An adult Bed Bug is about quarter of an inch in length, oval in shape (some are more elongated than others), with 6 legs, quite flat in height and reddish-brown in varying degrees of color.
A bed Bug’s head is broadly attached to its wingless body. A Bed Bug’s color ranges between shades of red and brown depending upon the timing and amount of it’s blood meal. The size, in terms of fatness or height, depends upon the size of the last feeding. A hungry BedBug looks almost paper thin while a fully fed BedBug would appear to have gained some height.
Size: You can see the adults — the largest one approaches to be 1/4” in length.
Behavior: Bed bugs crawl—scurrying into dark, tight spaces to hide—they move as fast as an ant. They can’t jump or fly and you’ll never find them burrowing into your skin. If the insect you have found came out on its own accord at night when the lights were out, near the bed or a couch, it was probably a bed bug looking for a meal. Bed bugs are not social insects like ants, so they don’t need a colony. But while they group together in good hiding spots, loners could be hiding elsewhere.
Behind a HeadBoard’s Top Rear
A picture is worth a thousand words so click and enlarge this image to see Red-Brown Bed Bugs, Black feces and white shiny eggs. Notice difference in sizes as they are at varying life stages. If you now imagine a small and transparent looking baby Bed Bug being born from among hundreds of these white long eggs that have been cemented onto the surfaces. This is a very high level of infestation that was not treated in time.
Baby Bed Bugs are called Nymphs. These will grow to become adults in about 5 weeks. They are ready to feed on your blood soon after birth. The more they feed the better their chances of becoming adults and laying more eggs.
You see their black feces ! It is dark color fluid in the beginning. If excreted onto a fabric, it would sometimes burst out into the fibers and would get absorbed and would leave a dark mark. If it is left onto a non-absorbent surface, with time, it will loose moisture and become solid – An extruding dot like mark. If smudged hard, it will leave a black streak.
Temperature: Bed Bugs prefer warmer temperature like most other bugs. Adults Bed Bugs, nymphs and eggs can survive sustained hot and cold temperatures as they will adjust in time.
Skin sheds: Like many other insects, Bed Bugs go through five stages of growing up called molting. They do not change their appearance (like butterfly does) when they complete each one of the 5 stages to adulthood. They only loose their skin when they grow a new one. Hence, finding skin sheds is also a sign of having bed bugs.
Egg laying: The female Bed Bug can lay 5-7 eggs in one week.
Bed Bugs feed when people are sleeping or dozing off in couch and usually when it is dark. Bed Bugs would remain in cracks and crevices of the bed when they are not feeling hungry enough to venture out of these safe quarters.
Adults Bed Bugs, nymphs and eggs can survive sustained hot and cold temperatures as they will adjust in time.
Bed Bugs can be brought into the cleanest of homes. But the clutter and mess near a bed and around a bed room would make it harder from all of them to be found at the same time.
What weighs the heaviest on people is the mental impact of Bed Bug bites. Being sleepless or not well rested, being fearful of being bitten, and feeling intruded and violated in the privacy of your bed room is most intolerable. What drives people mad is not the physiological affects of loosing some blood to these parasites.
There is certain misplaced stigma attached to a home that has Bed Bugs. The prevalent perception is that a household having Bed Bugs must be poorly managed to say the least.
And householders worry what friends, family, and neighbors will say if their problem becomes known. Bed bugs are not associated with filth or social status, but many people think they are.
Bed bugs are not known to transmit disease. And some people don’t even get marks when bit. But scratching bites can lead to a secondary infection. Resist the urge to scratch. People with health problems and children are more at risk for infection because their immune systems are compromised or they can’t stop scratching.
What most people would call a Bed Bug bite is in fact the skin reaction. It may be caused by an insect such as Bed Bug, Flea, Tick, Mosquito, etc. Not all people that are bit even by the same insect get same skin reaction. Also the skin inflammation varies from person to person. And some people may have no skin reaction at all whereas other few may have an extreme allergic reaction. It is a myth that bed bug bites occur in a group of three. The Bed Bug bites can occur as single or many, and in groups or without an identifiable order. Like most bites, these usually occur on the extremities and on softer areas of our skin. These bites can manifest within few hours to a few days. Having bites is not enough an indication that you have bed bugs. You need to find a bed bug or a few feces to come to that conclusion. Ultimate proof would be to find a live or dead bed bug itself.
