1 in 5 Americans have either had a bed bug infestation or know someone who has, so don’t be embarrassed if you are one of them! The bed bug population is exploding across the country and your home is no exception. Bed bugs exist in all 50 states and can be found in any city or town, big or small. Although clutter does provide better hiding spots, bed bugs live in both clean and dirty homes. They will hitchhike to and take over any space where humans are living.
Full grown adults about about 5 millimeters in size which is roughly the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny. Their eggs though are much smaller , only 1 millimeter in size, which is about the same size as two grains of salt. Hatched bed bugs are colorless and turn the reddish-brown color only after they began to feed. The hatchlings take about five weeks to go through five molting phases to get to maturity. Bed bug nymphs can live for months without eating, but each molting phase requires a blood meal.
Are you concerned you may have bed bugs? Signs of an infestation may include:
- Cast bed bug skins, exoskeletons or shells that are shed after each of five juvenile stages
- Fecal stains on your mattress and bedding
- Blood stains on your sheets and pajamas
- Bites that are often grouped together in a small area and at times may occur in a line or zigzag pattern
A single bed bug can take in size times its weight in blood during one feeding. Feedings can take anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes, and a bed bug will attempt to feed every 5-10 days on average. During this 5-10 day period they will hide in secluded places to digest their meal, mate, and lay eggs. Many people are curious why they don’t wake up when bitten by a bed bug. Bed bug saliva acts as an anesthetic and promotes increased blood flow at the bite site. This makes the feeding process quick, painless, and almost impossible to feel.
Bed bugs can withstand DIY methods, and it is a myth that simple pesticides can be used to eliminate a bed bug infestation. Bed bug elimination requires strategic treatment by experience pest control professionals. Black Diamond offers both chemical and heat methods, as well as bed bug detecting K9 if you are unsure if you have a bed bug problem.