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Bed bugs are one of the most difficult pests to rid yourself of if they are in your home. It often takes a lot of time and effort to remove them if they are not treated professionally. It’s important that you recognize the signs of a bed bug infestation and know when and if you should call an exterminator for help.

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are small insects that feed on blood. They are typically most active at night while you sleep. They will typically make their home around the seams of your mattress and box spring, also in the cracks of your headboard and bed frame. If you have a heavy infestation, you could also see them on your curtains, chairs, couches, and more.

What do bed bugs look like?

As adults, they’re about the size of an apple seed. As larvae, they are only about 1.5 mm to 4.5 mm long. Bed bug eggs are clear and only 1 mm long. If a bed bug hasn’t fed recently, they are light brown and usually lay flat. When bed bugs are fed though, they’re round, longer, and red to dark brown in color. They are wingless.

Where do bed bugs come from?

Bed bugs can come home with you when you’ve visited from other infested places or bring used furniture home. Often, they travel on furniture, suitcases, backpacks, purses, and even your own clothes. They can also go as far as a 20-foot radius from your mattress and back in one night to find a blood meal. Bed bugs move much faster than you’d expect!

If you do have an infestation, it’s recommended that you continue to sleep in your bed. If you move to your living room couch, for example, the bed bugs would track you as you breathe out CO2, traveling from your bedroom to the living room and infesting even more of your home.

What is the life cycle of bed bugs?

Bed bugs start out as a clear egg and then go through five stages as a larva before they become an adult. The average life-span from egg hatching to death is six to 12 months in ideal conditions. Bed bugs can survive a few months to an entire year without a blood meal!

How do I know if I have bed bugs?

You will typically see bloodstains on your sheets or pillowcases. There would also be dark spots in these areas from bed bug excrement, empty egg shells, or shed skins where they’re hiding. There might also be a musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands. Another sign that you have an infestation is that you’ll see small red bite marks on your body that are itchy and in a line.

Are there health risks with bed bugs?

Bed bugs haven’t been shown to transmit disease, but they do cause negative physical and mental health problems. Sometimes, you can be allergic to their bites, which can end up being severe.

How do you treat bed bugs?

Call an exterminator, like us! Bed bugs can be incredibly difficult to remove without the right treatment and proper techniques. You could try to apply steam to their hiding spaces, or to wash everything in hot water and follow with a hot dry cycle, but even one surviving adult bed bug can lay 200 or more eggs in their lifetime. It’s best to treat them professionally!

How can you tell if bed bugs are gone?

If you’ve had a professional treatment and you don’t see any signs of bed bugs for three weeks after treatment is complete, then you likely no longer have bed bugs. Treatment can last for different amounts of time based on the size of the home and the size of the infestation.

How do I prevent a bed bug infestation?

There are a few things that you can do to prevent a bed bug infestation in your home:

  • Check second hand furniture for any signs of bed bug infestation before bringing them into your home
  • Use a protective cover on your mattress or bed springs to eliminate hiding spots
  • Reduce clutter in your home to prevent hiding spaces
  • Vacuum often
  • If you are living with other people, keep your items separate and seal any cracks that small insects could fit through

These tips can help to prevent bed bugs from entering your home, but will not eliminate the problem if you already have an infestation. If you do have bed bugs, we recommend contacting a professional exterminator, like K&C Pest Control. Our professionals can ensure that your bed bug infestation is stopped and treated correctly.

If you suspect rodents or other pests in your Fox Cities home, contact us at 920-582-9000.