What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Bed bug infestations are on the rise. On average, infestations have increased by 50% each year for the past ten years.
Bed bugs can be found anywhere – in homes and hotels, but also in offices, movie theaters, restaurants; anywhere where they can find places to hide and people to feed on!
And they’re hard to get rid of. It costs between $1,000 and $2,500 to exterminate these pesky critters.
These are some scary numbers, but scarier still is thinking about bed bugs actually crawling around your mattress at night. Do you think you might have a bed bug infestation? If you’re waking up with painful or itchy bites, it could be bed bugs.
Are you wondering, what are bed bugs? And what do bed bugs look like? If you’re scratching your head (literally) over these questions, read on to learn how to identify these pests.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are tiny parasitic insects that feed off the blood of mammals and birds. Their main sources of food is human beings. When they bite their victim, they often leave behind small welts or rashes.
These creatures are “hitchhikers,” meaning they travel on our clothes or skin and we bring them into our homes. You could pick up a bed bug anywhere, and it can quickly infest your whole house.
Bed bugs are a scourge to homes and businesses around the US. They are found in all 50 states, and infestations can strike luxury condos as well as the lowliest of shacks. Once you have a bed bug infestation, your life will not be the same!
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Bed bugs are extremely small. At their largest adult stage, they are about a quarter of an inch long; that’s the size of an apple seed.
Bed bugs go through seven stages of a life cycle from egg, to nymph stages, to an adult. The adult bed bug can live for more than a year.
The nymph starts out as a tiny translucent bug, and as it grows it molts its skin. The adult bed bug has six legs and two antennae. Its body is flat and oval-shaped, with the female body slightly rounder than the male.
Bed bugs do not have wings and can’t fly or jump. They can, however, crawl up to 30 feet in a night. Bed bugs will hide in small, dark crevices and creep out to feed at night.
Bed bug eggs are light yellowish in color, and as the nymph hatches and moults, its color darkens to brown. An adult bed bug is rusty red or brownish in color.
It’s important to note that there are many other bugs that may look like bed bugs, but are not. Some commonly mistaken bugs are booklice, cockroach nymphs, carpet beetles and spider beetles.
Signs You Have a Bed Bug Infestation
Many people complain first of bites, but seeing the bugs and correctly identifying them is the main indicator of an infestation. Just having bites when you wake up in the morning is not conclusive evidence.
The most glaring sign of an infestation is live bed bugs, but make sure you are identifying them correctly!
There are other signs you can look for to identify a bed bug infestation. These include:
- Red or rust-colored stains on sheets from where bed bugs get crushed
- Dark spots of bed bug poop
- Yellowish bed bug eggshells, about 1mm in diameter
Bed bugs are nocturnal, so if you’re trying to ascertain if you have an infestation, look for them during night hours. If you have seen any of these signs, the first step is to do a close inspection for bed bugs. Next, call a professional exterminator.
Ways to Prevent a Bed Bug Infestation
So, how can you avoid an infestation before it starts?
The main way is to be vigilant. If you catch bed bugs early, you may be able to prevent a full-blown infestation.
Many people refrain from buying second hand clothes or furniture, but if you do decide to buy second hand, check everything closely for bed bugs or the other signs of them.
Whether you buy a new or second hand mattress, cover it with a protective case that will eliminate some of the bugs’ hiding spots. A light-colored case can also help you spot the dark bugs or their spots.
Another helpful practice is to vacuum your home often. The vacuum can suck up bugs as well as their eggs and can assist in stopping a full-blown infestation.
How to Get Rid of Bed bugs
If you catch the bugs early, you may be able to rid your home of them yourself. Treating or getting rid of your mattress, vacuuming and steam cleaning the affected area, and encasing your mattress might help.
Usually, though, professional help is needed. And these bugs are hard for even the experts to eradicate.
There are chemical treatments approved for bed bug extermination, but these treatments are not always effective and may take many repetitions. The best way to rid your home of bed bugs is a heat treatment.
Bed bugs are very susceptible to heat. One of the most effective proven methods for killing them is to have an exterminator do a heat treatment of your home. The exterminator will raise the temperature of your home to 117 degrees for a period of hours, effectively killing the bugs and their eggs.
We’re Here to Help
Bedbugs are small but fierce, and they are difficult to get rid of once they make their way into your home. We hope this guide on just what do bed bugs look like and how to prevent an infestation helps.
Don’t let this pest drive you crazy! Contact us today to start the process of ridding yourself of bedbugs once and for all.
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