Bed bugs are tiny, rust colored pests that feed on humans. As they progress through their lifecycle, bed bugs appear differently. Adult bed bugs are between 5-7 mm and about the size of an apple seed. Their bodies are long, flat, and oval-shaped if they haven’t fed recently or reddish-brown and rounder if recently fed. They have wings, but cannot fly, four-part antennas, and a three-segmented beak. If you have a good sense of smell, you may notice an odor that is musty and sweet if bed bugs are nearby. You may think bed bugs are dangerous, but they are not known to spread disease or illness. They bite when they feed off of human hosts and are especially tough to get rid of when they infest homes. This is why they’re considered to be a serious pest for homeowners and business owners.
How can you prevent bed bugs?
In some instances, this is easy to do if you know how to do it ahead of time. For example, after you travel, wash all your clothing and dry it on the high heat cycle in the dryer. You need to expose bed bugs to temperatures of 120 degrees for 20 minutes or more to kill them. While staying in a hotel, it’s also important to keep your luggage and belongings elevated instead of sitting on furniture or the bed. Place luggage onto folding metal luggage racks or into the bath tub to avoid bed bugs. Luggage is one of the top carriers of bed bugs from a hotel back to your home. To learn more about bed bug prevention and tips you can try on your own, click here.
How does a person get bed bugs?
Bed bug infestations spread when an individual comes into contact with bed bugs and unknowingly brings them somewhere else. They are transported as stowaways, hiding in luggage, couches, beds, pillows, or backpacks to name a few. Bed bugs cling to moving items like briefcases and can easily fall off, allowing them to relocate, spread, and breed. It’s also a common occurrence that bed bugs lay eggs on these items. As the host moves, they can fall off and hatch far away from where they originally came from. It’s important to remember that bed bugs can be anywhere. It doesn’t matter if your home is immaculate or if you have a cluttered apartment. Bed bugs do not discriminate. Residents that rent out their home in the Poconos are especially susceptible to bed bug infestations because of the high amount of guests coming in and out all season. If you think you have bed bugs or your renters inform you that they suspect bed bugs, call us as soon as possible for an inspection. Bed bugs can be bad for your business. A bed bug sighting leads to a poor customer experience which will likely result in bad reviews and a negative reputation.
Can bed bugs live in the winter?
Bed bugs begin to die at temperatures below 0°F. Exposure to this temperature has to be consistent for at least 4 days to kill off these adaptable pests. Throwing your mattress or suitcase outdoors in the winter will not do the trick. The heat from direct sunlight and moisture that is naturally in the air won’t allow bed bugs to truly reach a freezing point. Opening up the windows to your house on an especially cold January day won’t help either.
Bed bugs do not hibernate. As a form of preservation, when faced with freezing temperatures, bed bugs can go into what’s called “diapause.” During this suspended state, bed bugs are more dormant than anything, preserving energy and halting development until conditions become livable again. Bed bugs do not live in colonies outdoors, so they usually don’t have to deal with extreme cold. Because they feed off of live, warm-blooded hosts that live indoors at comfortable temperatures, diapause is possible, but not something that’s frequently utilized or needed.
What’s the difference between bed bug and bat bugs?
Bed bugs and bat bugs look almost identical in body shape and color, but the key difference is the bat bug’s hair length is longer on the upper covering of their thorax. It is very difficult to see this without the use of a microscope, so it is highly recommended that a trained professional makes the determination between bugs.
Another key difference of bat bugs and bed bugs is their location. Most bed bugs can be found within a few feet of their feeding host, which includes mattresses, headboards, baseboards, and other furniture close by. Bat bugs may be seen in a few of these places as well, but are mainly found in areas that harbor bats, such as attics. They may be seen up on ceilings and on the walls, but usually stay within the vicinity of their food source. Some individuals do not even react to bed bug bites. That’s why it’s especially challenging to identify a bed bug infestation solely based off of bite marks.
How to Avoid Bringing Home Bed Bugs From Vacation
In a survey by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), 75% of pest control professionals indicated that they have encountered infestations of bed bugs in hotels and motels. The NPMA recommends the following tips for bed bug prevention when traveling:
- At hotels, pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for telltale stains or spots. If you see anything suspect, notify management and change rooms/establishments immediately.
- Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in sofas/chairs. If any pests are spotted, change rooms/ establishments immediately.
