Don't Let The Bed Bugs Bite!

You’ve probably heard the old saying “As Snug As A Bug In A Rug” or “Don’t Let The Bed Bugs Bite!”  But bugs are nothing to feel all snuggly about, especially BED BUGS! Whether you have personally dealt with these nasty little critters or known someone who has, it definitely doesn’t give you a warm and fuzzy feeling when crawling into bed after a hard day. 

The presence of bed bugs dates back to the time of the Pharaohs in ancient Egypt,more than 3,550 years ago making their way around the world and eventually to the United States with early settlers!  With the increasing development of technology and pest application methods they haven’t been too much of an issue in the US until the early 2000’s, due to increased international travel, resistance to treatments, and lack of awareness in the public about pest management. 

Bed bugs aren’t snoozing away while you get your beauty rest, instead they utilize that time to feed. And yes, they are feeding on you! Bed bugs are attracted to your body temperature, moisture, and the level of CO2 you emit while you sleep, making your quality down time the perfect meal time for them. Bed bugs do feed during the day in heavily infested areas, the first signs that you have a bed bug infestation are the red, itchy bite marks and welts on your skin. 

These smart, methodical hematophagous creatures have developed the best survival instincts through the centuries and have developed resistance to traditional pest control applications, even going months without a food source! They hide out during the day in cracks, crevices, box springs, mattresses, luggage, and even electrical outlets to avoid detection. Their saliva works as a mild anesthetic so you won’t feel the pain of the bite until you develop a reaction. Bed bug bites will likely be found in a pattern on exposed skin, often in clusters or a row on the chest, arms, legs, and even face. They will feed for about 5 to 10 minutes until they are engorged with blood and then go back into hiding to digest, breed, and lay eggs for up to 10 days at a time. 

A female bed bug lays eggs every single day, up to 500 in a single lifetime. Under favorable conditions, more than 80% of those eggs survive to become reproductive adults. Making early detection even more critical.  In about 4 to 12 days those eggs hatch into first instar nymphs growing to full adulthood in about 21 days after going through all stages of development, feeding and molting through every stage. Laboratory studies indicate that well-fed adult bed bugs will live anywhere from 99 to 300 days.

Signs You Might Have A Bed Bug Infestation

  • Signs of Bed Bug Bites. Red, itchy bite marks on exposed skin, especially on the legs, arms, and face.
  • Uncomfortable nights.
  • Small red to reddish brown fecal spots on mattresses, sheets, upholstery, or walls.
  • Molted bed bug skins, their white, sticky eggs, or empty eggshells. Look in the folds of your mattresses, box springs, and other places where they are likely to hide.  Bed bug eggs are about the size of 2 grains of salt.  
  • A slight smell? In large numbers bed bugs release pheromones creating a smell compared to spoiled raspberries, almonds, or a musty sweetish aroma.

Bed Bugs don’t discriminate. Infestations can easily spread through homes, hotels, nursing homes, hospitals, summer camps, and even movie theaters, basically anywhere.  Anyone and everyone is at risk of bringing home bed bugs when visiting an infected area. Whether you’re a frequent traveller or have kids coming home from school during the holidays your home is not immune from infestation no matter how clean you are.  We do have some tips to help lessen your chances of an infestation and avoid many sleepless nights.  When traveling, always inspect your hotel room before unpacking and settling in for your stay. Look in the folds and seams of the mattress for any telltale signs of bed bug activity. Elevate your luggage on a luggage rack keeping it off the floor or bed, bed bugs struggle to climb smooth surfaces. Check any furniture or upholster in the room. When you return home, immediately wash and dry all our laundry on high heat, even if you haven’t worn it. Lastly, inspect and vacuum your luggage thoroughly, being sure to empty the vacuum away from the house.  

There is no fool proof way to prevent bed bugs from entering your home or business and unfortunately they aren’t going to just die off any time soon. If you expect or know you have a bed bug infestation it is best to act fast before the infestation easily spreads throughout the house.  There are many home remedies, over-the-counter pesticides, and recommendations online for the treatment of bed bugs, but most of these will only make the infestation worse. The most effective treatment method out there is a Heat Treatment.  In order for heat treatments to be effective a temperature of 150 - 170 degrees Fahrenheit must be achieved.  It is best to contact a professional pest control company, like Landlock Pest Control. Heat style treatments involve a portable duct system and industrial propane heaters to heat up the home to extreme temperatures for about a 4 to 6 hour time frame depending on the size of the home.  

If you are concerned about bed bugs, have bed bugs, or have signs of a possible infestation don’t hesitate to give Landlock Pest Control a call for a FREE Bed Bug Inspection from one of our trained professionals. 

Some of this information is courtesy of Dini M. Miller, Ph.D. and Andrea Polanco, Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech. For additional information, read their full publication: Bed Bug Biology and Behavior.

LandLock Pest Control