How Many Bed Bugs Is Considered An Infestation

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.

How many bed bugs is considered an infestation

Understand how bed bug infestations occur and learn what are the possible methods to prevent bed bugs infestations in the house.

How Does a Bed Bug Infestation Occur

There are many ways a dwelling can become infested with bed bugs. In most common cases, bed bugs are unknowingly picked up from infested areas such as hotels, hostel or motels and transported to non-infested areas when they cling onto someone’s luggage, or clothing that is then brought into homes.

Bed bug infestations can also occur in homes because contaminated furniture, especially used bedframes, mattresses, wardrobes or couches are introduced to the home. Toys such as stuffed dolls can also be infested as well.

Since bed bugs are able to live for several months without feeding it is possible for them to be hiding in vacant apartments and homes that appear to be clean. It also possible for bed bugs to migrate from apartment to apartment through small crevices and cracks in walls and floors.

Bed bugs can also live on birds, rodents and household pets and that can be easily carry into a home, allowing the bugs to spread in this manner.

How to Detect the Seriousness of a Bed Bug Infestation

Here are some simple signs that will let you identify infestation and whether the area is heavily infested or if it is a mild bed bug infestation.

    Bed bug bites are usually the first clue in identifying an infestation. The bites will leave red bumps on the back, legs and arms. Since they feed while you are sleeping it is hard to catch them in the act. They can look like other insects bites except they will appear in groups or rows of bites and usually are accompanied by a rash. You will also notice that you are getting bitten just about every night and you are going to see the bumps regularly.

Bed bugs leave behind a great deal of waste in infested areas and it is another method of identifying an infestation. You will notice small bloodstains on your bed sheets from crushed insects, or dark spots from their droppings around your mattresses. Also you will find the skin that is shed during molting, empty egg shells and dead bed bugs in the seams and tufts of your mattress or inside the box spring. The more waste that is found the more heavily infested the area is.

A great way to go about identifying infestation is to use double sided tape. You should line the edges of your mattress and box spring with the tape as well as place it on the floor around the bed. The more heavily infested the room is, the more bugs will be on the tape.

  • When a bed bug infestation becomes severe, the room would also carry a distinctive and unpleasant almond-like scent.
  • Methods to Prevent Bed Bug Infestations

    Some of the things you can do yourself to stop bed bug infestations in your home include:

      You should regularly inspect all possible hiding places of your home for evidence of bed bugs, especially the mattresses and your bedframe.

    Repair and seal any cracks that may be present in you the interior and exterior of you home to prevent bed bugs from entering and escaping.

    Be sure that windows have screens and repair existing screens to keep birds and other rodents from entering.

    Regularly remove excess clutter and clothing because they can be additional hiding spots for bed bugs.

    Vacuum the mattresses, bed frames, carpets and upholstered furniture regularly to remove any possible bed bugs and their eggs. Immediately after vacuuming, dispose of the vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag in an outdoor trash bin.

    Use a bed bug spray to treat any suspected infested areas or furnitures. A spray is also a handy tool to help kill off any bed bugs on sight.

  • One of the best ways to prevent bed bug infestation is to avoid buying or accepting any previously used furniture. Check all luggage and clothing after traveling before returning home especially if you have bed bug bites symptoms in the hotels or accomodations that you have previously stayed.
  • Bed Bugs Travel Prevention Tips– Checklists and tips on how to avoid bed bugs while you travel.

    Bed Bug Traps– Monitors and traps for the detection and trapping of bed bugs in the house.

    Bed Bug Repellent– Get the truth about the effectiveness of bed bug repellent for skin.

    Additional Resources:

    U.S. EPA on Bed Bug Control
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on controlling and treating bed bugs.

    Cornell University Bed Bug Guide
    Guidelines for prevention and managment of bed bugs in shelters and group living facilities.

    Bed Bugs FAQ
    Frequently Asked Questions on bed bugs from the National Pest Management Association.

