Pest Education: Bed Bugs
How to control and identify one of the most destructive
types of infestations to humans and pets
Until recently, many households of this generation had never seen a bed bug and these pests were a rarity among pest control professionals. Bed bugs are increasingly being encountered in homes, apartments, hotels, motels, dormitories, shelters and modes of transportation.
It often seems that bed bugs arise from nowhere. The bugs are efficient hitchhikers and are usually transported in on luggage, clothing, beds, furniture, etc. Outbreaks can often be traced to international travel from countries where the bugs are common, such as Asia, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, or Central/South America. Bed bugs are small, cryptic, and agile, escaping detection after crawling into suitcases, boxes and belongings.
Bed Bug Infestations
Bed bugs are very resilient. Nymphs can survive months without feeding and the adults for more than a year. Infestations are unlikely to lessen by leaving the premises unoccupied. Bed bugs are active mainly at night, but can adjust their feeding times to your sleep schedule. During the daytime, they prefer to hide close to where people sleep. Their flattened bodies enable them to fit into tiny crevices.
Bed bugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but do tend to congregate in habitual hiding places. These areas are marked by dark spotting and staining, which is the dried excrement of the bugs. Also present will be eggs and eggshells, molted skins of maturing nymphs, and the bugs themselves. Another likely sign of bed bugs is rusty or reddish spots of blood on bed sheets or mattresses. Heavy infestations are sometimes accompanied by a “buggy” or sweetish odor. Initial infestations tend to be around beds, but the bugs eventually may become scattered throughout a room, occupying any crevice of protected location. They also can spread to adjacent rooms or apartments.
Bed bugs usually bite people at night while they are sleeping, but will also adjust their feeding schedule to fit a person's sleep pattern. They feed by piercing the skin with an elongated beak through which they withdraw blood, yet the person seldom knows they are being bitten. Symptoms thereafter vary with the individual. Some people develop and itchy welt or localized swelling, while others have little or no reaction. Unlike fleabites that occur mainly around the ankles, bed bugs feed on any bare skin exposed while sleeping (face, neck, body, shoulders, arms, hands, etc.). The welts and itching are often attributed to other causes such as a mosquito. For these reasons, infestations may go a long time unnoticed and can become quite large before being detected. It is important to recognize that not all bites or bite-like reactions are due to bed bugs.
Confirmation requires finding and identifying the bugs themselves. A common concern with bedbugs is whether they transmit disease, but thus far, their medical significance is mainly limited to the itching and inflammation from their bites. If you suspect you are getting bed bug bites, seek medical attention and schedule and contact us to schedule an inspection.
Facts About Bed Bugs
Latin Name: Cimex lectularius
Description: Bed bugs are parasitic insects of the cimicid family that feed exclusively on blood. Cimex lectularious, the common bed bug, is the best know, and prefers to feed on human blood.
Appearance: Bed bugs are small, brownish, flattened insects that feed solely on blood. Adult bed bugs are about ¼ inch long and reddish brown, with oval, flattened bodies. The immature nymphs resemble the adults, but are smaller.
Infestation: It often seems that bed bugs arise from nowhere. The bugs are efficient hitchhikers and are usually transported in on luggage, clothing, beds, furniture, etc. Outbreaks can often be traced to international travel from countries where the bugs are common, such as Asia, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, or Central/South America. Bedbugs are small, cryptic and agile, escaping detection after crawling into suitcases, boxes and belongings.
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Bed bugs are challenging pests to control. They hide in many tiny places, so inspections and treatments must be thorough. California American Exterminator Company’s Route Managers are specially trained to look for bed bugs and have an assortment of management tools at our disposal.
Contact us and we will arrange for one our technicians to reach out to you
One of our highly-trained technicians will perform a thorough inspection
Our specialized bed bug team will come out to provide your treatment
We will perform two inspections to ensure no evidence is found
Local pest specialists and trained office staff
Both heat and chemical treatment options available
Both heat and chemical treatment options available
Appointments made with your schedule in mind
A treatment plan designed with your needs in mind
Licensed and certified
pest control specialists
Window times available
1. Contact Us
Getting control of a bed bug infestation requires patience and cooperation among both our specially-trained team and you. It is expected that managers and residents will be prepared to assist our bed bug team in a number of ways. You will help us get control of an infestation by allowing access for inspections and treatments, properly preparing the treatment area, and remaining patient during the treatment process.
Information adapted from Michael F. Potter University of Kentucky/Entomology Department