Bed bugs

What do bed bugs look like?

  • Bed bug adults are small 3/16 inch and are oval, flat and rust-colored.
  • First instar nymphs (newly hatched and unfed) are smaller and lighter in color—almost translucent.
  • Bed bugs become darker, and larger when they are engorged and full of blood.
  • They do not have wings and cannot fly.

What are the habits of bed bugs?

  • They are nocturnal and typically feed between 1-4a.
  • Bed bugs operate on “their watch” and have different feeding habits from one bug to another (some may feed every few days, while others may feed months apart).
  • They have a piercing mouthpart (like a mosquito) and their saliva contains a potent anesthetic (unlike mosquitoes, humans do not feel their bites). 
  • They are good hitchhikers and may be introduced to one’s person, their clothing, luggage, furniture, moving vans or beds.
  • Bed bugs are attracted to body heat and carbon dioxide (so low-level infestations are often identified around the headboard areas of bed or underside of mattresses).
  • They grow from egg-adult in 21 days and females lay 4-7 eggs per day (up to 200-500 in their lifetime). 
  • Adults can live for almost 1 year.

What are the dangers of bed bugs?  

  • While bedbugs may feed on humans during vulnerable times of sleep and while they are known carriers of pathogens, they are not known to transmit disease.  
  • So, when put into perspective, globally over 800,000 people die of mosquito-induced malaria every year whereas bed bugs do not kill humans.  
  • Secondary infections can occur at bed bug bite sites as a function of scratching and the subsequent introduction of bacteria. 

What damage is caused by bed bugs?

  • Bed bugs feed on human blood—typically when their host is asleep.
  • While up to 30% of people will not express a physical reaction from a bed bug bite, 70% of people will have a reaction that mimics mosquito bites (some more severe).
  • Because bed bugs feed on human blood, they excrete metabolized blood creating “ink blot stains” on surfaces such as walls, bed sheets, furniture, mattresses damaging the aesthetic integrity of these items.

What should I look for?  

  • Look for tiny excrement or dark blood spots on bedding and mattresses or near cracks and crevices.
  • Bed bugs are hidden in cracks and crevices during the day, such as the seams of mattresses, box springs, bed slats, cracks on bed frames, hollow bed legs, closets, couches, and wood and paper surfaces.
  • Bed bug infestations aren’t necessarily associated with sanitation or cleanliness.

How do you control and kill bed bugs?

  • Bed bug infestations are very difficult to control and almost always require professional services—at Innotech Pest Management, Inc., we are always happy to provide free advice to those whom wish to “self-treat.”  However, termites, bedbugs and stinging insects are exceptions where professional exterminators are essential for control.
  • Launder sheets, pillowcases, blankets, and clothing in a hot drier for at least 20 minutes to kill all stages of bed bugs.
  • Keep mattresses in zippered encasements such as a “Protecta-bed” cover to reduce hiding spots and make detection easier.
  • A vacuum or steamer can be used to remove some of the bugs.
  • Keep all clothes and personal items in sealed bags or plastic containers.
  • Reducing clutter minimizes bed bug hiding places and makes detection of existing populations easier.
  • Professional pest control services can treat bed bugs with specialized heat equipment and/or pesticides that are approved for indoor use.
  • Bed bug traps and interception devices are capable of detecting bed bugs—but vary in their effectiveness.
  • “Climb-ups” can be placed at the feet of the bed to assist in monitoring the travel of bed bugs to-from the bedded area.
  • Dogs with special training in bed bug detection often can detect sources of a bed bug infestation.
  • Heat treatments while effective, have no residual ability, are costly and silica dust preparations have demonstrated excellent efficacy, residual ability and long-term control. 

If you believe that, “I have a bed bug infestation,” call the entomologist-led team of Innotech Pest Management to book an appointment for a certified professional to eliminate your bed bug infestation.