- If you do need to change rooms, be sure that you do not move to a room adjacent and/or directly above/below the suspected infestation. Bed bugs can easily hitchhike via housekeeping carts, luggage and even through wall sockets. If the infestation is spreading, it typically does so in the rooms closest to the origin.
- Consider placing your suitcase in a plastic trash bag or protective cover during the duration of your trip to ensure that bed bugs cannot take up residence there prior to departure
Remember: bed bugs travel by hitching rides. After your trip, inspect your suitcases before bringing them into the house. Vacuum your suitcase thoroughly before storing away. Consider using a garment hand steamer to steam your luggage, which will kill any bed bugs or eggs that may have hitched a ride home. Wash all of your clothes, even those that have not been worn, in hot water to ensure that any bed bugs that may have made it that far are not placed into your drawers/closet.
How do I know if I have bed bugs?
The most reliable way to confirm you have bed bugs is to contact Seitz Bros. for an on-site inspection. However, there are key warning signs that you may have an infestation:
- Going to bed and waking with bites, welts or rashes. Bite marks may appear in a rows and clusters.
- Dark spotting or blood droplets on mattresses or bedding. These are fecal matter that bed bugs excrete while digesting a blood-meal.
- Visible observation of eggs, molted insect skin, or the insect. The failure to locate a bed bug does not indicate they are not present. Adult bed bugs are difficult to locate, and immature bed bugs can be difficult to see due to their size.
I think I have an infestation, what should I do?
Upon discovering an infestation, immediately contact Seitz Bros. to evaluate your problem. Do not discard bedding and mattresses as this can spread the infestation throughout the house and new furniture can quickly become infested. Also, do not attempt to resolve the issue yourself as improper treatment could spread the problem throughout you home and make it more challenging for bed bug professionals to get under control. DIY usually makes things worse.
To learn more about our bed bug services, click here.
Can cleaning companies exterminate bed bugs?
In most cases, cleaning companies are contracted by a homeowner or a pest control company before the arrival of a professional bed bug removal company. The common misconception by some homeowners who suspect bed bugs is that these companies can get rid of active bed bugs without chemicals (or a pest control professional), and can simply clean out the bed bugs with their cleanup services.
The short comings of the bed bug cleaning service include vacuuming and putting linens into the dryer on high heat. While this will get rid of visible bed bugs, it still does not address the main areas where they live and breed. Another issue with cleaning companies is that they often unknowingly mishandle linens. Shaking them or flinging them onto the floor can move the bed bugs and cause the infestation to relocate or even spread.
The approach that most professional bed bug cleaning companies take is not to get rid of bed bugs, but instead, to prepare your bedroom for professional bed bug pest control. While reducing clutter, vacuuming the room, and putting pillows and bed sheets into a dryer on high heat can help with bed bug infestations, it’s not a substitute for professional bed bug pest control. Some people reach out to cleaning companies in hopes of avoiding treatments from pest control companies which can be pricey (depending on the severity of the infestation) and also trying to avoid pesticides (something we will go into later.) Unfortunately, there is no “quick fix” or shortcut when it comes to effective bed bug elimination.
How does Seitz Bros. eliminate bed bug infestations?
Bed Bugs are incredibly difficult to get rid of, and it is almost impossible to accomplish without the help of a professional. Since bed bugs are capable of going months at a time without eating, it can be hard to tell if you have truly eliminated the problem without confirmation from an expert. Leaving your home or sleeping somewhere other than your bed will not get rid of bed bugs and often will cause them to spread to new areas. Luckily, Seitz Bros. has decades of bed bug elimination and removal experience. We provide two programs for bed bug elimination that can be selected based on your needs.
Seitz Bros. can eliminate all stages of bed bugs and render a property usable within only 12 hours! Rely on the top bed bug professionals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to get the problem fixed quickly, below we describe how the service works and what you can expect. Our skilled and trained bed bug technicians use specialized equipment to elevate normal room temperature and adjust temperatures throughout the process to achieve mortality of all bed bugs in any stage, including the eggs.
Our Conventional Bed Bug Treatment targets bed bug infestations with several products over a longer period of time. This treatment is a great option for those that are adverse to heat and would prefer recurring services. Several treatments take place over the course of a 4-6 week period based on the severity of the infestation.
To learn more about our bed bug elimination plans, click here.