Ask The Expert: How Do I Know If I Have Bed Bugs

QUESTION: How do I know if I have bed bugs?

ANSWER: Are tiny bugs crawling on your bed and keeping you up at night? Do these bugs that have six legs, a small apple shape and bodies smaller than 6mm? Do you smell crushed coriander or do you see rusty brown blood spots on your skin or bedding? Do you see discarded skins of previous molted bugs in and around your bed and baseboards? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have bed bugs! Bed bugs are true bugs that have a 3-segmented part beak and two tubes that inject saliva and an anticoagulant to draw up your blood directly into its waiting gut. They have a scent gland and 4-segmented antennae. Visit our Pest Library to see what a bed bug looks like.

One adult female bed bug can lay 2-5 eggs per day. In 10 – 14 days those eggs will hatch into baby bed bugs, called nymphs, which are only about 1.5mm in size and yellowish white in color. Those nymphs must find a blood meal, preferably a human one, within 24 hours or it will likely die. Bed bugs go through 5 nymphal developmental stages, called instars, and molt between each one until they reach the adult stage where they are sexually reproductive. An adult bed bug, depending on conditions, can survive in your home for approximately 3 months with a host present. If the host leaves, all stages will go into a semi-hibernation state and wait for a warm-blooded host to return so they can continue producing more bed bugs to feed on you.

Treat any bed bugs found with an appropriately labelled pesticide. Mattress and box spring encasements should be used. Depending on size of infestations found, multiple treatments may be needed. Treat night stands, stuffed furniture, baseboards, floorboards, behind loose wallpaper, light switches, door and window frames, conduits, wall voids, attics and other enclosed places with properly labelled residual insecticide. Use insecticide dust in wall voids and under carpet seams. Vacuums are a great way to physically remove bed bugs from an area. Be sure to vacuum cracks and crevices where bed bugs hide. Also, when finished vacuuming, treat the vacuum hose and throw away the vacuum bag.

It’s important to bring a sample of any suspected bed bugs to our experts at Poulin’s Pest Control. Positive identification of these blood feeding nuisance pests is critical to rid your home of these pests. Please do not be ashamed or embarrassed as anyone can get bed bugs, they do not discriminate and are great hitch hikers on almost any item or person. Know what to look for and call us to set up a program to eradicate them from your home.

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