Bed Bugs: What They Are and Where to Look
Adult bed bugs are about the size of an appleseed. They are reddish-brown in color and have flat, round bodies. After feeding they become elongated, plump, and more red in color. Nymphs (baby bed bugs) are almost translucent in color, while eggs are white and smaller than a grain of rice.
Bed bugs can be picked up anywhere people sleep or sit for long periods of time – homes, apartments, hotels, movie theaters, public transportation, and even hospitals. They can hitch a ride to your home in your suitcase, purse, or in your clothing.
Catching an infestation early on is critical.
The longer bed bugs are in your home, the harder they are to get rid of. That being said, bed bugs are known to be professional hiders, so finding them in the first place is a challenge in and of itself. They may be found:
• In mattress or furniture seams
• In the crevices of bedside tables or headboards
• Inside electrical outlets
• Behind picture frames or loose wallpaper
• Underneath the carpet up against the baseboards
It’s unlikely that bed bugs will be found in areas like the kitchen or the bathroom. They are ultimately lazy bugs that don’t like to travel, so they’ll wait in or near the couch or the bed until about 3 to 5 AM, which is when they come out to feed. Even if you happen to have a bed bug or egg on your clothes, which you leave on the bathroom floor or throw in the closet, they will eventually leave the area to be as close to your resting areas as possible.
Since bed bugs have survived for hundreds of years by hiding, it is inevitable that sometimes you just won’t find one. There are a few other tell-tale signs you can look for:
• Blood spotting on sheets – when bed bugs feed they often “void” they blood they’ve ingested in order to make room for more
• Fecal spotting in hiding areas such as in mattress or furniture seams – this spotting looks like black pepper that will smear if you try to wipe it.
• Egg shells/molted skin
• Waking up to bites that are like small hard welts, usually in clusters of three or four on the arms and shoulders
PLEASE NOTE: Although bites are a sign of bed bugs, they shouldn’t be the deciding factor. There are many other pests that leave a similar irritation on the skin, such as carpet beetle larvae, which even look similar to bed bugs. Also, the bite marks are an allergic reaction to the bed bug’s saliva, and not everyone is allergic, which is why if a home is infested with bed bugs, it seems as if some residents get “bitten” and some don’t. The reality is, the bed bugs are likely feeding off everyone in the home.
Unlike other parasitic pests like fleas and mosquitoes, bed bugs do not spread diseases. Except for in severe infestations, bed bugs do not pose any real health risk. They are more of a nuisance than anything, leaving you with itchy welts every night after feeding. It is also possible, although rare, for someone to have a severe allergic reaction to a bed bug bite. In severe cases, people and pets may get anemia from losing so much blood, but these cases take years of being left untreated to reach that point.
If you’re still unsure whether or not you have bed bugs, it’s best to have a professional inspect for you. We offer bed bug inspections for $49.99, and if we treat at the same time we’ll waive the inspection fee.