    This website’s mission is to provide comprehensive information about bed bugs .
    Popular topics include how to kill bed bugs , bed bug rash , bed bugs treatment and what do bed bugs look like .

    How Can You Tell the Severity of a Bed Bug Infestation?

    ByChris Williamson April 29, 2015.

    Bed bug exuviae (shed skins)

    A concerned property owner in Rochester, New Hampshire recently asked me if I could tell how long bed bugs had been in an apartment. With legislation in place regarding bed bug infestation and the responsibility of property owners, his concerns were justifiable. New Hampshire now mandates that bed bug or other infestations are the responsibility of the property owner, regardless of the cause of infestation. Fleas may be the only exception to this rule, as pet activity associated with a tenant may directly cause the infestation.

    Cockroaches, bed bugs, ants, rodents, fleas, and wasps are the main problems that property owners and property management run into at typical apartment settings. Fleas from a previous tenant will also be covered by this legislation. Now the burden lies on the property owner to provide a pest free living space to all occupants.

    As a rule, early detection of a pest problem can lead to an early solution. Problems develop over time, so early detection is critical. This may not be possible, as tenants may not report an issue until it is beyond a quick fix. Non-notification of pest problems may be due to many reasons that I will not go into here. Frequent property inspections and good tenant relations can go a long way in pest prevention.

    Documentation of any complaints is critical. Thorough inspection with photos to document the conditions before and after renting an apartment or property will be very helpful to all parties. Always use a Pest Control Professional when dealing with pest issues to avoid potential mistreatment or poisoning.

    In the following sections, I will try to describe the different levels of bed bug infestation, divided into three categories: Light, Moderate, and Heavy.

    Light Bed Bug Infestation

    • New infestation, just arrived. It takes 45-60 days from egg to mated adult (1-2 months)
    • Few sightings and blood stains noted if any, 1-2 caught as specimens for identification, minimal irritation from bites. Adult bed bugs are tan to dark reddish brown, flattened, compact insects about 5-6mm long; juveniles are much smaller and are clear with a red or black dot after feeding. Both adults and juveniles are visible.
    • Minimal fecal staining (small black stains in areas of travel, feeding, and harborage). Fecal stains will be anywhere the bed bugs hide or travel and can be used to detect hot spots.
    • Minimal cast skins (exuviae are the skins shed during the molting process). These small translucent to tan shells can be found near harborage sites, in dust, or in webs. Each bed bug will produce five cast skins during its 100-day juvenile stage.
    • Few if any visible eggs. Eggs are laid in clusters near harborage sites and along feeding routes. Eggs look like small white dots or lines glued to surfaces near the host. Females may lay 3 eggs a day if continuous feeding is available, laying over 300 eggs during her 10-11 month lifetime.
    • Only 1 or 2 areas of suspect activity noted. Bed bug infestations usually starts in one or two “hot spots” of the home or apartment, then spread as the population increases. Natural migration by females to new areas and spreading through movement of personal items allows bed bugs to find new areas to infest.

    Moderate Bed Bug Infestation

    • Established Infestation (4-8 months since initial arrival of bed bugs)
    • Many live adults and nymphs noted (bloodstains on walls and mattresses, live insects engorged with blood on mattresses, furniture, walls, under carpets, etc.)
    • Visible fecal stains present in multiple areas (staining on mattress, sheets, pillows, bed frames, bedside tables, dressers, books, walls, baseboards, curtains, chairs, couches, behind pictures, under and on carpets, etc.)
    • Many cast skins (on floors, in webs, under carpets, in dressers, along with dead bed bugs, and bed bugs caught by spiders). By now, there should be hundreds of exuviae.
    • Many hot spots (beds and sleeping areas, couches, corners, most furniture has staining and live insects present, all rooms including bathroom may have live bed bugs on walls and ceilings, as well as under carpets near sleeping areas and feeding routes). The bed bug population has spread out from initial hot spots to locations throughout the apartment/home and now pose a threat to neighboring units above, below, and to sides.

