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FAQ’s About Bed Bugs, Bed Bugs Treatment, & Bed Bugs Prevention

What does a bed bug look like?

Bed bugs are insects, meaning they have 6 legs.  Their body is oval shaped and flat.  Bed bugs have no wings and cannot fly.  Check out our second faq to learn more about bed bugs size.  Also, to learn more about what a bed bug looks like, please visit:

https://www.rd.com/advice/bed-bugs/what-do-bed-bugs-look-like/

How big are bed bugs?

Fully grown adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed, around 1/4 inch.  Bed bug nymphs are much smaller and can be very difficult to see.  Google “bed bug pictures” to see enlarged images of adult and nymph bed bugs.

  What color are bed bugs?

Adult bed bugs are brown to brownish red in color.  The brownish red color is usually seen after the bed bug has fed on humans.  Nymphs may appear almost colorless to a pale yellow color.

What do bed bugs eat?

Just like fleas and ticks, bed bugs need blood to survive.  Unlike fleas and ticks, bed bugs almost exclusively prefer humans.  Bed bugs need you!

What do bed bugs bites look like?

Interestingly, some humans never react to bed bug bites, while others experience significant irritation and swelling at the site of the bite.  Red, itchy bumps sometimes in a straight line or zigzag pattern can be an indication of bed bug bites.  The location of these bites can vary, but the most common areas are your arms, shoulders, and back.

Do bed bugs bite and live on pets too?

While pest professionals have encountered instances of bed bugs on pets, it is not known if they can live all of their lives on pets.  Bed bugs prefer humans as the host for their blood meal.

Do bed bugs spread diseases?

Bed bugs are not known to be spread diseases to humans, with one exception.  Recent data shows that bed bugs may be able to transmit the parasite responsible for Chagas disease.  Chagas disease is normally transmitted by the kissing or assasin bug.  The disease is much more common in Latin America and only rarely seen in the U.S.

What causes you to get bed bugs?

Bed bugs are found all over the world.  A common myth is that bed bugs are caused by poor sanitation.  Bed bugs can just as likely be found in a 5-star hotel as they can in a delapidated home.  Common ways to get bed bugs include:

-Frequent traveling

-Guests or kids friends in your home

-Used furniture

-A recent hotel stay

-School

If they are called bed bugs, does this mean they just live in beds?

We associate bed bugs with beds, mainly because they feed on humans at night.  Bed bugs do not just live in beds, though.  They can be found:

-Underneath carpet

-In cracks and crevices

-Behind baseboards and ceiling trim

-In electrical outlets

-Picture frames, 

-Sofas

-Bed frames, not just mattresses

   

How do bed bugs spread from house to house?

Bed bugs like to travel in search of their next meal(us!).  Here are a few ways:

-In book bags from school

-On house guests

-Kid’s school friends

-Furniture

-Bedding and clothing

Do bed bugs only live in the bedroom?

Absolutely not.  Bedbugs are happy anywhere they can hide and be close to their human food source.  Cushions on sofas and chairs in living areas are a favorite spot.  Tempted to sleep in a different room because of bed bugs in your bedroom?  Don’t do it!  This can help spread bed bugs througout your home.

What are bed bugs signs?

-In severe bed bug infestations, there is a strong unpleasant musty odor

-Bites on skin

-Fecal spots(blood) on mattresses, baseboards, ceilings

-Bed bug skins or exoskeletons

Where do you find bed bugs?

Bed bugs are everywhere, worldwide!  They can be found in:

-Homes and apartments

-Theaters

-Public transportation

-Colleges

-Schools

-Offices

-Hotels

-Hospitals

-Mobile home parks

-Retail stores

Can I get sick from bed bugs?

Contracting an illness or disease from bed bugs is extremely unlikely.  The most common symptom of bed bugs bites is red, itchy bites.  The one exception, previously discussed in this article, is Chagas disease.

What bed bugs signs do I look for when traveling?

-Look for fecal blood spots on the ceiling, baseboards, mattress, and bedframe

-Remove the sheet and mattress cover to inspect the seams and corners of the mattress

-Inspect chairs and sofas in the hotel room

Can bed bugs travel on you?

Bed bugs can’t fly but they can rely on you to get around!  Bed bugs can travel on you in many ways including on your clothing, luggage, purse, and backpacks.

Do bed bug bombs work?

Bombs, or aerosol insecticides, are not considered to be an effective bed bugs treatment.  Bombs rely on insecticides contacting the bed bugs to work.  Bed bugs are rarely seen out in the open; and therefore, are very difficult to kill.  While you are bombing your home, bed bugs are safely hiding in your mattress seams, behind baseboards, in cracks and crevices, under carpet, and in sofa cushions.

How do you check for bed bugs?

-First, get a good flashlight.  Bed bugs like to hide in areas that make it difficult to find them.

-Bed bugs are attracted to warmth, so check mattresses, mattress seams, mattress zippers,

  bedsheets, and mattress folds.

-Turn chairs and sofas upside down and thorougly inspect all seams and corners

-Inspect cushions on sofas, chairs, and on the bed

-Check baseboards and ceiling trim

-Inspect carpet edges and if possible under the carpet

Why are bed bugs so hard to get rid of?

