Q. How do I know if I have bedbugs?
A. The first indication is probably going to be a bite. However, the bite alone cannot confirm the presence of bedbugs! So, you’ll probably want to investigate further. Bedbugs feed on exposed skin areas such as legs, arms or neck and often bite in a linear pattern. They don’t like fur, which makes me really happy. Obviously, bedbugs are not the only insect that bites, I really hate fleas, so it isn’t always easy to know what bit you.
In addition to bites, you may see them crawling, they’re faster than you would think, on items around the house, most likely in the bedroom or on luggage and clothing. Just because you see a bedbug it doesn’t mean they’re everywhere. In fact, it may have just followed you home and is looking for a place to live. If you see several, that’s a whole different story, and it’s time to call me.
They will develop through 5 different stages, getting slightly bigger each time they molt. Pretty weird, huh? They’re kind of like snakes because they lose their skin, actually it’s their exoskeleton, each time they grow. So, if you see something that looks like a dead bedbug, you might actually have only found its old skin. As gross as that sounds, it doesn’t smell like anything, so I don’t try to find these. An adult bedbug is 5‐7mm in length and is about the size of a tick. (A tick has 8 legs, a bedbug has 6 if that helps!) Ticks also don’t smell anything like bedbugs!
Improper treatment can actually make the problem worse... not better!
If in question call a professional!
Q. What does a bedbug look like?
A. A bedbug is a flat, brownish-red insect and can be anywhere from 1‐7mm long. The life cycle begins with an egg which is the size of a pinhead and is virtually clear (transparent in color). Even though they are small and virtually invisible, I can still smell them to let you know where they are! The egg hatches to a nymph which is about 1mm long and is very light in color until they bite you. When they feed, they will darken making them easier to see.
Dakota Bedbug Detection, LLC
Q. How did bedbugs get into my home?
A. Bedbugs are easily spread from place to place on things like luggage and clothing; however, they can be transferred through many other means. Those who travel are particularly susceptible! Hotels, airlines, buses, and taxis are all perfect ways for bedbugs to travel to your home. If a person lives in an apartment, bedbugs can migrate from neighboring units (adjacent, above, and below) by crawling through baseboards, outlets, or light fixtures.
One of the easiest ways for bedbugs to get into your home is in previously owned furniture. When you purchase a couch at a garage sale, for example, you may be bringing a bedbug’s home, into your home. This could make an inexpensive piece of furniture, a very expensive problem! Let’s face it, there are bunches of ways bedbugs can get into your home, and once they’re there, it can be extremely hard to get them out.
Q. Do bedbugs spread disease or can they harm me and my family?
A. NO! Bedbugs have been studied extensively and have not yet shown the ability to spread disease from host to host. They have, however, been shown to carry diseases. Although they do not spread disease, they are a nuisance pest and the bites can be a problem. Allergic reactions, secondary infections from itching, stress/anxiety, and insomnia are all related effects of bedbug infestations.
Q. Where should I look and what do I look for when searching my home for bedbugs?
A. There are several places and signs of bedbug populations. They don’t clean up after themselves and their table manners are atrocious. So, don’t just look for bedbugs or their old skin. You‘ll also want to look for fecal matter. This will look like black dots about the size of a pin’s head. In most cases you’ll find this in a cluster. You can also look for blood trails. This is probably the easiest thing for you to see and is the strongest indication of an active bedbug population. I don’t try to find things like this; I’m only interested in live bugs and eggs.
Q. How do I get rid of them?
A. This is the tricky part! The biggest factor in eliminating bedbugs is knowing exactly where they are and how far they have spread. If you know those things, treatment is much more effective. This is why hiring me is so important! If you know exactly where they are, you can pick a treatment method to work in that area. Since treatments can be extremely expensive, there’s no reason to treat your entire home unless there are bedbugs throughout.
If you have seen the bedbugs or experienced bites, begin by locating the source of the bedbugs. When you know where they are you can do one or several other things.
When searching for bedbugs, start by looking in the bedroom (they’re not called bedbugs for nothing). Pay special attention to mattresses, box springs, and headboards. While bedbugs are quite mobile, they’re also pretty lazy and like living in tight spaces close to where they eat. They aren’t as civilized as you and I. If there’s a couch where people sleep or spend a lot of time doing nothing, you’ll probably want to check that as well. Make sure you use a flashlight and check all the little creases, because bedbugs like the dark.
Just because you didn’t find bedbugs in your bed, doesn’t mean they’re not someplace in your home. When it comes to finding food, they can be pretty smart. They can crawl, or hitch‐hike to other locations. So, you may need to expand your search to the laundry room or clothes hampers, drawers, stuffed animals, luggage and gym bags.
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