When you wake up with a line of itchy red bites on your arm, it’s easy to place the blame on a wayward mosquito or maybe even an errant flea. Bed bugs are seldom the first pest to come to mind. Whether that’s because we haven’t had them in our Baltimore home before or simply wishful thinking, bed bugs are often an unidentified culprit.
Part of this is simply due to the fact that their numbers have grown exponentially since the late '90s and they are now far more common than they used to be. Another factor is that bed bugs are skilled at hiding and often go undetected for long periods of time. Finally, even when bed bugs, or their eggs, are spotted, they can be misidentified as other pests.
Bed Bug Identification
Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown and about the size and shape of an apple seed. Generally flat, they get redder and rounded after feeding. Bed bug nymphs are a similar shape but smaller and lighter in color, and bed bug eggs are tiny, white, and elongated. As their name suggests, they do often hide in or near beds; however, bed bugs can hide in a wide range of areas. They can also go for long periods of time without a meal, so they don’t necessarily need to be in close proximity to people all of the time. If you think you may have bed bugs in your home, it is worth checking in a variety of places, including (but not limited to) your bedding.
Signs Bed Bugs Leave Behind
While it may be hard to spot a bed bug or bed bug egg, there are some less elusive signals you can be on the lookout for, including:
Fecal spots on your mattresses, walls, or other upholstered items like chairs and couches
Drops of dried blood where bed bugs have been feeding
Bed bug eggs or eggshells or the shed skins of molted bed bugs
Itchy, red bite marks
A musty or sweet-smelling odor in infested areas
Signs of bed bugs are a signal to take action. One bed bug can lay more than 500 eggs in a lifetime and it takes less than a month for a bed bug nymph to grow to adulthood. Infestations may be hard to identify at first, but they can go from unidentified to out of control in no time.
Bed Bug Prevention
With the rise in bed bug populations across the U.S., it’s worth taking a proactive approach. You can reduce your chances of a bed bug infestation with a little extra care.
Bed bugs are hitchhiking pests; they climb onto people’s belongings and catch a ride to new feeding grounds. You can limit the risk of bringing bed bugs into your home by:
- Keeping belongings off the floor in public spaces.
- Keeping belongings in plastic bags when traveling or going to the laundromat.
- Regularly checking areas where pets sleep for signs of bed bugs.
- Vacuuming suitcases when returning from a trip.
- Always checking second-hand goods before bringing them into your home, and not just mattresses or clothing, even small appliances can be a refuge for a hiding bed bug.
As careful as you can be preventing bed bugs, it is still always important to keep an eye out for them. Catching an infestation early can make all the difference.
The Best Way To Eliminate Bed Bugs
In addition to being one of the most elusive pests, bed bugs are also one of the most difficult to eradicate. Because they can go for so long without feeding, hide in so many out-of-the-way areas, and build resistance to store-bought pesticides, bed bugs can be nearly impossible to eradicate with DIY methods. Often homeowners will think they have won the battle with bed bugs only to discover a new crop of hatched eggs a week or two down the road.
If you have bed bugs in your Baltimore home, the best thing to do is to call the professionals at Pest Czar. In addition to general residential pest control solutions, we offer comprehensive services to find and get rid of bed bugs at all stages of life in your home. For fast, effective, and eco-friendly bed bug control services in Baltimore, you can’t go wrong with Pest Czar. We will eliminate any existing infestation and then prevent their return with our GreenPro certified pest protection plan. Call today to find out more.