As the busy summer travel season begins, we need to be concerned about bringing home unwanted stowaways in our luggage. In recognition of Bed Bug Awareness Week (June 5-11), here are some tips on how to identify bed bugs and what to look for if you think you may have encountered bed bugs while traveling.
Knowing the early signs of bed bugs and taking action quickly can prevent an infestation.
Bed bugs are flat, oval-shaped, wingless insects. They are reddish-brown in color and approximately the size of an apple seed. True to their name… they hide in the crevices of mattresses, box springs, headboards, and bed frames. They rely on blood meals to survive, and humans are a primary food source.
Many people first discover they have bed bugs when they wake up with bites on their arms, legs, face, or neck. Multiple, itchy bites usually occur in a single area (often in a zigzag pattern). Along with bites, another early sign of an infestation is blood on your sheets – either from bites or from a bed bug that “voids” during or after a meal.
Once bed bugs have taken up residence in your home, you may see brown specks (excrement) on your sheets, as well as yellowish-white eggs and shed skin casings. A home that has an infestation will eventually develop a distinctive smell as the bed bugs release their pheromones into the environment.
Bed bugs are notorious for finding their way into travelers’ luggage. The best way to avoid an infestation is to deal with potential stowaways in the first place. If you think you are staying in an infested location, be sure to shake out your belongings before packing to go home and carefully check the zippers, seams, and corners of your luggage.
If you suspect you may have brought home bed bugs, watch for evidence of their presence. You may know right away if you notice bugs, have been bitten, or if you see any of the other telltale signs.
Unfortunately, you can have bed bugs for weeks, or even months, without being aware of their presence. So, it is important to remain vigilant for the potential lifespan of a bed bug – which is six months to a year.
To determine if you have bed bugs, you will need to conduct a thorough and methodical search of all the places bed bugs like to hide. Using a flashlight, inspect your sheets, mattress, headboard, and every nook and cranny of your bed for bugs, blood spots, eggs, droppings, or other evidence of an infestation.
Be sure to check every seam and tuft of your mattress and every joint of your bed. Since bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed, they can hide in very small spaces.
Once you have examined your bed, do the same with every other upholstered piece of furniture – like couches, recliners, chairs, and ottomans. Examine every seam and underneath all cushions.
You may wish to broaden your search to carpets, rugs, curtains, around your baseboards, and in the corners of your rooms. This is by no means a complete list of where bed bugs may be found. They have been known to lay eggs in lamps, electrical outlets, home electronics, and behind loose flaps of wallpaper.
A professional inspector will know where to look for evidence of bed bugs and will be able to save you the time, effort, and aggravation of doing it yourself.
To stop their spread, bed bugs must be treated at the first sign of an infestation. The most effective way to battle bed bugs is to contact an experienced professional and let them put their expertise to work. You don’t have to fight this fight alone, and Fox Pest Control is on your team. Call us to schedule a consultation today.
*Call us today before 2 p.m. (Monday-Friday) for a same day, zero-obligation inspection and estimate or to provide Long Island pest control & extermination services near you.