Bed bugs are a tiny, bloodsucking insect that feeds on both humans and animals. It’s important to remember they don’t spread any diseases, however, they can cause great discomfort during the night hours when they’re most active. If you suspect you have an infestation of these pests it is essential to know how to identify them and what steps need to be taken for eradication.
What do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Adult bed bugs have an oval shape and a rusty-brown shade, measuring approximately 5-7 mm, which is almost the size of apple seeds, and have six legs. Nymphs, or baby bed bugs, are smaller, about 2-5 mm, and lighter in color. Both adults and nymphs can be seen with the naked eye but may be hard to spot because they often hide in cracks and crevices.
Where do Bed Bugs Live?
Typically, bed bugs live within eight feet of where people sleep or sit for long periods of time. This means that they can be found in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, furniture upholstery, baseboards, picture frames, wallpaper edges, behind switch plates and outlets, under loose wallpaper, and in any other cracks or crevices around the home.
Do Bed Bugs Live in Wood Floors?
Although less common, bed bugs can also live on wood floors—particularly if there are cracks or crevices for them to hide in. The best way to prevent bed bugs from living on your hardwood floors is to do regular inspections and thoroughly clean the area. Vacuum your floors regularly and use a crevice tool to get into tight areas where bed bugs may be hiding. Make sure you dispose of vacuum bags or content immediately and wash any clothing, linens, or other items that may have been infested. You should also seal any cracks or crevices in your hardwood floors, as this will make it harder for bed bugs to hide there.
Additionally, you should use mattress encasements and box spring covers to prevent the spread of bed bugs from other areas of the home. Finally, if you think you have an infestation, it is important to contact a professional pest control company for help.
How to Prevent Bed Bugs
To avoid bed bugs, the most effective method is to not let them in at all. When traveling, inspect your hotel room for signs of bed bugs before unpacking your suitcase. When buying used furniture, inspect it carefully for signs of bed bugs before bringing it into your home. In addition, regular vacuuming and steam cleaning of carpets and upholstered furniture can help prevent bed bugs from taking up residence in your home.
Treating a Bed Bug Infestation
If you suspect that you have bed bugs in your home, it is important to take steps to control the infestation as soon as possible. Begin by thoroughly cleaning all infested areas with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter. Then use a steamer or contact insecticide to kill any remaining bed bugs and their eggs. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product label carefully when using insecticides. Keep in mind that these chemicals will only kill adult bed bugs, treating their eggs will require professional heat treatment.
When to Call a Professional
If you have tried everything but still cannot get rid of your bed bug infestation, it may be time to call a professional pest control company. A qualified exterminator will be able to quickly identify whether you have bed bugs—and if so, will develop a plan to get rid of them using safe and effective methods.
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