Bed bugs are small, traveling insects that feed on the blood of animals and humans. They are oval-shaped and have flat bodies. Adult bed bugs are quite small, about the size of an apple seed. After they feed, their bodies swell and turn a reddish color. Bed bugs don’t fly. Instead, they crawl around when active and hide when they’re inactive. They can hide in suitcases, boxes, shoes, clothing, closets, clutter, and dresser drawers. These insects are nocturnal, which means they usually come out at night to feed on blood. However, they may also come out during the day, especially in highly infested areas.
Bed bugs don’t typically carry diseases, so there is no immediate threat to your health if they infest your home. Even though you won’t get diseases or illnesses from bed bugs, their bites can produce red, itchy welts. Bed bugs can squeeze into the tiniest of cracks and crevices, like around the box spring of your bed, crevices in fabric furniture, baseboards, and behind peeling wallpaper. They can also survive where there is a food source (humans) and ideal temperatures (a temperature controlled house). Even outside of a controlled climate, bed bugs can temporarily live as stowaways in second hand furniture from antique shops and thrift stores. Suitcases are very common places for bed bugs to hide, even surviving a long car or plan ride.
How can I tell if I have bed bugs in my house?
The first thing you want to do is become familiar with common signs of their presence. These signs may include:
- Bloodstains on bedding, mattresses or box springs
- Dark fecal spots that look like small dots or smears made with a marker
- An offensive, musty odor
- Live bed bugs
- Red, itchy, raised welts on the skin
- Bites marks that appear in a straight row or line, even if they aren’t itchy
If you notice any of these signs or suspect an infestation for any reason, carefully examine the room for bed bug activity. Look at the edges and crevices of your mattress and box spring. If you see multiple tiny, almond-shaped, reddish creatures hiding in those areas, then you likely have a bed bug infestation on your hands. Because bed bugs are so difficult to get rid of, it’s always the best decision to contact a professional who has the right products, equipment, knowledge and training to fully remove these stubborn pests from your home.
How can I prevent a bed bug infestation in my house?
If you don’t have a bed bug infestation, you can take steps to prevent bed bug activity in your home:
- When you return from vacation or a long visit away from home, wash your clothing in hot water and dry them on the hottest setting. Heat is lethal to bed bugs.
- Get rid of clutter around your bed and in your closet. Bed bugs can hide in these areas if undisturbed.
- Avoid buying second hand fabric or wicker furniture.
- Buy bed bug mattress covers. Contact us to buy mattress covers for 90 days of coverage when you sign up for a bed bug elimination plan.
Trying to get rid of an active bed bug infestation on your own is dangerous and nearly always futile. By throwing away your mattress or furniture, you are most likely forcing the bed bugs to move and scatter throughout your home. This will make it even more difficult for pest control professionals to find and eliminate. If you suspect that you have a bed bug infestation, contact SOS Exterminating right away for a bed bug inspection and bed bug control services for your Phoenix, AZ home or business.