A tiny, brown insect skulking around someone’s resting place at night is most likely one thing: A bed bug. This pest gets its name from one of its most popular hiding places. Bed bugs can be found lurking in the furniture of a property, but not just in beds. Because of its small size, it can often be found hiding in other locations like the cracks between door frames and the wall, behind the panel of an electrical outlet, in bookshelves, or in couches and box springs. A bed bug is difficult to see because it is only 5-7 mm in size and often nearly invisible when it hasn’t eat recently. Its body is long, brown, and shaped like an oval, although it looks more bloated and red when it has fed. It often travels with other bed bugs and feeds on animals and humans who live on the property where it has taken roost.
Blood is the preferred diet for a bed bug. A bed bug emerges at night, usually when everyone is asleep, and searches for a host that will provide it will food for several days. Because it needs to get sustenance from another living thing to survive, a bed bug would be considered parasitic. There are several warning signs that can alert a person to its presence. The first and most common is a sickly sweet, musty odor emitted by bed bugs. The smell is strongest near its living space but is often not overpowering. Another sign to look out for is the presence of bites on a person’s body. These bites will be red, itchy, and resemble mosquito bites. However, they will be organized in a line or grouped together on a certain part of the body because bed bugs do not live or move around alone.
Other signs to watch out for are stains on fabrics like sheets and pillowcases. If red spots start to appear, it can mean that someone is rolling over in their sleep and accidentally crushing bed bugs that try to eat at night. Another distinct mark is small, dark spots which are the droppings of a bed bug. Many people hear about these signs and worry that a bed bug can pose a biological threat. Although having bed bugs in a home or business is almost never a good thing, scientists have discovered that people do not get diseases from a bed bug. Having an allergic reaction to the bite of one is a greater concern than contracting a disease, making a bed bug a ‘safer’ pest to have infesting a property than rats or cockroaches.
Once one bed bug has been found, chances are that there are more lurking. Although some websites advertise DIY, homemade methods to eliminate them, it’s safer to call a professional pest control company. They have access to tools and materials that can exterminate entire groups of pests down to the last bed bug. Many of them can also apply treatments to stop bed bugs from returning. People who are concerned about the environment or who dislike the idea of using chemicals around their family or employees can contact a pest control company who uses heat treatments. The heat treatment can kill a bed bug by exposing it to unlivable conditions, therefore eliminating it without using toxic methods.
Jose D. has been providing pest control solutions to North County San Diego residents since 2000!