What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small, reddish-brown insects that are about the size and color of apple seeds.
They live indoors and feed only on human (and sometimes other animal) blood.
They don’t eat crumbs, skin cells or anything else.
Bed bugs are flat and very good at hiding in small cracks.
They don’t have wings, and they don’t jump. The smaller, younger stages (nymphs) start out tan and darken as they grow to the adult stage.
Bed bugs that have recently fed will be swollen and reddish. Bed bugs don’t carry diseases, but their bites can cause itchy skin reactions.
People who are worried about being bitten, or that they have bed bugs in their homes, also may be anxious and lose sleep.
Bed bugs can be found all over world: in many cities and towns, in homes, stores, offices and public places. Bed bugs feed on the blood of animals or birds, but they prefer people.
Adult bed bugs can live for up to a year without feeding. Usually bed bugs live for 6 to 9 months.
The eggs hatch about 10 days after they are laid.
They usually hide during the day and come out at night to feed. Bed bugs can’t fl y or jump, but can walk as quickly as an ant.
Bed bugs are attracted to body heat, and the air people exhale.
Bed bugs can travel from place to place on clothing, and personal belongings like luggage, knapsacks, computer bags and purses. Bed bugs are not known to spread any human disease.
Are there Bed Bugs in My Home?
Bed bugs are hard to find! They are very small and usually only come out at night.
They often hide in the seams of mattresses and box springs, and along the edges of beds and other furniture. Before you find a bed bug, you might find the
signs of bed bugs:
Itchy red bumps in your body
Black dots on your sheet, blanket, pillow, mattress
Blood stains on your sheet, blanket, pillow, mattress
Dead bugs on your bed or in bedroom
Remember: many people don’t react to being bitten and won’t have red itchy bites on their body
Am I Being Bitten By Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs feed on human blood, but will also bite other animals.
Bed bugs usually bite at night, and will bite all over a human body, especially around the face, neck, chest, arms and hands.
Most people feel very itchy where bed bugs bite, but some feel nothing at all.
You might see bites and red welts in groups of two or three. A doctor can prescribe special cream to help with the inflammation and itching
I Think I Have Bed Bugs! What Do I Do?
If you suspect you have bed bugs or have found signs of them in your home:
- Do a full inspection of your bed
- Do a full inspection of your bedroom and other rooms where you spend a lot of time, watching television, using the computer, or talking on the phone
- Inform your landlord right away
- Work with your landlord to schedule professional pest control treatments
- For good results make sure you ‘prepare’ your home properly before treatments
- Make sure your home is prepared and treated
What Can I Do To Keep Bed Bugs Away?
Do not pick up used furniture – it may have bed bugs living on it or in it.
Do not have too many belongings in your home – extra clutter makes getting rid of bed bugs harder.
Use white sheets on your bed. Bed bugs, blood spots, and bed bug poop is easier to spot on white sheets.
When you take off your sheets to wash them, check your mattress for signs of bed bugs.
If your friends have bed bugs, try to socialize with them outside of their homes or change your clothing when you get home from being at their house.
Bag and seal your clothing until you can put your clothing in a dryer for at least 20 minutes.
Make sure you seal your bag very well, by tying it up twice and sealing the top with tape.
Also inspect your shoes and anything that you may have brought with you for signs of live bed bugs and eggs.
Bed Bug Do’s and Don’ts
✔Do something sooner, rather than later – the sooner you do something the sooner you will be able to get rid of them
✔Notify your landlord and keep letting your landlord know if you continue to see bed bugs even after treatments
✔Make sure that a professional pest control company sprays your home as soon as possible
✔Make sure that your home is properly prepared before the treatment
✔Do get a mattress cover for your mattress and box spring
✘Don’t throw away all your furniture – bed bugs can move into a new bed too!
✘Don’t panic: bed bugs are very annoying and stressful, but not a health risk
✘Don’t try to get rid of them yourself! Home remedies, such as kerosene, are often dangerous and may not work
Why Should I Bother to Prepare.
Isn’t Spraying Enough?
Very Important Reasons to Prepare Your Home for spraying before Treatment by a Pest Control Company
- Spraying kills bugs on contact, but not the eggs.
The egg need to be vacuumed up
A Pest Control Company needs access to baseboards, electrical outlets and cracks and crevices to apply the chemical treatment. Items blocking access to these spaces will reduce the effectiveness of the treatment.
- Bed bugs can live for up to 1 year without eating.
They hide in cracks and crevices and may not come out after a spray. Any bed bugs left in your home will feed again, lay more eggs, and these eggs will hatch into baby bed bugs.
** Inspect the residence to determine the extent of the infestation
** If possible, inspect other units in the same building
** Follow the best practices for bed bugs developed by the Pest Man Pest Control
** Provide vacuuming and pesticide treatment twice within 2 to 3 week period
** Caulk and seal units if landlords aren’t able to do so
** Treat with spray, dust, and mechanical methods, as well as steaming whenever possible
** If possible, inspect other units in the same building
** Talk about bed bugs with others and help to remove the myths and embarrassment
Treat With Pesticides
If you can afford it, hiring a pest management professional may be a better choice than applying insecticides yourself.
Professionals are trained in how to safely and effectively use pesticides in a home.
