a blood meal?
- Nymphs can survive up to 90 days without feeding; adults can survive up to 18 months or longer without feeding.
- Q: 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.
- Q: 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. Infections can result from scratching bites.
- Q: 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.
- Q: 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 an infestation.
- Q: 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 bed bug proof mattress 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.
- Q: Once I start a control program, how long will it take to achieve complete control?
- It depends on which method of treatment you choose. The reason Barnes Exterminating uses heat as a primary treatment method when it comes to bed bugs is because elimination can be achieved in one day, in most cases. Another remediation technique is a liquid treatment, which can take from several weeks to several months to work.
If you have questions or want to schedule an inspection or treatment, call 478.743.9990