Bed Bugs

What do bed bugs look like?

What a bed bug looks like is going to depend on a couple of factors, what life-stage they are currently in and if they have recently had a blood meal or not.

  • Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed.  They are flat, oval-shaped and brown when they’ve not had a recent blood meal.  After feeding they are will lose their flat appearance and turn a reddish-brown color. 
  • Bed bug nymphs are smaller than adult bed bugs and are translucent in color. 
  • Bed bug eggs are about the size of a pinhead and are white in color. If they are more than five days old, they will be marked by an eyespot.

bed bug found in a commercial coastal resort

Do bed bugs bite?

Yes, bed bugs bite. In order to survive, bed bugs must take a blood meal.  Primarily nocturnal, bed bugs will remain hidden during the day and emerge at night to feed while their food source sleeps.  Bed bugs feed by piercing the skin of their victim and sucking out blood through an elongated beak. The feeding process is painless and usually lasts for about 5-10 minutes.

Are bed bugs dangerous?

Not considered dangerous to human health, bed bugs are certainly stressful and can cause anxiety and embarrassment for those affected.  While itchy, bed bug bites are not known to transmit disease.

What are the signs of a bed bug problem?

multiple bed bugs on a mattress encasement

Bed bug bites
If you wake up with tiny red bites on your arms, legs, or other exposed skin, it’s possible you have a bed bug problem.  We recommend looking for other evidence as there are other insects capable of biting.

Live bugs
The first place you should check for live bugs is on your mattress and box spring, paying close attention to seams.  Bed frames, and upholstered furniture should also be inspected as well as nightstands and other furniture. 

Blood or black streaks
It’s very common to find tiny blood spots and streaks of black excrement on linens, pillows, mattresses, and box spring.  Bed bugs are often crushed while they feed on their victims which is why you might see blood.

Shed exoskeletons
As they grow, bed bugs will shed their exoskeletons.  They’re often found on mattresses and box springs as well as in other hiding spots.

Odor
In the case of severe infestation, you may detect an unusual musty odor.

How did I get bed bugs?

First, bed bug infestations can happen to anyone; these biting insects do not discriminate and are just as likely to infest high-end homes and establishments that cater to a higher socioeconomic group as any other environment.  The one thing that must be present is people - they really need that blood meal.  If you have a bed bug problem, it could be that:

  • You brought bed bugs home from vacation or a business trip
  • Your out of town guests introduced them
  • Your college kid brought them home along with the dirty laundry
  • You picked them up at the movie theater, mall, or other public place
  • You purchased secondhand furniture or possessions that were already infested

Wherever people congregate, bed bugs can be found; they’re excellent hitchhikers and will climb on belongings and even bodies.

How do I get rid of bed bugs?

DIY bed bug control is not recommended.  There have been instances of people catching their homes on fire while attempting to perform their own bed bug heat treatment.  Chemicals purchased at the store can be dangerous if not used properly and could cause the problem to spread to a different part of the home or business. 

If you’ve discovered bed bugs and need a solution that gets rid of these annoying biting pests, contact Keller’s Pest Control.  Serving Manatee, Sarasota, Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Charlotte counties, our bed bug services include canine bed bug inspections, bed bug heat treatments, and bed bug fumigation. 

Based on your concerns and the results of our inspection, we’ll recommend a treatment that best suits your needs and budget and that results in the complete elimination of bed bugs!  For more information, please visit our bed bug treatment page or click here to learn more about our bed bug dogs, Captain and Sally as well as their handlers, Taylor and Morgan.

 

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