Bed bugs are tiny blood-sucking parasites that feed on warm-blooded animals and human beings. They are nocturnal reddish-brown pests that seek out exposed skin to feast. They are called bed bugs because they are likely to be found living in a mattress. However, there is much more to bed bugs than a simple parasite living in our beds.
Types Of Bugs In Beds
Did you know that there are over 90 species of bed bugs? Fortunately, there are only three species that we need to worry about.
- C. lectularius
- C. hemipterus
- L. boueti
Where you live will have an impact on which type of bed bug you are likely to encounter. Are you ready to learn more about these types of parasites?
Cimex lectularius is the most common type of bed bug you will encounter. They reside in the United States and Europe. They are incredibly crafty at hiding and cause the most problems of all the species. It is believed that bed bugs have been around for 3,500 years. They reproduce slowly in comparison to other insects and pests. They produce an egg a day, and it takes ten days after hatching for a bed bug to reach adulthood. However, that’s still fast enough to be problematic.
So, where do the C. lectularius like to live? Mattresses are the obvious answer, but they also love to hide in:
- carpets and rugs
- upholstered furniture
Cimex hemipterus is devoted to developed countries. This means they are in North & South America, Asia, Europe, and parts of Africa. Like C. lectularius, they will feed on humans at night and on exposed skin. They love to live in the same places as C. lectularius but will also hide in the cracks and crevices of a home.
Leptocimex boueti is a bed bug that prefers humidity, so they are not as popular in some areas. They like to reside in West Africa and South America. Most notably, they will not seek out human blood. They prefer warm-blooded animals, with bats being their most favorite meal. These bed bugs will choose to live in caves to be near the bats they crave. This does not mean we are safe from them. If the l.boueti is hungry enough and humans are around, they will bite.
How To Identify Bed Bugs
Many people aren’t aware of a bed bug problem until a significant infestation takes place. There are ways to keep an eye out for them before it gets out of control. Here are the signs of possible bed bugs:
- reddish stains on mattresses and sheets – from crushing the bugs while sleeping
- seeing live bed bugs crawling on the bed or upholstered furnishings
- eggs about the size of 1mm
- dark brown spots – excrement from the bed bugs that bleed onto the material
Once you have seen just one possible sign, it is best to call a pest control company to continue an assessment. Here they can tell you if you have them, how badly you have them, and all the places they are hiding. An exterminator knows what to look for. It is always possible that what you think is a bed bug but is another pest that looks like bed bugs. At the end of the assessment, your pest control specialist will recommend a treatment plan.
With your agreement signed, the pest expert will get to work removing the annoying little monsters from your home.
After treatment, routine checkups are advised to ensure that all of the bugs are gone. Bed bug larvae are notorious for surviving treatment. They often are hidden in electrical outlets and far from the infestation taking place. You can also take steps to check your home regularly to look for any signs of these pests.
What Causes Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are crafty insects who know how to travel with ease. So let’s look at a few ways they can make their way into the home.
If you enjoy traveling, you can easily pick up bed bugs along the way. They will hitch rides in your luggage and can be found in hotels. They are notorious for enjoying buildings with multiple rooms, such as hotels and apartment complexes. When arriving at a booked room, check to see if the room is poorly maintained. Check the sheets and outlets for the reddish-brown hues that indicate an infestation.
Buying Used Furniture
When trying to save money, be careful with buying used furniture. Especially be careful if you are picking up furnishings left at the curb. Bed bugs can easily attach themselves to upholstery and will quickly make their way through your home. They can also hide well in the joints of wood furniture. Never buy or take used mattresses.
Schools & Colleges
While many kids are known to come home from school with head lice, they can also bring home bed bugs. It only seems to happen when there is a significant infestation in a child’s home. Then, they can attach themselves to clothes and cloth backpacks.
Colleges are not exempt from the problem. Dorm rooms are packed tightly, making it easy to spread. What makes it especially difficult is that there are usually large numbers of people in the dorms, creating a large infestation much easier.
Symptoms Of Bedbug Bites
When looking for bite marks of the common bed bug, they can be easily missed. They look very much like other bug bites. Look for these signs of bites:
- swollen red spot with a dark center
- multiple bites in one area
- burning when scratching the bite
Preventing A Bed Bug Infestation
Fortunately, you can prevent bed bugs before they become a significant problem. Here is a list of things you can do to save your home and your skin.
- Avoid storing anything under furniture, especially the bed.
- Tuck your sheets, don’t let them hang off the bed.
- Store items in plastic containers, not cardboard.
- Do not grab free furniture from the curb.
- Do not leave clothes on the floor.
- Wash bedsheets at the highest temper.
- Use a dust-mite cover for your mattress.
- Wash clothing, luggage, backpacks, and purses after traveling.
- Vacuum regularly and dispose of the bag outside of the home.
- When traveling, inspect your lodging.
- Do not place your clothes, or anyone else’s clothes, on your bed.
With these simple tasks, you can save yourself a lot of frustration and expense that comes with bed bug infestations.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
The first thing you should do is vacuum everything you can once you spot a bed bug. This way, you can catch all the stragglers running around. High heat is the best way to kill bed bug eggs and bugs you cannot see with the naked eye. First, wash your sheets and clothes at the highest temperature for 30 min. Then dry the clothes on high heat for 30 minutes. Next, you can use a steamer to clean furnishings and all the hiding spots they love.
Get The Professionals Involved
At Florida Environmental, we know all about bed bugs and other bugs that are a nuisance. Call us, and we will come and give your home a thorough assessment. We will let you know if we find any bed bugs and the level of infestation you have. We have the right chemicals that can get rid of them quickly. Contact us today, and we will chat with you about your options.