Bed bugs look like small, reddish-brown bugs that feed on human blood and can live in almost any environment. These pests have become a growing problem in the U.S., as they’re becoming increasingly resistant to modern treatments and can travel long distances via people’s clothes, bedding, suitcases or furniture.
It is essential to know what attracts bed bugs so you can effectively identify and remove them from your home as soon as possible.
Check out this blog post for what you should know about these pesky critters!
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small parasitic insects that feed on blood and many other host animals. The most common type, Cimex lectularius, is reddish-brown in color and measures about 5 to 7 mm long. This is about the size of an apple seed.
Bed bugs have flat, oval-shaped bodies, with the front wings that cover their mouth being easily seen from above when it is at rest. Male bed bugs are about 1/4 inch long, and a female bed bug can reach approximately 1/4 to 3/8 inches long.
Other common names for these insects include “little red bugs,” “squeakers,” “jungle bugs”, and “ticks.” They mainly depend on blood meal to molt, which is the transition from one growth stage to the next.
Bed bugs are attracted to certain smells and often hide during the day in locations where people sleep. Their hiding places include:
- box springs
- bed frames
- inside electrical outlets
You can find them in carpeting or any other material placed on the flooring. Be sure to conduct a thorough search as they may hide in cracks and crevices, behind wallpaper, and other objects near a bed that cannot be seen with the naked eye.
What is the bed bug lifecycle?
The lifecycle of the bed bug is complex and can vary depending on the environment it lives in. Generally speaking, the lifecycle of a bed bug consists of four distinct stages of development: egg, nymph, pupa and adult.
First, an adult female will lay eggs approximately 1 millimetre long. These eggs are either whitish-yellow or pearl-white in color and typically take 8 to 10 days to hatch into tiny larvae known as bed bug nymphs that are nearly invisible to the naked eye.
The nymphs will begin feeding on blood meal immediately after they hatch and will molt five times before becoming adults.
In between each stage of molting or shedding their skin and growing into larger forms, they must feed at least once on warm-blooded animals such as a human host or animals like rats or birds per stage to survive.
During this process, they require different temperatures for optimal growth ranging from 68 F to 85 F with humidity levels around 60%.
The entire process from egg to adulthood can take anywhere from 5 weeks up to several months, depending on environmental conditions such as temperature and food availability. However, under ideal conditions, it only takes about 4 to 6 weeks for a bed bug lifecycle from start to finish.
As adults, female bedbugs can produce hundreds of eggs during their lifetimes; typically laying one batch every 7 days for up to 3 months at a time until she dies off naturally due to old age.
The average lifespan for an adult bedbug is about 9–12 months.
It’s essential for people who have noticed signs of an infestation – like blood spots on sheets and mattresses or small black insects – not to panic but act quickly so the population doesn’t get out of control by effectively eliminating these pests before they multiply out of control!
What do baby bed bugs look like?
Young bed bugs have a similar appearance to their adult counterparts. However, they are smaller in size than adult bugs and may or may not have developed their full coloration.
Key distinguishing features of a baby bed bug are:
- smaller size – about the size of a head of a pin
- light brown or yellow color
Nymphs may have a range of colors, including brown, grey, white and red. Nymphs or baby bugs can live from 3 to 4 months without feeding.
After a baby bed bug has had 5 molts following emerging from the nymph stage, it reaches the last molt before reaching maturity at the fifth stage of the lifecycle.
At this time, the color of mature bed bugs goes from brown to a blood-red color following a blood meal.
How do bed bugs travel?
Bed bugs are most often transported via luggage, clothing, beds, furniture and other items associated with an infested location. They can also be carried in the seams of clothing and on belts, shoes or other items that a person might use.
Bed bugs are most active at night, with their most active period being between midnight and 3 am.
The bed bugs’ activity level is increased at these times due to the presence of warmth and carbon dioxide that a sleeping human brings – sorry!
How long do bed bugs live?
This depends on the temperature and humidity levels that they live at. Bed bugs can be found in all areas of the world, but some regions are more common than others.
Bed bugs usually live in areas that have warm temperatures and low humidity levels. They are most common in the United States, Canada, and Europe.
Under these conditions, they usually survive for 2 years or more without feeding. They can keep their body temperature at around 97 degrees Fahrenheit and do not need as much food or water as other insects do.
Bed bugs can’t survive as long in these areas because the temperature and humidity levels are higher. Bed bugs can only survive for about a year or two at most.
They also need to feed more often to maintain their body temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
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How can I tell if bed bugs are biting me?
Most people bitten by bed bugs don’t know that they bite them. The reason is that the bite marks usually leave marks on the skin that look like small red bumps or red itches.
Sometimes there may be clusters of them in familiar areas like around the waist or near the ankles. Some people experience itching or burning after being bitten, which can occur for a few hours after the bite.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is essential to see a doctor and have them check out your body.
Bed bugs are responsible for a lot of issues with humans. They can cause an allergic reaction to the skin, breast lumps, and itching that may also be difficult to treat.
How to spot a bed bug infestation in your home
Unfortunately, there may be a time when bed bugs pay a visit to your house. You may start noticing signs of bed bugs or symptoms of being bitten or exposed to them.
