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I Found A Few Bed Bugs – Does That Mean I’m Dealing With An Infestation?

What’s the big deal about a couple of bugs in the home, especially ones as thin as a credit card and only 10 millimeters in diameter? Doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, right? What kind of damage could these pests do? While finding a few small bugs in the home might not seem like a big deal, you’d be surprised at the havoc these little guys can wreak.

Why Are A Few Bed Bugs A Major Problem?

It’s possible that a couple of bed bugs could easily hitch their way into your home. Maybe they came from a friend’s home. Perhaps they came from a piece of used furniture. Whatever the scenario might be, bed bugs can easily hitch onto your clothes or shoes and ride you right back to your home. This might not seem like a big concern, right? You’ll just get rid of the bugs and all will be said and done? If you’re lucky that’ll be the case. That being said, when have you ever gotten that lucky? You’re going to be in even bigger trouble if the bugs are female. One of the reasons for this is because these critters are prolific breeders and maters. A female can lay between one to five eggs a day and 500 eggs within an entire lifespan. These eggs will hatch in as little as two weeks and when immediately begin feeding after birth. You can already see the cause for concern. In addition to this, bed bugs are not solitary creatures. Where you see one, there will be more behind, likely just right around the corner. What’s even more troubling is that the pests have the mentality to avoid detection. They’ll rearrange their entire sleeping habits to match yours. If you sleep during the day, they’ll sleep at night and feed during the day. If you spot a bug in the home it’s likely that the infestation has grown so large that they’ve pushed each other out into the open. Given their size and mentality to avoid detection, it can be incredibly hard to detect bed bugs. However, if you are lucky enough to spot one, you’ll want to try to determine if they are male or female. Both are anywhere from 7 millimeters to 10 millimeters in diameter, but the males have more pointed abdomens while the females are more rounded.

Why Bed Bugs Are Hard To Spot

Bed bugs are so hard to spot because they’ll actually go out of their way to avoid detection. However, this is not the only reason they are hard to spot or detect. These extremely stealthy creatures are hard to spot because they are as thin as a credit card and have reddish-brown bodies that blend in with common surroundings. In addition to this, they don’t fly or jump, so they’ll literally be crawling around everywhere they go, making them even harder to spot. It doesn’t help that they usually sleep when you are awake. This is why you have to be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of an infestation. One of the best ways to detect an infestation is by bites. Bed bugs have to feed in order to survive and they feed via biting their host. This usually results in red welts on the neck, face, arms, legs, or ankles. However, there are some people that don’t react to bites, so they might be getting bitten and don’t even know it.

Confirm The Infestation

With the above in mind, just because you are waking up in the morning or the middle of the night with bite marks, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are dealing with bed bugs. Fleas, mites, and even ladybugs have been known to bite. It is entirely possible that you are getting bitten by any number of creatures. The best way to confirm your infestation is by procuring a sample of the bug. As difficult as this might be, it will be possible with the right techniques and the assistance of a pest management professional. Bed bugs are usually less than 10 millimeters long and have small, segmented antennae. Although not everyone reacts to the bites, as was mentioned above, bites are one of the best ways to confirm an infestation. With all this in mind, people have commonly mistaken bed bugs for cockroach nymphs, fleas, and carpet beetles.

Signs And Symptoms

Regardless of what critter you are dealing with, you need to learn to detect the early warnings signs. Spotting the signs will allow you to jump on the infestation as early as possible. Here are some signs you’ll want to keep an eye out for: Bloodstains: Look for reddish-brown stains on the sheets. This could be a sign of a recent feeding or that you’ve rolled over and squashed a bug while it was feeding. Exoskeletons: Like other common insects, bed bugs do shed their skin. This skin will be delicate, molted, near-translucent, and nearly the same as a bed bug. It will look exactly like the bed bug, only translucent. Eggs/Egg Casings: In addition to leaving skins behind, these creatures will also leave eggs and egg casings behind. This is never a good sign, as it’ll mean you will soon be dealing with more pests. It also means there is a female lurking in the house somewhere, lying in wait ready to reproduce even more. They can lay anywhere from 1 to 5 eggs a day. Fecal Matter: The thought alone is disgusting, but bed bugs will defecate and urinate wherever they go. These stains usually appear in the same size, shape, and color as inkblots. Bite Marks: Bed bug bites appear in welts as do mosquito and flea bites. While they are similar in size, shape, and appearance, bed bug bites usually only appear on the neck, face, arms, wrists, ankles, shins, and legs. Musty, Sweet Odors: In larger infestation, keep your nose peeled for sweet, musty smells. These scents come from the scent glands and are only present in larger infestations.

Starting The Search

Anytime you even suspect you are dealing with bed bugs, you need to get the pros involved. However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do on your own. There are things you can do, as getting the process started will only further the removal. You just have to be careful not to spread the infestation to other parts of the property. That being said, you’ll want to start by moving the bed away from the wall. This will force the bugs to climb up the legs of the furniture to get at you, allowing you to install traps and lures at the feet of the furniture. The thought is to force the critters to pass through the traps and lures before they can feed on you. You can also strip the linens and drapes and wash them in hot water and then drying them on the highest heat settings possible. Doing this in conjunction with calling a pest management professional will be the best way to attack the problem. Whatever you do, you want to keep the infestation confined to the bedroom, as spreading it will only make it harder to remove and cost more money. This is why it is best to get the pros involved as quickly as possible.

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