Bed bugs can live more than a year without eating. They can withstand temperatures ranging from nearly freezing to almost 113 F. Their hatchlings are so small, they can pass through a stitch hole in a mattress. In other words, bed bugs are more than just creepy. They’re challenging.
These blood-suckers have been around the block. Bed bugs have been a pest issue for more than 3,300 years, dating back to ancient Egypt. They were first brought to the United States by early colonists, where they thrived for many decades. They began to die out by the 1950s, but increased international travel and lack of awareness about pest control methods have contributed to their resurgence.
Are they in your home or business? It’s not easy to tell right away. For one thing, clusters of bed bug bites are red and itchy but essentially painless, so they’re often mistaken as mosquito bites. People frequently don’t notice there’s a problem until the infestation is large.
Bed Bug Infestations Grow Quickly
Once inside your home, bed bugs can hide anywhere — mattresses, box springs, couch upholstery, wall cracks and under wallpaper are some of their favorite spots. Several generations of the pests can live within a single area, while female bed bugs can reproduce up to 50 eggs at a time. Unfortunately, your home or business provides optimal conditions needed for new eggs to mature — the temperature is right, and you’re there (so they have access to blood for nourishment).
If you suspect you have a bed bug problem, check to see if your itchy skin is raised and round. Other evidence includes the appearance of exoskeletons (mature bed bugs leave them behind after a process called “molting”), as well as small blood spots and reddish-brown fecal stains on your sheets. (These are disgusting, but they’re good clues.)
Smart Prevention Tips
Fortunately, you can take proactive steps to prevent bringing bed bugs into your home or office. Vigilance is the key.
– Vacuum suitcases after returning from a vacation.
– Check your sheets while traveling (and when home after traveling) for blood spots.
– Don’t bring second-hand pieces of furniture, especially mattresses and box springs, into a home without examining them for signs of a bed bug infestation.
– Regularly inspect areas where pets sleep for signs of bed bugs.
AT THE OFFICE
– Vacuum and clean all areas of your office, including hallways, lobbies, kitchens, storefronts and public bathrooms.
– When unpacking new inventory or receiving shipments, carefully inspect all items and packaging for signs of bed bugs before bringing them into your business.
– Encourage employees to report suspicions of bed bugs immediately.
In a recent survey by the National Pest Management Association, 75% of pest control professionals indicated that they have encountered infestations of bed bugs in hotels and motels.
– Pull back sheets and inspect mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for stains or spots. If you see anything suspect, notify management and change to a room that’s not adjacent to (or above or below) the current room.
– Consider placing your suitcase in a plastic trash bag or protective cover during the duration of your trip to ensure that bed bugs can’t take up residence there prior to departure.
– After your trip, inspect your suitcases before bringing them into the house. Vacuum them before storing them.
Wash your clothes, even those you didn’t wear on the trip, in hot water.
If you do have a bed bug problem, Cantu Pest Control can help. Here’s a look at our inspection protocol. Feel free to call us anytime at 972.885.3618 (Dallas / Ft. Worth location) or 713.999.3495 (Houston location)