Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, crawling pests that flourish in the shadowy areas in your home, where small cracks and holes are plentiful. They can be found anywhere, whether you live in New York, New Jersey or South Florida (in places such as Broward and Dade County).
Bed bugs feed on blood, most often human blood, and they like beds because they are inhabited by what are, to them, big buffets that spend eight hours not moving.
A Pest Control company released a list Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2010 of the 15 most bed bug infested cities, and New York, Philadelphia and Detroit have scratched their way to the top. The report was based on an analysis of call volume to the Memphis, Tenn.-based company's 350 service centers. Insect scientists say bed bugs are appearing on a scale not seen since before World War II.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Where Do Bed Bugs Hide?
Mattress, box spring, bedding, bed frame, headboard, baseboard, night stand, electrical outlet cover, phone jacks, picture frames, peeling wallpaper, couch, recliner, any small crack or crevice and near where people sleep or rest.
Believe it or not, it may take up to eighteen months for the bed bugs to die inside your mattress.
How Bed Bugs Spread
- They hitch a ride on clothes, bags, furniture, and other belongings.
- They can get into walls and move between rooms.
- They walk across floors, walls and ceilings.
- Bed bugs DO NOT jump, fly or attach to skin.
How Do Bed Bugs Get Into My Home?
Bed bugs are often carried into a home on objects such as furniture and clothing. If you think you have a bed bug problem, check for live bed bugs or shells in the following areas:
- Seams, creases, tufts and folds of mattresses and box springs
- Cracks in the bed frame and head board
- Under chairs, couches, beds, dust covers
- Between the cushions of couches and chairs
- Under area rugs and the edges of carpets
- Between the folds of curtains
- In drawers
- Behind baseboards, and around window and door casings
- Behind electrical plates and under loose wallpaper, paintings and posters
- In cracks in plaster
- In telephones, radios, and clocks
Bed bugs can also travel from apartment to apartment along pipes, electrical wiring and other openings. If the infestation is heavy, a sweet smell may be noticed in the room.
Human-affecting bed bug species are primarily spread from one place to another by eggs attached to the clothing and baggage of travelers and visitors, second-hand beds or parts thereof, used personal and bed clothing, used furniture, and a variety of other items where the bugs hide in infested houses. Such items should, therefore, be examined for evidence of bugs before they are taken into another house. Another preventative measure is to discourage bats, birds and other animals from roosting or nesting in, on or near human dwellings. Otherwise, good housekeeping, regular cleaning and well-finsihed structure do much to keep homes free of bed bugs.
VIDEO: Do I have Bed Bugs
Additional Bed Bug Information
Bed bugs have largely been thought of as being a problem of the past. The truth, however, is that bed bugs are making a strong comeback. Bed Bugs can be found in your suitcases, and in fine hotels and homes.
One of the major reasons for such a strong reappearance is because of international travel. Bed bugs get into clothes and luggage and then are brought home. You could have picked them up from your hotel room, or even from your suitcase on the plane!
A bed bug does not actually live under your skin, but will simply drink a few drops of blood while you are sleeping. You cannot feel its bite, even though it is actually piercing the skin. Although some saliva will get into the bite, bed bugs are not known to pass on any diseases to humans.
The different species of bed bugs have different feeding preferences. Some prefer human blood while others prefer bats and birds. Bed Bugs primarily reside in their target’s nests or nesting areas.
While many bed bugs hide in mattresses, some may also hide in a sofa or chair, or behind wall paper or pictures. Thoroughness is the only real way to get rid of Bed Bugs. Every corner and crevice needs to be searched. As you might guess, this means that simply getting rid of an infected mattress will not totally solve the problem.
Bed Bug bites often cause redness and some swelling. Antihistamines and corticosteroids may be given to help relieve the itching. Approximately 50% of Bed Bug victims do not show any evidence of bites.
These little blood suckers are about 3/8" long and are visible to the naked eye. Amazingly, though, they are able to go a long time without any food if necessary; sometimes, as long as a year. When they are gorged with blood, the females will lay eggs- two hundred at a time.
Since their reappearance, researchers have found that the new Bed Bugs are much more resistant to chemicals that have previously been in use. Insecticides that are often used for roaches and similar insects do not work on Bed Bugs- which is another reason they are at large again.
If you think you might have an infestation of Bed Bugs, call now and let us help you quickly get rid of the problem. We know how to identify, reduce, and eliminate your Bed Bug infestation.
Bed Bug Description & Biology
VIDEO: Bed Bugs (National Geographic)
Adult bed bugs are brown, flat and about a 1/4 inch long, with a soft, rounded look. After a blood meal they are dark red, rounded (distended), and about 3/8 inch long.
These pests usually come out at night or in darkened areas. The pest’s small white eggs hatch into almost transparent nymphs that start feeding at the first opportunity and molt five times before becoming adults. Usually, all stages of development are present in an infestation. A temperature of 70°F is ideal for bed bugs; only adults are present at 50°F or lower. Bed bugs have been known to live as long as 18 months. At least three generations per year are possible.
They usually feed at night, but very hungry bed bugs are less likely to wait for darkness. Bed bugs inject a fluid into their host to help them get their blood meal. This fluid makes some people sensitive to bites, causing irritation, itching and inflammation. Other people can live with bed bugs and not be aware of their presence. In spite of their feeding habits, bed bugs are not known to carry diseases.
Bed bugs do not generally travel too far from their host. But when hiding places and hosts are few, they may be found almost anywhere-- in the seams of mattresses, in bed springs, in cracks of floorboards, behind peeled wallpaper, in picture frames, in couches, stuffed chairs, clothing and even the seams of curtains; wherever a dark crack or crevice might be. Excrement spots are often found where they rest. Cast skins will also be found, especially where infestations are heavy.
There seems to be no consistent way to determine the difference between bed bugs and flea bites. Pets, birds, rats or mice may help support bed bug populations. These pests are also common in poultry houses and occasionally infest areas where animals are kept. Bed bugs closely resemble bat and swallow bugs which exhibit similar behavior.
Bed Bug ManagementControl of bed bugs can be difficult, especially in homes that have many cracks and crevices, loose wallpaper, etc. Examine used bedding and beds before use. Usually three actions need to be considered for quick relief and control.
Common bed bugs become established in structures when they hitch a ride in boxes, baggage, furniture, bedding, laundry, and in and on clothing worn by people coming from infested sites. Poultry workers can carry bed bugs to their residences from their places of work. Bat bugs, poultry bugs, swallow bugs and others are typically transported to new roosts by the principal host. An accurate identification of the bed bug species involved is essential to an effective control strategy. Many control failures can be traced to an incorrect identification.
The common bed bug hides in cracks, crevices and seams during the day. They prefer narrow crevices, with a rough surface, where their legs and backs touch the opposing surfaces. Wood and paper surfaces are preferred to either stone, metal or plaster, although in the absence of preferred sites or during high population numbers the later will also be utilized. The aforementioned cracks and crevices should be filled with appropriate fillers such as caulking.
Bugs will sometimes hide in the crevices of upholstered furniture and mattresses created by folds, buttons and cording. Thoroughly vacuum all upholstery (undersides also), mattresses and pillows. Launder bedding and dry in a warm air dryer.Click here to view the Bed Bug Preparations Checklist