Posted January 23, 2020
No one wants bed bugs around, but they are everywhere. Bed bug infestations are a serious problem affecting homes, hotels, hospitals, college dorms, nursing homes, daycare centers, and even public transportation.
The common bed bug almost disappeared for a few decades during the previous century, but they’re making a big comeback. Because of this and the fear surrounding them, lots of false rumors about bed bugs have arisen. Some people tend to believe that bed bugs only appear in low-income houses or filthy living areas. There is still a lot of misinformation regarding bed bug problems, but these pests do not discriminate in regard to household income and are found in both sanitary and unsanitary conditions.
Knowing the signs of an infestation is the first step to effective bed bug control. Here are the signs of bed bugs to watch out for and common bed bug hiding spots, whether you’re at home or in a hotel.
Bed bugs shed their exoskeleton five times during their lifecycle, each time growing bigger and leaving behind a translucent or reddish-brown shell. There can be thousands of molted skins in a large infestation.
Look for these where bed bugs aggregate and feed, such as mattress seams, under baseboards, and other cracks and crevices. Bed bugs typically try to stay close to their host, so most bed bugs will be found in the bedroom.
Fecal spots are small specks of digested blood that bed bugs have excreted. They resemble smears or stains and are dark brown or black. These can be found anywhere bed bugs hide, especially near the mattresses and beds.
When these bugs are infesting a mattress, patches of feces can be found on the corners or along the seams. If they have infested a piece of furniture, the residue can be found on stitching and in the creases or folds.
Bed bugs can also leave fecal stains on walls or under wallpaper. If you suspect you have an infestation but can’t find any evidence in your bed, try examining your walls from top to bottom for signs of the bugs’ presence.
Bed bugs are ectoparasites, meaning they live on the outside of their host and feed on its blood. There will often be blood stains on sheets, pillowcases, and other areas of infestation from bed bugs biting you.
Also, people will sometimes unconsciously squash a bug during the night.
Many people worry about bed bugs so much that they lose sleep over it — and who can blame them! “Don’t let the bed bugs bite,” is a saying for a reason.
The National Pest Management Association’s 2018 Bugs Without Borders survey found that bites are the most commonly reported sign of an infestation, according to 92 percent of respondents. More than half of people reach out for treatment after discovering red, itchy bites and welts on their bodies.
Even though they feed on humans, bed bug bites thankfully aren’t harmful to the majority of people, usually only causing minor allergic reactions. Unlike mosquitoes or ticks, bed bugs can’t transfer diseases to humans.
Some people immediately develop a skin reaction to the bites, while others may take two to three days before showing obvious symptoms or any symptoms at all. Because of the lack of symptoms shown, bites are not always the best gauge of an infestation. As the United States Environmental Protection Agency points out:
“Bites on the skin are a poor indicator of a bed bug infestation. Bed bug bites can look like bites from other insects (such as mosquitoes or chiggers), rashes (such as eczema or fungal infections) or even hives. Some people do not react to bed bug bites at all.”
When not feeding, bed bugs hide almost anywhere they fit. Around the bed, bed bugs can find hiding spots along seams and tags of the mattress and box spring, and in cracks on the bed frame and headboard. In extreme cases, bed bugs can even hide inside the walls or wall outlets.
Bed bugs have been known to travel up to 20 feet from established hiding places to feed on a host. If the room is heavily infested, you may find bed bugs in the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, in the folds of curtains, in drawer joints, under loose wallpaper and wall hangings, at the junctions where the wall and the ceiling meet, and in other small crevices.
When traveling, never set your baggage on the floor or bed of a hotel or motel room until you’ve checked for bed bugs in each of these locations. If you find any evidence of bed bugs, ask to move to a different room, or if possible, leave the hotel altogether.
If you are seeing signs of bed bugs in your home, contact a pest professional immediately. Bed bugs are easy to spread to other locations and can multiply rapidly, making them difficult to get rid of.
Fox Pest Control offers same-day emergency service and quality products to protect your home and family from bed bugs.* An infestation may feel embarrassing to a homeowner, but our knowledgeable Pest Pros have treated thousands of bed bug infestations and will answer any questions you have throughout the process.
Call us today and make your home pest-free, because No Bugs is Simply Better.
*Not all Fox Pest Control branch locations offer bed bug services.