Each time you travel or purchase used furniture, you may be putting your home at risk of a bed bug infestation.
These parasites thrive in human environments and feed on human blood. A bed bug bite is characterised by swelling, itching, and redness.
Beg bugs, also known as cimex lectularius, measure about 4 to 5 mm in length, roughly the same size as an apple seed. 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 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 hide?
Bed bugs that are the thickness of a credit card can be exceedingly difficult to spot. They can conceal themselves in all types of furniture and objects, from sofas to picture frames, beds to curtains, and even 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. 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 whose blood they can suck. A sleeping human is usually the most likely victim.
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.
How do you know if your home is infested with bed bugs?
Adult bed bugs resemble apple seeds, with flattened bodies that are oval shaped and a length of about 4 to 5 mm. 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.
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, bedbugs make themselves at home by crawling around quite rapidly. They are unable to fly or jump but can spread throughout your home by working their way through cavities in the walls and floors, giving them access to other people in rooms a long way from the room they were first introduced into.
Are bed bugs dangerous?
While bed bug bites are not painful, allergic reactions to the saliva they inject while feeding is 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. While bed bugs are unlikely to cause structural damage to a home, the victims of infestations are subjected to great discomfort and stress.
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.