Why Bed Bugs Love DC in the Summertime


Bed bugs   
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By now, you certainly have heard of bed bugs. Though you would have been hard-pressed to find a single bed bug in the United States in the early the 1990s, they have returned to America with a vengeance. Well, almost a vengeance. We don't have them quite as bad as early-20th-century Americans did. At least not yet. Surveys taken in that time period reveal that one in three residences of some U.S. cities were infested with bed bugs. We're not there yet. And, hopefully, we won't get back to that level. But bed bugs have become a serious problem again, especially in DC during the summers. Understanding why can help us prevent infestations in our homes. Bug-related disease is also on the rise in America, and studies are beginning to find a link between bed bugs and human pathogens. Here are some factors that make summertime in DC perfect for bed bugs.

1. Location

Bed bugs spread by passive dispersal. That is to say, they climb into something that is transportable and we transport them. Anyone who has an infestation has the potential to make that infestation spread, and one of the ways they do it is by going on a trip.

As travelers head up and down the east coast from Florida to Maine and all points in between, many stay in the DC area as they pass through. When they do, they have the potential to bring bed bugs. And summertime, especially around the 4th of July, is the best time to visit many of the attractions DC has to offer.

2. Climate

While bed bugs live almost exclusively inside man-made structures, they can still be affected by the climate. The most obvious way is when a home or business isn't climate controlled. Heat and humidity inspire bed bugs to multiply quickly, and we get a lot of heat and humidity in DC during the summer months.

Another, less obvious, way climate affects these indoor bugs is by allowing them to travel from point to point. While they are more than capable of spreading in the wintertime during a snowstorm, those conditions will not allow them to go from one person's belongings to the next. These are cold-blooded creatures, and cold-blooded creatures slow down when they get cold. But warm temperatures make it much easier for bed bugs to move from one item to the next.

3. International Travellers

DC isn't just an attraction for American visitors. We get travelers from all over the world. This presents a serious issue. When travelers come from a country that does not have a wide use of pest control, the way we do here in the U.S., there is a greater chance of bed bugs coming with them.

When bed bugs are brought into DC, any time of the year, it is painful for business owners. We talked about this in an article titled, "Financial Impact Bed Bugs are Having on Business." But bed bugs don't stay in hotels, motels, timeshares, and other accommodations. They spread to local businesses, public transit, and also our homes. We can pick them up when we go to the library, pick our kids up from daycare, visit our loved ones in a nursing home, take in the next blockbuster movie, shop for clothing, or visit our adult kids at college. The list goes on and on.

How To Resist Bed Bugs

bed bug life stages and scale sizesNewly hatched bed bug feeding on your arm, it will be pale and have a bright red abdomen full of blood. It will have six legs, two antennae, and three body parts. As it grows, a bed bug becomes tan in color. Eventually, it looks reddish-brown, like the pictures we see on the news. You may also see bed bugs before they hatch. These pale white, pill-shaped eggs may be scattered about or in a small batch.

Know what a bed bugs look like. Despite what you may have heard, bed bugs are not invisible to the naked eye. While a newly hatched bed bug is quite small at only 1 mm in length, it is still visible.

Always keep an eye out for bed bugs and do periodic inspections to prevent unwanted infestations. If you need assistance with prevention or bed bug elimination services, give us a call today.  

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