Believe it or not, bed bugs have been around for thousands of years.
Archaeologists found fossilized bed bugs during the excavation of a site in Egypt, 3,550 years old.
They’ve also appeared in numerous literary sources over the years. Even though they are and always have been considered a nuisance, philosopher Pliny once wrote that bed bugs could heal ear infections, snake bites, and other ailments.
While they don’t have healing properties, they do have a resilience that is often hard to treat. 90% of bed bugs have mutations that make them resistant to the insecticides that were once able to eradicate them.
The question every bed bug victim ponders is, how fast do bed bugs spread?
Keep reading to find out how fast bed bugs spread and how to get rid of them before they multiply even further.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Has anyone ever said to you, “Sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite?”
When you’re a kid, you pass it off as a silly thing to say. But if and when you become victim to the blood-sucking bites of bed bugs, you know that the reality of bed bugs is no joke.
Bed bugs are oval-shaped, small, brownish insects. They live on the blood of animals or humans, and sometimes both.
As adults, their bodies are flat and about the size of a small apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies become a reddish color and swell up with blood.
They can’t fly, but they can move very quickly across floors and ceilings and up walls.
How Fast Do Bed Bugs Spread?
The immature bed bugs are called nymphs. They shed their skin 5 times before they reach maturity, and they require a blood meal before each shedding.
They can develop fully in as little as a month and produce 3 or more generations, all within a year.
All it takes is one pregnant female for your home to become infested. Even though a female only lays a few hundred eggs in her lifetime, she coats each egg with a sticky goo that makes it impossible for it to become dislodged.
The eggs hatch within 6 to 10 days, and as soon as they hatch, the immature bed bugs (nymphs) feed on human blood.
Plus, they can survive cold temperatures. Babies can go 3 months in between feedings, and adults can go for up to 6 months.
This means that bed bugs could infest a house for around 6 months without any food, if there are humans living in the home, this infestation could go on forever.
An established infestation means they’ve been in your home for 4 to 8 months.
At that point, you’ll be able to look for and find lots of fecal stains, and probably a good lot of engorged bed bugs.
A heavy infestation takes anywhere from 6 months to 1 year to develop. If conditions permit, the population will explode, and they can infest an entire building. This is why it’s so important to get the bugs terminated when you first recognize their arrival.
Where Do They Live?
Bed bugs usually live close to the area in which a person sleeps. And most of them live within 8 feet of that human or animal.
Even though many bed bugs live in beds, they are also known to infest and live in many different areas of a home, such as:
- In furniture and drawers
- Within baseboards
- Behind headboards or on bed frames
- In the ceiling and wall cracks
- On pillows
- In piles of clothes on the floor
- In drapes and curtains
- In boxes, luggage, or other bags
- In electrical outlets
- In clock radios, fans, and other electronics
- In picture frames and other wall art
- Between carpets and walls
Bed bugs can live on almost anything and everything, without you noticing.
When Do They Bite?
For the most part, bed bugs are active at night or in the dark. There have also been instances where dark venues like movie theaters or the retail store Hollister had customers being feasted on by bed bugs during their visits.
They pierce the skin and withdraw blood through their elongated beaks. They feed from 3 to 10 minutes until they’re engorged and then crawl away, unnoticed.
You probably won’t feel when they bite either. While they bite and feed, they inject saliva containing an anesthetic and an anti-clotting agent, so your blood flows freely.
Typically, they opt to bite the most exposed areas of the body, those not covered in clothing.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms?
It can be hard to know whether or not you have bed bugs in the beginning. But as they multiply the signs will be a lot more obvious and you’ll begin to itch and wonder.
Here are some of the symptoms and signs that you have bed bugs in your home:
- Red, itchy bites
- Marked arms and shoulders
- A musty odor
- Uncomfortable and itchy nights
- Bloodstains on your bed
If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms, start inspecting your home. Look under the mattress, particularly along the coiled edges. Check for blood and feces stains (reddish-brown spots).
Look for shed skins and sniff around for a musty odor.
Check behind headboards, along baseboards, and all of the places we mentioned earlier, where bed bugs live and hide.
How Can You Get Rid of Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are some of the hardest pests to get rid of. Plus, they are extremely resilient to chemical pesticides.
That’s the reason why so many spray companies have to return multiple times to eradicate a bed bug problem completely
Plus, as more eco-friendly and safe products get introduced to the market, who wants to blast their homes with harmful chemicals, especially when they aren’t entirely effective?
Anyone who has ever had bed bugs would rather get rid of them once and for all, which is why killing bed bugs with heat is growing in popularity.
Opting to use heat to get rid of bed bugs will kill them in every stage of their lives, so all it takes is one treatment.
When the ambient air is 120 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, all bed bugs die.
Heat penetrates every area where bed bugs hide, without the need for harmful chemicals.
Don’t Wait to Heat Your Bed Bugs Away
How fast do bed bugs spread? The answer is “too fast!”
If you’ve noticed any of the signs in your home or on your body, don’t wait to get rid of these pesky bloodsuckers, they’ll just continue to multiply.
Contact us today or get a free quote so that you can rest easy, knowing there are many bite-free nights of sleep in your future.