Bed bugs are hitchhikers, traveling great distances on furniture, clothes, and bags. Since they are unable to travel any considerable distance on their own, bed bugs easily adapt to any moderate environment they are in.
About Bed Bugs
Bed Bug Identification
Bed bugs can be identified by the following traits:
- Coloring: Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown to mahogany in color and about ¼ to 5/8 of an inch long.
- Size: Adult bed bugs are approximately 3/16th of an inch long, while nymphs are 1 mm, no bigger than a pinhead.
- Shape: Bed bugs are a relatively flat, oval shape and are nearly as wide as they are long. The upper body has a flimsy, crinkly appearance.
- Lack of wings: Bed bugs don’t fly, but they can move swiftly on both horizontal and vertical surfaces.
Bed Bug Eating Habits
Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed exclusively on blood. Most species feed on humans only when other prey is unavailable. Bed bugs become attracted to their hosts by carbon dioxide, warmth, and chemicals. Bed bugs prefer to feed on exposed skin, preferably the face, neck, and arms of a sleeping person.
Under typically warm conditions, bed bugs try to feed at five-to-ten day intervals, and adults can survive for about five months without food.
Bed Bug Detection
Bed bugs are usually discovered in unsuspected areas such as floor cracks, under carpets, behind loose wallpaper, behind wall pictures, in unused stoves, in stuffed furniture, in curtain seams, and in bed springs. Research dictates that more than 85% of all bed bug infestations are found in or near the bed, so all infestation inspections should focus on the mattress, bed frame, and headboard areas.
Detection Best Practices:
- Dismantle the bed for thorough inspection
- Lift the mattress and inspect all seams and surfaces
- Complete a thorough examination of the box spring
- Use a flashlight to aid in the inspection and ensure you are not missing any areas
Bed Bug Prevention
Bed bugs are often brought into homes from outside places, unbeknownst to people. However, you can avoid this mistake by taking a proactive approach and following prevention best practices.
DIY Prevention Best Practices:
- Be on the lookout when traveling: Be cognizant of bed bugs in your hotel room by checking under sheets and inspecting mattresses and headboards. Make sure to check your luggage thoroughly before leaving your hotel and place all clothing into a plastic bag for protection. This will prevent you from bringing bed bugs into your home, which is a common problem. Be sure to wash all of your clothes in hot water and place in the dryer on high heat as soon as you return home. Also be sure to vacuum your suitcase thoroughly.
- Reduce clutter: Keep your home clean and clutter-free by disposing of unnecessary items such as paper, boxes, used packaging, etc.
- Protect your bed: Two great ways to prevent or limit bed bug infestations are to install mattress encasements and climb-ups.
- Mattress encasements: These are great for bed bug prevention by eliminating harborage areas and also a good means of control containing an infestation in or around the mattress and box spring.
- Climb-ups: These are devices placed under the bed legs to trap bed bugs. Since bed bugs can’t jump or fly, they can only access the bed by climbing the legs, and then become trapped.
Professional Bed Bug Treatment
Step 1: Use of Sierra backpack vacuum
Our pest professionals will vacuum the entire room thoroughly with a Sierra backpack vacuum. These vacuums are equipped with a dome filter, a cloth filter, an interceptor microfilter, and have a 99.7% pest pick-up rate. The objective of this initial cleaning stage is to capture and remove any cast skins, nymphs, adults, and loose eggs that may be impervious to pesticide applications.
Step 2: Use of steam vapor cleaning system
This system will be utilized after the rooms have been thoroughly vacuumed. These systems use steam vapor to provide a clean with deeper penetration. Vapor is heated to a temperature of over 240 degrees. This high temperature will effectively destroy any eggs that have been deposited into the carpet fibers or edges. The steam vapor system is used around the periphery of the room including carpet edges, and over mattresses and box springs as well. This cleaning system is sometimes used on window treatments or drapes, depending on the age and type of fabric.
Step 3: Applications – We will use the following applications during treatment:
- Bed frames, box springs, and mattresses will be treated with pyrethrums in an aerosol formulation and then re-treated with residual sprays.
- Headboards, night stands, all other furniture, carpet edges, door saddles, doorjambs, closets and picture frames will be treated with residual sprays, dust, and desiccants.
- Outlet covers and switch plates will be removed and voids will be treated with residual dust and desiccants.
- Insect growth regulators will be used as an additive to disrupt reproductive cycles and prevent maturation.
- Current rods will be dismantled and treated along with the window frames.
- Televisions, telephones, and other electrical equipment may be treated with desiccants depending on the degree of infestation. In extreme cases, they must be sent out for proper fumigation or discarded.
Step 4: Encapsulation
Post-treatment, it’s advisable to encapsulate any mattresses and box springs with bed bug resistant covers. We provide these covers at an additional charge if you wish to salvage the mattresses and/or box springs..
Preparation for Professional Bed Bug Treatment
- Remove all bedding including sheets, comforters, and pillows and place in a sealed plastic bag. Wash all bedding in hot water and place in the dryer on a high heat setting. Wash and dry pillows, or replace if necessary. Discard all plastic bags outside for garbage removal.
- Remove all items from under the bed.
- Vacuum bed frames, box springs, and mattresses using a wand, paying special attention to the edges and buttons. Vacuum the floors, rugs, and around any baseboards and discard vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag and place outside.
- Empty all bedroom dressers and closets including platform bed drawers, if applicable.
- Wash and dry clean all clothing and place in plastic bags. All clothing should remain in plastic for one to two weeks after the second treatment is completed.
- Remove all wall décor from walls and vacuum.
- Loosen wall-to-wall carpeting around the perimeter.
- Move all furniture from walls in the bedrooms and living room.
- Chemically-sensitive individuals and pregnant women must consult with their physician regarding this treatment or inquire about our Thermal Heat Remediation service.
- Your home must be vacant including pets for a minimum of 4 hours following the treatment. Any fish tanks must be covered tightly with plastic and the filter must be turned off.
- All preparations must be completed prior to the technician’s arrival in order for treatments to be successful. This includes removing plastic covers from all mattresses, and all preparations in bedrooms, closets, and living room.
- We also ask that you do your best to leave your home as organized as possible so that our technician can easily walk and treat throughout your home.