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Bed Bug Questions

1. What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are relatively small insects that feed exclusively on the blood of humans and mammals. The common bed bug will bite exposed skin and feed on humans while they sleep, causing countless numbers of sleepless nights for people who share their homes with this blood feeding parasites. Bed bugs can not fly, but can move quickly across floors, ceilings and walls.

2. What do bed bugs look like?

Adult bed bugs are brown or reddish in color, flat, oval and about 5mm long and 3mm wide. Bed bugs vary in size dependent on their stage in the life cycle. Young bed bugs are pale in color and about the size of a grain of rice. Adult bed bugs are darker and when fully grown, are about the size of an apple seed.

3. What do bed bugs eat?

Bed bugs prefer to feed on the blood of humans but will feed on mammals and birds. Bed bugs feed every three to four days and will travel 5-20 feet from their hiding places to feed on a host. Feeding lasts from 3-12 minutes on average and when full, adults will change color, turning a darker red-brown color after a blood meal.

4. Are bed bug bites dangerous?

Bed bug bites are not considered to be dangerous, aside from the itchy welts and rash-like symptoms that often result from their bites. Bed bug bites affect individuals differently, and the social stigma that accompanies an infestation may be more serious than their bite.

However, those individuals who are allergic to bed bugs, may suffer a reaction and will need to seek medical attention.

5. What does a bed bug bite look like?

Bed bugs will bite areas on the body that are the most exposed during sleep, such as the arms, legs, neck and face. When bitten by bed bugs, one may see a cluster of 3-5 red marks or welts that appear in a zigzag pattern. Bed bug bites look similar to a spider or mosquito bite and may leave a red itchy bump, followed by a burning, itching sensation.

6. How do you treat bed bug bites?

Typically, bed bug bites can be itchy and mildly irritating, and most bites heal on their own within a week or two. Many individuals do not feel the bite itself or develop symptoms other than the pattern of bites left behind. Calamine lotion, anti-itch creams and antihistamines help relieve symptoms of bed bug bites.Those who are considered allergic to bites, may need to seek medical attention.

7. Where do bed bugs live?

Bed bugs live in groups and like to inhabit small cracks and crevices near humans. Popular locations include anywhere people sleep or rest for extended periods of time. Bed bugs can be found in single-family homes, dorms, hotels, schools, and other areas frequented by the public. Bed bugs can also survive in temporary habitats, such as backpacks and under the seats of cars and buses. 

8. Where do bed bugs hide?

Most bed bugs are found in close proximity to areas where humans sleep and rest. While beds may be the most popular infested area, bed bugs like to travel and are good hitchhikers. These pests will temporarily hide in suitcases, boxes and shoes. In dwellings, bed bugs can be found in seams of mattresses and box springs, behind baseboards, in bedding, and behind picture frames, switchplates and wallpaper.

9. Who’s at risk of getting bed bugs?

Everyone is at risk for getting bed bugs when visiting an infected area. Frequent travelers who share living and sleeping quarters where others have previously slept, have a higher risk of being bitten and spreading a bed bug infestation. High risk areas include hotels, dorms and hospitals. Bringing home second-hand furniture and used clothing can also put an individual at risk for an infestation.

10. How do you get bed bugs?

Anyone can get bed bugs. It is a common myth that bed bugs are attracted to dirty, cluttered homes. Bed bugs are attracted to warmth and carbon dioxide. Bed bugs cannot fly or jump, and will hitch rides on clothing, luggage or second-hand furniture, making their way into the cleanest and most organized homes. However, a cluttered home offers more hiding places.

11. What are the signs of a bed bug infestation?

Common signs of bed bugs include:

  • Rusty, reddish stains on sheets or mattresses caused by crushed bed bugs.
  • Red, itchy bites in clusters or patterns on legs, arms and exposed body parts while sleeping.
  • Seeing tiny eggs or eggshells and pale skins of nymphs as they shed.
  • Live bed bugs.

12. How do you inspect for bed bugs?

Bed bugs are flat, oval-shaped and about the width of a credit card, allowing them to squeeze into tiny places. In the event that bed bugs are suspected, inspect cracks and crevices in bed frames and headboards for live bugs or eggs. Also check bedding for dark spots, stains on sheets, egg casings and actual live bugs—all indicators of a bed bug infestation.

13. How do you get rid of bed bugs?

Bed bugs can survive temperatures of nearly freezing to 120 degrees. Due to their resiliency, bed bugs are not a pest that can be treated with DIY measures. At The Hitmen Termite & Pest Control, we have two treatment options available to address a bed bug infestation. After a thorough bed bug inspection, we will recommend a customized bed bug treatment, with minimal disruption to your home or business.

14. Which bed bug treatment is most effective?

There are two basic treatments for bed bugs: fumigation treatments and heat treatments. These are effective methods to eliminate bed bugs, and The Hitmen Termite & Pest Control provides both. We will work with you to decide which treatment is best for your home or business, looking at the size of the facility, the structures or furniture affected, and how widespread the infestation has become.

15. How do I prepare for bed bug treatment?

In order for bed bug treatments to be successful, some preparation is necessary. To provide the best outcome, it is essential that areas to be treated are properly prepared prior to treatment. From stripping down bedding to sealing items in heavy-duty plastic bags, there are a number of actions you will take to prepare The Hitmen Termite & Pest Control team to treat and eradicate your home of bed bugs.

16. How do you prevent bed bugs?

Eliminating an established bed bug infestation can be very difficult, so it is always best to take steps to prevent the introduction of bed bugs by following these steps:

  • Avoid purchasing used furniture or second-hand items, especially mattresses and bedding.
  • When traveling, do not set luggage down on bed or furniture, until you have inspected bedding, mattresses, curtains and headboard.
  • Inspect luggage when children return home from college or camp.

Bed Bug FAQ in the North Bay and East Bay CA Area

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