Bed bugs may be tiny but these pests are fast breeders. In just a few short months, one pregnant female can produce 300 offspring and over 1000 eggs without us even knowing they are in our homes. Mature adults range in size from about 3/16 of an inch to ¼ inch in length. Before a blood meal, they have little brown, flat, oval bodies. After they feed, their bodies turn to a reddish-brown color and they become swollen. Many other types of pests are commonly mistaken for bed bugs but a true bed bug will have an elongated beak, antennas and tiny golden colored hairs on their bodies. Nymphs (juvenile bed bugs) are translucent or a whitish-yellow color and can be very difficult to detect. Most people only know they have an infestation after they have been bitten or when they find tiny rust or red colored blood splatters on their sheets. Bites from bed bugs mimic symptoms from other insects such as mosquitos or chiggers and can be difficult to diagnose. Their bites cause little red welts that itch.
Do Bed Bugs Live Anywhere Besides Beds?
Bed bugs are nocturnal insects and come out at night to score a blood meal. They are about the width of a credit card, they can make it into some tight spaces. They get their names from their preference of living on beds where they score easy meals while humans sleep. When looking for signs of bed bugs the best places to inspect are around the cracks and seams of your bed, on and under the headboard and footboard, in the box spring and around tags on the mattress. If your home has an infestation you should also check the seams and between the cushions of couches and chairs, curtains that hang next to beds and chairs, behind loose wallpaper or wall art, or even inside the head of screws.
Can Bed Bug Bites Cause Health Problems?
Recent studies have found that bed bugs are not vectors for pathogens or diseases such as Hepatitis or HIV. They do not have the ability to spread diseases through their bites which makes them an annoying nuisance only. The real danger of having bed bugs in your home comes from their urine and feces. They defecate where they live, they live where we sleep which puts us in close contact with their poop. It has been found that bed bugs defecate histamine, our bodies naturally produce histamine in controlled amounts as a response to allergens, injuries or inflammatory reactions. They histamine found in bed bug feces is still being investigated but may pose health risks to humans. Researchers at the University of North Carolina did a study on apartment complexes that had been plagued by bed bugs in Raleigh. Scientists found that apartments with bed bug infestations that had recently been treated had 20x higher histamine levels than homes that weren’t infested for at least 3 years. This means that even after bed bug infestations have been treated, the histamine they produce can linger for unknown amounts of time.
Bed Bug Inspections & Treatment
Early intervention is key. Dealing with bed bugs in your home before they become a problem can make a complicated situation much simpler. All-Rite Pest Control is trained in the art of visual bed bug inspections and can spot an infestation or help to hinder one. If you suspect bed bugs are in your home or business, give us a call ASAP.