Note:Even if you decide to hire a professional, you still need to do most of the steps described earlier
Types & Uses of Insecticides
Several insecticidal dusts are labeled for bed bug control. Many dusts kill bed bugs by damaging their exoskeleton (hard outer skin).
These dusts work very well because bed bugs are always susceptible to being damaged by the dust particles.
Apply insecticidal dusts in protected areas where there is very little risk of the dust drifting into open areas.
Dusts are the best choice for treating cracks where bed bugs like to hide, such as behind headboards, along the bed frame, and under the baseboards. If dust is applied in these areas, the bed bugs will become coated in the dust and won’t be able to escape. Dusts can be puffed in behind electrical outlets and switch plates and used in the empty spaces behind walls to catch bed bugs travelling from one room to another.
One of the disadvantages of dusts is that they can’t be used in as many places as liquids. It’s important to follow the label directions on where to apply the dust and how much to use.
This is because dusts are easily moved on air currents, and people could breathe them in.
It is not recommended or safe to heavily cover surfaces with dusts. A thin layer of dust is effective.
If there is exposed dust, wipe it up with a wet rag and dispose of the rag and dust in the trash.
Silica Dust and Diatomaceous Earth
Silica dust and Diatomaceous Earth (DE) are made from products found in nature. Silica dust is a powder made from sand or quartz, and DE is a powder made of the fossilized remains of a kind of algae.
These products are popular for bed bug control because they are natural and don’t contain any synthetic insecticides.
The downside is that they don’t work as quickly as synthetic insecticides – it may take several days for the exposed bugs to die.
Silica and DE kill bed bugs by damaging their exoskeleton. Make sure you’re buying silica or DE that is labeled for use as an insecticide.
Note that although silica and DE are natural, they can still damage the lungs of any person or animal that Insecticides are chemicals that are made to kill insects.
Different types of insecticides may be better for certain areas than for others. For example, insecticidal dusts are best for under baseboards, and liquids or aerosols might be best for the undersides of dresser drawers.
Liquid insecticides don’t work as well as dusts for killing bed bugs
Dusts should be your first choice in any area where they can be used; only use liquid insecticides for areas where you can’t use dust. Liquid insecticides come in many ready-to-use formulas, which means no mixing is required. Some liquids are sold in concentrated forms.
With these, you have to figure out how much water to add to cut them to the right strength, mix them with water and then place the solution into a spray bottle or other applicator.
If you spray the bed bugs themselves with a liquid insecticide they will usually die quickly.
Liquid sprays also leave behind chemicals that are meant to kill bed bugs after the product has dried. Unfortunately, bed bugs don’t usually die just from walking across a sprayed area.
They need to sit on the dried product – sometimes for several days – to absorb enough to kill them.
This is why most label directions recommend that you only spray cracks, baseboards, seams and smaller areas where bed bugs like to hide. For instance, don’t spray the entire floor of a room, or the surfaces of beds or furniture, with a liquid insecticide. Follow the label use directions.
Aerosol products are insecticides made with a propellant that allows them to be sprayed out of a can into cracks and crevices.
Many different insecticides are sold in aerosol form, and each insecticide has different directions about where the product can be used.
For example, one aerosol label may say that the product can be sprayed directly on an infested mattress, while another product label doesn’t allow the spray to be applied on fabric surfaces.
Read and follow the use directions on the label.
Like all liquid insecticides, aerosols work best when you directly spray the live bed bugs with the product.
However, a few aerosols leave residues that are active for several days after they’ve been applied. Natural or Repellent Sprays
Many products can kill bed bugs “on contact.” Many spray and liquid insecticides on the market claim to be “all-natural” and say they will both kill and repel bed bugs.
In fact, these products may only kill bed bugs that are sprayed directly with the spray.
Once such a spray has dried, it will have no killing effect on bed bugs.
You could use one of these sprays to kill bed bugs that you find during your inspection, but crushing the bugs or vacuuming them up works just as well.
These sprays have only a limited usefulness, and will not keep bed bugs from biting you.
Avoid purchasing “natural products” that aren’t registered with either the EPA or MDARD because they may not be effective, labeled correctly or safe.
Are the Bed Bugs Gone?
No matter what cleanup methods you use, some adult bed bugs and eggs may still survive.
In fact, it usually takes more than one insecticide application to get rid of all of the bed bugs.
You may have to use different combinations of management methods several times over several weeks. Some of the management methods, like inspection and vacuuming, should be repeated every few days. Reapply insecticides according to the label instructions (normally every two to four weeks) until you haven’t had any bites and haven’t seen any bed bugs or new signs of them for two weeks.
A treatment may fail for some or all of the reasons that follow:
» The home has too much clutter for the bed bugs to hide in.
» The bed bugs may have been in a different room or unit that wasn’t treated. You (or your landlord) may need to inspect nearby rooms and units for bed bugs. (Remember to inspect for bed bugs before you treat a room or unit so you don’t treat a space that doesn’t need it.)
» An insecticide didn’t work or was applied in the wrong places.
» Infested items were brought back into the room or home
Monitoring bed bug activity with sticky traps and interceptors can give you an early warning of the need to attack the problem again.
Try not to be too discouraged if you have to repeat the whole inspection and treatment process.
You can get back to the point where you go to bed without worrying about the bed bugs biting.
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