If you’ve ever woken up from a good night of rest with red welts that itch and swell—you might have an unwelcome company you didn’t know about. No, we aren’t talking about an intruder of the human kind, rather we mean bed bugs.
Yes, that one bug that can have five minutes of fame on the evening news and shut down an entire hotel due to guest concerns. However, it should be noted that bed bugs can be just as common in your home if not more so.
It all comes down to habits and behaviors we engage in on a daily basis that are unknowingly inviting to beg bugs. But what exactly is a bed bug and what do they look like—surprisingly not many people know.
CIMEX LECTULARIUS ANYONE?
Unless you really aced Latin in high school, you have no clue what we just said. Cimex Lectularius is the proper species name for one of the many species of insects known as bed bugs. This particular species is the most adapted to cohabitating with humans, in fact, it has for centuries. Bed bugs as a whole are insects that are small, brownish in color and flat in appearance. Since they feed off the blood of their hosts they are sometimes mistaken for ticks or cockroaches for their flattened body.
Adult bed bugs are about a quarter inch long and brown with a tint of red in their oval, flat bodies. While bed bugs can’t fly, they do move over walls, floors, and furniture incredibly fast.
When warmer weather hits many Houston pest control companies get tons of calls for bed bug complaints. This is because bed bugs thrive in temperatures above 70° F where feeding and breeding really ramp up. Female bed bugs will easily produce 200 eggs in a life cycle, normally at a rate of 3-5 a day.
Eggs hatch in about 7-16 days and once hatched, infant bed bugs feed on blood immediately. Once they molt about five times, the infants are considered mature and repeat the process. It is not uncommon for there to be three or more generations born each year. A steady food source and favorable environments are the most optimal for development and rate of growth. Both young and older bed bugs can, in fact, live for weeks or months without food, depending on the temperature.
CONCERNS ABOUT BED BUG BITES
Bed Bugs are very reclusive and cryptic and like to keep a low profile often feeding on their host at night while sleeping. Piercing the skin with tiny elongated beaks with sharp points, they inject anti-clotting agents into the bloodstream and take your blood for food. A single bedbug will engorge themselves to various degrees but usually, they will feed on 3 to 10 minutes.
Symptoms vary greatly from person to person but usually can range from welts and swelling to no reaction whatsoever. Unlike flea bites who usually target just the ankles, bed bugs feed on every inch of exposed skin.
Even though many insects bites can carry with them diseases, sometimes fatal ones— bed bugs while potential harbors for pathogens are not likely to transmit them to humans. It is why Houston pest control services do not rank them as a potential health risk. The extent of their bodily damage is itching, inflammation, and being a nuisance.
QUICK REFERENCE SHEET ON BED BUGS
- Bed Bugs are flat oval bugs with a wingless exoskeleton that is brown with a slight reddish tint and about a quarter inch in size.
- They are 6-legged bugs and when not feeding are reddish-brown but after feeding, appear dark brown and swollen.
- Bed Bugs are visible to the human eye, but go undetected often, due to their stealth skills.
- Bed bugs do not carry or transmit diseases.
- They feed on human blood, typically when you are sleeping.
- It takes more than chemical treatments to exterminate bed bugs.
- Bed Bugs favor hiding in the seams of mattresses and sofas. Secondary hiding spots include—under chairs, under the carpet or area rugs, clothing drawers, and cracks in drywall.
HOW TO PREVENT BED BUGS IN YOUR HOME
Before you get to the point that you are frantically Googling for Houston pest control services—make sure you take a few basic common sense precautions to prevent bed bugs from claiming your home.
Beware Of Used Furniture
Bedbugs favor furniture, especially mattresses—hence their name. They take up residence in dressers, cabinets, storage chests and more. A lot of people buy used furniture off the internet using sites like Craigslist, 5mile, and Facebook. Keep in mind that because bed bugs can lay dormant for many years it is important that you inspect used furniture before bringing it into your home. Treat used furniture with bed bug pesticide available at any grocery store.
Check For Other Pests That Host Bed Bugs
Birds and Bats often take residence in attics and rafters of open garages. Some people aren’t aware or feel the birds nesting are harmless. The birds themselves probably are relatively harmless, but it’s the bed bugs they carry with them unknowingly that are the problem. So even if you clear bird or bat nests the chances are your home has already been infested with bed bugs, you just don’t know it yet. The sooner you discover nests and remove them humanely, the easier it is to contain. Preventative measures also include putting bed bug traps in your attic and change them out once every 3 months.
Unwanted Souvenirs From Vacation Or Business Trips
Bugs are the ultimate opportunist. They look for any spot that is comfortable, dark and away from danger while they wait for their next feeding opportunity. You may easily be bringing bed bugs into your home with luggage. You could’ve picked them up at an infested hotel room or Airbnb. Inspect your luggage thoroughly and put all bags and clothing inside the dryer on high heat for half an hour. This high heat will kill any bed bugs you may have brought with you.
THE BEST PROTECTION IS PREVENTION
When it comes to treating bed bugs, the best method is to prevent them from getting into your home in the first place. Regular pest control service from Champions Pest Control can make your home unfavorable to pests and insects such as bed bugs. Contact us today to get the best in Houston pest control service.