    Heavy Bed Bug Infestation

    • Heavy infestations take 6 months to 1 year to develop. Bed bugs mature relatively slowly; at a certain threshold, multiple overlapping generations are produced and the population will explode if conditions permit.
    • Countless adults and nymphs present (Adults walking on walls, clustered in cracks on walls, stained curtains, etc. Dead bed bugs and blood stains on sheets, mattresses, walls, bed frames, on/under carpets, moldings, under tiles, almost every where they can hide and get to a host).
    • Heavy fecal staining. This thick blood byproduct becomes like black paint in areas of high bed bug density and traffic. As they move to and from the human host, fecal droplets fall off the backside of the bed bug. Densely populated harborage sites also contain heavy fecal staining. Over time, it becomes thick and even has a semi-sweet, bug smell for aggregation. It is a bad infestation if you can smell this odor. Heavily stained mattresses, box springs, carpets, and other fabric items may need to be discarded or deep cleaned to remove the organic material. Walls, ceilings, and floors will also need attention once the infestation has been taken care of, and certainly prior to rental.
    • Cast skins are all over the place. Multiple overlapping generations have produced thousands of exuviae, especially in harborage sites. Heavy infestations create so many exuviae that they will be readily evident upon inspection of areas near sleeping areas.
    • Eggs and hatched eggs are visible (along seams, edges of molding, mattress tufts, in couches, dressers, tables, carpet edges, all around hotspots).
    • The population is now only limited by access to the host (tenants).
    • Heavy infestations can populate entire structures. Due to natural movement from overcrowding as well as transport of personal items, bed bugs can spread to previously uninfested dwellings. Wall voids, pipe chases, electrical apertures, and other hidden conduits may contain adult bed bugs, which can live over 1 year if no host is present, and actively seek a new host.

    Bed bugs are no joke, they are real, and can cause serious problems if left untreated. If you suspect bed bugs, call Colonial Pest Control at 1-800-525-8084.

    The Most Bed Bug Infested Cities in the USA – See How Bad It Is

    The bed bug infestation which we thought was over post the Second World War era has actually made resurgence in the 1990s. Today, bed bug cities are a national problem in the United States. The bugs are everywhere: in five star hotels, movie halls, clothing centers and even our daycares and schools. Nearly 95% of pest control management agencies in the country claim to have encountered a bed bug issue.

    Bed Bugs: You can run but you cannot hide

    When it comes to bed bugs (known asCimex Lectularius), the problem istwofold– not only are they extremely difficult to get rid of; the failure to take necessary safety precautions eases their spread them from one city to another. Hapless travelers are at the greatest risk as they encounter bed bugs in hotels and in airplanes and end up bringing them home through their luggage.

    According to a survey conducted byNational Pest Management Association(with inputs from entomologists at The University of Kentucky), the number of bed bug cities in America in this decade are up by 10% as compared to the previous decade and by 25% a decade before that.

    It is not only America that is suffering from bed bug infestations: even cities in Australia, United Kingdom, Europe and Africa are also facing them. Many of the pest control operators in these countries also believe that bed bugs are the hardest to get rid of than any other bugs.

    According to expert pest management researcher, Clive Boase (who has conducted many pest surveys in United Kingdom), the early 1930s had actually seen a significant reduction in the bed bug issues since more National Housing Schemes came to be implemented; additionally, the home inspection rules for checking for vermin were also made more stringent. Similarly, the United States also enjoyed a brief period in the 1940s where there was significant reduction in these pests. This was mainly due to widespread use of DDT based insecticides. However, the same is not true in this era; the use of chemical control is not feasible for widespread use mainly due to higher costs; additionally, the bed bugs themselves are getting more and more resistant to such insecticides.

    The rise of bed bug cities is encouraging Governments to rethink their insecticides. However,three factorshave to be considered before one can actually create a new line of insecticides:

    • They should be safe for use around pets and children.
    • They must be effective in killing bed bugs.
    • They should be economical.

