How Long Does It Take Bed Bugs To Come Out

FAQ: How to Know When Bed Bugs Are Gone

At least 1 in 5 Americans have suffered from bed bug infestations. If you’re one of them and have recently finished a bed bug treatment, you may be worried that you didn’t quite get them all. Maybe you’ve gone some time without seeing any new bugs or bites, but you want a way to be sure that the coast is clear. Whatever the situation, the question is the same: how do you know when all the bed bugs are gone?

Good News and Bad News

First, the bad news: unfortunately, there’s no way to confirm without any doubt that all bed bugs in an area have been eradicated. While you can take careful steps through the whole process and come to a reasonable conclusion at the end, there’s no way to be 100% sure. Bed bugs are notoriously good at hiding, hibernating, and waiting, even for weeks at a time or longer.

Now for the good news: being “sure enough” is easy to do if you followed our 4-step treatment process. Not only is this a thorough, methodical treatment solution, but it includes the tools to monitor the bed bug population over time. Steps 1 and 2 of the solution involve isolating your bed and applying ClimbUp Interceptors, which are industry-standard bed bug monitors. With those Interceptors in place, you’ll be able to monitor for bed bugs during the treatment and long after.

Monitoring the Population During Treatment

As you progress through a bed bug treatment, you need a way to measure your progress and see if bed bugs are still active in the area that you’re treating. The best way to accomplish this is by monitoring the population directly to try and gauge how it changes over time.

If you’re treating for bed bugs in a room where you and/or someone else sleeps, the best way to monitor for bed bugs is with a passive monitor and trap, like ClimbUp Interceptors. When an interceptor is placed under each leg of the bed, they will trap bed bugs that try to enter or exit the bed. Inspect these traps regularly to see if bed bugs are still active in the room. Ideally, the number of bed bugs being captured will decline over time, eventually reaching a consistent zero.

If you’ve been treating an unoccupied room, like a living room or a vacated bedroom, monitoring the bed bug population becomes a bit more complicated. ClimbUp Interceptors won’t do you much good in this situation, since there isn’t a human body acting as a lure to draw the bed bugs to the interceptors. Instead, you’ll want to use an active monitor like the NightWatch. These have a lure of their own, so they can attract bed bugs without anyone present.

The 6-8 Week Timeline

Figuring out when to call the coast clear requires that you know how long bed bugs will be able to survive without feeding. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation on the web about how often bed bugs feed and how long they can live without a meal. That makes figuring out your post-treatment timeline harder. Let’s review the actual timing on bed bug feeding and how long they can live without a meal:

Most bed bugs live for two to six months, though some can live for over a year without food by hibernating. Pregnant females lay three to five eggs per day, totaling up to 500 in her short lifetime. Those eggs hatch within two weeks, and the newborn nymphs will be hungry for a blood meal right away.

Since eggs will hatch about two weeks apart, that’s a good time period to space apart treatment applications. Remember that almost no bed bug treatment is 100% successful on the first attempt — you’ll need to at least repeat the contact and residual spray applications to finish off the infestation. Wait two weeks after the first treatment to reapply the sprays, then repeat that in another two weeks. These follow-up treatments will hit any newly hatched bed bugs as well as adults that you may have missed before.

Once those follow-up treatments are done, you’ll know fairly quickly how effective your treatment was. Bed bugs want to eat every 5 to 10 days, so any hungry survivors should start appearing in your traps around two weeks after your last follow-up treatment. If the traps go about 6 to 8 weeks without any signs of bed bugs, you can probably call yourself bed bug free.

How to Confirm Bed Bugs are Gone

By now, we’ve covered the tools we need to monitor the bed bug population, as well as a rough timeline we need to monitor before giving the all-clear. Let’s review what an effective treatment and post-routine treatment looks like in order to be confident that the bed bugs are gone for good:

First, you need to completely treat the bed, ensuring that no bed bugs are on it and that they can’t get back in/on it. Begin by stripping the bedding and washing them on high heat, then drying on high heat if the beddings’ tags allow for it. While the laundry cycles are running, use a vacuum cleaner to remove any bed bugs and eggs that might be along the seams of your mattress, box spring, pillows, and bed frame.

