WHAT DO BED BUGS LOOK LIKE?
Adult bed bugs are small, relatively flat and brownish insects that are typically oval-shaped, measuring just under a ¼” long. By the time you see even one bed bug, there are usually hundreds or thousands more hiding nearby. In their early stages of development, immature bed bugs (nymphs) are much smaller and lighter in color. Newly hatched, bed bugs are translucent and difficult to spot with the unaided eye.
ARE THEY DANGEROUS? DO THEY CARRY DISEASE?
Bed bugs are little vampires that only feed on fresh blood. In some severe cases, people have unknowingly been bitten hundreds of times in one night. But outside of the physical discomfort and emotional trauma, bed bugs do not transmit disease. However, some individuals may experience extreme allergic reactions which can lead to painful swelling and itchy rashes requiring medical attention.
WHY DO THEY SEEK OUT HUMAN BEINGS FOR FOOD?
Bed bugs have a scientifically proven, instinctive attraction for the carbon dioxide (CO2) naturally released by people and their pets during respiration. Following their natural instincts, bed bugs will crawl up bed posts and over bedding to feed and, ultimately, breed into greater numbers. Even worse, you're very unlikely to detect bed bugs in your home until you have thousands of them already living with you.
WHAT IS THE SIZE AND SCOPE OF THE BED BUG PROBLEM?
Bed bugs do not discriminate. They know no social barriers and affect people of all incomes in all neighborhoods. They take up residence in apartments, condos, houses, hotels, schools, public transportation, hospitals, businesses, and even movie theaters. The problem is truly a global one, impacting municipalities on every continent.
HOW DO YOU CONTAIN A BED BUG OUTBREAK?
Perhaps the most troubling aspect of bed behavior is that just one egg-laying female (the size of an apple seed) can produce a full infestation of bed bugs in only weeks. Unlike other vermin and pests, which can be controlled and eliminated using any number of methods, beg bugs have only grown more resilient to traditional pesticide treatments. The key is detecting them early before more aggressive extermination efforts are required.
WHERE ARE BED BUGS USUALLY FOUND?
Bed bugs can hide in paper-thin crevices and typically come out at night to feed on blood from you, your kids and your pets. They are so incredibly tiny they’re able to spread from room-to-room using the wall outlets and even the air vents. If your neighboring apartment has bed bugs, you're only six inches away from having them as well. Too close for comfort? You bet.
HOW DO THEY GET FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER?
Bed bugs can find their way into crevices in clothing, luggage, used furniture or any other objects or articles with an inviting amount of space. Hotels, college dorms, institutional buildings, public housing and private residences have all been targeted by these persistent pests. This means that even if you have an exceptionally clean and well-kept home, your normal daily activities give bed bugs the means to hitch a ride home with you.
WHAT ARE THE MOST VISIBLE SIGNS OF BED BUGS?
Check mattresses and bedding for dark spotting and/or blood droplets—key indicators of bed bug waste. And, take care to observe your environment for signs of bed bug eggs, molted insect skin and the pests themselves. If you wake with unexplained bites, welts or rashes, the culprit may very well be bed bugs. Often, bite marks appear in rows and clusters. Contact an entomologist or pest control professional to run tests on samples collected from inside any given living space.
WHY ARE BED BUGS SO HARD TO ELIMINATE?
Liquid pesticides and spray treatments force bed bugs to flee and hide deeper inside your walls, requiring multiple fumigation attempts and generally making the problem worse over the long run. Over time, they’ve adapted to human environments and have become resistant to common insecticides. More disconcerting is the fact the species continues to evolve, adopting different strains of bacteria from other organisms that work to protect them against extermination.
WHAT DISTINGUISHES BED BUGS FROM OTHER BLOOD-SUCKING PESTS?
Bed bugs have an incredibly large appetite for blood. In fact, fully grown adults can gorge themselves on blood to the point where their bodies swell up to 200 times greater than normal. They also reproduce through a process called “traumatic insemination,” whereby male bed bugs stab females in the abdomen to facilitate impregnation. Not a pretty picture, even by common bed bug standards.