If you or your family have been feeling extra itchy lately, you may be wondering if you have a bed bug infestation. What are bed bugs? How can you tell if you have a bed bug infestation? Do you need an exterminator to get rid of bed bugs? Here’s what you need to know about bed bugs and bed bug control.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small, flat, reddish-brown insects about the size of an apple seed that feed on humans, usually at night when we’re asleep. They feed by piercing our skin with their elongated mouthparts, which consist of two stylets. One stylet has a groove that carries saliva into the wound, while the other has a groove through which body fluids from the host are taken in.
A single feeding may take up to 10 minutes and feels like a pinprick, but because feeding usually occurs at night when people are asleep, they are not aware they have been bitten until afterward. However, saliva injected during the feeding can later produce large swellings on the skin that itch and may become irritated and infected when scratched. Swelling may not develop until a day or more after feeding, and some people do not show symptoms.
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Are Bed Bugs Dangerous?
While it’s natural to be grossed out by the idea of bed bugs, they are currently not considered to be disease carriers, and allergic reactions to their bites tend to be mild.
How Can I Tell if I Have Bed Bugs in My Home?
Distinguishing bed bug bites from the bites of other arthropods such as mosquitoes, fleas, and spiders is often difficult. People often confuse itching bed bug welts for mosquito bites.
The only way you can really confirm that bed bugs are the cause is to find the bugs in your bed or bedroom. Often people are bitten when traveling, making diagnosis even more difficult.
While the best way to know for sure whether you have bed bugs is to have AAI Pest Control come out and check, other signs of bed bug infestations (besides the bites) include:
- Blood droplets or dark spots on bedding, pillows, or mattresses
- Molted bed bug skin, which is copper-colored and looks like a bed bug shell
In addition to the direct injury to humans, bed bugs have stink glands that leave odors. They also leave unsightly fecal spots on bed sheets and around their hiding places. These spots are darkish red in color, roughly round, and can be very small.
Female bed bugs lay 200 to 500 tiny, white eggs in batches of 10 to 50 on rough surfaces such as wood or paper. Glue-like material covers the eggs, which hatch in about 10 days. After hatching occurs, the eggshells frequently remain stuck in place. Adults live about 10 months, and there can be up to 3 to 4 generations of bed bugs per year. Bed bugs can go without feeding for 80 to 140 days. Older stages of young can survive longer without feeding than younger ones, and adults have survived without food for more than 400 days. A bed bug can take six times its weight in blood, and each feeding can take 3 to 10 minutes.
Tips For Bed Bug Control
Managing a bed bug infestation is a difficult task that requires removal or treatment of all infested material and follow-up monitoring to ensure the infestation has been eliminated and does not return. Management will require employing several non-chemical methods such as vacuuming, washing bedding at a high temperature (as manufacturer instructions allow), using steam or heat treatment, sealing up hiding places, and applying an insecticide treatment.
Make an Appointment for Bed Bug Control Services Today
At AAI Pest Control, we’re here to serve you, covering parts of Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Merced County, Sacramento County, Stanislaus County, and San Joaquin County.
Contact AAI today if you suspect a bed bug infestation and we’ll schedule an inspection with one of our licensed and skilled bed bug control technicians.