According to pestworld.org’s recap of the 2018 Bugs Without Borders survey, “[a]lmost all (97 percent) pest professionals have treated bed bugs in the past year,” and the numbers are going up.
Bed bugs are nasty, blood-sucking creatures that have become a true nuisance across the country. Their size, habits, and stealthy travel techniques make them nearly impossible to get rid of.
One of the most frustrating things about them is that they’re so simple.
They don’t jump far or high, and their exoskeletons aren’t durable like other pests’, yet they persist for far longer.
If you’re one of the many people asking questions like, “Do bed bugs jump?” or “How did they get into my home?”, then we’ve got the answers and information you need.
How do bed bugs get around?
Bed bugs are pretty standard insects. They have no wings, no powerful hind legs, and round bodies.
This means they’re completely restricted in their transportation methods.
They don’t get anywhere in a hurry unless they hitch a ride on a food source or some untreated belonging such as luggage or a used mattress. (Secondhand furniture is the leading cause.)
How do they get into your bed?
Do bed bugs jump? No. Do they scurry? No.
Then, why are they so difficult to manage? They move as fast and far as their carrier takes them, traveling long distances from homes to college dorms to vacation sites, and everywhere in between.
Once the bed bugs make it to your bedroom, the distance they must travel isn’t far at all. For instance, dropping your luggage onto your bed gives immediate access.
Otherwise, crawling up a bedframe is no hard task for a bed bug.
Since they don’t necessarily have to be in the sheets with you (though they’d prefer it), they can just as easily make themselves comfortable in the woodworks of any nearby furniture.
When and how do they feed?
According to pestworld.org, it’s likely that the fur of most domesticated animals is an unnecessary obstacle to a bed bug, so humans have become the most accessible meal choice.
Bed bugs are very similar to mosquitoes in that they suck blood through a syringe-like straw that is inserted into the skin.
To keep your blood from clotting and your skin from reacting to the puncture, the bed bug injects its own saliva and an anesthetic.
Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs don’t only feed at night, nor do they feed as often as other blood-suckers.
Most reports of infestations take place during warmer months as these bugs become more mobile at this time. Bed bugs can go months without feeding, conserving their energy in the winter and entering a sort of awake hibernation.
Where do bed bugs live?
The transfer from place to place is as easy as it gets for such limited creatures, and although they’re mostly found in homes, hotels and motels, and dorms, they can go where they please.
Bed bugs are known to be found in schools and day care centers, on public transportation (buses, planes, etc.), in nursing homes, and even in business offices.
Most people tend to believe that only the dirtiest of homes and people attract bed bugs.
While it is true that cluttered homes, unpacked storage, and low-traffic areas do serve as the optimal breeding grounds for insects, there are countless areas that bed bugs can call home. They even go to some rather unforeseen locations, such as stuffed toys, purses, and more!
The most common spot is the mattress, of course.
That’s because the food spends so much time there, and it’s easy to feed when the food is unconscious. Despite the name, however, bed bugs don’t just live in your mattress. They like small areas to crawl into like cracks in wood or holes in the walls.
The next best spot would be a wooden bedframe, headboard, night stand, or dresser as this is still very close to the food source.
Wooden furniture is porous by nature, providing a great surface to lay eggs. Fabrics such as upholstery, carpeting, and even heavy clothing make it more difficult to detect these tiny bugs as well.
The Bed Bug Reproduction Cycle
Although a bed bug lays just a few (1-5) eggs per day, they do lay eggs daily, and they come in numbers.
The good news about the bed bugs slowing down in the cold seasons in that they also reproduce and feed less.
Bed bugs need to eat regularly, or bi-weekly, in order to lay an adequate amount of eggs. If they don’t feed enough, the numbers dwindle. The winter time would be the best time to call in pest control since they reproduce and lay daily when possible.
What to do if you see a bed bug
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) attributes the flare of bed bugs throughout the nation to “more travel, lack of knowledge about preventing infestations, increased resistance of bed bugs to pesticides, and ineffective pest control practices”.
Its site offers several articles on identification and effective prevention techniques in dealing with
If you see a bed bug where you lay your head at night, you should get your home treated. Bed bugs can transfer diseases.
Related post: Studies Show Bed Bugs Transmit Deadly Diseases
Additionally, bites from a bed bug can cause stressful reactions in some people with allergies or immune deficiencies.
Bed bugs are very resilient insects that have grown impervious to many store-bought pest control products – even those aimed specifically at bed bugs.
They’re weak only to heat that reaches higher than 122 degrees Fahrenheit or cold that reaches below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. The “hatchlings” are small enough to pass through stitching holes, defeating the purpose of buying mattress protectors after the infestation.
Unless you have a heavy-duty steamer and several hours to kill, your best bet is to contact a professional. You can call us for a home inspection and estimate for the price of treatment along with some expert tips to maintain a bug-free home after the fact.
Local hardware store pest control won’t work for bed bugs. They’ve built resiliency to this stuff.
As mentioned, these critters are tough and tend to feed only on humans. Not only are they hard to manage, they’re hard to notice. This is due to their size, habitation, feeding preferences, and the fact that most people don’t have reactions to bed bug bites.
If you see one, know that they don’t travel solo. It’s likely that these silent blood-suckers have snuck in weeks or months ago, and bred within your house.
They’ve grown to be highly tolerant of most poisons and fogs, so the best options are extreme cold and the products administered by professionals. Only pest control specialists could know for sure if your home is completely rid of the pest. Don’t hesitate to call pest control once you’ve noticed an infestation.