Bed bugs usually feed while people are asleep, about an hour before dawn. Although when a Bed Bug feels hungry, it will try to find a host regardless of time. When a Bed Bug injects its mouth parts into human skin, it is painless as bed bug saliva would numbs the skin and the blood becomes thinner and does not clot to facilitate easier sucking. It is later, that many people would begin to itch and develop skin rashes at the spot where bed bug sucked blood from. Typical feeding session lasts for about five minutes and costs only a drop or two of human blood. The period between two feedings by a Bed Bug is usually less than 2 weeks, under typical conditions.
The only way to be certain that what caused your skin inflammation was a bed bug bite, is to find the creature and have it positively identified.
The only thing that Bed bugs can feed at, is the blood of a mammal. Bed Bugs find their hosts by being sensitive to the warmth and the carbon dioxide produced. Also, bear in mind that not all people react to the bites. Just like people have different level of reaction to poison ivy or wasp sting etc. If you think you have bed bugs, it is best that you have one of our professional bed bug exterminator do an inspection of your property.
Bed bugs, being mere insects, only have instincts that have served them well. They don’t care if a home is clean or messy. They just like good hiding spots and good hosts.
Fortunately, there are some modern insecticides that work well. The excellent residual of these insecticides will affect not only the current bed bug population but also as the nymphs are hatched and begin to move around and come into contact with the surfaces that have been treated. Whether you would be rid of these pests in one application depends upon the insecticide used and the professional caliber of the exterminator. We are confident that in more than 90% of the cases, it will be only one application from our experienced licensed exterminator that the bed bugs would be entirely gone for good.
We suggest that you do not utilize over-the-counter pesticides, as they will cost you more in money, time and mental distress. It is not worth it. You may end up spreading bed bugs to yet in-infested areas. Similarly, if the exterminator services provider does not provide a reasonable grantee on the quality of their work, keep looking for one that does. We provide a 7 month limited guarantee on our bed bug extermination services.
A structure that is used as sleeping quarters and has a bed bug situation, when kept on neglected, would become a source for new infestations. Typically these sources to initiate new infestations are such places as neglected bed rooms in some of the homes, some group homes or temporary sheltering facilities for the less privileged. A key characteristic of places that seed new infestations are the demographic of the people residing in them. Though, the demographic is not the only factor. The second factor is that of probability given your demographics. You are likely to be aware of bed bugs presence in a cleaner environment. You are likely to engage professional resources if you are well off. The only time, we have seen a high level of bed bug infestation in homes of well off families, where there is an individual whose skin does not react to bed bugs bites. If someone in such residences gets skin inflammation due to bed bug bites, they are very likely to immediately react to it.
Common situational elements of a high to severe BedBug infestations are:
- Almost always the places are not tidy nor clean. There is clutter, dust and debris in and around bed room and living room. Particularly near the bed and the sofas.
- Individuals are not up keeping their residences. There are general signs of neglect such as cracks in flooring, baseboards, peeling wall paper, etc. Such places provide good cover for BedBug nests.
- Tighter living quarters also mean that there would likely be articles stacked on top of other items resulting in an environment where BedBugs can hide easily.
- Individuals may not be in good state of physical and mental health or alertness. This may be an occasional occurrence or permanent condition. (These individuals prove to be best hosts for bed bugs – so much so that at times these individuals may be carrying several of bed bugs upon their person while moving around in public places and transport facilities!)
- Individuals who are less aware in general terms. Some people seem to live with bed bugs for many months before asking for help from friends or property managers or even looking up on Internet for possible solutions or suggestions. It is somewhat easier to accept bed bug presence if the residence is neglected in every other way!
Once bed bugs have fed on a human, they instinctively would move away just enough to find a safe seam, piping, gap, hole, crack or crevice where they could stay hidden and remain safe from the movements of the host until they would become hungry again. These cracks and crevices are usually in the seams and piping of mattress or box spring; joints and holes in the frames of the bed or sofa; and similar places in the headboard or foot-board. Also uneven wood planks in a bed frame provide plenty of spots where bed bugs can make resting quarters.
