There is a lot of information that people don't know about bed bugs, so when bed bugs get into Merrimac residences, they can cause stress and fear. Then we get phone calls asking, "Are bed bug bites dangerous?" Or residents want to know how to treat bed bugs. While we're happy to say that bed bugs aren't dangerous, the frustrating truth is that they're difficult to eliminate. And, there is no easy answer to the second question. The best solution for bed bugs is not to get them in the first place! That is where you have some ability to control them. Once they get into your home, it is time to contact Merrimac pest control for treatment. Join us today as we look at how to keep bed bugs out of your home and how Freedom Pest Control handles bed bug infestations. Does that sound like a plan? Great. Read on.   

bed bug on furniture
bed bug infestation

Why Are Bed Bugs Drawn To Homes In Merrimac?

The most important thing about bed bugs is that they don't choose where to live. When deciding what to do to prevent bed bugs from living with you, you won't take the steps you take for other pests. You won't have to clean your home and manage your trash. You won't have to seal potential entry points in your exterior. None of the everyday things you do to keep pests out of your home will work to keep bed bugs out. Why? Because bed bugs don't live in your yard and come in through your exterior walls. People carry these bugs into your home.

Bed bugs spread passively. They climb into cracks, crevices, gaps, pockets, seams, and other tight places or dark voids. If they get into an object, and the object moves, the bed bugs move with it. They usually climb into luggage, bags, or clothing and come home from vacation with people. But this is far from the only way you can get bed bugs. You can get bed bugs from work, school, public venues, public transportation, and many other places. It is also possible to have someone bring bed bugs into your home. Who does this? It could be a neighbor, friend, relative, or college-age young adult coming home for the holidays. Even the plumber you bring in to fix your sink can bring bed bugs into your home. For this reason, it is difficult to keep bed bugs out. But not nearly as difficult as getting rid of bed bugs when they get into your home.   

Signs You Could Be Dealing With A Bed Bug Infestation

Your secret weapon against bed bugs is your ability to detect them. Most of the time, people use bed bug detection to tell whether or not they have an infestation and need bed bug control, but bed bug detection can help prevent one. When you are away from home and see bed bugs or warning signs of bed bug activity, you can take steps to prevent those bugs from coming home with you. All you need to know is where bed bugs hide and how to identify bed bugs when you find them. 

Bed bugs hide in many places. Most of the time, you'll find them near beds. These insects can tell when carbon dioxide (CO2) levels rise, and these levels rise during sleep. Since CO2 attracts them, they often establish themselves near sleeping people. As the population grows, the bugs may spread to other areas and establish themselves near couches and other living room furniture. They may find a nice little hiding spot near an office chair. While they prefer to bite sleeping people, they can draw a blood meal from you while you're fully awake. As you search for bed bugs in your home, start your search near these areas. 

How do you identify bed bugs? The adults are reddish-brown, seed-shaped, and have six legs. They are about 1/8 of an inch long and have a transparent exoskeleton. If the bug has had a blood meal, it will look redder than usual. If it hasn't, it will appear more black. The black coloration is feces inside the abdomen of the bug.

Baby bed bugs have six legs and are the same shape as adults, but that is where the similarities end. They can range in size up to 1/8 of an inch and are a variety of colors. An unfed, newly hatched nymph is white. If it has had a blood meal, it will look bright red. You'll see black in the abdomen if it has digested a meal. Since the abdomen is prominently larger than the rest of the bug, its coloration is altered by whatever is in its stomach.

As you search for bed bugs, be aware that a dozen adult bed bugs can hide in an area the size of your thumbnail. You can lift a mattress and fail to notice these bugs all huddled together in one little spot. You have to look closely. 

Bed bugs love tight spaces, cracks, gaps, and recesses. Use a flashlight and a probing tool to find them. Look in the following places:

  • In seams
  • Inside vents
  • Around grommets
  • Under labels
  • In rips or tears
  • In bed frame gaps
  • Inside pockets
  • Near stitching
  • Under couch cushions

When bed bugs infest a location, they leave signs of their presence. You'll find these warning signs around the bed bugs. Often, you'll see warning signs and no bed bugs. These bugs are experts at hiding from view. Look for:

  • Black specks and black spotting
  • Brown stains caused by excretions of blood
  • Yellowish insect skins
  • Tiny white eggs
  • A scent that smells like dirty towels

Suppose you find bed bugs while away from home; you'll need to take steps to prevent them from hitching a ride home with you. Let's look at five ways you can stop bed bugs in their tracks.

Five Tips To Keep Bed Bugs Out Of Your Home

Whether you discover bed bugs or want to take diligent steps to prevent a bed bug infestation, the following five tips will help you. If you make these a part of your daily life and teach them to your children, you'll significantly reduce your chances of having a bed bug problem.

  1. Check the bed bug registry before you take a trip. It is an online resource that can help you check to see if the place where you're staying has had problems with bed bugs in the past. You can also check reviews for your overnight accommodations and search for mentions of bed bugs. Keep in mind that bed bugs are common, and it isn't the fault of a business when bed bugs appear. Look for how they addressed the issue when guests found bed bugs in the past.
  2. Manage your laundry items. Bed bugs are attracted to the scent of humans. Put clothing into a sealed bag to keep bed bugs out. A garbage bag and a bread tie are enough to do the job. You don't need a fancy sealable bag.
  3. Protect your luggage or bags. You can use a garbage bag and a bread tie to protect your luggage and bags. Some travelers have had success spraying their luggage with lavender. Bed bugs don't like the smell and avoid getting into luggage that smells like lavender. You may also keep your bag in the car or on the floor in the bathroom as you check your room for bed bugs. If you don't see any warning signs, it might be fine to leave your bags unprotected. If you do, use the luggage rack when opening your luggage, and refrain from draping clothing or towels over furniture. 
  4. Launder your clothes when you get home. Soapy water acts as a desiccant and dries bed bugs out. Thirty minutes in the dryer is enough to destroy bed bugs in all stages of development. 
  5. Treat infested items. If you suspect bed bugs have gotten into something, there are two ways to treat the object. Put it in the dryer for thirty minutes if it is dryer-safe. If it is not dryer-safe, put it in a sealed bag and store it in your freezer for four days. Heat and cold are effective ways to control bed bugs.

When you go on a trip, spend the night at a friend's or relative's home, or when your kids go on sleepovers, these tips can help stop bed bugs from hitching a ride back home. If they ever do find a way into your home, keep the number for local pest control at hand.

It Is Important To Stay On Top Of Professional Bed Bug Control 

If you want to stay ahead of bed bugs, early detection and quick access to pest control is the solution. While year-round pest control doesn't protect you from bed bugs, it does give you quick access to a technician who knows your home and your family. If you live in Merrimac, reach out to Freedom Pest Control. We can help you address all your pest concerns, including fast response for bed bug problems and guidance in finding bed bugs early. We're here to help. 

 

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