Bed bugs are small insects that live by feeding on human and animal blood. Bed bugs are found all over the world and have recently been spreading rapidly among developing countries such as United States, Canada, United Kingdom and other countries more. Bed bugs are usually acquired from being transported by people who are travelling from one place to another. Bed bugs can get transported for they can easily hide in the seams or the folds of the luggage, clothes, and in other things potential to be their hiding place. If a bed bug infestation is suspected, it is important to detect it early before it becomes much worse than it already is. To be ale to detect a bed bug infestation, educating one’s self about these blood-sucking pests is necessary. There are a few things one should look for to determine if there’s a bed bug infestation.
For one, bed bug bite marks may be considered as a sign of a bed bug infestation. It is common to happen that people go to bed fine but wake up to an itching skin from bites. However, bite marks can not be a definite sign in determining a bed bug infestation because bed bug bites vary greatly from one person to another. An example of which is, a person who is travelling may only develop bite marks days after being bitten, upon returning home. This does not exactly mean that the home has a bed bug infestation. Another instance is that some persons may not even have a skin reaction to bed bug bites. Another reason is that the bite marks may not be even from bed bugs. These varying conditions of bite marks may delay the detection of a bed bug infestation. It can possibly cause the worsening of the infestation where it can become more evident due to the increased population of the bed bugs. Therefore bite marks can be considered as an unreliable sign of a bed bug infestation. There are more definite and reliable signs that can be learned for proper detection of an infestation.
Knowing what Bed Bugs look like
Knowing what bed bugs look like is important to detect a bed bug infestation. Luckily, adult bed bugs are not easy to miss for they are visible to the naked eye. Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown in color, wingless, usually about the same size as an apple seed. Immature bed bugs are also visible to the naked eye but are only smaller than the adult ones and are translucent and their color is whitish-yellow. The nymph stage is difficult to see not when they are moving or bright red in color due to recent feeding. Bed bug eggs are small, about the size of a pin’s head. Eggs are pearl-white in color and will have visible eyes as they become older than 5 days.
The appearance of bed bugs will vary depending on their feeding status. An unfed adult bed bug appears as an oval-shaped flat disc. But when it feeds on blood, it will inflate like a balloon and the shape elongates. A bed bug which recently had a full blood meal will also appear bright red in color. Their appearance will change as they digest their blood meal after a couple of days; bed bugs will then darken in color and flatten into a disc shape again. The nymphs as recently stated are visible when they are bright red in color, looking like a raspberry seed, for they also change in appearance after feeding on blood.
Bed Bug Molted Skins
Molting is the process where bed bugs shed their skin. Insects have exoskeletons, skeletons on the outer layer of their body, which they need to shed in order to grow bigger. Immature bed bugs shed their skin so it could grow to the next life stage. Bed bugs shed 5 times before these become full adults for the 5 different stages it has to go through. When it reaches adulthood, bed bugs will no longer shed. With a large bed bug infestation, expect to see thousand of molted skins where the bed bugs have undergone the process of molting. The molted skins of these bed bugs will actually look similar to bed bugs for they are same in shape and usually translucent although vary in sizes, depending on the life stage it has molted. The only difference is that they will look like empty shells. New infestations will make molted skins to be found just about anywhere. But for a large bed bug infestation, bed bug molted skins are found on the area where these pests aggregate in groups. Usually, bed bug molted skins can be found behind headboards, in the ceiling or wall junctions, along mattress seams and baseboard, or even stuck to personal items.
Bed bugs feed every 5 to 7 days and will digest their previous meal on the times they are not feeding. Since blood contains a lot of water, bed bugs need to digest their blood meal right away and excrete the excess liquid as waste. These wastes are the fecal spots, appearing as black in color, usually in groups of 10 or even more. For a large bed bug infestation, fecal spots are found anywhere. But if the infestation is quite low, fecal spots are usually seen along the mattress seam and baseboard, on the mattress tag, behind the headboard, in the ceiling or wall junctions, on the edges of carpets, behind the wall pictures, at the electrical outlets and in curtain seams.
Looking for Bed Bug Aggregations
Looking for bed bug aggregations can be similar to looking for fecal spots for they oftentimes leave fecal spots on the places where they aggregate after feeding time. The aggregate locations can have a number of signs of a bed bug infestation for it can have fecal spots, molted skins, live and hatched eggs aside from the live bed bugs aggregating. Aggregations can not be easily identified for it can seem like a mold or mildew on the area. But if looked at closely, bed bug signs are then noticed. Bed bug aggregations can also be found along mattress seams and under the mattress tags, behind the headboard, loose wallpaper, chipped paint, along wood creases, along the interior frame of closet doors, inside curtain rods and on the curtains, and even on personal items such as books, picture frames and many other locations.