Bed Bug Signs To Watch For Around Your Maryland Home
Most people have heard of bed bugs, but most simply consider them the subject of a children’s nursery rhyme and not a pest that they need to be concerned about. Unfortunately, that isn’t quite the truth. Bed bugs are real pests that are a real problem for thousands of homeowners throughout Maryland.
Because of the way they get around, anyone is susceptible to a bed bug infestation. It doesn't matter if your home is big, small, clean, or dirty. You can determine whether you have a bed bug infestation by looking for the right signs, and like with all pest infestations, early detection helps make the elimination process less cumbersome. Below are the bed bug signs to watch for around your Maryland house so that you can identify a bed bug infestation before it gets out of hand.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small parasitic insects. About the size of an apple seed, adult bed bugs have broad, flat, oval-shaped bodies that are reddish-brown. During a feeding, their bodies puff up as they become engorged with blood, and they become redder in color.
Although they are small, adult bed bugs are not so small that they are difficult to see. Adult bed bugs are visible and can readily be seen by the naked eye. Bed bugs in the nymph stage are also visible, but due to their small size and pale color, they are more difficult to spot. Unlike adults, nymphs easily blend in with their surroundings.
Bed bug eggs are the hardest to spot of all because they are tiny, dust-sized specks. A whitish color, they are very difficult to see and tend to be laid in places where you might not notice them, such as in the seams of your mattress, folds in upholstery, or along joints in the headboard.
As previously mentioned, bed bugs are parasites that require blood meals for survival. They get their name because they tend to spend time in beds where they have easy access to their host. Although they can eat and move around at any time, they are usually nocturnal, which makes sleeping hosts an easy target.
Even so, bed bugs are not only found in beds. They can also be found on furniture, in cracks and crevices on the floor, behind picture frames, in electrical outlets, and even inside your walls. Once a bed bug infestation begins, it will spread, and bed bugs can be found in any room of your house. In fact, a bed bug infestation can begin in a room of your house that is not a bedroom.
How Do Bed Bugs Get Around?
Bed bug infestations do not occur in the same way that other pest infestations occur. In the case of most infestations, the pests enter your property and make their way closer and closer to your house until they eventually make it all the way inside. This is not how bed bugs infest homes. In fact, you are unlikely to ever find bed bugs lurking around your property.
Bed bugs are indoor bugs, and they like to travel. They frequently climb into bags, boxes, or luggage, or onto shoes or clothing, and they use those items to hitchhike to new places. The following example will make it easy for you to understand how bed bugs can infest almost any location with ease.
Let’s imagine a home with a bed bug infestation. The homeowners are unaware of the infestation, so they haven’t taken any steps to eliminate it. One morning, one of the owners gets dressed for work. A bed bug climbs onto her pant leg without her knowledge. She uses public transportation, and as she waits to get to her destination, the bed bug crawls off her pants and onto the seat.
Arriving at her stop, she stands and exits, and you take her now unoccupied seat. As you travel to your stop, the bed bug climbs into your bag and travels with you to your house. Because you are fully unaware of its presence, you don’t think to check over your clothing or inside your bag before going into your house. Once inside, the bed bug climbs out and finds a place to hide close to a host where it can get a meal later that night. Your bed bug infestation has begun without your knowledge.
What Is The First Sign Of A Bed Bug Infestation?
As you can see from the story above, bed bugs mode of transportation prevents typical pest prevention suggestions from working. Sealing cracks in your foundation won’t keep them out. Eliminating food or water sources in or around your house is ineffective (and impossible, since you are the food source).
Preventing a bed bug infestation from occurring in your Maryland house is nearly impossible unless you commit to examining every person, bag, box, or other items brought into your house to make sure there are no bed bugs on them. Instead, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the signs of a bed bug infestation so that when you see them, you know what they are and can take action to eliminate the problem as quickly as possible.
Often people begin to suspect bed bugs have gotten into their house when they discover bites on their skin. Bed bugs most often feed at night while you’re sleeping. Their bites are nearly painless, so they’re unlikely to wake you, but if you wake up in the morning with red, itchy bumps, or these bumps develop over time, they could be from bed bugs.
