Understanding bed bugs’ life cycle
First off, you need to understand their life cycle and characteristics. Bed bug eggs hatch around six to ten days. Young bed bugs seek blood. Before reaching adulthood, nymphs search for a host to suck about five times as they shed their exoskeleton and grow. They can feed at least once a day, or once before each molt. In one year, there may be three or four generations of bed bugs.
The challenge in searching for bed bugs
Their bites are often mistaken for mosquito bites, and most people do not have allergic reactions to their bites. Thus, they go undetected for a long time.
Another challenge in searching for them is that they are nocturnal creatures. Searching for them during the day is extremely difficult, unless you know where to look for them.
Becoming a bed bug sniffer or what to look at
How bed bugs actually look
Bed bugs are extremely tiny. They have flat bodies, brownish in color, and oval in shape. After feeding on blood however, they turn red and swell up. Unlike some common household pests (mosquitos, flies), they don’t have wings, but they are agile and can jump from floor to wall and ceiling.
Though you can easily see adults with a naked eye, as they are almost the size of an apple seed, the young ones and eggs are even smaller, making them much harder to find. However, they leave a trace of their presence. Eggs are white and about one millimeter in length, they stick together in clusters.
So how to tell if you have bed bugs?
Here are seven signs to look for if you want to know if you have bed bugs at home:
If your room smells musty and you can’t understand why, then it must be bed bugs. Bed bugs release certain “alarm” pheromones that often smell like almonds, coriander, cilantro, or raspberry. They release these pheromones when threatened. In severe infestations however, the smell is often unpleasant – rusty and moldy, as they get mixed together with dead bed bugs, excrement, shed shell casings, etc.
Bed bug bites are often noticeable in the morning, when light hits your skin. This is because they feed at night. They usually bite the hands, arms, and legs. The challenge with the bites however is that many may not exhibit bed bug bites on their skin.
For those that show the bite marks, they are small and bumpy, red in color, and appear in clusters, around 3 to 4 bites in a line.
Some people however, are extremely sensitive to their bites and may exhibit allergic reactions such as severe itchiness, blisters, painful swellings, and even fever with flu-like symptoms. In this case, you need to seek medical help as soon as possible.
The blood stains
After the bites come the blood stains. If you notice tiny drops of blood stains on your sheets, pillows, or clothing, then there’s a good chance that it is caused by bed bugs.
Blood stains happen when you crush or squeeze them as you sleep. This is because their flat bodies become engorged after feeding on your blood. This doesn’t mean you kill them though, as blood simply leaks out of them and they can feed on you again.
Sometimes the stains are caused by bed bug bites. Their saliva contains anticoagulants, keeping your blood from clotting as they feed through your skin. Thus, after they feed, the bitten spots may continue to bleed for a short while.
Bed bug eggs are tiny, long, oval, pearly white, and pinhead in size, about 1mm. They are visible to the naked eye, but can be hard to notice. They can be seen loosely tucked in various surfaces and stuck in crevices between wooden surfaces and fabrics.
They can be anywhere, as pregnant bed bugs tend to wander around and lay their eggs anywhere.
Bed bug shell casings are the most reliable indicator of an infestation. The shells are yellowish-brown in color, often translucent and hollow. They come in various sizes, and are often easier to find than the bed bugs themselves.
Bed bug feces are dark brown or black in color and about the size of the tip of a pen. They resemble magic marker stains and are usually found clustered in one area, but they can be anywhere from the sheets to clothing as well.
They are difficult to wash out of fabric, as water causes the feces to smear.
The bed bugs themselves
Bed bugs are about the same size as a flaxseed, brown in color (turns red after feeding on blood), and flat (swells up after feeding). They have two antennae and six legs.
Since they are nocturnal, they can be tricky to find during the day. They also do not like to wander around, unless they have to feed.
Knowing where to look
Where bed bugs usually hide
Bed bugs tend to stay in one place unless disturbed. They do not make hives or nests, but they tend to live together. When not feeding, they hide in different places inside your house and they can fit through the tightest of spaces. Their favorite place is around the bed, through the cracks of the headboard and bed frame, the seams and tags of your mattress, and near the piping.
You can also find them between cushions of chairs and couches, in the folds of curtains, inside drawer joints, appliances, and even electrical receptacles. Some also hide at the junction where the ceiling and wall meet.
As soon as you confirm the presence of bed bugs, it is best to call the pros to deal with them. Getting rid of bed bugs requires a strategic approach, along with special skills and equipment to not only rid your home of these nasty creatures, but also keep them at bay. Getting the help of experienced exterminators is generally the safest and the most effective way.
Call AccuRat and book your free inspection today
You can always contact us when you are dealing with a bed bug infestation, even if you are unsure about the species. You can do it directly through our website or call a member of our staff and we will send you a technician as soon as possible. Don’t let bed bugs control your life, let us control and get rid of the infestation. We stand behind our work offering you a professional service as well as a warranty after each treatment.