Bed bugs can be a huge problem in homes and contrary to their name, they do not only hide in beds. They are small, oval shaped bugs that feed on human and animal blood. They have a short lifespan, but they mate a lot during their lifetime, so infestations can be major. Although more severe reactions can happen, a bed bug bite is not super harmful to humans. Getting rid of bed bugs is a complicated process, so it is important to take the time to use the many prevention tips. But if there are signs of an infestation, call Nashville Pest Control immediately, so a trained professional can handle the issue for you.
Appearance and Life-cycle:
Adult bed bugs are small, flat, and oval shaped. They are brownish in color, but after feeding their bodies will swell up and become a reddish color.
The eggs are like grain with a milky white color. Females lay 1-5 eggs a day and can lay up to 500 in their lifetime. The eggs can be alone or put in groups in cracks and crevices. It takes 2 weeks for them to hatch.
The nymphs are smaller than adults and yellow/white in color. They must go through 5 molting stages before reaching adulthood. To complete each stage, the nymph must feed. In normal conditions, it takes 5 weeks for a nymph to become an adult.
Adult bed bugs only live about 6 months, but they can live a year in cool temperatures without food.
Habitat and Behavior:
Bed bugs initially hide in mattresses, box springs, bed frames and head boards, because it gives them easy access to their food source at night. But they will also hide behind base boards, under wallpaper, and in clutter around the bed. Their flat bodies make it easy to hide.
Bed Bugs are more common in places where people frequently come and go, like hotels, dorms and apartments. They can enter the home by hitchhiking in purses and luggage.
They do not nest, but they do live in groups. Although they cannot fly, they move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings.
They lie in wait during the day and become active at night when you are sleeping.
Level of Danger:
Bed bugs do not transmit diseases, but they do bite. They feed on human blood, and because the bites don’t always hurt at first, they can feed multiple times before you notice. The bites are mostly found on the parts of the body that are exposed while you sleep, like the hands, neck, face, shoulders, legs, and arms. Bites are typically grouped together and can be in a line or zigzag pattern, and are small. They can be flat or raised and might become inflamed, itchy, red, or blistered. It may take a few days for the symptoms to appear.
Everyone reacts differently to a bed bug bite and the amount of times someone has been bitten affects the reaction as well.
Signs of Infestation:
Here are several signs to look for in the home other than being bitten by bed bug. You could find blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases. It is also possible to find dark or rusty spots of their excrement on sheets, mattresses, bed clothes, and the walls. There could also be eggs shells, shed skins, and fecal spots in the areas where bed bugs hide. You might also notice a musty odor from their scent glands.
There are several things you can do to prevent an infestation. Make sure to vacuum around beds frequently. Fix cracks in the wall and any wallpaper issues, so they do not have anywhere to hide. It is also important to keep clutter away from the bed. If there is no clutter, they do not have as many places to hide.
If your home does become infested, there are a few things you can do to help get rid of them, but keep in mind it won’t completely rid your home of bed bugs. It is best to call a professional for chemical treatment. You should clean bed sheets and curtains in hot water setting and the highest dryer setting and put non-washable items in the dryer on high for 30 minutes. You should also encase your mattress and box springs with tightly woven, zippered cover to prevent the bugs from entering or escaping. Because bed bugs can survive up to a year without feeding, the cover should be on the bed at least that long.
Again, these things will help, but they will not completely get rid of the bed bug infestation. If your home is being taken over by bed bugs, call the professionals at Nashville Pest Control.