There has been a lot of news surrounding the invasion of bed bugs lately and pest control companies all over the U.S. are now dealing with an overload of inspection requests and treatment appointments. But what exactly are bed bugs, and how do they get inside your home?
Bed bugs are small, elusive, parasitic insects that live by feeding exclusively on the blood of humans and animals. Adult bed bugs measure approximately 3/16 inch long and are reddish-brown in color. They are generally flat with an oval shape.
The name “bed bug” comes from the insect’s favored environment – houses and especially beds or other common areas where people may sleep.
Most species feed on humans when other hosts are unavailable. Carbon dioxide, warm body temperature, and certain pheromones attract bed bugs to their hosts.
Bed bugs “hitchhike” on clothes, shoes, luggage, used furniture and even pets and can be found anywhere people live and congregate:
- single-family homes
- nursing homes
- homeless shelters
- movie theaters
- cruise ships
- public housing
- public transportation
Detection & Treatment
Bed bugs are generally nocturnal critters, making them difficult to spot. They often dwell unnoticed in dark crevices, and eggs can be nestled in fabric seams. Aside from bite symptoms, more obvious signs include fecal spots and blood smears on sheets.
Treatment of bed bugs is very difficult and do-it-yourself options generally don’t work if you already have an infestation. As soon as bed bugs are suspected, the first step is to contact a licensed professional for a thorough inspection.
Thermal Remediation® or heat treatment offered by Modern Pest Services is a safe and environmentally sound method of bed bug control for residential and commercial customers. This favored method destroys all stages of bed bugs by increasing the ambient temperature of the infested space to a lethal level. This is accomplished by using heaters to bring the temperature of a home, apartment, hotel room or any other space up to a range of 120-140 ºF. Since bed bugs have no defense against this level of heat, this treatment will stop them in their tracks.
The following prevention tips will help you reduce your risk of getting bed bugs:
- Wash all bedding regularly in hot water. The water should be at least 120 degrees.
- Vacuum floors regularly and use the appropriate attachments to vacuum your mattress, bed frames, baseboards and nearby furniture. Remember, bed bugs are small and can hide in tiny crevices.
- Use a plastic cover over your mattress.
- If you purchase used furniture, examine it thoroughly for bed bugs. Pay special attention to used mattresses and bed frames.
- Check your own bed for bed bugs from time to time. Catching them early will make bed bug treatment easier.
- When traveling, make sure you check the hotel room for bed bugs. Ask the hotel manager about the last pest control treatment they administered. And when you return home, make sure your travel items are washed and bed bug free.
For more information about bed bugs, visit the Modern website.