bed bugs in a washington dc hotel

What is a bed bug?

Bed bugs are small parasitic insects that are rising in number. They've made a strong comeback after nearly 50 years of limited activity in the United States. Adult bed bugs have a distinct reddish-brown color and have flat, oval-shaped bodies about 1/4 inch in length. In a protected area, an adult female will lay up to five eggs in one day. The eggs are small, approximately 1mm in size and are whitish in color, making them almost invisible to the untrained eye. Bed bug eggs are slightly sticky when first laid, which allows them to adhere to surfaces to remain safe until hatching. Once hatched, bed bug nymphs are no larger than a pinhead. They resemble the adults, but are smaller and lighter in color until they reach maturity. The nymphs mature rapidly, shedding their exoskeleton as they grow larger after each feeding. Bed bugs feed only on blood, preferring human blood, but will also feed on other warm-blooded animals if necessary. Signs of a bed bug infestation are:

  • Small spots of blood on mattresses and bed linens

  • Tiny brown droppings

  • Exoskeletons, or “cast skins” shed by growing nymphs

  • Tiny white eggs and egg casings

Why do I have them?

Bed bugs are efficient hitchhikers, capable of traveling great distances with an unsuspecting host. The affordability and prevalence of mass transit and international travel is a major contributing factor to the increase in bed bug infestations. It has become more common and more detrimental to travel to countries with less rigorous standards of hygiene and limited pest control practices. Because of this it is likely to find bed bugs in airplane seats, cabs and hotel beds. It is common for these pests to travel in luggage, backpacks and even in clothing. Once the bed bug has hitched a ride, its destination could be anywhere. Health care facilities, public transportation and private homes are just a few of the places you may seem them show up in.

Are they dangerous?

Bed bugs are not known to carry or spread diseases to humans, but their bites can cause skin irritation. Though many people have no reaction to bed bug bites, some experience small red welts. Bed bug bites often appear in a line or cluster and may be itchy or painful. Serious health problems can occur if the bites become infected. We recommend consulting a medical professional should this occur. 

How do I get rid of bed bugs?

Bed bugs are hard to get rid of once an area of a home has become infested. They are nocturnal feeders which means they are rarely seen during the day. Their flat bodies make it easy for them to hide in cracks and crevices. They also hide inside mattresses and around button and seam lines, linens, behind baseboards and inside furniture. American Pest offers EPA-approved bed bug control services. This includes K-9 detection, thermal remediation (heat treatments) and conventional liquid treatments. We begin by scheduling a thorough and detailed inspection of your property. This allows us to find out the extent of infestation. Armed with this information, our pest control team will customize a program to your specific needs. We'll treat not only the infested rooms and furniture, but surrounding areas as well.

Can I do it myself?

Do-it-yourself methods of bed bug removal are rarely successful due to the elusive and nocturnal nature of the pest. An experienced eye and training are essential to fully understand and eradicate the pests. At American Pest, our 6 full-time entomologists and a highly trained staff of pest control experts using tried and true techniques are ready to assist whenever you need us.

How soon can you get here?

At American Pest, we strive to help you in the shortest time possible, causing you the least inconvenience while eradicating your bug problems in the most cost effective manner. We make every effort to be with you the same or very next day.

Is the treatment safe?

Every product used by American Pest has first been tested and registered by the EPA for pest control use. We then apply these products following a strict set of guidelines. This ensures the safety of humans and pets while eradicating the problem. Thermal remediation treatments can be applied without any pesticides in conjunction with it, offering an eco-friendly solution for a bed bug infestation.

How can I prevent this in the future?

Bed bugs are very difficult to prevent, given their ability to enter the home in many different ways. The best thing to do is remain vigilant. Watch for the tell-tale signs of bed bugs. Call American Pest to discuss bed bug treatment options as soon as you spot them to reduce the risk of major infestation.

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