Everything you ever wanted to know about bed bugs

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Bed bug infestations have made national headline news over the last several years. The headlines started by covering bed bug cases in major metropolitan areas like New York City, but by now, bed bugs are a problem in any city across the United States. The Phoenix Metro area has experienced an explosion of bed bug infestations in recent years, as well.

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are very small insects that feed exclusively on blood and prefer to live in dark spaces. Bed bugs are named for their preference to live in human homes, specificallyon beds and sofas.  Adult bed bugs are oval in shape with a flattened appearance, and are generally about ¼ of an inch long. They can range in color from white to dark brown, and just after eating they will have dark red or black blobs on their bodies. Bed bugs often retreat to dark, hidden crevices when they are disturbed. While they are small and good hiders, bed bugs are visible to the human eye.

How do I know if I have bed bugs?

You are most likely to realize that you have bed bugs when you start to notice their distinctive bite marks on your skin or the skin of someone in your home. Bed bugs most often feed on humans while they are sleeping, and their bite is painless. Not everyone reacts to bed bugs, and so it’s hard to know if you have bed bugs until someone in your home as a reaction to their bite.  Some people say that bed bug bites occur in clumps of three, though a bed bug bite can be solitary as well.  Look for bed bugs or bed bug eggs in the creases of mattresses, box springs and sheets. It’s also a good idea to look for dark brown or reddish spots on mattresses, sofa cushions and other furniture and corners if you suspect a bed bug infestation in your home.

How did I get bed bugs? How did they get into my house?

Bed bugs are hitchhikers – they can get into your home in any number of ways. One of the most common ways bed bugs get into your home is after travel – they hitchhike in your luggage or on your clothes.  While travel is one of the most common ways to get bed bugs, they can hitchhike into your home on old furniture, clothing, boxes and virtually any other item brought into your home. Bed bugs are very small and hide in many different places, so they are often hard to detect until they replicate and a large population is established.

Because of the infestation of bed bugs across the country, it’s not unheard of that you can get bed bugs sitting on an airplane or in a seat at a movie theater. Clothing and furniture stores across the country have and issues with bed bugs, too. Bed bugs can spread by an act as simple as putting your handbag down on the floor of a restaurant, store, or anywhere else that bed bugs could be present.

Video:How Bed Bugs Hide in Phoenix Homes

Checking for Bed Bugs While Traveling

When traveling, it’s a good idea to inspect your hotel room for bed bugs before you unpack or settle into the room. Start by checking the headboard, pulling it away from the wall as much as possible. Next, check the sheets and pillows for blood spots. Pull back the sheets and check the piping on the mattress and box springs. Finally, check the night stands and dresser drawers.  Preventative measures are also good. We recommend not unpacking your luggage into drawers or placing your luggage on the bed in the room.

Getting Rid of Bed Bugs

If you do suspect that your home has a bed bug infestation, give us a call and we can help. Bed bugs are a very difficult pest to control, but you can get rid of them. Most infestations require treatments by a pest control expert, as well as participation by the homeowner to help prevent the return of bed bugs to the home.

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