Actual size: 0.06 in.
Bed Bugs at a Glance|
Though bed bugs have been a documented pest since the 17th century, most households of this generation have never seen a bed bug. Infestations were common in the United States before World War II, after which time widespread use of insecticides greatly reduced their numbers. In recent years, bed bugs have begun making a comeback across the United States.
Bed bugs feed on human blood. They are found near sleeping areas in the seams of mattresses, box springs, cracks and crevices in bed frames, and can even spread to pictures and wallpaper. These pests may hitch a ride into homes on luggage, furniture, clothing or other items brought from invested areas.
- Brown to reddish-brown in color
- Flat and oval in shape
- About 3/16'' to 1/4'' long
- Initially white or straw-colored, turning brown as they mature
- Same general appearance as adults, only smaller
- White in color
- About the size of a pinhead (1/16'' long)
- Found in groups where bed bugs are found.
Female bed bugs lay from 1 to 5 eggs per day. They deposit their eggs on rough surfaces or in crack and crevices. The eggs are coated with a sticky substance so they adhere to the surfaces. Eggs hatch in about 10 days, and nymphs can immediately begin to feed. They must feed on blood in order to molt. Bed bugs reach maturity after five molts. The adult's lifespan can encompass 12-18 months, however they typically live about 6 months.
Do bed bugs really bite?
Yes. Their bites are typically painless and usually happen while you're asleep at night. They feed by piercing skin with an elongated mouth through which they withdraw blood. Bed bugs feed for about 3 to 15 minutes before retreating to a sheltered crevice. Bites may occur anywhere on the body, but are most common on exposed areas such as the face, neck, arms and hands.
Symptoms from being bitten vary per individual. Some are hardly even aware they have been bitten, while others may suffer a skin reaction and develop swelling or itchy red welts similar to those associated with mosquito bites. Bites may itch for up to two weeks before healing.
I think I may have bed bugs. How can I be sure?
You may see living or dead insects, or bed bug skin left behind from molting. But if the infestation isn't severe, you probably won't see bed bugs crawling out in the open. They prefer to hide in sheltered areas when they aren't feeding. Look for evidence of bed bugs by checking pillowcases, sheets, box springs and mattresses for rust-colored smears or their fecessmall dark spots. Be sure to examine the entire room in question thoroughly.
How do I treat a bed bug infestation?
When treating a bed bug infestation, a combination of chemical and non-chemical treatments is generally most effective. The recommended methods to treat an infestation are:
- Get rid of clutter where bed bugs can hide (check for bed bugs before storing in another location).
- Use the suction wand of a vacuum cleaner to remove bugs from all visible and suspected sites- repeat this, as needed (remove the vacuum bag immediately afterward and seal in a larger plastic bag before disposal).
- Wash all infested cloth items in hot water and dry them in HOT dryer (>140°F) for more then 20 minutes then seal in large, clean plastic bags to avoid re-infestation.
- Use a product like Raid® Max Bed Bug & Flea Killer, which kills bed bugs and their eggs, in accordance with label directions. The convenient crack and crevice tip is ideal for getting spray down into those tight places where bed bugs hide.
- Seal cracks and crevices where bed bugs may hide, particularly in the bedrooms.
- Follow up- keep home free of clutter and monitor infested sites daily (it can take time for methods to completely work, but if you still see living bed bugs, restart your treatment).