Bed bugs are tiny oval insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. These pests have flat brown bodies that swell up and turn reddish after feeding. The immediate elimination of bed bugs is important when you’re dealing with a major infestation.
However, before you call the exterminators to have the problem solved as soon as possible, it’s best to learn a little bit more about these pests. The more you know about bed bugs, the easier for you to deal with them in the future. With that said, here are some important facts you should know:
Common Species of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs can easily adapt to human environments. This characteristic has enabled them to infiltrate various parts of the world. As such, there is more than one type of bed bug roaming around.
In America, the two most commonly encountered species are Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus. The latter is predominantly found in more tropical environments like Florida. On the other hand, the former has a broader distribution across the country. However, due to their small size, it’s difficult to tell them apart.
Living Conditions for Bed Bugs To Thrive In
Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are not limited to infesting beds alone. These pests can thrive in numerous locations within and around your house. When they’re not feeding, you may find them hiding in various household items such as chairs, between cushions, and even on walls. Their small size enables them to squeeze into tiny cracks and holes, making it challenging to spot and eliminate them effectively.
In addition to furniture, these pests can also take shelter in your luggage and clothing. This ability allows them to catch a ride with you and spread to different areas. As such, you may find these pests in public transportation such as taxis, buses, and trains. In addition, since people come and go in hotel rooms, they are also common bed bug hotspots.
Bed bugs are considered to be nocturnal, preferring to feed on the blood of people during the night. Their mealtime is often between midnight and dawn. However, if there are no humans around and if they’re already hungry, they will come out during the day to look for food sources.
Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation
There are a handful of signs to look out for if you want to determine if you have a bed bug infestation on your hands. It’s important to note that due to their size, these pests can be subtle and hard to detect, often needing the help of a professional exterminator. However, familiarizing yourself with these indicators can help you with the early eradication of bed bugs in your home.
One of the most obvious indicators is the presence of bites on your body. These often look like mosquito or ant bites. However, if you see that the bites’ pattern looks like a straight line or a zigzag, there’s a big chance that those are bed bug marks. You also won’t feel them biting you. That’s because their saliva contains an anesthetic that numbs the affected area. Bed bug bite marks will only appear after a couple of days.
Another sign is the presence of dark reddish-brown spots on your mattress, upholstery, or bed sheets. These can be due to crushed bed bugs or their fecal matter. Lastly, bed bugs in large numbers will cause an unpleasant smell due to a pheromone they excrete from their bodies.
What To Do When Dealing With an Infestation
If you notice a bed bug problem, it’s best not to attempt to fumigate your house. Using store-bought sprays may do more harm than good since it will probably make them scatter throughout your home even more. If you live in an apartment, they might also infect your neighbors.
Pesticides can be harmful to your health if used improperly. Leave the pesticides to the professionals. If you’re going to hire exterminators, make sure that their methods follow an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. This tried and tested approach to managing pests relies on various common-sense practices. They also pose a low risk to your health and surroundings.
If you want to do something about the situation, one of the first things you can do is clean up around the house. Get rid of clutter in your bedroom and vacuum every nook and cranny.
Wash your bedsheets, pillowcases, and blankets and put them in a hot dryer for 30 minutes. This tactic can effectively kill pests. It would be best if you also sealed any noticeable cracks and holes on your walls as these can be an opening for bed bugs to get in your home.
Bed bugs can be a major issue in your house. However, with the right planning, getting rid of them once and for all won’t be much hassle.