Each time you travel or purchase used furniture, you may be putting your home at risk of a bed bug infestation.
Beg bugs, also known as cimex lectularius, measure about 4 to 5 mm in length, roughly the same size as an apple seed. These bugs vary in colour from a light yellow to brown, depending on the lifecycle stage but after they have fed on their victims, they take on a reddish brown tint. Telltale signs of bedbugs include droppings which manifest as dark patches on sheets, skins or cuticle that gets left behind after shedding and the presence of live bugs in hiding places. Tiny bloodstains or spots on sheets can also be evidence of bed bugs.
Females can lay anywhere from one to five eggs in a single day, and these eggs take about one to two weeks to hatch. Bed bugs are transparent in their appearance before feeding but become reddish brown after they've feasted on a victim. When deprived of food, bed bugs can lie dormant for as long as one year.
Where do bed bugs live?
These parasites thrive in human environments because they feed on human blood. Bed bugs that are the thickness of a credit card can be exceedingly difficult to spot. Bed bugs picked up on vacation are often transported home unwittingly by victims in their luggage. They can also be introduced into the home via used furniture, backpacks, and suitcases. Once they enter your property, bed bugs make themselves at home by crawling around quite rapidly, working their way through cavities in the walls and floors.
From there, they conceal themselves in sofas, picture frames, beds, curtains, radios, wheelchairs and smoke detectors. They have also been known to hide behind baseboards, between sheets of loose wallpaper, between the pages of books and in storage boxes.
When are bed bugs most active?
Bed bugs are nocturnal as they prefer a dark environment. In the daytime, these pests hide in crevices in furniture, particularly headboards and other items in the bedroom. When night falls, they emerge and search for a host, with a sleeping human becoming the most likely victim.
Why are bed bugs a pest?
While bed bug bites are not painful, allergic reactions to their saliva are common. Symptoms can include redness, itching, and swelling. It can be difficult to tell bed bug bites from other types of insect bites such as horse-fly or mosquito bites, but a telltale sign is where they cluster (in a straight line) and where they're found on the body (legs and ankles).
The most damage bed bugs can do is on the reputation of hotels, motels, inns, backpacker businesses and even transportation vehicles. They cause great distress and a severe infestation can lead to loss of income through both a 'bad reputation' and the need for servicing.
Do I need professional bed bug control?
Bed bugs are not a problem that will go away on its own or that you can eradicate by yourself. If you suspect a bed bug infestation, call us immediately. We believe that a joint effort between the property owner and the Flick Anticimex technician will provide a long-term, effective bed bug control system. For more information on our bed bug solutions, click here.
Tips for avoiding bed bugs
- Be wary when purchasing used furniture (particularly bedding) and inspect it thoroughly before taking it home.
- Never leave open suitcases lying around on the floor when you are on vacation.
- Do not store your suitcase close to the bed in hotel rooms. Inspect your suitcase before bringing it into the house when you return from vacation.
- Wash your clothes at a temperature of at least 60°C after returning from vacation.
- Pop dubious objects in the freezer and keep them there for at least 24 hours.