8 things you need to know about bed bugs

Abell Pest Control

Bed bugs are small parasitic insects that can be disgusting or painful home invaders. These tiny reddish-brown bugs are among the most notorious pests around, but can go undetected for weeks without proper control and prevention. From hotels and motels to homes and apartments, bed bugs demand immediate attention.

Here's what you need to know about these pests:

1. Bed bugs don't spread disease
Fortunately, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that bed bugs aren't known to harbor disease. Other biting insects such as mosquitos or fleas can spread viruses and bacteria that create serious health problems, but in the case of bed bugs, there are no known pathogens or illnesses to worry about.

2 But they can cause health issues
Although you can't contract any disease from bed bugs, there are still negative health problems to consider. If you sleep in an infested bed, an exposed leg or foot may be covered with dozens of small bites that can be itchy and irritating. In turn, there can be swelling or scabbing in affected area, and some individuals, exhibit serious allergic reactions to the bites.

3. Bites aren't a good warning sign
Not everyone may show noticeable symptoms or bite marks as a result of bed bugs, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported. These insects can comfortably survive in a couch or mattress for weeks before becoming an obvious problem. That's a real issue for home and business owners because it allows the problem to grow undetected. Instead, excrement from the bugs can leave telltale markings, and the most obvious signs that you have a beg bug problem come in the form of red or brown colored stains on a bed cover or sheet. Eggs, eggshells and larvae meanwhile leave behind yellowish skin as they grow. Dead or live individuals are also clear signs you're dealing with a bed bug problem.

4. Vigilance is essential
In a report issued in the Journal of Medical Entomology Advance Access, researchers from Rutgers University explained that in many instances bed bug problems go completely undetected. A survey of apartments across the state of New Jersey found that in 49 percent of confirmed instances of the pests, residents were unaware of any insect infestations.

5. Second-hand furniture could be to blame
Used home goods are a great, environmentally friendly way to furnish your home with a limited budget, but if you aren't careful, you could unwittingly be letting bed bugs right into your house. Inspect any item before purchase.

6. Traveling may also lead to bed bugs
Even world-class hotels may fall victim to bed bugs, and the insects can hitch a ride on your clothing or luggage. The bugs can walk surprising distances, so an infected room down the hall may still pose a risk.

7. Your pets need protection too
Whether your pet spends time in bed or on the couch or has his or her own special place, a furry friend may also fall victim to bed bugs. You may not notice any bites beneath a coat of fur, but excessive scratching should be investigated.

8. Bed bugs are hardy
A female bed bug will lay hundreds of eggs throughout her lifetime. The eggs are very small, only about 1 mm in length, and she can lay up to five eggs a day and as many as 300-500 eggs in her lifetime. From there, an individual may hatch and reach maturity in just a few weeks. When temperatures fall below 55F / 13C, development will stop however adults can still survive and may enter a state of semi hibernation.

If you think you're dealing with an infestation, reach out to a bed bug removal specialist to learn about your options.

About the author:

Abell Pest Control is a family owned Canadian company dedicated to providing effective, professional and courteous service in pest management.Started in 1924 with one office, Abell now employs several hundred people with branch offices across Canada and the United States.

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