    Even DDT, which was effective in the earlier half of the 20 th century, is now no longer effective in killing bed bugs, as resistant strains of bed bugs have been seen in Hawaii, Japan and Korea as well as in Israel, and Iran.

    Top 10 Bed Bug Infested Cities in the United States

    A survey conducted by a reputed pest management company in 2013 has yielded the following list of bed bug cities in North America:

    1. Cincinnati
    2. Philadelphia
    3. Detroit
    4. New York
    5. Columbus
    6. Los Angeles
    7. Dallas
    8. Chicago
    9. Houston
    10. Baltimore

    In addition to these bed bug cities, the following cities in US have also reported an increase in number of bed bug complaints as compared to the year 2012:

    1. Sacrament- An increase of nearly 54%
    2. Milwaukee- Nearly 53%
    3. Las Vegas- 50%
    4. Columbus- 47%
    5. Baltimore- 46%
    6. San Bernardino- 41%
    7. Louis- 40%
    8. Cleveland- 36%
    9. Louisville- 31%
    10. Denver- 28%

    What time of the year are bedbugs most common?

    In the bed bug cities mentioned above, nearly 49% reported an increase in the number of complaints in warmer months. However, in remaining 51% bed bug cities, the problem was reported throughout the year.

    Where are bedbugs seen in the bed bug cities?

    Bed bugs are more common in residential dwellings but they are also being reported in schools, offices and shops. Movie theatres are also not spared. Nearly 9 out of 10 pest control professionals report treating single family homes, condominiums and rental apartments.

    Here are further statistics regarding bed bug cities in United States:

    • Nearly 75% of infestations are also seen in hotels and motels.
    • 47% of college dormitories reported an infestation.
    • 46% of nursing homes had increases infestations as compared to 2011.
    • Office buildings and schools reported 36% and 41% infestations.
    • Public transport and libraries came in last with 21% and 12% infestations across the country respectively.

    Bed Bug Infestation: A bit of good news

    A bit of good news in these reports is that the compared to data received in 2011 and 2012, the year 2013 actually saw adecreasein number of bed bug infestations inmovie theatreswhich was down by 10%.Airlinesalso reported fewer infestations, (nearly by 2%) andretailstoreswere down by 21% as compared to 2011.

    Why are detection methods not as effective as they were?

    Researchers believe that we have more bed bug cities in USA today than ever due to the fact that the bugs have developed genes that help them produce anti-pesticidal substances. Moreover, simply visual observation for detecting bed bugs is no longer reliable; pest control companies are therefore encouraging consumers to use active monitoring traps and pitfalls to detect bed bug presence.

    It is an Epidemic

    The rise in number of bed bug cities is showing that America is in the midst of a bed bug epidemic. It is therefore essential that complete removal of bed bugs is done using Integrated Pest Management systems that include heat treatment, the use of right products and continuous monitoring. Only this can help prevent infestations so we can reclaim our bed bug cities back.

    Got bed bugs?Here are 10 products that can help you get rid of and prevent them.

    5 signs of a bed bug infestation in your home

    The mere thought of bed bugs crawling around probably makes you a little itchy. Bed bug infestation reports are becoming more plentiful and common, meaning the possibility of having one in your home is ever-increasing.

    With a possible bed bug infestation, you don’t want to just wait and see what happens. A single female bed bug can lay up to 12 eggs each day, totaling 200-500 throughout her entire lifetime. With such rapid life creation, an infestation can happen before you know it.

    Further, because bed bugs reproduce so quickly and are excellent hiders, it is very difficult to be sure you have located every single bed bug at every life stage in your treatment efforts. Without the help of a professional, you’ll likely miss a few eggs at the very least…and the infestation persists. Over-the-counter bed bug treatments are often ineffective with bed bug eggs in particular. So even if you do find the insects, they may survive anyway.

