Bed bugs are blood-consuming insects. In order to survive and reproduce, they must eat blood from a warm-blooded host. They don’t hang onto their host like a tick does and they don’t fly like mosquitoes, gnats and flies do. Their tactic is to wait until their host is still and in one place (usually at nighttime during sleep) and then feed. However, misconceptions about the nature of bed bugs, such as the idea that they prefer to infest dirty homes, mean that their presence may be surprising to a homeowner. This then raises the question: where do they come from?
Bed bugs live on every continent except Antarctica. They’ve been around for thousands of years, and were once thought eradicated in the mid-1900s due to pesticide use. But since the 1980s and the end of the use of pesticides such as DDT, they’ve been experiencing a resurgence.
They are master hitchhikers, and are good at slipping into luggage and onto clothing to get to their next meal. Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs do not only infest places that are dirty or cluttered. The only thing that a dirty or cluttered space does for a bed bug is give it more places to hide.
Once they have reached a new location where blood food is abundant, they will proceed to hide in the tightest, most enclosed and most out-of-sight places, like in baseboards, in the folds of mattresses and other furniture, behind picture frames, under electrical plates and in window blinds. They’ll even hide in vehicles, from personal cars to public transit.
How to avoid them
The best way to avoid bed bugs is simply to be observant and careful, particularly with your everyday possessions. You can bring bed bugs into your home through multiple methods, such as:
A few methods to make sure you haven’t brought any bed bugs home with you after traveling are:
- Vacuum out luggage
- Store suitcases and other luggage items in sealed plastic bags
- Keep dirty laundry in a closed bag and wash it as soon as you can
What to do about an infestation
Bed bugs reproduce rapidly. One pregnant bed bug can lay 1-5 eggs per day, an average of 540 in its lifetime. If you’ve been bitten, you’ll begin to notice small, shiny, itchy, red welts on your skin in close proximity to one another.
Besides being good at hiding, bed bugs are hardy insects. Home remedies like natural pesticides and heat treatments may temporarily work, but they won’t get rid of an infestation. Bed bugs often simply move hiding places if they are threatened.
Pest control professionals have advanced techniques and training that help them spot and eradicate bed bugs. If you think you have an infestation, contact us today to schedule a free inspection!