Bed bugs are among the most detested pests in America. Seemingly gone from American homes since the 1940s, these parasites returned around 1995. They can infest any type of home. Four Seasons Pest Control uses several tools to combat bed bug infestations, including sprays and heat treatment. Here is how you can self-identify them.

Bed Bugs

Apparenance: Mottled grayish-brown color; ¾” long with six legs and a triangular or shield shaped body.

Habitat
Bed bugs are parasites and will aggregate as a colony in areas near the host. This usually means near beds where people sleep. Some tell-tale signs of these colonies are dark clusters of fecal matter (secreted blood), molted bed bug skins, or a musty smell in cases of a severe infestation.

Bed bugs are typically found within a few feet of where their host sleeps, but may travel up to 100 feet to feed. Some common places are seams of the mattress, inside the box spring, headboard, nightstand and other bedside furniture. They colonize in protected spaces that are generally hard to reach.

Bed bugs are most likely brought home after traveling. They sneak into luggage, backpacks, and other types of baggage. They also are found in purses, stuffed animals, inflorescent light bulb assemblies, school buses, and airplanes. They arrive home with their potential host upon return. They like warm 70 degree temperatures.

Diet
Bed bugs are attracted to the body temperature of its host. A bed bug will penetrate the skin using two two hollow tubes. The first tube injects an anesthetic saliva which acts as a numbing agent. The second tube injects an anticoagulant, a substance that prevents blood clotting for easier feeding. Feeding continues for up to five minutes until the bed bug becomes full.

Bed bugs prefer their host to be unmoving and asleep. Peak feeding times typically occur at night, about an hour before dawn. They are opportunistic, and may feed at any time someone is sleeping. Bed bugs like to feed every 5-10 days but can survive up to 18 months without food.

Female bed bug lays between 200 and 500 Eggs in her lifetime. After hatching, each bed bug requires five full feedings to become an adult.

Control
Most bed bug infestations are hard to locate. They generally are not obvious unless the infestation is severe. Most people notice lesions created by their bites. They often resemble those of other insects or even some types of allergic reactions. It is strongly recommended to contact a pest control professional to identify the infestation and and follow a safe plan for their removal.

Moving out of the house will not eliminate a bed bug infestation, as these bugs will probably travel with you. They are extremely hardy insects, and hard to kill by organic or home remedy. If children are in the home, flooding the house with poison is not a strong option. Sprays require many return visits to kill the entire bed bug colony lifecycle. Heat treatment is very effective, but taking a blowtorch to your home is not advisable. Homeowners have burned down their homes using this method.