Everything You Should Know About Bed Bugs

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bed bug on fabric

Why Are They Back?

Bed bugs never really left. They are common in many nations around the world. We are seeing a resurgence in North America for several reasons:

  • Reduced use of pesticides
  • Target specific pesticides
  • Increase in global travel
  • Second-hand furniture

How Do You Get Them?

Bed bugs do not cling to people but they can accidentally get caught up in our belongings.

Because bed bugs readily hide in small crevices, they may accompany (as stowaways) in luggage, furniture, clothing, pillows, boxes, and other such objects. From there they can be introduced into a home, hotel, office, hospital, or any other buildings as well as modes of transportation.  Sanitation is not a factor in whether you get bed bugs or not.

How Do They Spread?

Once established, bed bugs tend to stay put but can spread due to any of the following:

  • Being disturbed (i.e. disassembling furniture or incorrect pesticide application)
  • A food shortage (i.e. no host) may cause them to migrate to neighboring rooms
  • A shortage of harborage spaces may cause them to migrate to neighboring rooms
  • Infested furniture dragged down a hall
  • Vacuum cleaners used for multiple rooms
  • Communal laundry machines

Can I Prevent Them?

There is no way to prevent bed bugs entirely; however, experts agree that early detection is the best way to prevent them from establishing themselves.  A bed bug dog is your best tool for early detection.

What Do They Look Like?

  • Oval shaped and flat
  • Six legs
  • Two antennae
  • Cannot fly
  • Short, golden body hair

size comparison of bed bug ages

Nymph                          Adult

adult vs nymph bed bug

– Clear to yellow color         – Reddish-brown color

-1-4mm long                      – 5-6mm long

Where Do They Hide?

Bed bugs can hide just about anywhere; this is what makes detecting them so difficult. Typical hiding places are:

  • Mattress seams
  • Behind pictures
  • Box springs
  • In curtains
  • Behind headboards
  • Behind baseboards
  • Bed frames
  • Sofas – Nightstands
  • Along carpet edges

Do They Bite?

Yes, all bed bugs bite. They feed on blood every 3 days when a host is present. If a host is absent bed bugs can go “dormant” for up to a year.

What Do Bites Look Like?

Everyone reacts differently to bed bug bites but the typical reaction is small, red, raised, itchy bumps. It is important to note that roughly 70% of people do not react to bed bug bites.  People can also experience a delay from the time they were bitten to the time it takes to react. This means you may not react to bites received the previous week until after you have returned home

bed bug bites on skin

Do They Carry Diseases?

Bed bugs can carry up to 28 human pathogens (disease-causing agents). However, all studies conducted to date indicate that there is no evidence to suggest that bed bugs are capable of transferring disease from one person to another.

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