Follow up the vacuuming with a high pressure steamer to penetrate deep inside those same nooks and crannies to kill bed bugs and eggs on contact. Lastly, spray down the joints of the bed frame, headboard, and footboard with contact and residual bed bug sprays that are labeled for use on the bed, and encase the mattress and box spring with sealed bed bug encasements once the bed is dry. Be sure to leave those encasements on for at least 18 months to ensure that any bed bugs that managed to survive stay trapped inside until they starve.

Next, you’ll need to isolate the bed to make sure bed bugs elsewhere in the room can’t get onto the bed and feed. Move the bed away from the walls and any nightstands or other furniture. Tuck in or remove any hanging skirts or sheets, and remove any storage under the bed that is touching any part of the frame. The only thing your bed should be touching is the floor via its legs. If you don’t have a bed frame with legs, you should purchase one to sleep in, at least until you are bed bug free.

To complete the isolation, place ClimbUp Interceptors under each leg of the bed. These traps will prevent bed bugs from climbing up your bed legs, stopping them from reaching you in your bed. As bed bugs attempt to get to you, they will climb up the edge of the interceptor and fall into the perimeter pitfall where they can’t escape. With the ClimbUps in place, you can monitor the population of bed bugs in the room over the next several weeks (and even longer to avoid future infestations).

As you proceed through the rest of our 4-step treatment solution, including the follow-up treatments over the next four weeks, that isolated and intercepted bed will act as a long-term monitoring system. Once both follow-up treatments are done, continue checking the ClimbUps daily for bed bugs. If the occupants of the room go at least 6 to 8 weeks without any new bite marks, and without any sightings in the interceptors, you can fairly safely declare that room bed bug free!

FAQ: How to Know When Bed Bugs Are Gone

At least 1 in 5 Americans have suffered from bed bug infestations. If you’re one of them and have recently finished a bed bug treatment, you may be worried that you didn’t quite get them all. Maybe you’ve gone some time without seeing any new bugs or bites, but you want a way to be sure that the coast is clear. Whatever the situation, the question is the same: how do you know when all the bed bugs are gone?

Good News and Bad News

First, the bad news: unfortunately, there’s no way to confirm without any doubt that all bed bugs in an area have been eradicated. While you can take careful steps through the whole process and come to a reasonable conclusion at the end, there’s no way to be 100% sure. Bed bugs are notoriously good at hiding, hibernating, and waiting, even for weeks at a time or longer.

Now for the good news: being “sure enough” is easy to do if you followed our 4-step treatment process. Not only is this a thorough, methodical treatment solution, but it includes the tools to monitor the bed bug population over time. Steps 1 and 2 of the solution involve isolating your bed and applying ClimbUp Interceptors, which are industry-standard bed bug monitors. With those Interceptors in place, you’ll be able to monitor for bed bugs during the treatment and long after.

Monitoring the Population During Treatment

As you progress through a bed bug treatment, you need a way to measure your progress and see if bed bugs are still active in the area that you’re treating. The best way to accomplish this is by monitoring the population directly to try and gauge how it changes over time.

If you’re treating for bed bugs in a room where you and/or someone else sleeps, the best way to monitor for bed bugs is with a passive monitor and trap, like ClimbUp Interceptors. When an interceptor is placed under each leg of the bed, they will trap bed bugs that try to enter or exit the bed. Inspect these traps regularly to see if bed bugs are still active in the room. Ideally, the number of bed bugs being captured will decline over time, eventually reaching a consistent zero.

