Have you had the feeling that something was not right? Things felt different; unusual signs appeared, but you still could not figure out what was happening! So, you began a process of elimination, connected the dots, and thought through the situation until you finally realized the hidden problem. Some things are not readily apparent, they take time to manifest themselves, and a little sleuthing is required to solve the mystery.
Bed bugs are an example of an elusive creature that can be living in your home and causing problems, but because of their size, habits, and behavior, it is not always easy to understand what is happening. One morning you wake up and notice a few red, itching bumps on your skin, but assume they are breakouts. The next day you see a few more red spots, but since no bugs are visible in the house, you wonder what is causing the problem. Even though you do not see bugs, you may be the victim of a bed bug infestation.
Your bed bug investigation requires the services of the best Bradenton pest control company, Keller's Pest Control. We have removed bed bugs from Bradenton area homes for over 20 years and have the experience, knowledge, and tools to eliminate these tiny pests from your home. Technicians from our family-owned company will show up on time and resolve your bed bug problem. Our goal is that you enjoy a bed-bug-free house, so the following information will help you determine if these creatures are the cause of that elusive feeling you have that something is wrong.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Here are the basic facts to the oft-asked question: "What do bed bugs look like?". Bed bugs are insects, and like all insects, they have six jointed legs, a pair of antennae, an exoskeleton, and three body segments (head, thorax, abdomen). Wings are another common feature of insects, and while bed bugs have wing pads, they have only vestigial wings and cannot fly.
Not all insects feed on blood, like wasps and bees, but bed bugs require an occasional blood meal to sustain their life. Before eating, an adult bed bug's 1/4-inch body is flat, oval, and broad, but after it consumes blood, it becomes swollen and extended. Due to their larger size, adult bed bugs are visible, but maturing bed bugs (nymphs) have an almost colorless 3/64 to 13/64 of an inch body and are hard to see without a magnifying glass. When an adult bed bug gets a blood meal, its body becomes red-brown due to the blood, but when it is unfed, it has a mahogany appearance.
Many insects are active during the daytime, but bed bugs are busy while you sleep. A few hours after you turn out the lights, bed bugs emerge from their hiding locations and use the claw on their feet to climb onto the host. Once on the animal or human, they use a small tube (proboscis) to pierce the skin and inject an anesthetic and anticoagulant to prevent you from realizing they are drawing blood. After about three to 12 minutes, the bug finishes its meal and retreats to its hiding spot, usually within five to 20 feet of the host in warm, dark, secluded areas. The beg bug remains in hiding for three to five days before returning for another feeding.
Keller's Pest Control provides bed bug control in Bradenton, so you don't have to have bed bugs feeding on you while you sleep.
Know The Tell-Tale Signs Of A Bed Bug Infestation
Before we list the bed bug signs, we want you to know where to look for bed bugs. Investigate these areas for these indications:
- Mattress seams
- Box springs
- Bed linens
- Behind headboards
- Upholstery seams
- Behind picture frames
- Electrical outlets
- Behind wallpaper
- Cracks between the baseboards and walls
- Cracks in wood floors
Bed bugs can nestle in gaps the width of a credit card, so don't discount a crack or crevice as too small. Although you can see adult bed bugs, use a magnifying glass to ensure you don't miss them and to see any nymphs or eggs in those locations.
What should we look for in these areas? Perhaps the first indication of a problem is the appearance of small, red, flat welts on your body, but how do you know the wounds are not from mosquitoes, fleas, or a spider? One indication that the bite is from a bed bug is that you do not feel it when it bit you, unlike those inflicted by mosquitoes, fleas, or spiders. Also, spiders bite only once, and you will notice two fang marks, whereas bed bugs have only one pierce point. Bed bug bites tend to be in a line as if traveling down a path, whereas mosquito and flea bites are in random locations on the body.
The next most visible sign of bed bugs is the reddish-brown stains they leave on bed linens, mattresses, box springs, and upholstery. These stains are from feces they release while feeding on the host, and they may be at the sight where they ate or deposited as they returned to their hiding locations. Another cause of the stains is crushed bed bugs that died when the host rolled over or sat on them as they consumed their blood meal.
As noted earlier, bed bugs have an exoskeleton or an outer shell, and for a bed bug to grow, it must shed its exoskeleton through the molting process. As the bed bug outgrows its exoskeleton, it releases the old one, leaving behind discarded skin. Initially, the skins are only 3/64 inches long, but as the bug progresses through the instar stages, the skins increase in length. So you don't miss the minuscule skins of developing bed bugs, be sure to use a magnifying glass.
Bed bugs are living organisms that begin their life cycle emerging from eggs. In addition to sustaining life, a reason for a female bed bug to consume blood is that it enables egg production. A well-fed fertilized female releases one to three eggs daily, and during its six to 12-month lifetime, it may deliver up to 500 eggs. One can only imagine how quickly a bed bug infestation can rapidly multiply when numerous female bed bugs produce eggs daily. With your magnifying glass, search for pinhead-sized cream-colored eggs; older eggs will have a black eye spot.
Although one may associate an odor with bed bugs, they can stink up a room. Bed bugs have glands on the lower part of their body that produce a musty-sweet odor. You may notice the smell when there is a large bed bug infestation.
Of course, the final indication you have bed bugs in your home is bed bugs. If you see these signs, act quickly and get the best bed bug pest control near you from Keller's Pest Control.
Call A Professional For The Best Bed Bug Control
Bed bugs have made a resurgence in recent decades for several reasons because of their ability to evade and adapt to chemical treatments, which is why we do not use chemicals at Keller's Pest Control to eliminate bed bugs. Instead, we use the Quest hydronic heating system to destroy bed bugs and their eggs throughout a house.
Unlike messy chemicals, heat can penetrate cracks and crevices where bed bugs hide, which leaves them no escape. We can treat an entire 7,000-foot home with our system with enough heat to destroy the bed bugs without harming any interior furnishings. Because of our investment in a high-quality heating treatment system, we are the best pest control for bed bugs near you.
Helpful Tips For Preventing Future Bed Bug Infestations
Once Keller's Pest Control technicians eliminate bed bugs from your Bradenton home, use these prevention tips to keep bed bugs from returning in the future:
- Examine items after returning from a trip. Bed bugs hitchhike on clothing, shoes, handbags, and other objects. Public places and transportation are hubs of bed bug activity, so check these items before entering your home.
- Inspect used furniture with a magnifying glass before purchasing it. Ask the seller if the location has had bed bugs, do not buy furniture if there has been a previous infestation.
- Reduce the clutter in the home by picking up clothing on the floor and removing excess magazines, cardboard, and other items.
- Sweep the house regularly. Use a wand attachment to suction out cracks and crevices between the baseboards and walls, in corners, and inside mattress seams, and empty the contents into an external, sealed garbage can.
- Wash bed sheets and comforters in hot water and dry them with the highest heat setting the fabrics will tolerate.
- Remove or seal loose wallpaper.
- Cover cracks inside the house using caulk or other appropriate materials.
These bed bug control techniques for your home will help prevent a future infestation in your Bradenton home after Keller's Pest Control stops your current bed bug infestation. Contact us today to learn more about our residential and commercial pest control services in Bradenton and request a free estimate.