Bed Bug Identification

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are biting insects named for their preference of hiding in sleeping areas, only to emerge at night to feed on the blood of their sleeping victims. The blood of warm-blooded animals is their only source of food, with people being their favorite hosts. If people aren’t available, they will feed on the blood of pets and other animals.

dozens of bed bugs crawling on a bed in washington dc

Adult bed bugs have an oval-shaped body and are relatively easy to spot. They grow to about ¼ of an inch in length, are reddish-brown and wingless. Many say they look like an apple seed with six legs. Bed bug nymphs are more difficult to spot because they are smaller, and before feeding, they are almost translucent. After feeding, they turn bright red and are a bit easier to spot. Their eggs are tiny and white and nearly impossible to see with an untrained eye.

Are bed bugs dangerous?

In order to have a blood meal, bed bugs bite. To ensure their bites are painless, and their host does not wake-up during the feeding process, their saliva contains an anesthetic. The saliva also contains an anticoagulant to prevent the blood from clotting. People allergic to their saliva experience swelling at the bite site and itchiness. Scratching the bite site can create a secondary infection that needs medical treatment. While they are capable of harboring some disease-causing pathogens, the main concern with bed bugs is that their presence leads to disrupted sleep at night and stress during the day.

Why do I have a bed bug problem?

Bed bugs invade homes a variety of ways, including:

  • They hitchhike their way into homes inside of secondhand furniture, mattresses, and box springs.

  • After coming into contact with bed bugs in a public place, they crawl onto people’s clothing or belongings and then hitchhike their way into their home.

  • Family members or friends could introduce them to your home after unknowingly making contact with them.

  • Kids bringing them home from school or college.

  • Bed bugs move into different units of a building by traveling through walls and along wires and plumbing pipes.

Where will I find bed bugs?

Bed bugs feed on the blood of people and so they live and hide in areas where people live, rest, and visit. Places where people come into contact with bed bugs include:

  • Libraries and museums

  • Schools and dormitories

  • Shopping centers and office buildings

  • Laundry mats

  • Airports, bus stations, and taxi’s

  • Hotels and motels

Bed bugs live within about 8 feet of their food source. Typical hiding spots include in the seams of mattresses, box springs, in the cracks of headboards, wooden furniture, wall voids behind electrical outlets, and behind pictures. As an infestation grows and develops bed bugs travel through walls and under floors, infesting multiple rooms.

How do I get rid of bed bugs?

If you want to solve your building’s bed bug problems once and for all, turn to the local experts at Capitol Pest. Since 1936 we have been committed to using the latest technology and most effective products to guard residential and commercial properties from bed bugs and other pests.

At Capitol Pest, we know pests and we know how to keep them out of Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia homes and businesses through the use of comprehensive treatments and prevention measures. For more information about our commitment to solving your property’s pest problems, contact us today!

How can I prevent bed bugs in the future?

For homeowners who want to keep bed bugs out of their homes, partner with the experienced bed bug control professionals at Capitol Pest. With the help of our year-round, affordable pest control services and the following prevention tips, your home will become and stay free of bed bugs!

  • Always keep bags, coats, and other personal belongings up off the ground of public places. When at work or school, keep your belongings away from other people’s belongings. Never purchase used furniture, mattresses, or bedding for use in your home. After buying new or used clothing, immediately wash and dry the items on a high heat setting.

  • When traveling, always inspect your hotel room for bed bugs before bringing luggage and other belongings inside. Never place your suitcase on the floor or bed. After returning home from a trip, immediately wash and dry all clothing on the highest heat setting possible. Vacuum out and wipe down any suitcases before storing them away.

  • Regularly wash and dry all bedding, inspecting your mattresses and box springs for bed bugs. Eliminate hiding spots in your home by reducing clutter and placing bed bug proof covers on mattresses and box springs. 

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