IDENTIFICATION – What should you look for?
Bed bugs have become a global challenge, infesting homes, apartments, hotels, and institutions. Early detection is one of the key drivers of success for getting rid of bed bugs.
Bed bugs are small, nocturnal insects that feed exclusively off the blood of hosts while they are sleeping or stationary for long periods of time. Bed bugs can range in size from 1mm / 0.04” (nymphs) to 6mm / ¼” (adults). For reference, adult bed bugs are similar in size and shape to an apple seed and are easily visible if out in the open. They are a crawling creature with six legs that can not jump or fly. Prior to feeding, their bodies are very flat, becoming engorged after feeding where they can consume up to 7 times their body weight in one meal. Newly hatched nymphs look very much like adults, however they are almost colourless and gain their reddish brown colouring as they mature.
These parasitic insects require special care to be eliminated, as they can live up to a year without a blood meal. Female bed bugs, once impregnated, continue to lay eggs throughout their lifetime and lay 1-5 eggs per day to a total of between 200 – 500 eggs in her lifetime! These eggs are whitish, cylindrical and 1mm long (1/32"); they are hard to spot by the untrained eye.
People commonly discover they have bed bugs when they notice unpleasant bites or welts on their skin similar to a mosquito bite. Bites are usually clustered in the same area, or in a row and can become very itchy. It is, however, common for a person not to react to the bites at all, even in a severe infestation, as they may not be allergic.
Unlike lice, bed bugs do not live on people but only visit them to feed. Bed bugs are most active at night, but if they are hungry enough, they will emerge to feed during the day, adjusting to the host's daily sleeping or stationary routine.
Another sign of bedbugs are tiny black spots, which is bed bug fecal matter. These spots are similar to an ink pen point mark in its colouring, size and ability to stain.
Other signs include dried blood spots on your sheets and/or mattress from crushed, recently fed, bed bugs. You may also notice molted skins where bed bugs hide. In severe cases there might be an offensive sweet, musty odour which stems from their scent glands.
Care Pest & Wildlife Control offers prevention products such as bed bug certified mattress and boxspring encasements, water soluble laundry bags, bed bug monitoring devices and portable heating units called a PackTite Closet. Encasements trap any existing bed bugs that might be inside the mattresses or box springs and prevent any new ones from entering and hiding in these areas. Water soluble laundry bags help to eliminate the risk of spreading bed bugs and/or their eggs into hallways, common laundry areas, and vehicles, etc. Bed bug monitors (there are two types, passive bed bug monitors and active bed bug monitors; each type have several variations to choose from) trap bed bugs to act as a form of identification to determine if there is a bed bug infestation in your home. The PackTite Closet is a portable collapseable heating system that kills bedbugs and their eggs on items that cannot be put through the dryer. There is more information on our Prevention section of our webpage, or call Care Pest & Wildlife Control at 604-432-9422.