Bed bug bites are frequently confused with flea bites because of their similarities in appearance. However, there are usually a couple of differences that can help you determine which pest is causing problems in your home. First, fleas tend to bite the extremities, especially around the ankles and feet, while bed bugs prefer the trunk of your body. Fleas will bite haphazardly, while bed bugs tend to bite in a linear or zig-zag pattern.
If you are finding bites on your body that are red, itchy, on your trunk, and in a linear pattern, it is highly likely that you have a bed bug infestation. To determine if you do, you’ll need to take further action to look for other signs of bed bug activity. Even if you don’t have bed bug bites, it’s wise to know the other signs of an infestation so that you can check regularly to see if any of the signs are present. Early detection is the best way to eliminate a bed bug infestation easily and thoroughly.
What Are Other Signs Of A Bed Bug Infestation?
Although a bed bug infestation is bad news, there is a bit of good news. Although bed bugs do tend to hide, they leave behind some fairly obvious signs of their presence if you know where to look and what to look for. Unlike some other pests, such as termites, that can be easily missed even when there are tens of thousands of them in your house, if you take a proactive role in looking for signs of bed bugs, you’ll usually be able to find them if they’re there.
Whether you have obvious bed bug bites or not, one sign to look for is the blood they leave behind after a meal. Not everyone develops the red bump after being bitten, so it’s smart to look for this sign, even if you don’t have bug bites on your body. Check your sheets, blankets, and pillow for small red dots. These tiny drops of blood sometimes drip out as the bed bug makes its way back to its hiding spot after a meal.
Similarly, sometimes bed bugs leave excrement behind as they travel over your bed. Look for small brown or tan streaks on your sheets, blankets, and pillows. Both excrement and blood droplets show up best on light-colored sheets, so if you’re concerned about bed bugs, you may want to use lighter-colored sheets so that you can easily see these signs.
Another sign of bed bug activity is seeing the bed bugs themselves. Since adult bed bugs are large enough to see without the aid of a magnifying glass, you simply have to know where to look for them. Start where they are most often found, and work your way out from there:
- Pull the sheets off your mattress and check along the seams of the mattress.
- Look between the mattress and boxspring.
- Check between the mattress and the headboard, as well as between the mattress and the footboard.
- Look behind picture frames hanging on the wall.
- Check along the edges of the room where the wall meets the floor, as well as in cracks and crevices in the floor.
- Check along the seams of upholstered furniture, not just in the bedroom, but in every room of your house.
- Unscrew outlet covers and check behind them. This is how bed bugs get into the walls and travel from room to room.
In addition to looking for live adult bed bugs, you can also look for bed bug casings or eggshells. While these are usually smaller and harder to see due to their color, they can often be found in clusters. The same goes for looking for live bed bug nymphs or eggs. They are more difficult to see than the adults, but it is possible if you know what to look for and where to look.
What Should You Do If Bed Bugs Get Into Your Maryland Home?
If during your search, you find signs of bed bug activity, you’ll want to take action right away to deal with the infestation. Bed bugs breed rapidly, and a small infestation will soon become a large infestation if not swiftly eliminated. DIY bed bug control methods may claim to work, but they rarely provide the results homeowners need. They may lead to a temporary reduction in bed bugs or bed bug activity, but they usually leave some bed bugs behind. Even just a few bed bugs that survive a DIY treatment are enough to continue to reproduce and bring the infestation back.
Instead, you’ll want to enlist the help of the professional pest control experts at American Pest. At American Pest, we have spent years perfecting our bed bug control techniques, and we carefully train our service technicians to ensure they are experienced in the proper methods.
We use eco-friendly heat treatments that are not only the most effective way to fully eliminate a bed bug infestation but also the only treatment method that works in just one day. Our heat treatment, which is also referred to as thermal remediation, works by heating your home to a temperature that is lethal to bed bugs in all stages of development. Since heat can penetrate walls, it is the most effective method for eliminating every bed bug in your home, even the ones that are hiding in areas that conventional liquid treatments can’t reach.
For the best bed bug control provided by the most qualified pest control company available in Maryland, contact American Pest today. We’ll fully eliminate your bed bug problem so that you can get a good night’s sleep without the worry of bed bugs. Learn more about our home pest control and commercial pest control options.
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