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Bed bugs can be a major nuisance in your home and they require a time-consuming process to deal with. These pests can come from anywhere, hide for months, and linger on if not dealt with properly. They’re as common in the Mid-Atlantic states and the Northeast as anywhere, so it’s a good idea to check for signs in your home to avoid the work of removing them. Bed bugs are also a bit of a mystery to some people, so we’ve compiled some facts to help you understand them better.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped insects that tend to live and feed around where people sleep. Their only food source is the blood of animals, and they prefer humans. You can find these pesky insects in every corner of the world, from the United States and Canada to Asia and Europe. They tend to live near where people sleep, but they aren’t picky about who those people are or how fancy their digs are. They can live in five-star hotels, dorm rooms, cruise ships, or any other place there might be sleeping humans, and the cleanliness of a place doesn’t mean much to them.
How Do I Prevent Bed Bugs?
The best way to prevent a bed bug infestation is to wash things like clothes, sheets, and even luggage very well and often. These pests can’t survive a hot water wash with high-heat drying. It’s also important to eliminate as much clutter as possible in your home, especially in bedrooms. Clean often, and make sure to inspect any new furniture before you bring it home. You can also use light-colored mattress covers to eliminate some of their hiding places and make them easier to spot. If you think you may have an infestation, you may want to hire a K9 bed bug detector to be sure.
How Do I Identify Bed Bugs?
If you can find them, you can tell what bed bugs are by their flat, oval shape and brown or reddish color. Adults are about the size of apple seeds and appear brown when they’re hungry and then turn red and swollen after feeding. Baby bed bugs, or nymphs, are only about the size of a grain of sand, and when they’re hungry, they’re a lighter tan color. They tend to hide in small places, like the folds of a mattress or crevices in bedroom furniture— usually within feet of where people sleep. If you find small spots of blood on your sheets, coupled with red and swollen bites on your body, you may have just discovered bed bugs.
How Did I Get Bed Bugs?
Because bed bugs exist pretty much everywhere in the world, you can bring them home from almost anywhere, just the same. If you’ve been traveling and stayed in a hotel that had them, you might carry them home in your luggage or your clothes without realizing it. You could also pick up these pests from the gym, an airport, or pretty much any public place. They can also travel between rooms in multi-unit facilities like hotels or apartment complexes.
What Are the Effects of Bed Bugs in and Around My Home?
The good news is that bed bugs don’t cause damage to homes, and they’re not known to carry disease. What they do is “bite.” This bite is actually the bug piercing the skin with an elongated beak to draw blood until its engorged. You’ll rarely feel these bites, but they can become swollen and red due to an allergic reaction to the pest’s saliva. In rare, extreme cases, a bigger allergic reaction is possible, which would require medical attention.
How Long Do Bed Bugs Live?
Bed bugs live anywhere from 6 to 12 months in ideal conditions, although that number is usually lower in the real world. They can survive up to 5 months without feeding, which means they can be around for quite some time before you notice them. Bed bugs reproduce relatively slowly for insects. Females lay an egg a day and it takes 10 days for a nymph to hatch, and then 35 to 40 days to grow to adulthood. Still, they can get out of hand quickly if not dealt with properly.
Protecting Your Home From Bed Bugs With Viking Pest
Viking Pest has entomologists on staff who train the company’s pest management professionals, and they’re happy to come to your home for a free inspection. They’ll discuss treatment options customized for your situation and make sure that the plan is both effective and safe for your family and home. Viking Pest also offers a peace-of-mind program, where the pest professionals inspect your home quarterly to ensure no new bed bugs have made themselves comfortable. Inspecting often like this ensures they can spot and correct an infestation early, long before it becomes a problem.