“Don’t let the bed bugs bite!”

Someone has probably said this to you as you’re heading off to bed. But have you ever stopped to think about how you’re not going to let them bite? Do you even know what bed bugs look like?

Hmmm, never thought about that, did you? In reality, your home or business could be crawling with bed bugs and you might not even know! They’re so tiny you wouldn’t even notice them unless you were looking for them.

On that lovely thought, let’s find out how to tell if you have bed bugs and how to keep them away from your stuff!

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Bed bugs are tiny critters about 0.2 inches long once they reach adulthood. Adult bed bugs have brown, flat, oval-shaped bodies if they haven’t fed recently. Once they’ve fed, their bodies balloon out and turn more reddish brown. They have tiny wings, but don’t fly.

Baby bed bugs are much smaller and yellowish-white or almost translucent in color. If they haven’t been fed recently, they are nearly impossible to see with the naked eye. The pearl-white bed bug eggs are even tinier — about the size of a speck of dust.

Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

Bed bugs don’t get cozy and make nests like bees or ants, but they do like to live in groups. Their homes are more like hiding places. They can lay in wait in the right conditions for their next meal to come for between 20 and 400 days!

Their flat little bodies make it easy for them to slide into nearly any space. They often enter homes or businesses because people bring them in luggage, used furniture, or even clothing.

Their preferred hiding spots are in the bedroom. Anywhere in the mattress, box spring, bed frame, or headboard will do. After all, their hosts come and conveniently lie still for several hours each night — plenty of time for them to get their fill of your blood!

How to Prevent Bed Bugs

Clean spaces do not equal bed bug free. We naturally assume that a dirty space would be more likely to have bed bugs. However, this isn’t always true.

Bed bugs aren’t like cockroaches, digging around in garbage or other unclean places looking for morsels to feed on. They only need blood to survive, which means they can live in any place where a blood meal is available.

Owners of hotels, retail stores, transportation services, or any business where people frequently bring luggage, clothing, etc must always be vigilant about bed bugs. Any one of their guests or customers could unknowingly bring bed bugs into their space. To prevent bed bugs, teach your staff how to perform regular bed bug checks. At home check your bed and surrounding area during and after travel.

With the rate that bed bugs multiply and their resilience, there can quickly be more of them than you can shake a stick at in what appears to be an immaculate space.

How to Check for Bed Bugs

Thus, you always need to be on the lookout for bed bugs. Luckily, they are relatively simple to spot if you are paying attention.

Inspect mattresses and bed frames frequently. Bed bugs are more active at night, but you still might see them skittering around if you disturb them by poking at the mattress.

Bed bugs molt their exoskeletons several times throughout their life. Even if you don’t see live bed bugs, you can spot these translucent or light-colored exoskeletons they leave lying around.

Another visible sign is the delightful sight of their fecal stains. These are tiny brown or red mounds, usually most easily visible on white or light-colored bed sheets.

Bed bugs generally bite at night while the host is sleeping. If guests are waking up with new “mosquito” bites, it’s time to take a closer look at the mattress and room where they were staying.

There are also active monitoring systems you can install. These use carbon dioxide to attract bed bugs to the device — making it easy to identify the problem. Some monitors even include insecticides or traps that will help get rid of bed bugs.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are quite resilient but can’t survive at extreme temperatures. Wash all bedding and clothing in the hottest water possible and put anything that can handle it in the dryer on the hottest setting for an hour.

Clean the space thoroughly by vacuuming the floors, mattress, everything. Use a steam cleaner that reaches over 115 degrees Fahrenheit for best results.

Cold also works to kill bed bugs. Seal items in plastic bags and put them in the freeze at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for at least four days.

A Helping Hand with Texas Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are difficult to get rid of and starving them out is nearly impossible because they can live so long without feeding. If you’re dealing with a bed bug infestation, call in the professionals at Buckaroo Pest Protection to help.

We will corral up all those nasty critters and give them the boot! Plus, regularly treating a space for bed bugs will help prevent a new infestation from getting started.

Contact us today to learn more about protecting your business from unwelcome guests!