If you’re asking yourself Do I have bed bugs, now is the time to learn what the signs of bed bugs are, why they’ve become such a problem in the United States and what you can do if you think you might have bed bugs. April 22-26 is Bed Bug Awareness Week!
What do bed bugs look like?
Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown, about a quarter of an inch in diameter and resemble a flat apple seed or lentil. Here are some pictures of bed bug stages.
Signs of bed bugs
Most of the time, people won’t realize they have bed bugs until they start getting bites. Bed bugs are survivors. They’re excellent hiders. But, if you learn what the signs of bed bugs are, you’ll know what you can look for to determine if in fact you may have a presence of these parasite insects. When in doubt of your own inspection though, please don’t hesitate to call a professional. We’re here for you.
- Small brown to black spots on mattresses, upholstery or walls
- Molted bed bug skins (After a bed bug takes a blood meal, they shed their skin, advancing them to the next growth stage.)
- White, sticky eggs or empty egg shells (These are extremely tiny and difficult to see.)
- Sweet odor (in heavily infested situations)
- Bites on the legs, arms, face, or other body parts exposed while sleeping. Keep in mind that everyone reacts to bed bug bites differently. Some experience large swollen areas around the bites. Others may not notice much of a mark at all.
Bed Bug FAQ
How serious is the bed bug problem in the U.S.?
There has been a significant increase in bed bug infestations over the last ten years. According to 2013 research conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the University of Kentucky, almost 100% of pest control companies have treated for bed bugs in the past year, compared to just 25% in 2000. An earlier NPMA survey from January 2011 found that one in five Americans had encountered bed bugs in their home or knew someone who had.
Why are bed bugs such a problem now compared to before?
While there isn’t one definite answer for the resurgence in bed bugs over the last decade, the majority of pest professionals point to increased travel, lack of public awareness, and changing pest control products and methods.
What states have been affected?
Pest Control Companies in every state in the U.S. have reported bed bug activity. Bed bugs are affecting America on a national scale, not just big cities like Chicago or New York.
Where are bed bugs found?
Bed bugs are not limited to any one specific type of dwelling. Pest control companies have been reporting infestations everywhere, including single family homes, multi-family housing, apartments, hotels, motels, hospitals, schools, college campuses, office buildings, retail stores, movie theaters, libraries, and even public transportation.
Are bed bugs just found in beds?
While bed bugs are most often found in bed parts, such as mattresses, box springs and folded areas, they can also survive in alternative habitats. As I mentioned before, bed bugs are excellent at hiding. They conceal themselves behind baseboards, wallpaper, upholstery, picture frames, electrical switch or outlet plates, and in furniture crevices. They’ll typically hide out within a close proximity to where they know they can feed. Beds are the most common because humans spend hours in bed each night. These opportunistic creatures stay close to where the blood meal is.
Why are bed bugs so difficult to kill?
Bed bugs are very hardy, easily transporting from one place to another by hitchhiking on items you set down. They can even survive for months at a time without eating, through a wide range of temperatures. They’ve been known to survive nearly freezing conditions to about 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
Another reason why they’re much more difficult to kill now compared to back in the 40s and 50s is because pest control products are currently formulated much differently. Back in the day, pesticides were extremely potent chemicals. While they did a great job killing insects like bed bugs, they also caused long term health problems, cancer and environmental hazards. Products today are much more intelligently formulated and less risky to humans and the environment.
Take a look at some of these old bed bug pesticide ads. It’s a wonder these people survived chemical exposure like this.
Could you imagine putting your child at risk near chemicals like this? It’s just so different these days.
Bed Bug Heat Treatment
Nowadays, safety is the top priority when attempting to exterminate bed bugs. In fact, continuous research on these insects has taught bed bug exterminators Chicago that sometimes chemicals or pesticides aren’t the answer at all. Rose Pest Solutions Chicago uses heat to eliminate bed bugs. It’s by far the most successful method in the industry right now. We also use a great tool called Verifi to provide ongoing monitoring at a much more reasonable cost than having regular inspections.
Allow me to introduce the bed bug heat treatment. Rose’s bed bug heat treatment equipment includes the use of electric heaters and fans specially designed for the pest management industry to bring a room’s temperature up and hold it there until bed bugs drop dead. When the heat begins to rise in a room, bed bugs become very active and come out of hiding. Once they are exposed to the heat, it’s only a matter of time that they are killed. This is what the equipment looks like: