Have you ever woken up from a refreshing sleep to see a disgusting bug on your sheets? It happens to the best of us, and it’s a great way to ruin anyone’s day. All you can think about the rest of the day and night is whether or not you’ve got bed bugs!
It’s important to know what a bed bug looks like so you can properly determine the next steps to take. Here’s a quick guide on identifying bed bugs.
What a Bed Bug Looks Like
We can all agree that bed bugs are gross. Unfortunately, gross isn’t a good enough descriptor to identify them.
Mature bed bugs are a red-brown color. The nymphs, or babies, are a more pale-tan color and far more translucent. The baby ones can be a lot harder to spot than adults thanks to their size.
Even adult bed bugs are small. They can reach around 1/4-inch in size, and may grow a little larger if they’ve recently taken blood. But young bed bugs can be as small as 1.3 millimeters!
Bed bugs become bright red and engorged when they take blood. When they’re full of blood, they might be the size of an apple seed. If you see something that looks like a bed bug but red, that likely is true and means it’s eaten recently.
Bed bugs have six legs and long, wide abdomens. They have small heads, a set of feelers, and ridges running horizontally down their backs.
Bed bug eggs are about the size of a poppy seed. They’re clear and tube-shaped, almost like small, smooth pieces of rice. Considering their tiny size, you very likely won’t notice these eggs.
Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not there, though. Bed bugs lay about an egg per day, and these eggs take around 10 days to hatch.
That might sound low. But due to their tiny size you never know how long bed bugs have been laying eggs when you see the first adult.
If you see a bug on or around your bed that looks like this, you may have a bed bug issue. So now what?
What to Do If You See a Bed Bug
Your first instinct might be to kill the bed bug, but you should resist that urge. Instead, get a cup or jar and capture the bug. That way you can have a better look at it, get a second opinion, and show it to an exterminator as proof of presence.
Try examining the bed bug with a magnifying glass, especially if it’s a baby. This will help you decide whether it’s a bed bug, or another common household pest.
The next step is to do a deep clean of your bedroom. You’ll want to clean more than just the bed, too. Bed bugs like to lay their eggs in quiet spots free of distraction, and often choose an area around the bed.
This includes window sills and baseboards, too. As bed bugs grow up, they shed their exoskeletons. You may be able to identify shed exoskeletons around your room before ever seeing a live bed bug.
Clean all your sheets, your curtains, your linens, and even stuffed animals. Anything warm and made of fabric-like material is at risk. Put them in a high-heat dryer to make sure you kill all those bed bugs dead.
Scrub your mattress and mattress seams, and then give it a good vacuum. Remove the vacuum bag right away and put it in an outdoor garbage receptacle. You don’t want any bugs escaping!
Then it’s time to call in a professional. Reaching out to an exterminator sooner rather than later will ensure that the bed bug infestation doesn’t become out of hand. This is the only real way to get rid of your unwanted visitors.
Exterminate the Bed Bugs
Bed bug infestations can happen fast, and they can happen right under your nose. In a lot of cases, you’ll need to hire an exterminator. There’s no shame in this, and it’s important to get to it ASAP.
One interesting way exterminators can confirm you have bed bugs is with dogs. Dogs can be trained to sniff out bed bugs, thus confirming with incredible accuracy if you have them or not. But confirming their existence is just step one.
Bed bugs can be a tricky bug to take care of. They’re resistant to many pesticides, so a lot of store-bought remedies don’t work. One thing that does work, however, is heat.
Bed bugs cannot live in temperatures between 120-122 degrees Fahrenheit.
Top-tier bed bug exterminators use thermal remediation to take care of the issue. This method heats up the infected area to the perfect 120-122 degrees Fahrenheit. Any bed bug that’s exposed to the heat will die along with their eggs.
If you do an online search of thermal bed bug remediation, you’ll likely see some DIY products you can purchase. These can work great as preventative tools, but they will hardly provide enough heat throughout the house to kill all of the bed bugs.
Home bed bug heaters are often temporary solutions at best, though. However, using them on items you have traveled with before introducing these items back into your home can help prevent bed bug infestations.
Live a Bed Bug Free Life
The first step to handling a bed bug infestation is knowing what a bed bug looks like. The next step is to take care of it as quickly as possible. The longer you wait the worse your infestation will get, and the harder it will be to treat.
Don’t let bed bugs run your life for even a moment. Capture any bug you see on your bed and investigate the sucker using the description above. You’ll be sleeping soundly again in no time.
If you’re looking for reliable bed bug control in the Washington, Idaho, Utah, or Oregon area, see what Custom Bed Bug can do for you. Contact us with any comments or questions.