Scientific name: Cimex lectularius
Facts: Bed bugs feed primarily at night on the blood of warm-blooded hosts, especially humans.
Their preferred habitat is bedding items such as mattresses and box springs, sofas, and other stuffed furniture frequently used by humans.
Adult bedbugs will be approximately ¼ -inch in length, are reddish-brown in color and are flattened, oval, and wingless.
Bed bugs feed at five- to ten-day intervals with their feeding period lasting about five minutes.
Bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases.
It is believed that they are moved from one place to another primarily by travelers in their luggage but they will move from one unit to another in multi-unit buildings.
Bed Bug FAQ
Q: What are Bed Bugs?
A: Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on the blood of humans.
Q: What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
A: Adult Bed bugs look something like an apple seed, and are small (approximately ¼ inch long), oval in shape, and are reddish-brown in color. Juvenile Bed bugs, known as nymphs, differ from adults in that they are often much smaller (1 millimeter) and may appear clear or tan in color.
Q: Can I See Bed Bugs?
A: While Bed bugs are visible to the naked eye they are most active at night and due to their cryptic nature they are not often seen during the day.
Q: Where Do Bed Bugs Hide?
A: Because Bed bugs are small and flat, they are able to squeeze into tiny cracks and crevices on the mattress and box spring, behind headboards, and inside furniture. They prefer to live in groups and are often found in clusters where the adults, nymphs and eggs are together in a protected area.
Q: How Did I Get Them?
A: Bed bugs are adept hitchhikers. They travel in luggage, on clothing and inside furniture. They are found in hotels, movie theaters, train cars, airplanes and many other public places where people are at rest for a period of time.
Q: What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?
A: Bed bug bites are difficult to distinguish from flea or mosquito bites because (as with all biting insects) not all skin reactions are the same. Bed bugs bite the exposed skin of humans while they are sleeping or at rest, often including the neck, face, arms and hands.
Q: Why Am I Being Bitten and My “Significant Other” Isn’t?
A: The anesthetic that a Bed bug uses to numb your skin- -so you won’t feel the bite--may or may not cause a visible allergic reaction. This allergic reaction may cause raised, red bumps or blemish-like skin irritation, accompanied by an itching sensation. While some people find that they observe mild to severe discomfort and itchiness, others may observe no discomfort or bite marks at all.
Q: Can I Treat for Bed Bugs Myself?
A: Bed bugs are “maddeningly difficult” to treat, even for our well-trained technicians. You should not attempt to control an infestation with do-it-yourself products, but rather leave the treatment to the professionals.
Q: How Does American Pest Treat for Bed Bugs?
A: American Pest uses the latest products and techniques in the battle against these blood-sucking arthropods. While individual circumstances vary from household to household, we may use a combination of techniques that include traditional insecticide treatments and eco-friendly, green alternatives.
Q: How Many Treatments Will It Take To Get Rid of Bed Bugs?
A: Typically at least two treatments are needed. This is because bed bugs eggs, which are very small, hard to locate, and may survive treatment, may hatch into tiny bed bug nymphs which are often unaffected by the pesticide residue of the prior treatments.
Q: Should I Throw Out My Mattress and Furniture? A: In most cases American Pest does not recommend that you discard mattresses, box springs, or furniture as these items can be inspected and treated successfully. Q: How Do I Prepare for a Bed Bug Treatment?
A: The following document and checklist is designed to ensure you receive the most out of your Bed bug treatment.
Preparing For Your Bed Bug Treatment
Preparing for Your Bed Bug Treatment Proper preparation is an essential step for ensuring the most effective results from your upcoming bed bug treatment. Landers Pest Management will provide detailed instructions on what you need to do before your scheduled treatment in the following document. Preparation involves everything from providing adequate access to your unit or property, to cleaning and post treatment recommendations. We understand that appropriate preparation can be difficult to achieve in a short period of time and that senior citizens or handicapped individuals may need additional assistance and time considerations.
Please note: Landers Pest Management will not provide treatment to any unit or property that has not met the preparations that follow in this instructional document.
Everything that can be laundered should be laundered and placed in clean/new plastic bags or plastic containers and sealed prior to the treatment. The list of items that should be included in laundering are listed at the end of this document and include such items as drapes, stuffed animals, bed skirts, etc.
1. Launder all items (including linens and bedding) according to the manufacturer’s label; however, whenever possible use the highest allowable heat settings in both the washer and drier. Temperatures reaching 140 degrees (or above) have been proven to kill all stages of bed bug development.
2. Bags used to transport laundry prior to the washing/ drying cycles should never be reused and should be discarded outside of the property after transportation. All clean items should be placed in new bags, sealed tightly, and remain sealed during the treatment process.
3. Items that cannot be washed but that can be dried in the dryer at a high heat temperature for should be for minimum of 30 minutes. Discard debris collected in the lint trap after each cycle. 4. Items that cannot be laundered should be taken to the dry cleaner.
Packing and Furniture Preparation
All furniture should be pulled away from the walls and baseboards at least 2 feet.
It is common for items that could potentially provide hiding places for bed bugs, such as book cases and desks, be emptied of their contents and remain empty for treatment. Items previously stored in sealed containers may remain unopened.
1. Lift mattresses and box springs out of the bed frame and stand them up against a wall.
2. Empty closets of remaining (un-laundered) items and stored items, placing them in plastic bags and moving them to the center of the living room.