If you’ve been treating an unoccupied room, like a living room or a vacated bedroom, monitoring the bed bug population becomes a bit more complicated. ClimbUp Interceptors won’t do you much good in this situation, since there isn’t a human body acting as a lure to draw the bed bugs to the interceptors. Instead, you’ll want to use an active monitor like the NightWatch. These have a lure of their own, so they can attract bed bugs without anyone present.

The 6-8 Week Timeline

Figuring out when to call the coast clear requires that you know how long bed bugs will be able to survive without feeding. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation on the web about how often bed bugs feed and how long they can live without a meal. That makes figuring out your post-treatment timeline harder. Let’s review the actual timing on bed bug feeding and how long they can live without a meal:

Most bed bugs live for two to six months, though some can live for over a year without food by hibernating. Pregnant females lay three to five eggs per day, totaling up to 500 in her short lifetime. Those eggs hatch within two weeks, and the newborn nymphs will be hungry for a blood meal right away.

Since eggs will hatch about two weeks apart, that’s a good time period to space apart treatment applications. Remember that almost no bed bug treatment is 100% successful on the first attempt — you’ll need to at least repeat the contact and residual spray applications to finish off the infestation. Wait two weeks after the first treatment to reapply the sprays, then repeat that in another two weeks. These follow-up treatments will hit any newly hatched bed bugs as well as adults that you may have missed before.

Once those follow-up treatments are done, you’ll know fairly quickly how effective your treatment was. Bed bugs want to eat every 5 to 10 days, so any hungry survivors should start appearing in your traps around two weeks after your last follow-up treatment. If the traps go about 6 to 8 weeks without any signs of bed bugs, you can probably call yourself bed bug free.

How to Confirm Bed Bugs are Gone

By now, we’ve covered the tools we need to monitor the bed bug population, as well as a rough timeline we need to monitor before giving the all-clear. Let’s review what an effective treatment and post-routine treatment looks like in order to be confident that the bed bugs are gone for good:

First, you need to completely treat the bed, ensuring that no bed bugs are on it and that they can’t get back in/on it. Begin by stripping the bedding and washing them on high heat, then drying on high heat if the beddings’ tags allow for it. While the laundry cycles are running, use a vacuum cleaner to remove any bed bugs and eggs that might be along the seams of your mattress, box spring, pillows, and bed frame.

Follow up the vacuuming with a high pressure steamer to penetrate deep inside those same nooks and crannies to kill bed bugs and eggs on contact. Lastly, spray down the joints of the bed frame, headboard, and footboard with contact and residual bed bug sprays that are labeled for use on the bed, and encase the mattress and box spring with sealed bed bug encasements once the bed is dry. Be sure to leave those encasements on for at least 18 months to ensure that any bed bugs that managed to survive stay trapped inside until they starve.

Next, you’ll need to isolate the bed to make sure bed bugs elsewhere in the room can’t get onto the bed and feed. Move the bed away from the walls and any nightstands or other furniture. Tuck in or remove any hanging skirts or sheets, and remove any storage under the bed that is touching any part of the frame. The only thing your bed should be touching is the floor via its legs. If you don’t have a bed frame with legs, you should purchase one to sleep in, at least until you are bed bug free.

To complete the isolation, place ClimbUp Interceptors under each leg of the bed. These traps will prevent bed bugs from climbing up your bed legs, stopping them from reaching you in your bed. As bed bugs attempt to get to you, they will climb up the edge of the interceptor and fall into the perimeter pitfall where they can’t escape. With the ClimbUps in place, you can monitor the population of bed bugs in the room over the next several weeks (and even longer to avoid future infestations).

As you proceed through the rest of our 4-step treatment solution, including the follow-up treatments over the next four weeks, that isolated and intercepted bed will act as a long-term monitoring system. Once both follow-up treatments are done, continue checking the ClimbUps daily for bed bugs. If the occupants of the room go at least 6 to 8 weeks without any new bite marks, and without any sightings in the interceptors, you can fairly safely declare that room bed bug free!

