Since 2000, bed bug infestations have risen 81 percent, according to The National Pest Management Association. Bed bugs and their habits are actually very simple to understand. Differentiating between fact and fiction is becoming difficult with the amount of information available. Understanding the basics is the first line of defense a consumer has against the unwelcomed critters, which can take a toll both financially and emotionally on a victim.”
- Bed bugs can live anywhere
When most people think of bed bugs, they think of hotels. But the truth is, bed bugs can thrive in single-family homes, apartments, hospitals, college dorm rooms, office buildings, schools, retail stores and just about anywhere that humans are. In fact, according to the “Bugs without Borders” study, 89 percent of pest professionals report treating bed bug infestations in single-family homes, and 88 percent report treating bed bug infestations in apartments/condos.
- Bed bugs aren’t just city dwellers
Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are not just in big cities or third-world countries. They are found in all 50 states. However, the incidence of bed bugs is three times higher in urban areas than in rural areas due to factors such as larger population size, apartment living and increased mobility, which are conducive to the rapid spread and breeding of bed bugs.
- Bed bugs are resilient
These pests can live for several months without a blood meal. This means they can linger in furniture, bags and suitcases for a long time until they are near a human host again. In addition, bed bugs can survive temperatures of nearly freezing to 122 degrees. Because of this, bed bugs are not a pest that can be treated with DIY measures. Professional pest control is the most effective way to treat an infestation.
- Bed bugs are smart
As a survival instinct, bed bugs are elusive. They know to stay out of view during the daytime, hiding in mattress crevices, box springs, baseboards and behind electrical switch plates. But at nighttime, the carbon dioxide we exhale often tempts them out of their hiding spots.
- Bed bugs are methodical
Bed bugs have a predictable feeding pattern. Once a bed bug finds a host, it will usually feed for 5 to 10 minutes until repletion. Bites will often be found in a pattern often in clusters or in a row on exposed skin on the chest, arms or legs – are telltale signs of a bed bug infestation.
- Bed bugs could have a degree in anesthesiology
People often wonder why a biting bed bug doesn’t wake up its human host when it feeds. The answer is that components in bed bug saliva act as an anesthetic and promote increased blood flow at the bite site, making the feeding process quick and nearly painless.
- Bed bugs spread deadly disease
Bed bugs do not transmit disease. Bed bug bites, however, can cause allergic reaction in some people similar to a mosquito bite. Frequent scratching of the bite marks or picking the scabs can cause infections.
- You cannot get bed bugs from your neighbor
Bed bug migration from one home or apartment to another is actually more common than most people think. In apartments or shared housing such as condos, the risk of migration is even higher. Bed bugs can travel through tiny cracks in the wall, through connected vents or spaces, or in the seams of floor boards or the edges of carpet.
- Bed bugs only come out at night
Bed bugs are more active at night and in the early morning, but bed bugs sense the heat and carbon dioxide given off by humans and therefore may come out at any time of day.
- Bed bugs are too small to see with the naked eye
The eggs and baby (or nymph) is about 1 mm long, almost entirely white and difficult to see with the naked eye. The nymph turns red as it feeds and fills with blood, making them easier to see. The adult is about the size of an apple see, therefore, can easily be seen by the naked eye.
- Bed bugs feed off dirt and other grime
Bed bugs feed on the blood of human beings and other animals such as dogs, cats, birds, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs and mice.
- I can get rid of bed bugs by thoroughly washing everything and leaving for a few weeks.
Adult bed bugs can live as long as twelve months without a meal, so a long vacation won’t provide you with relief. If you have a bed bug infestation, don’t try to treat it alone. Instead, contact a licensed pest professional who is trained on the (unique, often sneaky) habits of bed bugs. They will be able to inspect your home and recommend an effective course of treatment.