Did you know that one in five Americans experience a bed bug infestation? It’s commonly thought that these pests are increasing in prevalence every year.
Many people think that the worst thing that can happen as a result of bed bugs is a few bites, similar to mosquitos. However, these resilient creatures can hide all over the home and spread like wildfire, feeding off of you and disturbing your sleep.
If you don’t act on a bed bug infestation immediately, or if you try to treat it yourself, you will end up stuck in the bed bug cycle of infestation. If you want to learn how to identify and get rid of a bedbug problem as soon as possible, read on to learn more!
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small, red-brown creatures. They look like apple seeds, small and dark brown in an elongated shape. They don’t have wings but can move quickly and hide in any small crack or crevice in the home.
They can hide in trim, bed frames, carpeting, or the edge of a mattress. They wake up at night and drink the blood of humans, so they like to live around beds, hence their moniker.
How Can You Bring Bed Bugs Home?
Despite the fact that their heads are smaller than the head of a pin, these creatures are smart and tricky. Most people know that you can bring them home from hotels, where they’ll hitch a ride in your clothing. However, you can bring them from anywhere.
If you brush against someone who has bed bugs on the subway, you can pick up a bed bug passenger. You can step on one, and it will hide in the tread of your shoe. You can get them just from sitting on an airplane.
All it takes is one egg or one bug coming home with you to start an infestation. A bed bug can lay about 250 eggs in its lifetime. You can bring home one bed bug, end up with 250, and then end up with exponentially more.
Life Cycle of a Bed Bug
Bed bugs start in small eggs that look like grains of rice but are half the size. These eggs are laid in crevices or cracks like the trim of your mattress or the baseboard of your wall.
The eggs hatch into young bed bugs, also called nymphs. The nymphs are smaller than adults and are not yet able to breed. When they reach adulthood, bed bugs begin breeding and feeding weekly.
Generally, the bed bug’s life cycle finishes in six months, and the bug will die. But, bed bugs can live up to a year with no food.
What Is the Bed Bug Cycle?
Between the three stages of a bed bug, egg, nymph, and adult, there is no single method that can resolve the issue. If you vacuum, you might only get the adults. Most pesticides only address one stage of bed bugs, leaving the rest to flourish.
The easiest to kill are adult bed bugs, but as soon as you kill those, a new generation will start biting.
This is what’s known as the bed bug cycle — when a homeowner tries to tackle their bed bug problem on their own using ineffective methods that don’t control the whole population.
How Do You Detect Bedbugs?
Detecting bed bugs is the first step to ending a bed bug infestation. Because their bites can be subtle, you can’t conclude that you have an infestation until you see a verified bed bug.
The bites are small and red, similar to mosquito bites. Baby bed bug bites might be even smaller. However, they have a unique pattern of three bites close together.
This is known as “breakfast, lunch, and dinner” for bed bugs, as they usually take three feedings at a time. If you notice any strange bites on your body, especially in clusters of three, it’s time to conduct a thorough search.
First, check your sheets. You’ll probably detect some small blood stains and brown smears, a combination of bed bug poop and the remnants of bed bugs you squished in your sleep.
Then you can check your mattress, furniture and walls near your bed, and even your curtains.
Bed bugs shed their skins as they transition between stages, so you’ll find hollow bed bug shells too. If you look hard enough, you’ll find a bug or two – or some of the colony. The colony is usually in a crack or crevice, and it is made up of eggs, shells, adults, and stains.
If you see even a single bed bug, you know you have an infestation. There’s never a case where it’s just one bug wreaking havoc.
How to Stop the Bed Bug Cycle
If you know you have bed bugs, it’s best to stop the infestation immediately before it gets too big. This means bed bug extermination.
Bed bug heat treatment is a great way to address a bed bug problem, as it kills all three stages of bed bug and usually requires only one visit from pest control. Following the heat treatment, it is recommended that you vacuum your furniture to get rid of the dead bugs.
Some people are worried about bed bug heat treatment damage and opt for a chemical treatment. There are lots of approved chemicals for dealing with bed bugs, which are applied directly to the site of infestation. They kill the bugs on contact.
However, chemical treatments require multiple visits to ensure that every bug is killed. This is especially true because they don’t kill the eggs, so multiple visits are necessary to completely stop the bed bug cycle.
You can learn more about choosing a bed bug treatment in this article.
Tips for Prevention
While you can’t always stop bed bugs, you can reduce your risk of an infestation. Don’t get second-hand furniture, and maintain a clean home. A clean home will make it easier to detect bed bugs and can help keep potential hiding spots clear.
Be Proactive About Bed Bugs
Despite your best effort, a bug might sneak through, and you might end up with an infestation. Although bed bugs are disgusting and stressful, dealing with them is not hopeless. With a visit or two from an exterminator, you can get your home back and get rid of any unwanted guests.
To learn more about how to prevent bed bugs and end the bed bug cycle, check out Custom Bed Bug for up-to-date and well-researched bed bug information. If you already have an infestation, we can exterminate it and help you live confidently in your home again. Reach out to us with any questions or to get a free quote!