Bed Bug Info

What are Bed Bugs?

The adult insects have oval-shaped bodies with no wings. Prior to feeding, they are about 1/4 inch long and flat as paper. After feeding, they turn dark red and become bloated. Eggs are whitish, pear-shaped and about the size of a pinhead. Clusters of 10 to 50 eggs can be found in cracks and crevices. Bed bugs have a one-year life span during which a female can lay 200 to 400 eggs depending on food supply and temperature. Eggs hatch in about 10 days.

What do Bed Bugs eat?

Bed bugs prefer to feed on human blood, but will also bite mammals and birds. They can survive up to six months without feeding. Bed bugs bite at night, and will bite all over a human body, especially around the face, neck, upper torso, arms and hands. Both male and female bed bugs bite.

What do bites look like?

When bed bugs bite, they inject saliva, causing the skin to become irritated and inflamed. Individual responses to bed bug bites will vary. The bite may go unnoticed, or be mistaken for flea or mosquito bites or other skin conditions. Four types of skin rashes or reactions have been described:

The most common rash is made up of localized red and itchy flat sores. The classic bed bug bites could be presented in a linear fashion in a group of three, which is called “breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”

Small, raised red swollen bumps are also common.

In rare cases, people may develop large raised, often itchy, red welts.

People with a high sensitivity to bed bug saliva may develop a lump filled with blood or fluid.

How do I treat Bed Bug bites?

Most bed bug bites go away by themselves and don’t need treatment. Keep the skin clean and try not to scratch. If the bites are very itchy, your doctor may prescribe cream or antihistamines to relieve the itchiness. Oral antibiotics may be prescribed for any secondary skin infection caused by excessive scratching.

How do Bed Bugs get into my home?

Bed bugs are often carried into a home on objects such as furniture and clothing. If you think you have a bed bug problem, check for live bed bugs or shells in the following areas:

Seams, creases, tufts and folds of mattresses and box springs

Cracks in the bed frame and head board

Under chairs, couches, beds, dust covers

Between the cushions of couches and chairs

Under area rugs and the edges of carpets

In drawers

Behind baseboards, and around window and door casings, between the folds of curtains

Behind electrical plates and under loose wallpaper, paintings and posters

In cracks in plaster, in telephones, radios, and clocks

Bed bugs can also travel from apartment to apartment along pipes, electrical wiring and other openings. If the infestation is heavy, a sweet smell may be noticed in the room.

Can I get sick from Bed Bugs?

There are no known cases of infectious disease transmitted by bed bug bites. Most people are not aware that they have been bitten. Some people are more sensitive to the bite and may have a reaction at the site of the bite. Scratching the bitten areas can lead to infection.

What should I do if I have Bed Bugs in my home?

The best way to deal with bed bugs is an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system, which uses a variety of techniques and products that don’t pose a risk to your health or the environment.

Consult with the local Health Unit or professional pest control company to confirm whether you do have bed bugs.

Inspect your mattress and bed frame, particularly the folds, crevices and underside where bed bugs hide.

Use a nozzle attachment on the vacuum to capture the bugs and their eggs. Vacuum all crevices on the mattress, bed frame, baseboards and any objects close to the bed. It’s important to vacuum every day and change the vacuum bag each time.

Wash all the sheets and blankets in the hottest water possible and dry them in a hot dryer for 20 minutes. Consider covering the pillows and mattress with a plastic cover.

Use caulking to seal all cracks and crevices between baseboards, on wood bed frames, floors and walls. Repair or remove peeling wallpaper, tighten loose light switch covers, and seal any openings where pipes, wires or other utilities come into the home (pay special attention to walls that are shared between apartments).

Set out glue boards or sticky tape (carpet tape) to catch bed bugs. Examine closely any items you bring into the home.

Check with a professional pest control service to look at options that don’t pose a risk to humans and the environment. If you choose to treat the infestation with an insecticide, call a pest control service for more information. Use the least toxic product available and follow the manufacturers’ instructions. Whether you use an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system or an insecticide, you may continue to see living bed bugs for up to 10 days. This is normal. If you continue to see a large number of bugs after two weeks, contact a professional pest control service.

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