©Little Bugs Pest Control LLC – Serving Northwestern PA and Southwestern NY
Spring break has finally arrived, and many people are traveling to visit with friends and soak up some sun. They’ll return with souvenirs, suntans, dirty laundry, and maybe even a little sand… but hopefully no unwanted critters!
Unfortunately, bed bugs are one of the easiest travel “souvenirs” to unknowingly collect, and they are also one of the hardest pests to eradicate once you have an infestation. In hopes of avoiding these unwanted pest guests, let’s take a closer look.
Cimus lectularius, the common bed bug, is a parasite that feeds exclusively on human blood. Similar in size and shape to an apple seed, the largest adults will only measure about 7 mm or ¼-inch long. These bugs aren’t just little, they’re tiny! And their color helps them blend in nicely with most woodwork.
Wait, woodwork? Yes. It’s a myth that bed bugs live exclusively in mattresses; they also hang out on upholstery, drapery, and carpets, especially around the edges. They’re drawn to the warmth their cooperative human hosts provide with their body heat, but if the temperature heats up too much, these little critters will migrate to the sides of the furnishings. They can be found on headboards and window sills, on picture frames, and even inside electrical outlets.
Cooler temperature conditions cause the bugs to enter a semi-hibernation state – allowing them to survive without feeding for up to a year! – but in the typically warmer atmosphere provided by homes or hotels, bed bugs like to dine at five- to ten-day intervals. Mostly nocturnal, they may still move about during the day and will eat whenever hunger strikes and a meal possibility presents itself. Since they begin their feast on human blood by first injecting an anesthetic into their unwitting host’s skin, people rarely notice a bug biting them until they’ve already provided its banquet. Bite marks resemble mosquito bites, possibly including a fluid-filled blister, and are located on whatever skin is exposed during their dinner time – typically neck, arms, hands, legs, and feet. The good news is that bed bugs are not known to transmit any diseases, but the bad news is that the bites can itch and produce allergic reactions.
Prevention & Management:
So the two main questions we need to have answered are:
Prevention isn’t too difficult as long as you stay alert. When you first enter a hotel room, follow the Five Feet/Frame Rule. More than 90% of the time, infestations are found within five feet of the bed, so begin by placing your belongings on a luggage carrier located outside that imaginary boundary or else in the bathroom. (See illustration below.)
Then look for the border or frame of each of the furnishings and inspect them all – edges of mattresses and pillows, headboards and footboards, nightstands and drawers, outlets and lampshades, window sills and picture frames. (See illustration below.)
Look for dark fecal deposits, tiny white larvae, and brown adults or skins that have been shed. If you see any of these, gather up your bags again and pause your exit only to politely inform the front desk personnel that they need to call an exterminator.
This leads us to our next point – Management of an infestation.
Contrary to folksy websites, bed bugs are not eliminated by do-it-yourself methods or over-the-counter sprays. In the last decade, infestations have increased as the bugs have become more resistant to pesticides. Unless you want to fight the bugs with their natural predators by releasing an army of cockroaches, centipedes, or spiders into your home, do yourself a favor and call a trustworthy pest control company to come deal with the problem.
Little Bugs Pest Control, LLC offers reliable, confidential service for your home or business. Contact us at: (814) 221-3424 or (716) 640-5006. We’ll be glad to evict those “Uninvited Pest Guests” for you!