Bed bugs are elusive and hide in spots that are difficult to access.  Also, bed bugs size makes them very difficult to see. They can live several months off of a single blood meal without feeding again.  Bed bugs are tough and can tolerate wide ranges of temps from 32 degrees all the way up to 122 degrees!  This is what makes bed bugs treatment so difficult.

What attracts bed bugs?

Bed bugs are attracted to warmth and CO2.  As you sleep and exhale CO2, bed bugs are waiting close by ready for a meal.  What do bed bugs eats?  Your blood!

Can I get rid of bed bugs myself?

Bed bugs are extremely difficult to eradicate, especially for a person not trained in the use of bed bug specific insecticides.  The best option to completely eliminate your bed bug infestation is to contact a pest professional who specializes in bed bug extermination.  Even with the services of a pest professional, it may take several treatments to get rid of bed bugs for good!

How do you spray for bed bugs?

First, do not use bed bug bombs.  Bombs are only effective for bed bugs they contact, not bed bugs hiding in safe spots all over your home.  As discussed earlier, bed bug bombs are not considered an effective bed bugs treatment.  If you choose to use an insecticide, the best option may be either liquids or dusts.  When using liquid insecticides, focus on areas such as:

-Under and around the bed

-Baseboards and edges of carpet

-Bedframes

-Ceiling molding

-Drawers inside of furniture

-Mattresses 

Can I kill bed bugs without spraying for them?

Sanitation efforts, such as these listed below, may be helpful in managing an outbreak of bed bugs:

-Cleaning and scrubbing, including baseboards, bed headboards, and bed frames

-Vacuuming-May help remove bed bug eggs and live bed bugs 

-Steam-Commercial steamers at 160-180 degress Fahrenheit can kill bed bugs

-Diatomaceous earth or silica gel

-Freezing-4 days of temperatures at or below freezing can kill bed bugs

-Purchase a mattress encasement for prevention of future bed bug infestations

-Washing/Drying(High Heat) Mattress covers, sheets, pillow cases and clothing

-Rubbing alcohol can kill bed bugs on contact

Are heat treatments the best way to treat bed bugs?

Depending on which pest professional you choose, there are a variety of treatment methods proven effective in the management and elimination of bed bug infestations.  Heat treatments are costly but effective.  This involves raising the interior air temperature of the whole hoe to around 140 degrees fahrenheit.  Heat treatments usually take between 6-8 hours to complete.  Heat treatments are frequently used in combination with chemical treatments for the best outcome in eliminating bed bugs.

What is the difference between heat and liquid/dust insecticide treatments?

Each bed bug infestation is different and may respond better to heat or liquid, or even a combination of the two treatments.  Comparing heat to liquid insecticide:

-For customers averse to chemicals or who are looking for a more eco-friendly treatment, heat may be the way to go

-Liquid insecticide treatment can be significantly more cost effective than heat

-Follow up treatments may be necessary with either heat or liquid, but more frequently with liquid

-Liquid or traditional treatments also involve the use of insecticide dusts that have a longer duration of action

What bed bug prevention tips are recommended when traveling?

While you may not see live bed bugs, signs of bed bugs in a hotel room could mean trouble.

-Carefuly inspect the room and mattress for bed bug signs such as fecal blood spots, bed bug egg, and bed bug castings(shed skins). 

-Do not put luggage on the floor or bed.  Use the luggage rack to keep suitcases off of the floor and away from bed bugs

-Do not lay clothes on the bed. Hang all clothing not in a suitcase in the closet

-Upon arrival home, wash all clothing(even if not worn) and vacuum suitcases thoroughly

How do I prepare for a bed bug treatment with my pest professional?

Pest companies that specialize in bed bugs treatment will usually provide customers with a list of mandatory pre-treatment actions.  These can include:

-A list of items to be laundered at the highest temperatures possible in both the washer and dryer

-A list of items that need to be disassembled, such as furniture and bedframes

-Removal of electric switch and outlet covers

-Vacuuming prior to treatment

-Purchase of bed bug proof mattress encasements

-Removal of clutter on the floor

-Removal of clothing and linens from closets

I recently purchased used furniture.  Should I be worried about bed bugs?

Absolutely!  One of the most common ways bed bugs make their way into your home is by bringing used or discarded furniture home with you.  The best way to prevent this is by only purchasing new furniture.  If you recently purchased second-hand furniture and you are concerned about bed bugs, visit the following link for more information on preventing a bed bug infestation:

https://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/household-hints-tips/insect-control/5-tips-for-avoiding-bed-bugs-with-second-hand-furniture.htm

I found bed bugs in my bedroom.  Should I sleep in another bedroom or on the couch?

No.  The quickest way to make a bed bug infestation worse is to frequently switch rooms and/or sleeping locations.  Bed bugs can travel and you may unknowlingly spread bed bugs throughout the entire home.  

Interested in learning more about bed bugs?  Visit our bed bug page and recent bed bug posts:

https://synergy2ms.com/the-fastest-bed-bug-extermination-services-in-jackson-ms/

https://synergy2ms.com/where-do-bed-bugs-come-from-and-how-do-you-check-for-them/

https://synergy2ms.com/bed-bug-bites-pictures-everything-you-need-to-know-about-these-bites/

 

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