“Why am I covered in bite marks? What are all of these red dots in my bed?”
If you’re asking yourself any of these questions — your home has an infestation of bed bugs.
The more you know about these pests, the better shot you have at preventing an infestation, or managing an existing one.
A Breakdown of Bed Bugs
- Size: ¼ – ⅜ inch long
- Color: Brown; Reddish-Brown (when filled with blood)
- Distinguishing Characteristics: Flat, oval-shaped; younger bed bugs are lighter in color and smaller in size
- Whereabouts: Homes, apartments, hotels, and hospitals; throughout the U.S.
A Brief History of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs have been around since the ancient times, with Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans writing their name into the history books. However, they were nearly wiped off the face of the planet after DDT was introduced.
Unfortunately, this insecticide was eventually banned and a few decades later bed bugs made their reemergence! With the lack of awareness about this pest’s reintroduction and an increase in traveling, bedbug infestations are now more common than ever!
Where Are Bed Bugs Found?
Bed bugs can exist anywhere, as long as there are living creatures to feed off in the near vicinity.
In order, the most popular places where bed bugs are found are:
- Single-family homes
- Hotels & Motels
- College Dormitories
- Nursing Homes
- Office Buildings
- Public transportation
What Do Bed Bugs Infest?
The most common places to find bed bugs are inside and around:
- Bed Frames / Box Springs
- Couches and Recliners
- Curtains / Drapes
- Electrical Outlets (due to their warmth)
Bed bugs are nocturnal so they will usually only search for their next meal at night or when the room is not illuminated. Therefore, you may need a flashlight to discover these pests roaming through your home.
They feed every few days but can last up to a year without feeding, so don’t assume the infestation will go away on their own. Coming into contact with bed bugs can leave you with multiple itchy bites and rashes.
What Exactly Causes Bed Bug Infestations?
In recent years, bed bugs have been making a comeback. The old ways of extermination have been banned by the government and their population is beginning to rise.
In order to prevent them from entering your home, you should know what causes bed bugs to enter your home.
Cleanliness Does Not Matter
One of the biggest myths surrounding bed bugs is that they are attracted to filth. While this is true for some bugs, it is not true for this species.
Bed bugs feed on the blood of humans and animals, so as long as there is a steady supply, they’ll stay close by. Even if you live in a brand new home and have a professional cleaner, there’s always a chance for bed bugs to make their way to you.
The Study: Clean Clothes vs Dirty Clothes
A study was completed where a group of people were told to wear white socks and white t-shirts for three hours. Once the timer was finished, these people de-robed and placed their shirts and socks into a single tote bag.
Next to that tote bag, was another one filled with the same amount of white socks and white t-shirts, except these, were unworn. Bed bugs were then released into the room and left to wander for the next four days.
There were two times the amount of bed bugs on the worn clothes, compared to the unworn clothes.
What does this mean?
Bed bugs are attracted to the scent given off by humans and recognize this as an invitation for a fresh meal of their blood. This means you should be practicing proper hygiene by keeping your body clean each and every day.
Clutter, Not Dirt, Increases Chances of an Infestation
As far as the cleanliness of your home — bed bugs are no more attracted to dirty homes than they are clean ones. Other than their attraction to our human scent, bed bugs do not discriminate when it comes to infesting homes, apartments, businesses, hotels, etc.
Bed bugs stick around your home because they know where to find a meal (AKA you and your family) and find the clutter and tight spaces in your home as the perfect shelter to hide while they digest.
How Do Bed Bugs Get Into Your Home?
So now you’re sitting in your bed bug filled home and you’re wondering how they got there in the first place. It’s extremely easy to become infested by bed bugs, and here are a few different scenarios:
- If a visitor enters your home carrying a bed bug on their person or possessions, it can detach from them and find a new home within your house.
- When you stay in a hotel, condo, or unfamiliar home that currently has a bed bug infestation, the bed bugs can hide inside of your luggage. These pests can stay hidden in your personal belongings and luggage until you unpack them when you’re finally home.
- For those who live in an apartment building, bed bugs can sneak into your laundry via a shared laundry room if there is an infested apartment or if you spent time in a shared common space that happened to be infested.
- Used furniture or mattresses can house bed bug infestations, so be sure to inspect secondhand items before you buy and take them home.
Pest Management of Bed Bugs
To prevent bed bugs from infesting your home, always inspect your clothing and suitcases after vacationing or sleeping elsewhere. You should also inspect any furniture before purchase and should wrap your mattress in a protective bed bug cover.
When a bed bug infestation already exists, leave everything as is in your home. You do not want to remove items from your home that are infested because you may end up spreading the infestation to others. Immediately contact your local pest control company to begin having this infestation managed professionally.
To learn more or to schedule an inspection, give us a call at (800) 244-7378.