Bed bugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of humans and are usually found in close proximity to beds. Bed bugs need blood to survive, so any warm blooded animal can become prey. It takes about 35 days for a bed bug to mature. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. They can live for around 7 to 12 months which can make removal difficult without the help of a professional pest control technician.
Bed bugs are often written about and sometimes mistakenly referred to as a bedbug instead of the appropriate spelling “bed bug” using two words. Bed bugs belong to the insect order Hemiptera. And when an insect name is used to accurately identify the order to which it belongs, the common accepted practice is to use two words – “house fly” would be a good example of this.
Bed Bug Bites
It takes about 10 minutes for a bedbug to feed on a human or animal. The bite is painless, and often goes undetected. They tend to feed most often on humans who are asleep. After feeding, the bodies of bed bugs swell and become a reddish color and the bed bug will retreat for days to weeks before reappearing. They can often go undetected for weeks or more until the infestation is well established.
Reactions to bed bug bites are very similar to bites caused by mosquitoes or fleas and it can often make it difficult to know whether the bite was caused by either of those three insects. Typical signs and symptoms of a bed bug bite include:
- Straight lines of multiple bites
- Raised, red welts
- Burning and itching
- Rash across a localized area
How do bed bugs move?
Bedbugs do not fly, but they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. They are most commonly transported by people or their belongings and often hitch a ride on or in suitcases when people travel. Because of increased travel options and conveniences, bed bugs have been surging in recent years.
Any place a human sits, rests or sleeps can become a place that bed bugs are introduced or fed. People can become targets by sitting in a movie theater, or riding a taxi across town.
How to protect yourself against bed bugs when you travel
Using people and their belongings as carriers is an ability bed bugs have that allows them to travel and relocate so quickly and easily to other places.
There are certain steps we recommend people follow to try and minimize the chances of picking up bed bugs if they are going to travel, which include:
- Before visiting or booking with a hotel or accommodations, read the reviews and make sure there aren’t any recent reports of bed bugs.
- After arrival and check in, be sure to thoroughly check the entire bed, including the mattress, headboard, bed frame, night stand, any art on the walls and more for signs of bed bugs.
- If a luggage rack or shelf is available, luggage should be stored there or up off the ground and floor.
- We also recommend not storing clothes in dressers, or hanging any garments and clothing that can be hung instead.
How do bed bugs find a host?
Bed bugs can sense biological signatures of animals and humans and will often find their host from body heat, the exhaled breath containing carbon dioxide, and other means.
How to spot a bed bug problem:
While bed bugs can be good at hiding, they leave behind evidence and clues to look for which include:
- Exoskeletons or shells of bed bugs that shed their skin
- Stains from bed bug fecal matter on bedding or mattresses
- Blood stains on sleepwear or bed sheets
Bed bugs are a serious problem and are difficult to eliminate without the help of a trained pest control professional. Aaliant Pest Management offers 24 hour, emergency bed bug removal solutions that will completely eradicate even the worst bed bug infestations.