What To Do About D.C. Bed Bugs
The thought of having bugs crawling around in your bed and on your body while you sleep is enough to make anyone squirm. Detecting and preventing bed bugs can be quite challenging - even the conscientiously clean can find themselves victims of an infestation. These elusive critters will hitchhike inside and hide, undetected, in the smallest nooks and crannies of your home or business. Our experts at American Pest will help you navigate the signs of an infestation and develop solutions to eradicate these pests for good.
How to Tell if You Have a Bed Bug Infestation
Believe it or not, determining whether or not you have a bed bug infestation is not as simple as it sounds. Although you’d think that finding a bunch of bugs living in and around your bed would be easy, bed bugs are primarily active at night, and they’re excellent at hiding. All of these factors decrease your chances of accidental detection. Instead, if you suspect bed bugs are living and breeding inside of your home or business, you need to know the signs of an infestation and where to look for these baffling bugs.
Often the first noticeable sign of a bed bug infestation is the bites they leave on your skin. Bed bugs feed exclusively on blood, so they’ll look for exposed skin to pierce while you sleep. Bed bug bites are often mistaken for flea bites as both produce small, red, itchy bumps. There are, however, a couple of key differences: First, fleas tend to stick to the lower half of your body, especially around the ankles, while bed bugs will bite anywhere they find exposed skin and usually feed on the upper half of the body. Second, flea bites tend to be in clustered groups, while bed bug bites present in a linear pattern.
After bed bugs feed, you may end up with small drops of blood on your sheets. These stains are easier to notice on lighter colored fabrics. Nevertheless, if you find tiny red dots when you get up in the morning, it could be a sign of a bed bug infestation. Look closely for other warning signs:
- Bed bugs leave excrement on your sheets. If you find small, dark stains on your sheets or blankets, usually tan or brown in color, it could be bed bug excrement.
- Search beyond your bedding. Bed bugs are good at hiding, so knowing where to look for them is key. First, pull off your sheets and check on the mattress itself for any signs of bed bugs including: blood and fecal spots, the bugs themselves, egg casings, and shed skins.
- Lift the mattress to get a good look underneath and between the mattress and the headboard. This is a favorite spot for bed bugs to hide. Look for bugs, shed skins, egg casings, or excrement.
- Check other areas where bed bugs like to hide. These include along the cracks and crevices in furniture and in the seams of upholstered furniture, behind wall hangings, in electrical outlets, in the joints in your bureau drawers, and even in books.
- Another sign of a bed bug infestation is an unpleasant musty odor. If you notice this smell, but can’t find its source (such as a pile of neglected wet towels), you may have a large bed bug infestation.
If you detect any of these signs, you’ll want to contact a professional. Pest control technicians are trained to spot even the most subtle signs of a bed bug infestation, so having an inspection will not only confirm or deny your fears, but it will also determine the severity of any infestation.
The Problems Bed Bugs Cause
Finding out you have a bed bug infestation can be a troubling discovery. No one likes the idea of having bugs running rampant in their house, especially not in their bed. Learning about the problems that come with a bed bug infestation is not only helpful, but it can also alleviate some of the worries you may be experiencing.
The first thing to understand is bed bugs are not known to spread any diseases. Unlike mosquitoes or ticks, when bed bugs bite you, they won’t transmit any illnesses to you. That’s the good news.
However, this is some bad news. Bed bugs are not entirely harmless, and they do pose some problems when they find their way inside homes or businesses. First, their bites are itchy and annoying. If you scratch them enough to open them up, you could end up with a secondary infection.
Second, although rare, some people have allergic reactions to bed bug bites. These reactions range from minor to severe and can often become more serious with repeated exposure.
The greater problems when it comes to bed bugs are not physical; they are mental and economical. Knowing you have a bed bug infestation can be damaging to your mental health, leading to anxiety and insomnia. Furthermore, bed bug infestations can be costly, time consuming, and stressful to eliminate. If you’re a business owner, a bed bug infestation can not only cost you money, but it can also damage your business’s reputation.
The Good and Bad News About Bed Bug Infestations
It may not seem that there could be any good news when it comes to bed bug infestations. However, there is one bright spot you can cling to in the event that bed bugs find their way into your home or business - infestations have nothing to do with your cleanliness. This may seem like a small thing, but it can help to know that bed bugs are equal opportunity invaders. They are just as likely to end up in a spic and span house as they are to end up in a house that hasn’t been cleaned in ten years. In short, a bed bug infestation is not a reflection on your housekeeping skills.
The bad news about bed bug infestations is that they can happen anywhere, and there’s really no good way to prevent them. Bed bugs love to travel and they’re excellent hitchhikers. They weasel their way inside a suitcase or backpack, climb onto your shoe or pant leg, and even crawl inside your grocery bag, all without your knowledge. From there, you can inadvertently take them home with you. Once you get home, they’ll climb out of your suitcase or backpack, off your shoe or pant leg, or out of your grocery bag, and look around for a suitable place to hide. At this point, it’s only a matter of time before they begin to reproduce and establish themselves into an all-out infestation.
Why Treating a Bed Bug Infestation Yourself is Usually Unsuccessful
Once you’re relatively certain that you have a bed bug infestation on your hands, your first reaction may be to throw away your mattress and buy some bug spray to try to take care of it yourself. This is almost always a mistake.
First, throwing away your mattress will do little to eliminate your infestation. Although some bed bugs may reside in or on your mattress, there are almost certainly many more in other locations throughout your home or business.
Second, spraying chemicals around your house without a lot of knowledge about what they are and where to spray them can be quite dangerous to yourself, your family members, your employees and customers, and your pets. Furthermore, bed bugs have developed a resistance to many chemical treatments, making the spray ineffectual.
Not only that, but even if you do successfully eliminate some of the bed bugs in your home or business, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get rid of all of them since they are so good at hiding. In fact, bed bugs often hang out within your walls, and when they sense danger, they retreat into hiding for months at a time without food. That means that the reprieve you experience will give you a false sense of security, only to be crushed later when you have a bed bug recurrence.
What to Do When Bed Bugs Invade
Experts agree that the very best thing you can do when you suspect a bed bug infestation is to call a professional pest control company. American Pest has years of experience treating bed bug infestations, and we use the best methods available to ensure total eradication. In fact, our bed bug control program is designed by experienced entomologists who are experts in bed bug biology and behavior.
American Pest bed bug treatments begin with a thorough inspection. We offer two options for inspections: A visual inspection can be performed by one of our trained and licensed pest control technicians or a K9 inspection can be performed by one of our specially trained dogs. K9 inspections provide a level of accuracy in determining the exact location of bed bugs that a visual inspection cannot. These inspections are particularly helpful in commercial settings, saving time and money on unnecessary treatments.
Once we determine the size and scope of the bed bug infestation, American Pest will perform a heat treatment to eradicate your bed bug problem. Heat treatments are the most effective bed bug treatment available as they eliminate bed bugs in hard to reach places in all stages of development. They are environmentally responsible, safe for your family and belongings, efficient, and effective.
If you suspect bed bugs in your home or business, don’t wait until the infestation is out of control. To schedule your initial bed bug inspection, contact American Pest today. We have the experience, knowledge, and equipment necessary to quickly eliminate your bed bug problem for good.
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