Department of Health

Bed Bugs – What They Are and How to Control Them

Bed bugs have been around for thousands of years. They feed on blood, but are not known to spread any diseases to humans. Some people can be allergic to their bites. Getting rid of a bed bug infestation is not easy, but there are steps you can take to control the problem. There are also steps you can take to avoid bringing bed bugs home.

What are bed bugs?

How can bed bugs get into my home?

  • They can come from other infested areas or from used furniture. They can hitch a ride in luggage, purses, backpacks, or other items placed on soft or upholstered surfaces.
  • They can travel between rooms in multi-unit buildings, such as apartment complexes and hotels.

How can I avoid bringing bed bugs into my home?

  • When staying in a hotel, place your bag on a suitcase stand rather than on the bed or floor. Keep the rack away from walls or furniture. When returning home, wash the clothes from your trip and put them in a hot dryer.
  • Inspect new and used furniture before bringing it inside. Look in seams, tufts and under cushions.

How do I know if I have a bed bug problem?

  • You can see the bed bugs themselves, their shed skins, or their droppings in mattress seams and other items in the bedroom.
  • There may also be blood stains on sheets.

How do I control a bed bug problem in my home?

It can be done, but it usually requires what is called an "integrated pest management" (IPM) approach. This combines techniques that pose the lowest risk to your health and the environment. Try these strategies:

  • Clean and get rid of clutter, especially in your bedroom.
  • Move your bed away from walls or furniture.
  • Vacuum molding, windows and floors every day. Vacuum sides and seams of mattresses, box springs and furniture. Empty the vacuum or the bag immediately and dispose of outside in a sealed container or bag.
  • Wash sheets, pillow cases, blankets and bed skirts and put them in a hot dryer for at least 30 minutes. Consider using mattress and box spring covers –the kind used for dust mite control–and put duct tape over the zippers.
  • Seal cracks and crevices and any openings where pipes or wires come into the home.

Should I also try pesticides?

Pesticides may not be effective and can be dangerous if used improperly. If you decide to use pesticides, follow these rules:

  • Only use pesticides that are registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (look for the U.S. EPA Registration Number on the label) and make sure they are labeled to control bed bugs.
  • Do not apply pesticides directly to your body (there are no repellents registered to control bed bugs that can be used on the human body).
  • Do not use outdoor pesticides indoors.
  • If you decide to hire a pest control company, make sure they have experience with bed bugs. They should follow the steps of IPM, along with any pesticide application. Use a company that is registered and employs licensed applicators. The Department of Environmental Conservation has a list of registered companies.

It takes time and persistence to get rid of bed bugs, and in some cases, the cooperation of landlords, neighbors and others. It can be physically and emotionally exhausting. It can also be expensive when pest control companies are called in. Just remember – bed bugs are more of a nuisance than a health concern and, with vigilance, you can avoid or deal with infestations.

See the following for more information on bed bug biology and control measures:

Photo courtesy of Dr. Harold Harlan, Armed Forces Pest Management Board Image Library

Learn About Bed Bug Infestations So You Will Be Better Equipped to Fight Yours!

A bed bug infestation is a big deal. It can disrupt your sleep/life, and you may have no idea what is happening to you or how to stop it. Bed bugs are different from most other household insect pests and are much more difficult to live with and to get rid of.

Bed bugs are keen to find a way into your house, and you have to be aware of their “migration tactics” in order to thwart them. You need to know how they move from house to house and room to room, how fast they can spread, where they are likely to hide, and what options you have for killing them.

Make no mistake. A bed bug infested home means your home has just become a war zone. You can’t let the enemy sneak by unnoticed under your radar, and knowing the facts about bed bugs is winning half the battle.

Table of Contents

Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

Bed bugs are quite willing to enter your premises uninvited, take up permanent residence, and help themselves to a blood feast. But where do they come from to begin with?

