When it comes to the problem of bed bug infestations, there is a simple answer and a complicated answer. If you're looking to learn some bed bug prevention strategies that will help you keep bed bugs out of your Texas home all year long, read on.
Know Your Enemy
If you want to keep bed bugs out of your home you need to know what they look like, what signs they leave, how they behave, and some of the many locations they can hide. Why? Because bed bugs are hitchhiking bugs. You won't keep them out of your home with a pest control barrier. It takes a focused effort by everyone living in your home to know these bugs and to keep an eye out for signs of their presence.
Away From Home
Every time you, or someone who lives with you, leave your home, there is a chance of bed bugs coming back with them. Bed bugs can be found in taxi cabs, movie theaters, libraries, clothing retailers, retirement communities, daycares, at work, at school, and the list goes on and on. Here's what you should be looking for:
A bed bug passes through 5 stages of development. When it first hatches, it is pale white, transparent, and about 1 mm long. If it has had a blood meal (or is currently having a blood meal on your skin) its abdomen will be bright red. As that bug develops, it will turn tan and eventually a brownish-red color. Once it reaches its adult state, that bug will be about 4.5 mm in length, oval, flat, and have horizontal lines on its abdomen. Through all stages of development, a bed bug has six legs, two antennae, and black-coated internal organs visible through its abdomen. It will also appear bloated and pill-shaped if it has had a blood meal.
When bed bugs infest, they leave black streaks, black patches, tiny black droppings, white eggs, dried brown blood stains, bright red blood stains, a musty smell, and shed insect skins. Look for (and smell for) these signs in hidden locations, dark places, creases, seams, stitching, and between mattresses and box springs. Be aware that they may also appear on or around outlet covers, baseboards, carpet edges, crown molding, and furniture.
When you come back home, especially from a trip or from staying at someone's house, it is important to check for signs of bed bugs. Look in duffel bags, luggage, sleeping bags, and other objects bed bugs can hide.
Look for batches of tiny white eggs or individual eggs littered about or attached to fabrics.
Look for shed insect skins, especially in cracks.
Look for black stains and streaks.
Look for bed bugs crawling around.
Anytime you return from a trip, or from staying at someone's house, or when your kids return home from staying somewhere, it is important to inspect transportable objects and wash and dry all clothing on the hottest setting. Heat kills bed bugs.
What To Do When You Find Bed Bugs
The list of effective DIY-bed bug control tips is quite short. These bugs are not easy to get rid of. Washing and drying fabrics can arrest a potential bed bug infestation before it takes root. If bed bugs, or signs of bed bugs, are noticed somewhere outside of your home, it is important to take precautions when returning. Examine duffel bags, backpacks, boxes, sleeping bags, bedding, and other carriable items closely before bringing them inside your home. Wash and dry items that can be washed and dried. Steam clean items that can be steam cleaned. For items that could have bed bugs deep inside, or to arrest a bed bug infestation in your home, reach out to a pest control company for assistance.
Professional Bed Bug Control
Bed bugs are a year-round pest threat that reaches its height in August. You can use the above inspection techniques to detect bed bugs and prevent an infestation from taking root inside your home, but we strongly recommend hiring a professional to remove bed bugs or to perform targeted bed bug control. If you live in Tyler Texas or the surrounding area, give us a call to learn more.