Bed Bug – Identification and Treatments
Bed louse, red coats, and chinches
Bed bugs are flat, six-legged insects that are typically 4-5mm long. They are oval and red-brown, but after a blood meal their bodies become swollen and turn a darker shade of red. Bed bugs can feed without their hosts noticing, however they leave behind red marks, skin rashes, and some people may have allergic reactions to their bites. Bed bugs are not known to transmit any diseases.
Bed bugs feed exclusively on blood and under certain conditions can survive up to a year without a meal. Bed bugs are most active at night when their host is sleeping. During the day they prefer to hide in cool dark places like sheets, mattress seems, furniture, and behind baseboards. Bed bug populations can grow rapidly as females can lay five eggs a day and 200-500 eggs over a lifetime. The eggs hatch in around two weeks into bed bug nymphs, which require a blood meal and an ideal room temperature in order to mature into adults. Bed bugs usually live for around 6 months, but under ideal conditions can live for over a year.
Beg bugs can enter your home by hiding on luggage, clothes, or even human bodies. It is important to be cautious while traveling and inspect any rooms you are staying in as it is not uncommon for hotels to have bed bug problems. Bed bugs can also live in offices, stores, and gyms.
There are several ways to identify a bed bug infestation other than just finding the adult bugs. You can look for the skin sheds of the juvenile bugs, black/brown feces, or red marks on your skin. Any of these things can indicate a possible infestation. If you suspect your home is infested you should immediately wash and dry all your bedding in hot water and remove all clutter in the infested areas (bed bugs could hide here). You should then call a pest control professional to help determine the severity of the situation and start a treatment plan. It is important to do this as soon as you suspect an infestation in your home because the worse the situation gets, the more it will cost to fix it.