The fact is, bed bugs live primarily in human habitations all over the world, be it in mattresses, box springs, carpeting, picture frames, cracks in floor, furniture, or a host of other locales.

Of course, bed bugs ultimately hail from the great outdoors, and you may find some still living there in tall grasses, but they are overwhelmingly an “indoor insect.”

Transferred from Person to Person

Unlike fleas and lice, bed bugs do not tend to live permanently on human beings or animals. Instead, they will generally hide is some hard to reach nook or cranny and come out at night to feed. That’s why they like to live in or near beds and other places people sleep or sit for long periods.

But, it is still possible for bed bugs to be transferred from person to person.

Here’s why:

  • They can get into your clothes, purse, laptop bag, jacket, or anything else you wear or carry about.
  • From there, they can get onto clothes of others you are in close contact with.

Their eggs can also be found on clothes sometimes, and if egg-infested clothes of yours touched someone else’s clothes, even the eggs could get transferred.

So, while it’s not very likely, it is possible for bed bugs to move from person to person.

Spread From House to House

Bed bugs, as clever as they are, do not generally walk long distances between buildings. They have other ways of getting into your house.

These stealthy home-invasion strategies include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Hitch a ride on your laundry, luggage, or other possessions that you bring back from a bed-bug-infested hotel room.
  • Your pet might pick up a bed bug while visiting another house (or even outdoors) and then bring it back to your place.
  • Bed bugs may be hiding in furniture in one house, but the owner may sell it at a garage sale or put it on the curb to dispose of it. Then, you take that old bed-bug-ridden piece of furniture into your house, thinking it’s a great find.
  • You sleep over at a friend’s house where bed bugs live. Bed bugs get into your stuff or on your person, and you unknowingly transport them home with you.
  • If you live in a multi-unit home or apartment complex, these bugs can crawl down the hall, through vents, and through cracks in the walls to get into your living quarters.

Spread from Room to Room

You may, perhaps, imagine that bed bugs can’t get around too fast. It’s true they have small legs and can’t hop or skip, but they can walk up to 100 feet in a single night. They just “keep going till they get there.”

Bed Bug Hiding Spots

And bed bugs are known to move through the inside of walls, which they will access via outlets if not through cracks. They can run inside of in-wall piping for a quicker move from room to room. It really doesn’t take more than a single night for them to migrate to a new room. And they can even get into your vacuum cleaner so that you are helping them spread quicker as you clean the carpet.

It could be a matter of days before your entire house is infested, given you have enough of a bed bug population and your bed bugs are motivated to look for food/water/blood somewhere other than where they are at the moment.

Infestation Map

I found a bed bug, you say, so where should I look for more? Can I map out the infestation so I can map out an eradication plan?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to be sure of all the nooks and crannies your unwelcome guests may be hiding in, and they may even move around from night to night. All you can do is know the likely spots and apply bed bug killer.

I Have One Bed Bug. Does It Mean an Infestation?

A single bed bug may or may not indicate you already have a true infestation.

But if you do find a bed bug, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • A single impregnated female can produce a whole population. She will lay the eggs and then breed with her own offspring.
  • The odds are in favor of your not having found the only bed bug in your house. Where there’s one, there are probably more.
  • Bed bugs can go 6 months or more without a blood meal, and many individual bugs may not feed more than once a week on average. Thus, you won’t see them all out searching for food at the same time.
  • Is the bed bug red-bodied? Then it was feeding. If they’re feeding, chances are they’re breeding.

My Bed

Once in your bedroom, bed bugs will have no trouble finding your bed. They are attracted to carbon dioxide such as warm-blooded animals exhale and to your body heat. As soon as they sense CO2 and heat at night, they will go to your bed because you, their target, are lying on it.

Bed bugs can get into your bedroom on your dirty clothes, on the clothes you are wearing, or by hiding in suitcases, hand bags, boxes, furniture, or anything else you bring into your room that offers them good cover.

