Many urban areas throughout North America are experiencing unprecedented bed bug infestations. This is a major concern for many people as bed bugs can be a particularly persistent pest; if infestations become wide spread enough, homeowners often find they need to destroy bedding, clothing, and other household items in order to destroy the infestation. In order to prevent a major bed bug problem, it is always advisable to regularly inspect sheets, pillow cases, clothing, upholstery, curtains, and carpets for signs and symptoms of bed bugs.
The most telling sign that you have a bed bug infestation is small brown stains on bedding or furniture. If you inspect sheets, pillowcases, and furniture and mattresses you may fine live insects or blood stains. They tend to stay close to feeding areas so you’ll often find live insects along mattress seams, in bed frames, on headboards, or even behind baseboards and under carpet edges. Interestingly, bed bugs may also hide behind pictures, door frames, loose wallpaper, and even in cracks and crevices. Finding all sources of a bed bug infestation can therefore be exceptionally difficult.
Understanding what bed bugs look like will help you find them. Since they typically hide during the day, they can be extremely difficult to spot. Nevertheless, bed bugs are oval-shaped, flat insects with six legs and two antennae. They cannot fly and they have short, yellowish-gold body hair. They can hide almost anywhere, so be vigilant in your search.
Unfortunately, there are real, physical symptoms that will help you determine if you are suffering from a bed bug infestation. Homes that are heavily infested will often have a sweet, musty scent that may even be described as offensive. Bed bugs release this odor through their scent glands. Furthermore, you may find fecal, excrement, or blood stains on bedding and furniture, but you can also look out for shed skins of bed bug nymphs. These are often found in crevices and cracks near or on your bed. Always check all furniture in your home and bedroom as well as wallpaper, bed springs, and clothing for reddish brown stains.
Remember, bed bugs are nocturnal insects so if you have an infestation you’ll usually notice bite marks in the morning. Bed bugs have a beak-like proboscis they use to pierce your skin and suck your blood. Adult bed bugs can live for up to 18 months without feeding, which makes them even harder to destroy. If you know that you have a bed bug infestation, contact a pest control specialist immediately. You will not be able to destroy an infestation on your own. Pest control professionals have the equipment and knowledge required to find and destroy bed bugs, but even they will need to repeat treatment sometimes to completely eradicate an infestation.