Are Those Bed Bugs? Here’s How to Identify and Eliminate Them

The mere thought of a bed bug is enough to make a person’s skin crawl. We have all heard horror stories about hotel beds infested with bed bugs and hope that we never have to cope with the same nightmare ourselves.

Unfortunately though, bed bugs (which were previously eradicated in the US) are back — with a vengeance.

If you see signs of bed bug infestation in your house, don’t panic. It is possible to get rid of them. However, the key is to make sure that the pests infesting your home are, in fact, bed bugs, and not any other variety of small, brown insects. Modern Pest can both confirm the presence of bed bugs and eliminate them from your home.

Bed bug issue?

Modern’s Bed Bug Control & Treatment Service will determine if bed bugs are present and then target them where they live and breed. 

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Bed bugs are not the most recognizable of insects and many people may confuse them with something else.

  • A typical bed bug has an oval-shaped, reddish-brown body about the size of an apple seed.
  • The bodies are segmented, have antennas, and six legs. Bed bugs are normally flat but when they gorge on your blood, they become fat and long.
  • Bed bugs do not have wings so if you see a small brownish-red insect flying around, know that it isn’t a bed bug.
  • Aside from fully mature bed bugs, there are nymph bed bugs which are smaller and may appear pale golden and translucent at some stages of their life.
  • Female bed bugs can lay hundreds of eggs in their lifetime. These eggs are about the size of a speck of dust and translucent so they are very hard to spot.

Bed Bug Behavior

  • Although bed bugs do not fly, they can crawl very fast, and can even go up vertical surfaces which have a bit of traction, like walls.
  • Bed bugs typically come out and feed at night when people are asleep. It is believed that these insects are attracted to sleeping human bodies by triggers like carbon dioxide, warmth, and the scent of the body.
  • Bed bugs feed on human blood and leave bite marks or welts in a linear pattern depending on how many there are. Once they have fed, they will go back to their hiding spots and spend their time digesting the blood, mating, and producing eggs, after which they repeat the cycle.
  • During their lifecycle, a single bed bug may shed its exoskeleton five times. This shell is shed whole and looks almost exactly like a live bed bug. However, since it is empty, it is translucent.

Where Do Bed Bugs Hide?

Bed bugs are notorious for infesting hotels and for being very good hitchhikers. If you have stayed in a hotel that has bed bugs, it is possible that a few may cling to your clothes or crawl inside your luggage. This means when you go back to your home, you can spread the infestation to your house as well.

Beds are not the only place that bed bugs live. These parasites can also be found hiding inside upholstered furniture, picture frames, carpet, and even corners of the walls. They may also burrow inside cracks in the walls of your house.

How Do You Know A Bed Bug Has Bitten You?

Bed bugs feed on human blood by piercing the skin and drawing out blood with their long proboscis. Typically, a bed bug can feed for about three to 10 minutes from a host and then detach and go away unnoticed.

While the bed bug is biting you, you will not feel any sting or pain as its saliva contains anesthesia that will numb your skin. However, after a few hours, the bite may become inflamed and turn into an itchy and red welt. Some people who have bitten don’t even get the welts and so remain unaware they have a bed bug infestation. Others may think they have been bitten by a mosquito.

To confirm you have been bitten by a bed bug, you will need to find signs of a bed bug infestation.

Think you have bed bugs in your house?

Call 1-800-323-7378 or click here to schedule an inspection with Modern Pest! 

Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation

Aside from seeing a live bed bug crawling on your sheets, there are other ways you can recognize a bed bug infestation. Some signs include:

  • A few spots of bloodstains on your sheet or pillowcase without apparent cause.
  • A crushed body of a bed bug underneath you.
  • Dark rust-colored fecal spots that you can find on your sheets and near walls, but most commonly will find them on the corner of your mattresses.
  • Shed shells and milky-white and translucent eggs in these places

If the infestation is recent, you will probably not find any bed bug casings since the population is mostly adults and they do not molt. However, as time passes by, these adult insects will breed and lay up to five eggs each day. In a little time, the nymphs will outnumber the adults and will go towards their molting phase. When these shells build up, they will become easily noticeable in the corners of your bed or walls.

Unfortunately, at this stage, you are facing a full-blown infestation and treatment is extremely important if you want to prevent the bed bugs from spreading to other areas of your house. Time to call Modern!

Bed Bug Treatment and Prevention

Preventing an infestation requires making sure your living space is clean and there are no places for the bed bugs to hide. Here are some tips you can follow:

  • During your stay at a hotel, look for tell-tale signs of an infestation. If you find them, try and book another place to stay. Don’t take an adjoining room since bed bugs may have migrated there.
  • When you are leaving a hotel, make sure you thoroughly check your clothes for any clinging bed bugs. Also, make sure all your luggage is secured so no insect can get into it.
  • At home, make sure your bed linens, curtains, and clothing are washed in hot water and dried at the highest setting. Place things like stuffed animals and shoes that cannot be washed into the dryer and run it for at least 30 minutes.
  • Thoroughly vacuum your carpet and bed mattress to suck out dead bed bugs, shells, and eggs. Remember though that you may not be able to get the live bed bugs with this method. Throw the vacuum bag into a garbage bin outside and secure the lid.
  • Get a zipped mattress cover and place your mattress inside it. That way, bed bugs won’t be able to get in or get out of the mattress and infest other places of the house. Bed bugs can survive for over a year without gorging on blood, so keep the cover tight on your mattress for that time at least.
  • Fix any peels in the paintwork and cement any cracks so that the bed bugs do not have any place to hide.
  • If the wood of your bed is infested, you may need to throw away the bed (best to burn it) and get a new one.
  • Call Modern! If you’ve got an infestation, you will need a pest control professional to eliminate it and make sure it doesn’t come back.

The Modern Solution

Waiting for an infestation to go away on its own will always make the situation worse. A DIY solution also isn’t recommended. Bed bugs reproduce rapidly, and can have several hiding spots that make them difficult to find. Missing even one hiding spot can lead to another infestation.

A bed bug infestation can take a physical and emotional toll on affected homeowners and renters and prove to be an expensive and frustrating problem to solve.

All of this is why hiring a pest control professional like Modern is recommended.

As a leader in the pest solutions industry, Modern Pest Services offers both conventional chemical treatment and Thermal Remediation® or heat treatment (electric or propane) to its commercial and residential customers throughout New England.

Ready to get rid of bed bugs once and for all? Call Modern now at 1-800-323-7378!