What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small, flat, reclusive insects that rely on meals of blood for their survival. Bed bugs are wingless – so they do not fly– are reddish-brown in color, and range from 1mm to 7mm in size throughout their growth stages. When fully grown, bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed. They can be found in nearly every nook and cranny in just about any place imaginable. Bed bugs have gotten their common name because beds provide all that a bed bug could every need – plenty of places to hide and a consistent food source (people at sleep). A bed bug can survive several months without a blood meal.
Where will I find the bed bugs?
Bed bug evidence includes live bugs, eggs, fecal spots, and cast skins from nymphs that have molted. They most often hide in the folds of mattresses and sheets. Bed bugs typically feed only once every 5 to 7 days, so they may stay in hiding for several days at time. Although they may go unnoticed at first, a small infestation can become a rather large problem in a short period of time. A single female can lay up to 12 eggs per day and up to 600 eggs during her lifetime!
Infestations will usually occur near the areas where people sleep or spend most of their time. They will hide during the day in places such as the seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dressers, behind wallpaper, or in any other clutter throughout the house. They may also be found in other areas in which people spend time relaxing, such as a couch, arm chair, or dining room tables. Bed bugs are attracted to carbon dioxide – the gas that humans exhale. They follow carbon dioxide to track down sleeping human hosts. Bed bugs may travel up to 100 feet in a night to get to a host, but they typically tend to live within 10 feet of where people sleep.
If you are uncertain whether or not you have bed bugs, Black Diamond's trained team of bed bug inspectors can come out at no charge to perform an evaluation. For added reassurance, you might consider a K9 bed bug evaluation. Human inspectors are limited by sight; however, our dogs are internationally certified and trained to sniff out even the smallest of infestations before it becomes a more serious problem.
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How long does it take an egg to become an adult?
During its lifetime, a bed bug will go through five different stages until it is full-grown. Once hatched, a bed bug will pass through five molts. In order to complete a molting stage, each nymph requires a blood meal. These five stages may take about 100 days or so, then the bed bug will be considered an adult and capable to mate. Bed bug eggs are about the size of a pinhead and are pearl-white in color. Young bed bugs – also called nymphs – are smaller and whitish-yellow in color. If they have not recently eaten, nymphs may be nearly invisible to the naked eye due to coloring and size.
How did I get bed bugs?
Bed bugs can virtually be picked up from anywhere. One of the most common ways is when one of your family members or friends have an infestation and you visit their home or they visit yours. Bed bugs will hitchhike between the two locations. Some other places that bed bugs are often found and potentially brought home from include: hotels, movie theaters, department stores, doctors offices, schools, dorm rooms, churches, and even public transportation.
Who is at risk for getting bed bugs?
Traditionally bed bugs were seen as a problem in more of the developing countries. Now, the bed bug epidemic has recently spread rapidly in parts of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other parts of Europe. Bed bugs have been found in five-star hotels and resorts even, and their presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions. Virtually anyone and everyone is at risk for bed bugs hitchhiking home with them.
How can I prevent bed bugs?
Unfortunately, there is no way to fully protect yourself from a bed bug infestation. To decrease chances, avoid bringing used items that are common harborage areas for bed bugs, such as used furniture and mattresses, into your home. If you do bring used items into your home, thoroughly inspect the items first. If you receive used goods that will fit in the dryer, such as luggage or clothing, dry them on high heat for at least 30 minutes before putting the items into your car or home.
What does it smell like when you have bed bugs?
Like many species bed bug produce pheromones, and this produces an odor that is often described as smelling like the coriander. This smell may not be noticeable until an infestation has become quite large. The smell is not pleasant, and you may begin to notice your home to have a scent many describe as sweet and musty which is often compared to the smell of moldy shoes.
What do their bites look like?
Bites can range from being unnoticed to resulting in an itchy, rash-like area. Everyone is different, and not everyone has a reaction to bed bug bites. Two people may even sleep in the same bed resulting in only one appearing with bites or a rash and the other being unmarked. Some people’s bites may appear in tight lines of multiple, small red marks, while some other’s may appear as single bites that stand alone, and others may even break out into an allergic reaction.
Do bed bug bites make you itch?
If the bite marks appear on an individual, they will be painless at first but later can potentially turn into itchy welts. As mentioned above, everyone is different and some bites may not become obvious for several days or at all on some individuals. If you develop a rash after being bitten by a bed bug, avoid scratching the affected area. If the rash persists or becomes infected, contact a medical professional.
Do bed bugs transmit diseases?
The good news is that bed bugs have not been linked to the transmittal of any diseases as of yet. They should not be considered as a medical or public health hazard.
What kinds of treatments are available?
Black Diamond offers both chemical and heat treatment options. Chemical treatment involves our technicians strategically employing the best products available in the industry for eliminating and preventing bed bugs while a heat treatment involves raising the temperature of your home above the level necessary for bed bug survival. Both are highly effective methods and come with our beg bug elimination guarantee. There are other types of treatments on the market, and we have considered them all; however, we are more than confident that our methods are more than capable to effectively eliminate any bed bug problem, and we back that up with our elimination guarantee.
Do chemical treatments actually work?
Many are led to falsely believe that chemical treatments will not work to exterminate bed bugs. Please note that a general insect application will not work for bed bugs but rather a specialized bed bug service must be performed. The application has to be applied thoroughly and properly to where the bed bugs are hiding out, as well as the correct chemical combinations must be used in order to be effective.
Do mattress covers work to get rid of bed bugs?
While mattress covers will not prevent bed bugs, they will help in the process of ridding your home of the bed bugs. The advantage of a mattress cover is that if you already have bed bugs, the cover will trap them inside so that they cannot bite you any longer. Eventually the bed bugs that are trapped inside the mattress cover will die. Ultimately, a mattress cover will lessen the harborage areas on a mattress or box spring for bed bugs to hide. Mattress covers are purposefully made white to make it easier to notice bed bugs and their fecal spotting.
What shouldn’t I do when trying to eliminate bed bugs?
First things first: do not panic. Bed bugs can be eliminated with the proper inspection and control methods. Do not use "homemade" or "custom formulated" products that may make the problem worse. These cause bed bugs to spread into other areas of the home that they typically would not inhabit, such as curtains, nightstands, end tables, closets, and ceilings. Never apply pesticides directly to your body, and never use rubbing alcohol, kerosene, or gasoline as these chemicals may cause fires. Do not throw away your furniture or bed, as these items can be treated for bed bugs, and throwing them away can spread the bugs to new homes.
How long does it take to completely rid my home of bed bugs?
The answer to this question all depends on the size and seriousness of the bed bug infestation. In most cases, all bed bugs will be exterminated after the first treatment; however, because it can take up to 10 days for eggs to hatch, there are some cases that require a follow-up treatment within two weeks of the initial treatment. This second treatment will take care of the remaining bed bugs that may still remain.