Although unpleasant to talk about, bed bug infestations are on the rise. Increased international travel, bug resistance to pesticides and bans on the most dangerous pesticides are all factors to this ever growing concern. With this in mind, it’s important to know what bed bugs are, signs of infestation and when to call a bed bug exterminator. With professional help, these tiny creatures can be eliminated.
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs have been around since 400 BC and are a type of parasitic insect that feeds on blood – mostly human. The tiny adults – close to the size of an apple seed, are flat, reddish-brown and oval-shaped. Newly hatched bugs are translucent in color and about the size of a poppy seed. They crawl like an ant and live in warm areas such as beds, couches, dressers, floors and walls. They eat mostly at night when you are asleep. Unfortunately, they can survive a year without feeding, so it’s very important to take care of the problem as soon as possible.
Signs of bed bug infestation
There are many ways to spot bed bugs. Here are some signs that you may have an infestation:
- The most obvious sign is finding itchy bug bites or rashes on your skin. You may need to visit your doctor just to make sure.
- Look for the bugs or tiny spots of fecal matter and blood smears on your clothes, sheets, mattresses, in furniture, carpet, window sills, and curtains. Look behind wall hangings, base boards, molding and around pet areas.
- Try spotting the tiny white eggs (about the size of two grains of salt) and empty bed bug husks in fabric seams and dark crevasses.
- Use your nose – if you smell rotting raspberries, you may have bed bugs.
How to get rid of bed bugs
Many people try to eliminate the bugs themselves by vacuuming, using pesticides or bug bombs, and throwing out furniture, bedding and clothes. It doesn’t work. In fact, you may inadvertently spread the bugs to others and make the problem much worse. Since bed bugs can travel through wall outlets, duct work, ceilings and in suitcases, purses, laptops, pets, clothing and shoes, it takes a professional bed bug exterminator to get rid of these creatures. There are many different methods people use to get rid of bed bugs
Tips for finding a reputable bed bug exterminator
There are many experienced, reputable companies that will be able to help you. Here are some things to look for when finding an exterminator:
- What methods do they use? A good company will use many different methods at once to get rid of bed bugs – not just chemical treatments! For example, the bed bug exterminators at heatngo.ca use heat, rather than pesticides, to eliminate bed bugs.
- Treatments may include steaming, heat, the use of cryonite, mattress encasements, fumigation, vacuuming and cleaning, sealing cracks and holes and even clutter removal.
- Is the company a member of an association that evaluates the company’s practices?
- Do they charge a flat fee, or by the size of the infestation?
- Will the company give you a written inspection report, services and offer follow-up visits?
- Ask about treatment procedures and the safety of your children and pets.
- Will explain how they know the bugs have been eliminated, educate you on the prevention of future infestations and if applicable, will assist property management in the inspection and treatment of nearby apartments/townhomes.
Bed bug infestations can be a big health concern for the public. They will not go away on their own so it’s important to get help as soon as you can. A bed bug exterminator will do so safely and in a manner that will not spread the infestation to others. Depending on the severity, it may take many treatments to fully eradicate them. It’s not cheap, but you want it done right so they don’t come back! Do your research and look for a reputable company that will take care of the problem and educate you on the prevention of further infestations. There is help available!