What are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are bad news for homeowners and business owners alike. Due to their small size and excellent instincts to stay hidden they often go undetected until it’s too late for DIY solutions. Knowing what bed bugs look like, the areas they like to hide in and what bed bug activity looks like in those hiding areas is key to kill bed bugs fast. Bed bugs can multiply quickly making early detection, swift action, and dedicated follow through extremely important for successful elimination.
What do Bed Bugs Look Like?
One of the reasons bed bug infestations spread so fast is because they are difficult to identify. Depending on their stage of life, they can vary greatly in size. A baby, nymph, can be as small as the tip of mechanical pencil lead. As if that doesn’t make it hard enough to spot they are also translucent until they have had their first blood meal. Can you imagine combing through a whole home or hotel room looking for a small clear speck? Impossible!
Adult bed bugs can be easier to spot, but are still fairly small. They are similar in size to an apple seed. A bed bug’s color will vary depending on how long it has been since their last feeding, but they are typically a reddish brown color. Prior to feeding a bed bug will appear mostly flat. However, after a meal they will plump up and appear darker from the blood they just consumed.
Many people initially mistake a bed bug for a tick since they are similar is size and color. However, there are a couple distinguishable features that will help you tell them apart. First, a bed bug will have 6 legs compared to a tick which has 8 legs. The other main difference in appearance is bed bugs have a pronotum, fat neck for lack of a better description, where a tick doesn’t have a “neck” at all. Acuratly identifying the problem pest is crucial to killing bed bugs fast.
Where are they hiding?
The other very important part of detecting a bed bug problem is knowing where they hide. They are looking for shelter in areas of convenience and protection. Bed bugs are easy to smash and instinctively know to protect themselves by hiding in secure areas, but they also like to be close to their next blood meal. Often times they will find hiding spots on the mattress or on the bed frame, but the bed isn’t the only place they will infest.
Think about the places you spend the most time while being still. Do you have a favorite recliner you sit in to read or watch TV? Do you spend long periods of time at your desk? What about those waiting room chairs at your local doctor’s office? These places provide excellent feeding opportunities so bed bugs could be hiding in those pieces of furniture or in the hot zone, anything that is 2-3 feet around that area.
How do I spot a bed bug problem early?
Once you know what bed bugs look like and where they like to hang out you will find it much simpler to spot a bed bug problem early. Bed bugs will squeeze themselves into cracks and crevices for protection. Look along the seams of the mattress edge, the fabric folds on the corners of box springs and where the pieces of your bed frame meet. You are not only looking for live bed bugs. You will also be looking for their shed molts (skin casings) and feces marks. The feces marks will look like someone took a pepper shaker to that area. Sometimes you can also find blood splatter in your linens if they were squished while trying to feed.
Widen your search out to the items 2-3 feet out from your bed, favorite recliner, office chair or other area of concern. Bed bugs will hide in the seams and folds of curtains and drapes. They especially like to hide at the top near the curtain rod, in a nearby night stand or behind artwork hanging on the wall. Other areas often overlooked are the seams between wallpaper or paneling. Also where the wall meets the baseboard or crown molding. They can even squeeze into a small hole in the wall where a nail or screw may have been previously.
Can I kill bed bugs fast myself?
Your success rate to kill bed bugs fast will increase greatly if you catch the problem early. If you can begin your DIY treatment methods when there are only a handful of bed bugs present and be diligent in repeating your efforts often to ensure elimination of stragglers it is possible to control them on your own. However, it is very difficult to notice a bed bug problem until it beyond this point.
Most of the time the people we end up performing bed bug treatments for have already tried all the over the counter products, essential oils and organic remedies they can find online. They have thrown out or set fire to their furniture. They have replaced carpeting and even left the plastic on their newly purchased replacement mattress. However, they still can’t get rid of them. They are better for a while, but they still linger on and eventually come back with a vengeance. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s time to give us a call.