Walls

Do bed bugs live in walls? The answer is: sometimes. Walls are not necessarily their number one or preferred hideout, as with cockroaches, but when no better shelter exists near their feeding zone, they’ll be quick to reside inside wall cavities.

Of course, there has to be an entry point for them to get into the wall. So if your walls have cracks or small holes in them, caulking it up, painting over it, or otherwise sealing it off may deny your bed bugs a hideout.

Wood Floors

Yes, bed bugs can live inside wood flooring. They can even crawl along inside the seams between wood planks, even when those seams are rather tight.

The pancake-flat bodies and small size of bed bugs allow the to get into and live in even the most inaccessible areas. There are few wood floors, if any, that are so tightly put together that bed bugs couldn’t get into them.

Infestation Timeline

You may be wondering what to do if you have bed bugs, and how long you have before they overrun you. You may be waking up at night, staring at the clock, and wondering, “How long do I have?”

How Long Does It Take for Bed Bugs to Infest?

Here are four facts you should know that will give you an idea as to how long it takes for a bed bug infestation to get started and to get into “full swing:”

  1. Female bed bugs can lay from one to five eggs per day and ultimately 200 or 250 eggs in a lifetime.
  2. Eggs will hatch in five to 10 days’ time, and the emergent nymphs will immediately begin looking for a blood meal.
  3. It takes around four or five weeks for a bed bug to reach maturity, going through five molts along the way.
  4. Bed bugs will live around four to 10 months, but life spans may vary quite a bit based on conditions (and on your extermination efforts!)

The Life Cycle of a Bed Bug

Conclusion: an infestation can get rolling in less than a week, become unbearable in one to two months, and reach peak population levels in six months to a year, given the right conditions and plenty of blood.

What You Should Know

You may be wondering, “Do bed bugs go away if I just leave them alone a while?” Wishful thinking may have its merits, perhaps, but no, they normally won’t just go away on their own.

My Apartment Is Infested With Bed Bugs. Now What?

If your apartment definitely has a bed bug infestation, what can you do about it? You’ll need to learn how to kill bed bugs and how to keep them from coming back.

Here are Five Key Steps you can take to eradicate your blossoming bed bug population:

  1. Clear away all the clutter from your bedroom or other infested area. In fact, clean and organize your whole house like you were getting ready for white glove at college.
  2. Wash and dry all your clothes and linens that could possibly have gotten exposed to bed bugs or their eggs. Use the high-heat setting.
  3. Spray bed bug killer along the baseboards, into cracks and crevices, onto mattresses, box springs, upholstered furniture, and anywhere else it’s safe to spray it. Also apply diatomaceous earth under and around your bed, set up CO2 bed bug traps, and use rubbing alcohol to protect your exposed skin at night.
  4. Use a one-two punch bed bug fogger bomb approach. The first bombs will kill off adults mostly. Wait two weeks so the surviving eggs can hatch, and then bomb to wipe out the hatchlings before they mature and repopulate.
  5. You can repeat the four steps above several times, but if the problem persists, call in a professional who can safely heat your home to 118 degrees Fahrenheit to kill every bed bug.

Three Steps to be Bed-Bug-Free

Can They Come Back After Treatment?

Bed bugs can return the same way they got into your home to begin with, even after you totally eradicate them.

Thus, you need to think about how they may have gotten in. Stop bringing in garage sale or curbside furniture, routinely sprinkle diatomaceous earth along your door’s bottom if you live in an apartment complex, or change whatever else it takes to keep them out!

Learn how bed bugs spread into and throughout houses and how their population explodes. Take measures accordingly without delay to kill them and prevent a return. Knowing the facts about your bed bug infestation will help you end it!

You can find further details of Bed Bugs Control here.

About Inga Cryton

Leave a commentCancel reply

Make sure you fill in all mandatory fields.

How Long Does It Take For A Bed Bug Infestation To Develop?

ByChris Williamson February 6, 2012.

