Bed bugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. They do not have nests like ants or bees but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to people so they can feed throughout the night.
These parasitic insects are small, oval, brownish and live on the blood of animals and or humans. Adult bed bugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color.
Immature ones, called nymphs, shed their skins five times before reaching maturity and require a meal of blood before each shedding. Under favorable conditions, the bugs can develop fully in as little as a month and produce three or more generations per year.
Signs of Bed bugs:
- Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases
- Dark or rusty spots of bed bug excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls
- Bed bug fecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in areas where bed bugs hide
- An offensive, musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands
Over time, however, they may scatter through the bedroom, moving into any crevice or protected location. They may also spread to nearby rooms or apartments.
Because bed bugs live solely on blood, having them in your home is not a sign of dirtiness. You are as likely to find them in immaculate homes and hotel rooms as in filthy ones.
While cleaning up infested areas will be helpful in controlling bed bugs, getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments. Because treating your bed and bedroom with insecticides can be harmful, it is important to use products that can be used safely in bedrooms. Do not treat mattresses and bedding unless the label specifically says you can use them on bedding.
Generally, it is safest and most effective to hire an experienced pest control professional for bed bug extermination.