Here are some other ways that you can spot a bed bug infestation in its early stages:
Check your bed for bed bugs
Obvious, I know! But bed bugs usually start appearing in your bed because it is convenient for them. That’s where their food is!
They may also be found behind curtains, dressers, nightstands, and other furniture near the bed. Look in the bed, on the mattress and pull back the mattress cover to check the mattress seams.
You should also check in nearby dark places, such as behind headboards and crevices close by.
This is a great place to look because they often hide in the seams of walls, ceiling tiles, and behind other items. Be sure to check behind loose pieces of wallpaper – especially in the bedroom.
To keep them from hiding out here, fixing the wallpaper and tightening fixtures to the walls is a good idea.
Inside electrical outlets
It is also a good idea to check around the outside of electrical outlets to see if there are any small holes or cracks that could be where the bed bugs are hiding.
Between mattress and box springs
This can be a common hiding place for bed bugs because they are often trapped between the two when people move their beds.
On and around furniture
Bed bugs often hide in the cracks of the furniture, where it is harder to notice them. This includes behind loose wallpaper and inside crevices in woodwork.
Under carpets and rugs
Bed bugs hide under and within carpets, rugs, or any other type of surface placed on the floor. This offers an ideal cover for them to hide away and for female bed bugs to lay eggs.
If you find bed bugs, it is essential to know how to kill them. Bed bugs can be challenging to get rid of because they can live for such long periods without food.
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What is the significance of finding bed bugs at home?
Since many people store their belongings in places that could be infested with bed bugs, finding them at home is essential because this may also indicate where the infestation came from.
Knowing this will help you successfully eliminate the bed bugs from your home and ensure you don’t get another reinfestation.
Here are some benefits of identifying the presence of bed bug infestation in your house:
You have a better chance of finding the source
For example, you may notice that the problem seems to come from a particular room in the house. This then makes it possible to seal the room off, get rid of the infested furniture, and take other steps to prevent the further spread of the problem.
You may be able to pinpoint the source of the bedbug infestation to a recent stay in a hotel room. If this is the case, you can report the issue to the hotel to stop the spread. You can also bag up all the clothes you wore and had with you to treat.
It offers an opportunity for preventative measures
The earlier you find bed bugs, the better because it gives you a chance to take preventative measures before they become a bigger problem.
For example, you may purchase a dehumidifier or ask pest control professionals to spray for bed bugs.
The action you choose to eliminate bed bugs from your home will depend on several factors.
What is the best treatment for bed bugs?
The best way to treat bed bugs at home is by using a combination of methods. These may include both physical and chemical controls.
Many methods work, but you usually have to be persistent and use them over a long period of time to be sure the infestation has been removed.
Here are some effective treatments:
Physical control methods for treating bed bugs
Physical control methods involve mechanical removal of the insects, as well as using mattress encasements.
To manually remove them, you should inspect your home thoroughly for any signs of infestation – this can include peeled wallpaper edges, droppings, eggs or carcasses left behind by the bed bugs.
Use a vacuum cleaner and crevice tool attachment to suck up dead or living bugs on mattresses and surrounding furniture, along with their fecal matter. Then seal these in a plastic bag or container and dispose of them away from your house.
Additionally, if items like pillows cannot be washed but need to be discarded, then use fabric encasements to trap all the bedbugs inside them so they can’t breed further.
Such encasements need to remain in place for at least one year or until you are sure all bedbugs have been eliminated.
Heat treatment method for treating bed bugs
This is a common way many people use to get rid of bed bugs. It involves using heat to kill the bed bugs. For example, a heat lamp is used to heat the area in which they are hiding.
However, it can be difficult because you may have to touch or come into close contact with them while they are alive.
Steam cleaning for killing bed bugs
The steam kills the bed bugs and bed bug eggs. This method involves using steam cleaning in order to eliminate the problem and prevent new ones from starting. This is an ideal treatment because it can be easier to use than other methods.
Freezing method for eliminating bed bugs
Finally, the freezing method involves placing the bed or other infested items at a freezing temperature that kills the bugs and prevents them from reproducing.
The benefits of this method, as with heat treatments, are that it avoids using chemicals in your home and where your family sleep.
To effectively treat bed bugs using freezing temperatures, liquid nitrogen is used, which kills all life stages of bed bugs at – 120 ° C. This is known as the cryogenic method.
Chemical methods for treating bed bugs
Chemical methods include the use of insecticides that contain active ingredients like cypermethrin and pyrethroid-based ones. These are effective against adult beetles.
You can also use dust formulations like diatomaceous earth (DE) which has desiccating properties.
Fumigation with Vikane gas is a good option for severe infestations as it kills bed bugs at all life stages.
The selected method depends on how severe the infestation is and other factors like budget constraints.
All these measures help ensure the complete elimination of existing pests and potential reinfestation in the future.
Recognizing what baby bed bugs look like is critical to identifying and successfully treating an infestation as quickly as possible.
Bedbugs are unique pests in that they have particular lifecycle stages, which, if understood, can help you formulate the best treatment strategy for your particular situation.
If you think you may have found bed bugs in your home, be sure to act fast. Don’t hesitate to contact a professional exterminator who can help address the problem before it gets out of control if you don’t feel confident in treating them yourself!