DO I HAVE BED BUGS?
“Night, night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.” How many of you heard this as a child? My mother used to say this to me when she tucked me in and I never thought much of it. Now I look back and think, “Ewwww, what a weird thing to say to your child.” Especially considering the problems that bed bugs are causing these days. My mother is of the age that she remembers when bed bugs were a problem the first time around. She encountered them as a child and has said that she never thought there would be such a resurgence as we have seen since the late 1990’s. With bed bug infestations on the rise, you may have found yourself asking this question – ‘Do I have bed bugs?’
Chicago has moved to the number one spot for bed bug problems in the USA, so that puts us at even more risk. Let’s take a look at the biology of bed bugs, some facts and then some tips on looking for, and preventing bed bugs.
I will be following this blog with posts regarding how to get rid of bed bugs and also bed bug extermination.
OK – Here we go!
WHAT DO BED BUGS LOOK LIKE?
COLOR – The color of an adult bed bug depends on if they have recently fed or not. Unfed adults are a mahogany to a rusty brown color. Once fed, adults are a red-brown color. Nymphs, or baby bed bugs, are almost colorless when they first hatch and then become more brownish as they mature.
SHAPE – Unfed bed bugs are flat and a broad oval shape. Some compare them to the shape of a shield. Once fed they become swollen and more elongated in shape. (see the picture below)
SIZE – Bed bugs are pretty small. Adults reach the size of about ¼ of an inch long, while nymphs (those babies) range from 1.3 to 4 or 5 millimeters.
FEEDING – These bugs are attracted to the carbon dioxide emitted by the host. This means they mostly feed at night on bare skin while the host is still. However, they will feed during the day and although they prefer human blood they will feed on any warm blooded host if needed.
BED BUG FACTS.
Although bed bugs are not considered a seasonal pest, it seems that incidents of bed bugs increase in the summer. Because people are traveling more at this time of year, for weddings, graduations and vacations, there is a greater chance that you may pick up one (or more) of these guys in your travels. Bed bugs do not differentiate between high-end or low-end places. No one is immune from the possibility of bringing bed bugs back into their home. Bed bugs should not be associated with cleanliness, or a lack there of, because they do not discriminate.
LET’S TALK BED BUG PREVENTION.
There are some easy tips to follow when staying in hotels that can help you prevent bringing bed bugs back home with you.
- Keep your clothing off the floor and out of the hotel drawers.
- Use the luggage stand.
- Everything goes straight into the dryer when you get home. Everything. You don’t have to wash it first. Run your clothing through one dryer cycle using high heat. This should kill all stages of bed bugs and help protect you and your family from any bed bugs trying to sneak back with you.
Hopefully this will help you determine if you have bed bugs and how to keep from getting them. Although they are very difficult to get rid of because they are so hardy, they pose no health threat. Small comfort when you realize how big this problem has become. If you are concerned that you may have a bed bug problem, contact us. We can inspect and identify your issue and offer treatment options.