With travel increasing for the first full summer of travel post-pandemic since 2019, bed bugs will have more ways to “hitch a ride”. Therefore, letting your guard down for bed bugs, even if you stay in SaddleBrooke, is not advised.
Bed bugs are parasites that are commonly found in sleeping areas of homes and hotels. They feed off of humans at night. During the day, they live near the sleeping locations of their hosts. Beg bugs were virtually eliminated before 1995, but have since reemerged with the increase in world travel.
An adult bed bug has a flat round body about the size of an apple seed. It ranges in color from brown to red, depending on when its last fed. Right after feeding, the bug is a bright red color which gradually fades to brown as it digests the human blood. Bed bugs are born lighter in color and turn brown as they mature. Bed bugs can be quite resilient. Although they typically feed on blood every five to ten days, they are capable of surviving several months without feeding.
Bed bugs bite humans in order to feed on their blood. They are nocturnal and usually only bite while their human hosts are sleeping. Because a bed bug bite is painless, it can be difficult to identify the cause of the bite. Many people experience reactions to a bed bug bite similar to that of a mosquito or flea bite and the most common symptoms include redness, itching and swelling. Bites are not dangerous, unless an allergic reaction to the bite occurs. If at any time you feel that the bite is serious, seek medical help as soon as possible.
Bed bugs are often brought into homes on visitors' clothing or luggage. Due to the fact that bed bugs are nocturnal, it can sometimes be difficult to identify an infestation and they can go unnoticed for some time. The best way to determine if you have bed bugs is through finding and identifying a live bug. Other signs of an infestation include small bites on the body that seem to appear overnight, small dark spots on bedding from bed bug feces, or remains of dead bed bugs and shed skins. If you believe that you have an infestation, begin looking around beds and furniture for the nesting location of the bug infestation.
Knowing what to look for is the first step in identifying and controlling bed bugs. They are experts at hiding. Their slim, flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bed bugs are typically found hiding in mattress seams, pillow top tufts and around buttons. Without treatment, the population can rapidly grow and move into cracks and crevices near the bed, like those found in the headboard and side tables.
One of the easiest ways to identify a bed bug infestation is by the telltale red, itchy bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body part while sleeping. However, these bite marks may take as long as 14-days to develop in some people, so, it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area.
Other signs include:
- Dark red blood stains on linens and pajamas.
- Dried feces that appear as small black or brown spots.
- The bed bugs' shed skins (exoskeletons) after molting.
- An unusual smell – a sweet and musty, yet offensive odor. The insects' scent glands on the lower side of the body emit this fluid, which attracts other bed bugs.
Getting rid of a bed bug infestation can be a difficult process depending on the size of the problem. It is almost always necessary to seek the help of a pest control professional in order to ensure that the infestation is under control and eliminated, and they will be able to instruct you on the best way to clean bedding, furniture and mattresses. Vacuuming can also help to limit the number of bugs and eggs. Make sure to dispose of the vacuum bag right after use.
Paul Opocensky is the Manager for Truly Nolen in SaddleBrooke. His service office can be reached at (520) 219-2494. Founded in 1938, Tucson-based Truly Nolen of America (www.trulynolen.com) is one of the largest family-owned pest control companies in the United States.