What are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are flat, wingless, bloodsucking insects that measure about 1/8 - 1/4 inch long. They range in color from light brown to reddish-brown. A bed bug can lay up to 540 eggs in a l ifetime, and the brood is then able to reprodu ce in only 21 days. Bed bugs are a nuisance pest only, and are not known to spread disease.
Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?
Bed bugs can be found throughout the world. During the latter part of the 20th century, bed bugs were relatively scarce. However in recent years, with increased domestic and international travel, bed bug activity has made a resurgence in the United States. Bed bugs may crawl into or attach themselves to clothing, luggage, furniture or any other item a person has in an infested area. Wherever this newly infested item is moved, bed bugs can make a new home and stay.
How Do I Control Bed Bugs?
If you have bed bugs, do not panic. Bed bugs can be contained and eliminated from your home or business establishment with the proper course of action.
What You Should Do
Because bed bugs do not move long distances by themselves, a population can be contained if they are not moved by other means. Do not move new items into an infested room or take items out of this room. If items must be removed from the infested room, they should be first placed in trash bags that are tied securely before removal. Once removed, fabric items in the bag should be washed immediately.
If the items are to be discarded, trash bags should be placed in a closed container not located next to the house or building.
Wash Fabric Items
Fabric items that need to be laundered include clothing, sleepwear, pet bedding, mattress covers, pillowcases and covers, cushions and covers, curtains, dust ruffles, throw rugs. tablecloths, towels and other linens.
Items should be washed with a strong detergent in the hottest temperature setting possible and then stored away from the infested room until the bed bugs are eliminated.
Move Pictures & Furnishings
Items such as pictures and decorations should be taken off the walls, and all furnishings should be moved to the center of the room. This reduces many potential hiding areas and maximizes the distance between the furniture and the walls. This distance helps reduce bed bug mobility to new locations in a home or building.
If bed bugs do not crawl inside the walls, they are more quickly controlled.
Discard or Cover Mattresses
Old mattresses with holes in them should be thrown away. If mattresses are new or in a good condition, they can be vacuumed, placed in direct sunlight for a few hours on a warm day, and then placed
inside a zippered plastic mattress cover so that bed bugs cannot crawl out.
Hiring a pest management company is recommended. Pest management professionals can locate all bed bug hiding areas and apply a treatment that will effectively eliminate the population.
Where Do Bed Bugs Hide?
FLOORING: Inside floor cracks, under carpets, or under baseboards.
WALLS: Behind loose wallpaper, in plaster cracks, inside mounted light fixtures, and in or under pictures/posters/shelves or other hung items.
WALL VOIDS (the area between the walls): Behind electric sockets and light switch coverings; behind phone and cable jacks; inside service panels and wall installations for electrical, plumbing and ventilation.
BEDS: In tufts, seams and mattress folds; inside box springs; between bed covers, linens, pillowcases and pillowcase covers; in bed frame seams; underneath bed frame legs; behind headboards; and in pet bedding.
OTHER FURNITURE: In seams of furniture; underneath furniture legs; under drawer linings and in drawer tracts; behind furniture backs; underneath cushions and cushion covers: inside upholstery where it is stapled to the frame.
CLOTHING: Attached to linings and folds of clothing in hampers, closets, drawers and other laundry areas.
OTHER: In or under home furnishings (radios, clocks, lamps, phones, etc.), personal electronics (computers, stereos, TVs, etc.) and any other item that provides a dark, undisturbed hiding spot.