Bed Bug Awareness Week
In recognition of Bed Bug Awareness Week, Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor’s is teaming with the National Pest Management Association and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help educate people in our area about the scourge of bed bugs.
Bed bugs don’t care if their victims are dirty or clean, rich or poor—even celebrities can have bed bug infestations. We’ve found bed bugs in offices, small apartments, college dorms, mansions, 5‐star hotels and everywhere in between. There is some good news, though: bed bugs don’t transmit diseases and can be effectively eliminated from your home. Your first and best weapon is information; know your enemy.
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs, or Cimex lectularius, have existed since humans lived in caves. These small wingless insects feed on human blood and typically bite during the night. Fully‐grown adult bed bugs are about the size of apple seeds. Eggs and newborns are very small and usually whitish in color, and are visible to the eye. The color (and to a degree, shape) of older bed bugs can vary depending on how long it’s been since their last meal. Females usually have rounder back ends, while males have a somewhat pointier back ends.
Although they’re called bed bugs, the name is a little misleading since they can be found in couches, chairs, clock radios or anywhere you can find their food source: people. They are literally “out for blood” and will go wherever people. Since bed bugs don’t fly, they spread by hitch‐hiking on people or their belongings like luggage, clothing and purses.
Prevent Bed Bug Infestations
In the last few years, there has been a resurgence in bed bug infestations. A few simple precautions can lower your risk of bringing bed bugs into your home.
- Be mindful of where you place your personal belongings (such as coats, purses, etc.) in public areas.
- Minimize clutter in your home to reduce possible hiding places for bed bugs.
- Carefully inspect secondhand furniture, beds and couches for signs of bed bugs before bringing them into your home, or avoid secondhand furniture altogether. Secondhand clothing can be run through the clothes dryer on high for 30 minutes when you come home from the store.
- When traveling, inspect hotel rooms and beds for signs of bed bug infestations. Avoid spreading your clothes and belongings around the room, such as on the bed and furniture.
Bed bugs in public places are an unpleasant nuisance, but they only really become a problem if you accidentally bring some home. Even if you accidentally bring bed bugs home from a trip, if you bring home a lone male or an unfertilized female the problem is relatively easy to control.
Signs of Bed Bug Infestations
The most obvious sign of bed bugs are the reddish itchy bites on your skin. However, many people don’t react to bed bug bites. Also look for evidence of bed bug activity including small blood marks on the bed, tiny dark brown fecal spots or cast skins of bed bugs. In the early stages of an infestation, you may not find much visual evidence of bed bugs. If you find an insect (living or dead) that you suspect is a bed bug, save it in a locking sandwich bag and have it identified by a pest control professional.
Specially‐trained dogs can quickly and accurately detect bed bugs in your home by searching for the scent of live bed bugs or bed bug eggs. These dogs work on the same principle as narcotics or explosives K-9s, but are trained to look for the scent of bed bugs. We recommend you do your research before selecting a provider. The canine and handler you choose should be well‐trained and NESDCA certified.
Did you know?
Bed Bugs mate by “traumatic insemination,” which means that the males actually stab the females in order to mate. Injuries incurred during mating can sometimes kill the females. In the picture below, the male is on the left and the female is on the right.
Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs like to hide and they are notoriously tricky to find and to treat effectively. If you’re concerned about a possible infestation, we recommend you contact a professional pest control service immediately. Avoid using over-the‐counter bed bug sprays, which can exacerbate the problem by spreading the bugs rather than killing them.
Pest control experts have the knowledge and experience to find and eliminate the infestation the first time, and restore your peace of mind.
Bed Bug Awareness Week in Virginia
Serving the Virginia area since 1944