3. Remove contents from dressers and night stands so that the interiors may be treated. Items should be placed in plastic bags and moved to the center of the living room.
4. Remove books from shelving and place in boxes in the center of the living room.
5. Remove all pictures, mirrors and hanging items from the walls so that they may be inspected for treatment.
6. Open any sleeper sofas, futons or convertible beds for treatment.
Please note: All homes or apartment/condo units that are noted to have excess clutter will NOT be treated. A thorough and successful treatment cannot be achieved while there is excess clutter and untidiness in the home. Once the clutter has been removed, treatment can be rendered.
The mechanical removal of bed bugs by vacuuming thoroughly is an important part of preparing for treatment. The use of a crevice attachment is imperative to access bed bugs hiding inside mattress seams, furniture interiors, baseboards and any place that could accommodate them.
1. Vacuum floors, carpets and area rugs
2. Vacuum mattresses including all crevices, handles, or buttons
3. Vacuum the baseboards, bed frame, sofas, futons, recliners and other over-stuffed and upholstered furniture
4. Discard all vacuum bags immediately after each use
Disposal of Furniture
There are differing opinions as to whether or not it is necessary to dispose of mattresses, box springs, futons, sofas and other furniture.
The cost involved in replacement of beds and other furniture is something to consider when deciding what works for you. It is clear that replacing these items alone will not solve a bed bug problem.
The decision to replace the bed unit and other furniture often depends on the condition of and the level of infestation within the items, the comfort of the owner, and whether or not the owner can afford replacement.
Landers Pest Management recommends the installation of high-quality, bed bug mattress encasements. Any need to discard the mattress and box spring is often eliminated once it has been treated and covered by a high-quality, bed bug mattress encasement.
The mattress and box spring encasements further serve to reduce the likelihood that bed bugs will continue to live upon the mattress and box spring.
If You Decide to Throw Out Your Furniture
Deface, or otherwise damage furniture items so they will not be used by others. Mattresses should be slashed or otherwise damaged to make them unusable and should be wrapped in plastic before being removed from the bedroom.
*Note: moving beds without completely enclosing the mattress and box spring in plastic may spread the infestation by allowing eggs, bed bug nymphs, and adult bed bugs to drop from the item as it is moved.
Once the initial treatment has been completed we recommend staying out of the treated home or unit for a minimum of four hours. This allows for an appropriate amount of time for the materials used to dry completely. Only after four hours should you, your children, and/or your pets resume residence in the home or apartment. From this point forward you may carry on with your normal household activities; however, in order to prevent the need to repeat many of the steps necessary to prepare for your follow-up treatment, we do recommend that you not move your furniture and items back into place if at all possible. In most cases a follow-up treatment has already been scheduled for you and generally will fall within 3-4 weeks from the initial treatment.
We do understand that thorough preparation may present a considerable hardship for some, but we cannot stress the importance that it has on the overall effectiveness of treatment. If you should have any questions regarding the content included in this preparation guideline or in the checklist that follows, please do not hesitate to contact us.
1. Wash all linens, bedding materials, clothing, stuffed animals, etc., in the highest allowable water temperature and dry on the hottest allowable heat setting.
2. All laundered items such as linens, clothing, stuffed animals, etc. should be placed in new plastic bags or plastic containers, sealed tightly and relocated to the living room.
3. All clothing items that cannot be laundered must be dry-cleaned. We recommend leaving these items at the cleaners between the initial treatment and follow-up visit
4. Remove all items from closets, including any items on closet shelves. Follow the procedure above for laundering all clothing. No items should remain in the closet.
5. Remove all miscellaneous items from dressers, night stands, chests, etc. and place them in plastic bags or sealed containers in the center of the living room floor. None of these items should remain in the bedroom.
6. Vacuum floors, carpets and area rugs. Use the crack and crevice attachment around baseboards, bed frames, sofas, and other furniture items. Discard vacuum bags or contents after use.
7. All luggage's that have been used recently during travel must remain empty so that it may be inspected and treated if necessary.
8. Remove all shelves, picture frames, artwork, wall clocks, and decorative items from the walls and place on the floor in the same room as they were hanging. These items must be inspected and treated if necessary.
9. All large pieces of furniture must be pulled at least 2 feet away from the baseboards in every room of your home.
10. Birds, cats, dogs, and humans must remain out of the home during treatment and at least a minimum of 4 hours after the treatment is complete. Fish, and reptile tanks must be covered or removed. Air filters and filtration systems for aquatic fish should be turned off during treatment.
11. All mattress and box spring covers must be removed from mattresses & box springs prior to our arrival unless you have previously installed an encasement that was specifically designed to control, prevent, and eliminate bed bugs.
12. Remove and discard the box spring backing (the thin, fibrous material that is stapled to the bottom of the box spring) before the treatment.
13. Cribs, crib mattresses, and other baby furniture will be inspected and treated as needed.
14. Shoes should be placed in new plastic bags or plastic containers, sealed tightly and relocated to the living room. If shoes can tolerate a dryer cycle, first place them in the dryer on hottest cycle for 30 minutes. No shoes should be left in the bedroom or closet.
If you should have further questions regarding Bed bugs or treatment preparedness, please do not hesitate to contact us.