The Facts on Bed Bugs
The old-time expression “don’t let the bed bugs bite” has taken on a new meaning recently as these unwanted guests can hitchhike their way into your home from hotel rooms, rented houses & condos, families’ houses, and college dorms.
What Are Bed Bugs And What Do They Look Like?
Bed bugs, a classic travel pest, are small parasitic insects that feed on human blood. Bed bugs are tiny, oval, brown and wingless insects approximately 1/4” to 3/8” long (5-9 mm). Bed Bugs get their name from their habit of hiding near beds, which allows them to feed on human hosts while they sleep. Bed bugs were mostly eradicated in the developed world for many years. Their resurgence in the 1990s, including increased international travel and a lack of public awareness about prevention. Today, one out of five Americans has had an infestation or knows someone who has encountered bed bugs.
Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers. They will hide in luggage, purses, laptop cases and other personal belongings in an effort to find a human food supply. They are elusive creatures. They can hide in bedding and mattresses. Bed bugs can also hide behind baseboards, in electrical switch plates and picture frames, behind wallpaper and nearly anywhere inside a home, car, bus, hotel, college dorm, etc.
Bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases, but their bites can become red, itchy welts. People with infestations may experience sleeplessness, anxiety and social isolation.
Did You Know? Bed bugs…
- lay 1-5 eggs in a day and up to 500 eggs in a lifetime.
- live for several months without eating.
- withstand temperatures from nearly freezing to 122 degrees Fahrenheit
- ingest seven times their weight in blood, equivalent to an average male drinking 120 gallons of liquid.
What Can I Do To Protect Myself?
When checking into a hotel room, apartment or house, you can perform a simple bed bug inspection of the space.
- Pull pillows and sheets down about 1/3 of the way from the top of the bed and look for reddish-brown or black spots on the sheets near the bed’s headboard. You may not see the actual bugs themselves but they do leave a trail of spots.
- Look for spots on mattresses, pillows, headboards and walls behind headboards.
- Check the inside of dresser drawers for insects and black spots.
- Contact a pest control company immediately if you’ve found any signs of bed bugs during your inspection.
If I Suspect Bed Bugs In A Room, What Should I Do?
- Isolate the items that have been infested from other items in your living space.
- Put clothing and other heat tolerant items in a clothes dryer for a minimum of 40 minutes – the heat will eliminate bed bugs.
- After thoroughly heating the items, wash as normal.
- Contact Massey Services for a free bed bug inspection of your home.