Bed Bug Control
Bed Bug Biology
Bed bugs are small, flattened, wingless insects that feed solely on blood. They’re called bed bugs because they’ve adapted to living in or near the bedding of humans. They stay hidden during the day, but emerge at night to feed upon the sleeping person’s blood.
Bed bugs develop by incomplete metamorphosis. The eggs hatch and go through five nymphal stages before becoming adults, with the nymphs looking very much like the adults except for their size and color. First-instar nymphs are colorless, and the nymphs become darker with each successive stage. Nymphs must consume at least one blood meal before molting to the next stage.
Bed bug problems can become very bad, very quickly. A few bed bugs hitch-hiking in your suitcase can rapidly become a major bed bug infestation. A female bed bug can lay as many as 500 eggs during her lifetime, and each cluster can contain as many as 50 eggs. The eggs hatch in a week or two, and in ideal conditions, the nymphs can reach adulthood in as little as three or four weeks.
Bed Bugs and Human Health
For a long time, it was believed that bed bug in the United States didn’t carry diseases. Recently, however, we’ve learned that bed bugs are capable of transmitting a serious disease known as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which is a form of Staph that doesn’t respond to the antibiotics commonly used to treat Staph infections.
The main health effect associated with bed bugs, however, are their bites, which can cause severe itching, swelling, and rashes in many people. The affected skin may become infected when the individual scratches the rashes. The degree to which people are affected by bed bug bites varies, however: Some people show hardly any signs at all, while others get severe, painful rashes.
The rashes are often mistaken for various types of skin diseases when individuals are unaware that they have a bed bug infestation.
Bed Bug Control
Bed bug extermination is probably the most difficult and challenging work that pest control professionals do. It’s detailed, meticulous work, and using “shortcuts” will almost always cause the bed bug treatment to fail. Similarly, do-it-yourself bed bug control is almost always a waste of time: DIY bed bug control attempts almost always fail, and serve only to waste money and postpone the inevitable. Bottom line: If you have a bed bug problem, you need professional pest control.
Preventing Bed Bug Problems
As with most sorts of pest problems, prevention is easier than treatment. Here are some tips to help reduce the chances of a bed bug infestation:
- Keep your home clean and neat, especially the bedrooms. Bed bugs can hide in piles of dirty clothes, cardboard boxes, and other clutter.
- Vacuum and shampoo your carpets frequently.
- Change your bed sheets and linens regularly, and inspect the linens and mattresses for evidence of bed bugs (the insects themselves, fecal stains, or tiny spots of blood).
- Ask your pest control professional to inspect and, if necessary, treat baseboards and other interior trim on a regular basis. Bed bugs can hide in the cracks behind the trim.
- When traveling, use luggage stands, and avoid placing your clothing in hotel dresser drawers. There also are aerosol sprays labeled for bed bugs that you can apply to your luggage to help reduce the risk of bringing bed bugs home. Wash your clothing and inspect your luggage immediately upon returning from a trip.
- Wash or dry-clean all of the clothing you took with you on the trip — even items that you didn’t wear. Use detergent and the hottest water the fabrics can stand, and machine-dry if possible.
Bed Bug Treatment
Even if you take all the steps above, there’s still a chance that your home will become infested with bed bugs. The longer a bed bug problem is left untreated, the more difficult it will be to control; so call us at the first sign of a bed bug problem.
Professional bed bug control requires a specially trained pest control operator and a systematic control plan including the following steps:
- A detailed inspection to determine the extent of the infestation.
- Counseling to help the customer prepare for the treatment and to help avoid re-infestation.
- Detailed, meticulous, precise treatment of the infested area(s), using specialized products and treatment methods to eliminate the bed bug problem.
- Return visits to follow up on the effectiveness of the treatment, and to perform touch-up treatments if needed.
Preparing For a Bed Bug Treatment
Bed bug control is one of those jobs that we can’t do alone. We need the customer’s cooperation to eliminate a bed bug problem. It’s absolutely essential that customers take certain steps to prepare for a bed bug treatment.
For your convenience, we’ve listed these steps in a printable PDF document that you can find here. Please download and print this file, and follow the instructions carefully prior to your treatment day.
Bed bug control is difficult. The best chances for quick bed bug elimination require patient cooperation between the customer and a skilled pest control professional. For more information, or to schedule an inspection, please call us at (817) 589-1632.
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