I was recently sent to a job to inspect for Bed Bugs. Previous tenants had been treated for bed bugs and have moved out. Management wanted to know two things: How long has the unit been infested, and were there any live beg bugs. Inspection for bed bugs can be difficult as most units are full of furniture and belongings, this unit was vacant and empty. With full access to all areas of the unit the extent of the infestation was more clearly defined.

Bed bugs, the scourge of the rental industry, are small insects that feed exclusively on human blood. Long lived and easily spread, bed bugs secretive lifestyle makes detection difficult. Relatively few bed bugs start an infestation. In fact, if a male bed bug is the only hitchhiker, no infestation will develop. Only female bed bugs are able to lay eggs. A mated female can lay around 3 eggs a day if feeding is available, laying more than 300 eggs in her lifetime. Small white eggs are cemented to discrete surfaces, near a host, and hatch in about 10 days. Nymphs resemble adults but are much smaller. In order to grow, or molt, nymphs must acquire a blood meal. Depending on the temperature, it takes nymphs about 100 days for the five molts to occur before mating can take place. Roughly 1.5-2 months are required for a complete cycle from egg to mated adult bed bug. Adult bed bugs live about 10 months, although without a host, bed bugs may live over a year.

Bed bug infestations develop slowly. At first very few insects are present, feeding intermittently on the host and may not be noticed. Bites are sometimes overlooked or blamed on some other pest species like spiders. Secretive adults may not be noticed as they feed on sleeping hosts. Over time though, evidence builds up. Bed bugs are gregarious, and can be found living side by side in harborage sites. Great numbers of nymphs and adults can be found together. As these sites become more active, females will migrate to areas of less activity to lay eggs. Male bed bugs want to mate constantly with females, driving them away. This behavior is believed to be what makes bed bugs “spread out” into new areas. Large populations also use up more and more of the hiding spaces near the host, and are forced to seek shelter farther from the feeding site. All the while the bed bugs are pooping. Bed bug feces is little more that partially digested human blood. Fecal spots form as the bed bugs move about and accumulate in and around the harborage sites. Fecal spots are usually clustered, and may have a small “smear” at one side, indicating the direction of the bed bug’s travel. In heavy infestations there may even be a discernable, almost sweet odor, due to large amounts of feces and aggregation secretions. As bed bugs molt during the growth process, the smaller old skin is shed and a new larger skin forms. These skins are also left where they fall and may accumulate over time. In heavy infestations, there may be considerable numbers of these cast skins.

Now, back in the unit to be inspected, I am looking for evidence. I begin with a cursory look around. With a bright flashlight, pliers, and a screwdriver in hand I start with the ceiling edges and walls. As harborage sites become full, bed bugs will end up in corners and on walls. Right away I begin to notice some fecal spots on door frames and at lower closet edges. No activity behind outlet covers, or under carpet in the 2 bedrooms, 12-25 dead bed bugs noted on the bed room floors, some fecal spots on lower closet door and door frames, no live activity. Bases of all 3 hall closet door frames also had fecal spots, dead bed bugs, no live activity. As I began to examine the living room, there seemed to be more and more dead bed bugs, and fecal spotting, increasing as I got over to the baseboard radiator. Fecal spotting all over the metal housing and adjacent molding told me I was getting warm. When I dismantled the housing and pulled the carpet out from under it I hit pay dirt. 1000’s of cast skins, large pockets of blood stained carpet(major harborage site), and hundreds of dead bed bugs were deposited under the carpet and heating unit. There must have been a couch or bed right there. As the infestation grew, the bed bugs spread out along the floor edge and eventually found the bed rooms, where there was much less fecal spotting etc. In my opinion, the focal point of the infestation was the living room. As far as a time table is concerned, based on the life cycle, amount of fecal spotting, and the number of cast skins noted, the infestation was more than a year old, maybe older. 2 live bed bugs were found, although upside down, on the kitchen floor. This indicates that the treatment was working, and that bed bug control is almost complete. My recommendation was to re-treat the unit prior to new tenants moving in to ensure that the infestation is gone completely. If you suspect bed bug activity in your home, contact Colonial Pest for a free quote, or call us right now at 1-800-525-8084!