    If you think you have spotted the signs of bed bugs around your home or business, or have seen the insects or bites, contact your local Ehrlich Pest Control office today.

    The following five signs are indications of a bed bug infestation and should not be ignored.

    1.There are red, itchy spots everywhere!

    Bed bug bites are small and red but not everyone reacts to them. If you’re part of the 30-60% of people who do not have a reaction to bed bug bites, you’re lucky to be spared from the itching.

    Bed bugs usually feed during the night, unbeknownst to their sleeping victims. People rarely wake up due to a bed bug bite, because they inject an anesthetic when they do so, preventing you from feeling it. Instead, you’ll probably just notice the bites when you wake up. You’ll find the bites in areas near blood vessels on the hands, legs, neck, and arms. Realistically, the bites could be from just about anything, but we’d suggest it’s better to be safe than sorry. A bed bug inspection just might be in order.

    2.Your pillowcase and/or sheets are stained with blood.

    When feeding on humans, bed bugs inject an anticoagulant to help the blood flow more freely. Doing so will cause a blood droplet to form at the feeding site which then transfers to your sheets. If you wake up to find mysterious blood spots in your bed, you might consider a bed bug inspection.

    3.Your mattress is polka-dotted with rust-colored spots.

    Besides the blood spots, bed bugs often leave behind fecal stains. These spots have an unpleasant odor and may smear if you touch them. Imagine you touched a felt-tipped marker to your sheets. The spot left behind is similar to what a bed bug fecal stain looks like. These stains won’t necessarily be limited to bedding — you may find them on your walls as well, especially behind pictures or in corners. On hard surfaces, fecal stains may look more like small black spots similar to black pepper.

    4. Old, discarded skins begin to pile up.

    As a part of the bed bug life cycle, they shed their skin. Once cast aside, the skin is tan in color, often found in the areas you might find bed bugs themselves. Such areas include mattress creases, furniture seams, and along baseboards.

    5. The bed bugs show themselves.

    Occasionally, you might see the actual bed bugs and not just the things they leave behind. Adult bed bugs are relatively flat and oval in shape. These light brown insects have six legs but no wings. After a blood meal, they usually become a bit swollen and darker brown. As far as size goes, bed bugs resemble an apple seed (about ¼ inch long).

    There are a few bed bug imposters out there, and if you confuse them with bed bugs, it can be very concerning. Bat bugs, a common vexer of bats, are incredibly similar in appearance to bed bugs. Other insects often confused with bed bugs are fleas, booklice, spider beetles, and carpet beetles. If you are unsure about which pest hanging around, give Ehrlich a call. One of our highly-trained bed bug experts will pay your property a visit to identify the pest. This is key to developing the most effective treatment plan .

    This list of signs is not an exhaustive collection of conditions, but they should pique your concern. If any of the following items apply to you, you may be at risk for a bed bug infestation.

    • Your neighbors, friends, or others in close contact have contracted bed bugs.
      Bed bugs can easily spread by hitching a ride on an item or even a person. Be especially cautious if you visit somewhere with a known bed bug issue. The bed bugs just have to jump on your clothing and just like that, you’ve given them a first-class ticket back to your home. Before you know it, you have a bed bug problem too.
    • You recently purchased a mattress or furniture second-hand.
      Bringing used furniture into your house does not come without risk. Bed bugs or their eggs could hide in the seams.
    • You stayed at a hotel or hostel in the recent past.
      Make sure to fully inspect your hotel room upon arrival. Prior occupants could have left bed bugs behind on the furniture that can then transfer to you our your possessions.

    If you notice any of the aforementioned signs of bed bugs or if you have suspicions of a bed bug infestation, don’t waste time. Contact a licensed bed bug control expert to inspect your property so you may determine the best course of action going forward. Each bed bug infestation is unique, so we think your treatment plan should be too. Contact Ehrlich Pest Control or call us at888-984-0186today.

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