- Bed bugs can live up to a year without a blood meal.
- A female bed bug can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime.
- A bed bug’s saliva contains an anesthetic to numb the pain from it’s bite.
The origin of bedbugs in your home can be from bats or birds. More commonly they hitch-hike from places you or a visitor have traveled. Likely candidate are summer camps, vacation rentals, international travel, or even from staying at hotels. They are not an indication of poor sanitation, but they will reproduce much more quickly if there are many people in a small area. A single bedbug from your luggage can begin the infestation.
The common signs are waking up with bites on your body, noting blood spots on the sheets, a distinct sickly sweet odor upon entering the room, seeing clusters of reddish brown to dark brown dots on the braiding of a mattress or box springs, at baseboards, or a crack in the wall. It is possible for one person in a bed to be bitten and the other not. Also some persons are more sensitive to the bite than others*. If you suspect bedbugs but don’t see these signs, place aluminum pans with a little soapy water under all the legs of the bed. When you wake up you may find a bedbug or two floating in the water.
They come out at night because they detect the carbon dioxide as you breathe and this attracts them to you while you are sleeping. If you were to wake up in the wee hours and turn on the light you may see a dark brown to reddish brown insect with an oval body and tapered abdomen. If they are engorged with blood they will be distinctly more red and larger. Those which have not had a recent feeding will be paper thin. Because of this thin body they can hide in very slender cracks. They can move in between threads of fabric, disappear into a seam of the mattress, or hide between the grain of porous wood or cracks.
Treatment is extensive because bedbugs have so many hiding places. We begin at the infested bed treating the mattress, box springs, bed frame and headboard with appropriately labeled materials. We will continue to move outward in the room to include the flooring, both th carpets and wood floors, baseboards, night stands, behind picture frames, chest of drawers, and dressers. Since wood is a favored harborage area, any wood which is not sealed must be treated. Any bedding which can be washed or dry cleaned, should be. Pillows, drapes, stuff toys and any cloth object left in the room will be treated.
The material used to treat objects that touch humans kills bedbugs on contact but does not leave a residue, therefore it is not harmful to humans once it is dry. The good news is that they can be eliminated and you will not have to replace your mattress and box springs. It is important not to delay. As you try on-line remedies or home cures, the bedbugs can spread. A child who is getting bitten solves her problem by taking her pillow and blanket into another room but unfortunately she doesn’t see the bedbug on her blanket and the infamous hitch-hiker has invaded another habitat. Many homeowners successfully battle ants or mice but this is one of the insects you should trust to a professional.
*American Pest Control will not treat without confirmed evidence of bedbugs. There are some skin conditions (scabies) or other parasites such as mites which may be the source of bites. If bedbug evidence is not present, we may suggest that you see a dermatologist.
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