You hear of bed bugs everywhere now a days. It seems as though they are coming out of the woodwork. Bed bugs like to travel. They are really good at hitchhiking into your home on luggage, furniture, bedding, or clothing. Once bed bugs are in, they like to hide in small cracks and crevices – behind your bed’s headboard, in the seams of your mattress and inside the box spring and along baseboard cracks. Bed bugs can appear in the cleanest of homes, so having bed bugs doesn’t mean much when it comes to housekeeping, although clutter can provide good hiding places and make them difficult to treat.
Bed bugs can bite and cause some red itchy bumps, but they do not transmit diseases. Bed bugs typically feed on blood every five to ten days, but can live for a year or more without eating. They also can withstand a wide range of temperatures from almost freezing to almost 113 °F.
Signs of Bed Bugs
Adult bed bugs are oval, wingless and are a brownish rusty color. They have flat bodies, antennae and small eyes. If you look, you can see them, but they often hide in cracks and crevices. When you clean, change your bedding, or travel, look for signs that bed bugs may be present.
- Dark spots on furniture, including mattresses and box springs. They are bed bug feces and may bleed on fabric.
- Rusty or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses caused by bed bugs being crushed.
- Bed bug eggs and eggshells, they are very small and are white.
- Live bed bugs. It is important to get an expert’s identification to be sure you actually have bed bugs because there are several different pests that look similar.
Treating Bed Bug Infestations
Bed bug infestations are difficult to control, and no one treatment or technique has been found to be effective in all cases. A1 Exterminators bed bug treatment is an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to bed bug control, and combines all available methods of exterminating bed bugs to ensure effective elimination. A1 can customize your bed bug treatment by leveraging any of our techniques– K-9 bed bug inspection, bed bug education and essential knowledge, our powerful bed bug heat treatment, insecticide, fumigation and verification of bed bug elimination.
Hiring a Professional vs. DIY
Do-It-Yourself: If you try to control bed bugs on your own with pesticides, choose products that are intended for that purpose. The EPA has a bed bug product guidelines that can help you choose a product that meets your needs. Before you use a pesticide, read the label. Never use a pesticide indoors that is intended for outdoor use. Using the wrong pesticide or using it incorrectly can make you, your family, and your pets sick. It also can make your home unsafe to live in. Never spray pesticides on top of mattresses, sofas, and other upholstered furniture, or in areas where there are children or pets.
Hiring a Professional: If you’d rather hire an expert get the job done, here are some tips on what a you should be looking for in a professional exterminator to rid your home of bed bugs.
- Make sure that you really have bed bugs and not some other pests.
- Use a professional with experience in bed bug control. Controlling bed bugs is different than controlling other pests.
- Deal with a qualified and licensed pest management company. Call your state pest control regulatory agency for information about the status of pest management companies. In most states, the regulatory agency is the State Department of Agriculture.
- Be wary of choosing a company based on price alone. Quality control is the most important factor.
- Before you sign a contract, get details on the extent of the infestation, the proposed work plan, and the number of visits required and anticipated to solve the problem. A reputable company will inspect your property before quoting you a price or beginning any pesticide application. The company also should give you a written inspection report, and a plan for preparing for treatment and preventing further infestation.
- Find out if the pest control company has liability insurance to cover any damage that occurs to your home or furnishings during treatment.
- If you get a written “guarantee,” look for what it covers, how long it lasts, what you must do to keep it in force, and what is required for continuing control, prevention, and management.
Prevention of Bed Bugs
The best way to keep bed bugs away is to prevent them from entering your home in the first place. Here’s how:
- Inspect any secondhand furniture, beds, and couches for signs of bed bug infestation before you purchase them or bring them into your home.
- Use mattress covers to keep pests out. Enclose mattresses and box springs in covers labeled allergen rated, for dust mites or for bed bugs. Be sure to check frequently for rips or openings and tape any found openings.
- Reduce clutter in your home to reduce hiding places for bed bugs.
- Repair cracks in plaster, fix or remove any loose wallpaper and tighten light switch covers.
- Use caulking to seal crevices and seems in baseboards.
- Use luggage racks to hold your suitcases when packing and unpacking. Do not put your suitcase on the floor in the hotel.
- Check the mattress and headboard for signs of bed bugs before getting into bed.
- Once you are home, unpack directly into a washing machine. Wash all items (even the ones you didn’t wear) and dry on the highest setting for at least 20 minutes. The heat from the dryer kills the bugs.
- Vacuum luggage inside and out then empty the vacuum or seal and dispose of its bag outside of your home.