When bed bug infestation reaches greater population, they would gradually spread their nesting areas further away from bed and couch. These areas would be the baseboards, night tables, bookshelves etc that are within 3 feet of the bed.
Bed Bugs are not social insects. Their nest do not resemble that of ants or bees. Similar to Cockroaches, they nest in groups simply because a good spot is a good spot. And if it would accommodate a few of them, then, more than likely there will be a few bed bugs and their black feces and white eggs. Bed Bugs do not make a nesting infrastructure like ants or bees. Similar to cockroaches, there tell tale signs of feces and eggs indicate a nesting area.
You can seal it in a plastic bag and freeze it or place it in a jar with some rubbing alcohol and book an inspection service to have the bug and your place inspected. If you have a camera that can take a good macro shot of the bug you captured, then email it to us for verification. Try not to disturb other bed bugs nesting in the bed unless you are prepared for a good vacuuming of your bed components.for an inspection service.
First of all, it is a tremendous help if you could have a second person to assist you.
A checklist of items that would be helpful:
Thin comfortable gloves that would put you at ease while sifting through debris etc looking for some insects.
Tools to illuminate the items and area of inspection. A flash light or excellent lighting in the room or good sunlight through windows would help greatly to see clearly the small debris from insects.
Tools to hold, contain and store the specimen that you may collect such as a vial or pill bottle or zip-lock plastic bag.
Tools to pickup the insects and put in the container to hold for inspection: These could be tweezers, a knife, index card, credit card.
Magnifier lens or some other means to enhance the visuals of what you captured. You need to distinguish between what may be debris or an insect.
Some trash bags. Just in case you come across a very severe infestation and some objects need to be sealed and stored away until you have resources available to sanitize them.
Have a vacuum cleaner available just in case where you may across a severe infestation and you wanna be able to suck them away before they spread around looking for shelter. Afterwards seal and throw away the vacuum bag or carefully clean/wash the dust bag sealing and discarding the collected garbage.
When looking for bed bugs, you are in fact looking for not only the adults, but the nymphs and their eggs and feces too. An established infestation would have all the signs of a bed bug establishment:
first and foremost the bed bugs red blood spots and black feces markings. The blood stains are from bed bugs being crushed by a host’s
secondly the various sizes and shades of bed bugs on varying stages of life and some skin sheds too
lastly – their white eggs cemented to the surfaces where they were laid.
Most situations would benefit from use of a flashlight. When something of interest or concern is found, a magnifying glass would be the second most valuable utility to discern whether what you found is just debris or lint or a moving insect.
Put away at a fair distance and out of the way all pillows, blankets and sheets and covers before you go on removing the mattress and the box spring.
You need to examine and inspect the piping and tufts and seams of mattress and box spring. Pay particular attention to the areas of corners and middle seams.
Take time and examine closely. Bed Bugs generally behave in a sneaky and shy way. They do not start running around when looked upon or lightly disturbed unlike many other insects. This is a typical nature of a parasitical behavior that it does not want to be noticed by the host.
No bed bugs yet? Look closely into the frame of your bed particularly any wooden elements of the bed frame. If it is all metal frame and no wood then it might be free of bed bugs. Consider next closest thing to the bed including any articles stored within 3 feet of the bed.
Now if you did find some bed bugs in mattress, box spring and/or bed frame; then, do not stop looking.
Expand your search to other places in the vicinity of the bed such as the pleats of curtains, beneath loose pieces of wallpaper near the bed, the corners and drawers of desks and dressers and shelving units, within spaces of wicker furniture, under or behind all kinds of trim and woodwork near the bed.
Any crack, crevice, hole or joint in bed frame, flooring, wood work of housing structure can be used as a nesting spot by bed bugs.
If you don’t find bed bugs but bites continue or you find blood spots on bedding, contact us for a professional bed bug inspection service.
Professional inspection is performed by an experienced bed bug exterminator. Since to exterminate these pesky bugs, one needs to be a good inspector who is knowledgeable and experienced about bed bug traits.
It’s your decision based on what you have come to observe and understand; and what other sleeping options are available to you.
Understand the extent of your infestation, the possibility of bed bug movements looking for a new host after being hungry beyond two weeks. Also, keep in mind the susceptibility and ease of transfer of bed bugs to any new areas and furniture that you may want to switch to. For example a wooden bed frame with lots of crack and cervices near your existing bedroom would be more susceptible to becoming infested and at a higher degree than an air mattress on a different floor.
Put specimens in small, break-resistant containers such as a plastic pill bottle or a zipper-lock bag with 1 tsp of rubbing alcohol in it. Or tape them to a sheet of white paper with clear tape. First, look at pictures on university websites. If you think it’s a bed bug, package it carefully to prevent damage and send to an expert for positive identification. Bed bugs have close relatives: poultry bugs, barn swallow bugs, bat bugs, and tropical bed bugs— to name a few. They too can feed on humans and act like bed bugs do.
For accurate identification, send a sample—preferably several adults—to a Cooperative Extension diagnostic lab. Find your local office. Find a board-certified entomologist. If the critter is, for example, a bat bug, call a professional wildlife control operator to find and remove bats, then prevent their re-entry.
Bed bugs problem spreads similar in fashion to cockroaches or head lice. That is via some contact between a established infestation to the new (to be) one.
Bed Bugs hitch hike when they are out of an established infestation environment or are lost or can’t find their usual host. All of which means the same thing to a Bed Bug that they need to start search for a new host environment staying where they are means dying of hunger.
Those places of human rest and comfort that have reached a high level of bed bug infestation would make bed bugs feel the congestion and consider expanding the zone where they would consider establishing a nest.
Any luggage articles, furniture, books, bed related items, card board boxes and even a person coming out of such places can potentially be carrying the hitch hiker bed bugs.
People, like the health and social workers that often visit less privileged individuals or things that often come in close proximity to articles of such residences (such as articles used by professionals servicing such residences or some moving trucks) would be the conduit that makes the spread happen.
Some people would leave their infested furniture, bed and other related articles by the curbside without any warnings. The items may look not too old and in good condition and even the bed bug infestation in them may not be very high to be immediately noticeable. These items are a sure way of spreading the problem. If you discard such items, put a sign or mark them in some way to indicate that they should not be taken unless the new owner knows how to handle bed bugs.
If you are tired and the place is well kept and you do not feel like inspecting the bed:
Keep the luggage and other articles as far from the bed as possible. Bring the least number of articles (including clothing) to your bed. Inspect well all the articles that were brought to bed, before you would pack them away for the next destination. Any dirty clothing should be tied up in plastic bag and should only be opened at the laundry facility at the time of washing. If the place is kept in less than desired state and you have the energy to inspect:
Pack a flashlight (even the key chain LED variety) and gloves to aid in your inspection. The inspection should focus around the bed. Start with the headboard, which is usually held on the wall with brackets—lift up 1 – 2 inches, then lean the top away from the wall to gain access to the back. If you’re traveling alone, someone on staff should help. After checking the headboard, check sheets and pillows for blood spots. Next, pull back the sheets. Check the piping of the mattress and box spring. Finally, look in and under the drawer of the bedside table. If all these places are clear, enjoy the night.
If you find evidence, but no live bed bugs, the evidence may be old and doesn’t mean that the hotel is dirty. Tell the front desk discreetly what you found and ask for another room—one that doesn’t share a wall with the room you just vacated. Bed bugs are a PR nightmare for the hospitality industry. If you run to a competitor (who’s just as likely to have bed bugs) it makes it less likely that the industry will become more open about this issue. Communication is key. Ideally hotels and motels would pride themselves on their bed bug programs and show customers how to inspect to keep all parties bed bug free.
Bed Bug infestation can be eradicated completely and effectively with one ore two treatments by our certified and licensed bed bug exterminators. Awareness and professional handling is the key to success.
If you try to exterminate bed bugs using domestically available pesticides, there is a good chance that not only some bed bugs would survive but also spread further away within the property. When you move bed components or couches that are infested, take extra care, as some live bugs or eggs may drop off while moving these articles. So if you could either pay attention and take care of any small bugs crawling away or falling off while moving these pieces of furniture or have the articles wrapped in plastic before moving through the property or transport facility.
Many a times, furniture left on the curb is found to be infested with bed bugs. Take extra care and examine before taking it for yourself.
Giving a heads up to potential visitors to your residence may be a good idea. Particularly, if they will spend any time in your places of sleep or rest. That’s how the bed bugs spread. Dinning room would not be a reasonable threat to visitors in a typical case of bed bugs.
However, if you find that what you captured is not a bed bug but some other insect, then you need to assess the extent of these bugs in your area and see if it is one off or you have quite many requiring a professional pest extermination service.
Next: make a plan. We’ll tell you how. You want to get rid of bed bugs, limit your exposure to insecticides, and minimize costs. Don’t get rid of stuff and don’t treat unless you have a plan. A big part of your plan: hire an experienced professional. Not only this will save you time and money in the long run, you are likely to be free of bed bugs sooner than otherwise. You’ll still have a lot to do in terms of preparations — just leave the insecticide application to the pros. Working as a team with a professional is the quickest way to get rid bed bugs from your property.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the way to go for pest control. It’s cost-effective, it works, and it lessens reliance on insecticides. Note: IPM doesn’t mean no insecticides. You should call a professional dedicated to IPM so the least amount of insecticides can be used and still work.
Here are the basics of BedBug IPM (Integrated Pest Management) Principles:
Inspection and Records: Inspect and record thoroughly – what, when, where you find and what, when, where you notice. Particularly when more people become involved later on, it would help to share this information.
Educate yourself: Learn about Bed Bug habits, behavior and instincts. Examine images available on-line to get some perspective of highly infested and very lightly infested.
Cultural and Mechanical Control: This makes your residence less appealing to bed bugs, prevents their free movement between nesting spot and the host (you) and makes them more vulnerable to being spotted (by you). We suggest that you do not skip these steps and go straight to insecticides use.
- Furniture choice: Choose metal over wood. Choose engineered and treated wood over raw wood elements in furniture. Choose a design of fewer groves and joints. Bed frames that include fabric and leather elements make it BedBug friendly! Wicker elements are also very bad as they provide good camouflage and nesting opportunities. Remember that metal is the best.
- Try not to buy or pick up used or discarded furniture.
- Choose light-colored bedding and sleeping covers which make is easier to see insects and blood spots.
- Don’t store things under or very near the beds. In fact, get rid of this clutter and vacuum the area.
- Use appropriately sized bed bug and dust mites proof mattress covers of good quality. These have no piping, tags and other features of mattress and box spring that make a good nesting spot for a bed bug.
- Do vacuum often and thoroughly using appropriate attachments in all areas where bed bugs may nest.
- Maintain a decent gap between the wall (including wall and window coverings) and your bedroom / living room furniture.
Using a silicone sealant repair the cracks in wooden floors and baseboards.
- Repair and fix peeling wallpaper.
- Keep bedding articles and dust ruffles from touching the floor.
- When you return from an overnight trip where you suspected BedBug presence, unpack on a surface that is light-colored, does not have deep fibers or cracks and is located much away from bedrooms and living room sofas. In case BedBugs or their eggs are dropped here; chances are slim that they would find a host before dying off. Take laundry to wash or dry clean as appropriate for the articles. Articles that can take high heat of a dryer should be given a 90 minutes cycle. Articles not needed for more than a few months may be stored away in sealed plastic bags. If these bags can be put in below freezing temperatures for extended periods, that would be even better.
The best way to cover all bases is to inform all parties who may be potentially involved early on. These would be the managers, neighbors, friends, etc.
Keeping the legs of your bed in kerosene is a bad idea as it is a fire hazard. Instead using petroleum jelly may be of some reprieve from the bed bugs that nest away from bed and want to climb up for feeding.
The thyme and other natural oils may discourage bed bugs, but would not kill them. There is good chance that the bed bugs might spread instead of being eliminated.
This temperature must be reached in all layers of your residential structure – that is behind the drywall if bed bugs are hiding behind it, inner layers of sofa and other furnitures, etc. If any pocket of area fails to reach this temperature for the necessary duration of 60 plus minutes, and has bed bugs, then the problem will not be eliminated. Also there is a decent potential to damage to furniture, paintings, art work, appliances, electronics, etc. Hence, we employ insecticides to exterminate bed bugs as it is most successful method.
If you need to buy any bed room furniture including mattress, etc, then wait a few months to be sure that there are no new bites and you are free of bed bugs before bringing in new furniture. If you want to get new furniture for dinning hall or coffee tables for living room, that would be fine as these are some of the least probable nesting areas for bed bugs.
Seek opinion of the licensed exterminator that services your bed bug problem for advice on the condition of your furniture. In most cases, the infested furniture can be cleaned and treated. If you do decide to throw away some articles of furniture, then either deface it to put note on it, indicating that there are bed bugs in it.
Don’t move infested items out of the room without wrapping them in plastic. Bed bugs or eggs could be knocked off into an in-infested area. Don’t apply insecticides unless you fully understand what you are applying and the risks involved. You are legally liable if you misapply an insecticide or apply it without a license to the property of others—including common spaces in apartment buildings. In most cases, landlords, owners and building managers cannot legally apply insecticides unless they are licensed to do so.
Please see our GuideLine for preparing for a bed bug extermination service. You would need some plastic containers or bags to sort and store all your possessions when you clear empty areas near and around the bed frame. If you could, then next you would want to clear away articles from the closets, dressing tables and night tables. Along-with clearing away of these areas, you would want to vacuum and mop or wipe as well.
If you are confident that you have bed bugs, that is, you have seen them and have a few saved samples for the exterminator to see, then you might as well clean under your box spring and bed frame too. However, you are not sure that you have a bed bug problem and have not seen and saved any bed bugs, then you may want to leave the bed as is, if it is relatively clean. If it is quite dirty under and around the bed then even if you are not sure of having a bed bug problem, still go ahead and do a good vacuuming and save anything that might look like a bed bug in a sealed plastic bag and frozen up.
Steam: If steam is applied directly to eggs, nymphs, or adults, it will kill them. That’s the simple part. Not many living organism would find steam as friendly. There will many areas in bed frame or flooring that would provide a safe distance from the steamer’s application port. Any bed bugs, nymphs and eggs at such distances would remain safe. Introduction of this moisture later may prove to be pleasant to bed bugs. Hence, we do not use steam as a means of killing bed bugs.
Heat: Similar to steaming technique. Heating a residential structure to the core at above 120 ºF for more than 60 minutes is overkill without guarantee of success. Soon as the extreme heat application is terminated there remains nothing to kill any bed bugs that may have been left alive or are brought in, a few days later. Hence, we do not use heat (applied to the entire structure) as a means to exterminate bed bugs.
Though bed bugs least prefer to nest in bed coverings, sleeping covers, pillows, etc – you could put these articles in dryer on highest heat setting for 90 minutes to kill any bed bugs, nymphs or their eggs. Afterwards, look in the lint filter for bed bugs to confirm their presence.
Freezing: Like heat or steam it is not a practical approach to getting rid of bed bugs. However, if you could put your bed components in – 3 Celsius or below for more than 30 days, the bed bugs and eggs would have died. But having constant cold weather is not always possible.
We suggest not to use over the counter pesticides as not only these endeavors would cost money and time, there is a good chance of bed bugs surviving and spreading further afield. And also there is a risk of unnecessary exposure to humans and their pets.
We strongly recommend not to use the dust formulations in and around your beds as these are often abused and result in exposure to humans and their pets.
The pesticides that are allowed to be applied by licensed exterminators contain both the contact based insecticides and Insect Growth Regulators that would affect the development and reproduction capabilities of targeted pest.
In Canadian weather, leaving infested articles in temperatures of -5 centigrade or below for over 4 weeks will do the job.
Our Bed Bug extermination service would impact the eggs just the same as the rest of the bed bugs. Most eggs would not hatch. Even if some nymphs are hatched, they would soon come into contact with the insecticide and die off. The main problem is that bed bug eggs are laid mostly in the frame of the bed and in the box spring. Hence, best way to have the bed bug eggs exterminated is to have the professional extermination services from a reputable provider.
Looking at the factual comparison above, it is clear that the insecticides application method is more economical and delivers better performance and assurance of protection against Bed Bugs than what can be offered by the application of just the high heat. For these simple reasons, we have selected the insecticide spray as the method of choice for Bed Bug extermination.
It is our confidence in the pesticide application technique and it’s proven historical record that allows us to offer a 7 months limited warranty on all our bed bug extermination services. We service the cities of Mississauga, Brampton, Oakville, Milton, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Aurora and as far north as Barrie.
We do offer limited appointments in the evening hours and on the weekends as well.