A: Adults are approximately the size of an apple seed, and mahogany/brown in color. Babies can be quite small (about the size of a grain of sand) and are tan in color until they feed for the first time. They are quite elusive, hiding very well inside cracks and crevices between feedings, making them very difficult to locate. Often the only sign of infestations are small drops of blood on the sheets that are excreted as they feed. Shed skins, fecal stains (which look like pepper glued to a surface) and eggs may also be observed tucked away in hidden locations. Identifications should never be based solely on visible bites. It is extremely difficult to see any signs of bed bugs during early infestation, so we suggest using our Bed Bug Detection Dogs to help determine if bed bugs are present.
Q: What Are Bed Bugs’ Effects?
A: While bed bugs do not cause damage, they will bite because blood is their only source of food. Although no disease transmission has been attributed to bed bugs, their bites may cause swelling and intense itching. Secondary infections due to scratching may occur in some people. While over-the-counter medications may help, many people who are bitten exhibit intense itching that can last for days.
Q: How Do Bed Bugs Get Around?
A: This pest is a hitchhiker and may have been picked up virtually anywhere. They can be found in gym lockers, luggage, clothing, public transportation, infested hotel rooms, movie theaters, schools and just about any other place where there is the potential for contact with items from other people. Other examples include used mattresses, box springs, furniture and second-hand items.
While one may have an idea where they were contracted, there is no certain way of knowing for sure where they came from. Often this pest goes undetected for several months before being noticed.
Q: Can Bed Bugs Travel Into Adjacent Rooms?
A: They can. Once bed bugs enter a structure, they can easily travel into adjacent rooms, creating multiple feeding areas. This is why it is often necessary to treat adjacent rooms when eliminating a bed bug population. If not handled immediately, conditions can quickly grow to be a nightmare for a home or business owner.
Q: What is a Bed Bug’s Life Cycle?
A: Adult bed bugs are about 1/8” long and reddish-brown, with flattened, oval-shaped bodies that allow them to live in small cracks and crevices. Bed bugs do not fly, but can walk rapidly over floors, walls, ceilings, and other surfaces. Females lay tiny white eggs that are hard to see without magnification. Newly hatched bed bugs are no bigger than a pinhead. As they grow, they molt (shed their skin) five times before reaching maturity. A blood meal is needed between each molt. Bed bugs can complete development from egg to adult in as little as one month. Adult bed bugs can survive up to a year without feeding. Although bed bugs prefer feeding on humans, they will feed on other warm-blooded animals, including pets.
Q: When Are Bed Bugs Most Active?
A: Bed bugs are nocturnal, active mainly at night. During the daytime, they prefer to hide close to where people sleep or sit still for periods of time. Bed bugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but tend to congregate in hard-to-find cracks and crevices in bed frames, nightstands and other furniture, behind baseboards, heaters, door and window frames, hung pictures, loose wallpaper, under wall-to-wall carpets, in personal belongings, electronics, electric outlets, clutter and clothing laying on floors. They can easily spread to adjacent rooms or apartments. A sign of bedbug activity is rust or reddish spots of blood on bed sheets or mattresses. Initial infestations tend to be around beds, but often, by the time the bedbugs are discovered, they may have spread through the bedroom, occupying cracks and protected locations. Bed bugs commonly infest couches and furniture in living rooms.
Q: What Do I Do Before An Inspection?
A: Remove all bedding (sheets, pillowcases, comforters, etc.) from all mattresses and box springs and launder. Remove all clothing from dressers and closets and place in plastic bags. Discard all unnecessary clutter in sealed garbage bags. Vacuum all floors in bedrooms and living room, paying close attention to areas where the wall meets the floor, using the vacuum’s crevice attachment. Immediately empty or remove vacuum cleaner bag, seal in a plastic bag and discard in a dumpster OUTSIDE OF THE BUILDING. If Bed Bug Inspector recommends disposing furniture such as mattresses, box springs or sofas, all furniture MUST be wrapped in plastic BEFORE being placed in a dumpster.
Do you have multiple properties? Concerned about having various pest control companies? Viking's vast presence means there is most likely a Viking office right in your neighborhood. If any pest does find a way into your business, Viking's professionals are there at a moment's notice. We take care of the situation discreetly and work with you for long-term relief. That's the Viking Advantage Commitment: A Regional coverage with a local touch.