Bed Bugs are a growing problem in the United States, with increased incidents of bed bugs infestations over the past 20 years. Since 2006 dramatic increases in bed bug reports have been found across the United States. Although they seem like an “old world” bug issue, these biting pests have come full circle in attacking United States residents.
Bed Bug Biology
The bed bug, is a nocturnal pest that feeds on blood and causes itchy, irritated bites. Bed bugs are usually 1/4 to 3/8 inch (4-5mm) long, with a flat, oval-shaped body. They are a rusty brown color when unfed but after feeding swell in size and become a red-brown color. Bed Bugs can reproduce rapidly, with female bed bugs lying over 500 eggs in a lifetime.
Where Can You Find Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs can be found anywhere that they can find a host to feed from. They can be found in such places as hotels, movie theaters, apartments, libraries, retail stores, dormitories, office buildings and more. In the home bed bugs hide near the piping, seams and tags of the mattress and box spring, and in cracks on the bed frame and head board. In heavily infested rooms bed bugs will hide in the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, in the folds of curtains, in drawer joints, in electrical receptacles and appliances, under loose wall paper and wall hangings, even under carpet. Although bed bugs are not known to carry infectious disease, their bites are itchy and irritate the skin.
Bed bugs are attracted to heat and carbon dioxide given off by potential feeding sources and only feed at night (usually between 1-4 AM). Once they feed they return to their hiding places for digestion and typically feed every 5-10 days. Typically bed bugs are brought in the home by “hitch hiking” on suitcases, furniture or clothing. It is always important to check used items for bed bugs before bringing them into your home.
Tips to Prevent Beg Bugs
A proactive approach to bed bug prevention is the best method of keeping your home, family or even business safe from infestation. The best way to prevent bed bug infestation in your home is to be careful in places where people travel, such as hotels, apartment buildings or dormitories. When staying in hotels bed bugs can “catch a ride” and set up in your home, thus causing an infestation. Make sure to inspect your room for bed bugs and keep luggage on furniture racks and off of the floor. Also, be vigilant when acquiring used furniture and beds. If you can launder or place used items in a dryer for 10-20 seconds the chance of a bed bug infestation is largely reduced.