Bed Bugs FAQs

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color, wingless, range from 1mm to 7mm (roughly the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny), and can live several months without a blood meal.

Where are bed bugs found?

Bed bugs are found across the globe from North and South America, to Africa, Asia and Europe. Although the presence of bed bugs has traditionally been seen as a problem in developing countries, it has recently been spreading rapidly in parts of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other parts of Europe. Bed bugs have been found in five-star hotels and resorts and their presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are found.

Bed bug infestations usually occur around or near the areas where people sleep. These areas include apartments, shelters, rooming houses, hotels, cruise ships, buses, trains, and dorm rooms. They hide during the day in places such as seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, inside cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, or any other clutter or objects around a bed. Bed bugs have been shown to be able to travel over 100 feet in a night but tend to live within 8 feet of where people sleep.

Do bed bugs spread disease?

Bed bugs are not known to spread disease. Bed bugs can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that can sometimes increase the chance of a secondary skin infection.

What health risks do bed bugs pose?

A bed bug bite affects each person differently. Bite responses can range from an absence of any physical signs of the bite, to a small bite mark, to a serious allergic reaction. Bed bugs are not considered to be dangerous; however, an allergic reaction to several bites may need medical attention.

What are the signs and symptoms of a bed bug infestation?

One of the easiest ways to identify a bed bug infestation is by the tell-tale bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body parts while sleeping. However, these bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area. These signs include:

  • the bed bugs’ exoskeletons after molting,
  • bed bugs in the fold of mattresses and sheets,
  • rusty–colored blood spots due to their blood-filled fecal material that they excrete on the mattress or nearby furniture, and
  • a sweet musty odor.

How do I know if I’ve been bitten by a bed bug?

It is hard to tell if you’ve been bitten by a bed bug unless you find bed bugs or signs of infestation. When bed bugs bite, they inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant that prevents a person from realizing they are being bitten. Most people do not realize they have been bitten until bite marks appear anywhere from one to several days after the initial bite. The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea — a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. The bite marks may be random or appear in a straight line. Other symptoms of bed bug bites include insomnia, anxiety, and skin problems that arise from profuse scratching of the bites.

Because bed bug bites affect everyone differently, some people may have no reaction and will not develop bite marks or any other visible signs of being bitten. Other people may be allergic to the bed bugs and can react adversely to the bites. These allergic symptoms can include enlarged bite marks, painful swellings at the bite site, and, on rare occasions, anaphylaxis.

How did I get bed bugs?

Bed bugs are experts at hiding. Their slim flat bodies allow them to fit into the smallest of spaces and stay there for long periods of time, even without a blood meal. Bed bugs are usually transported from place to place as people travel. The bed bugs travel in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else where they can hide. Most people do not realize they are transporting stow-away bed bugs as they travel from location to location, infecting areas as they travel.

Who is at risk for getting bed bugs?

Everyone is at risk for getting bed bugs when visiting an infected area. However, anyone who travels frequently and shares living and sleeping quarters where other people have previously slept has a higher risk of being bitten and or spreading a bed bug infestation.

How are bed bugs treated and prevented?

Bed bug bites usually do not pose a serious medical threat. The best way to treat a bite is to avoid scratching the area and apply antiseptic creams or lotions and take an antihistamine. Bed bug infestations are commonly treated by insecticide spraying. If you suspect that you have an infestation, contact your landlord or professional pest control company that is experienced with treating bed bugs. The best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspection for the signs of an infestation.

This information is not meant to be used for self-diagnosis or as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider. If you have any questions about the parasites described above or think that you may have a parasitic infection, consult a health care provider.

Add Comments: