Bed bugs like to travel and are good hitchhikers. They will hide in suitcases, boxes, and shoes to be near a food supply. They are elusive, nocturnal creatures. They can hide behind baseboards and in cracks, crevices, and folded areas of beds, bedding, and adjacent furniture, especially mattresses and box springs. Bed bugs can also hide in electrical switch plates, picture frames, wallpaper, and nearly anywhere inside a home, car, bus, or other shelter. Bed bugs usually come out at night for a blood meal. However, they are opportunistic insects and can take a blood meal during the day, especially in heavily-infested areas. Bed bugs usually require 5-10 minutes to engorge with blood. After feeding, they move to secluded places and hide for 5-10 days. During this time in the bed bug life cycle, they do not feed but instead digest their meal, mate, and lay eggs. Although bed bugs can dine on any warm-blooded animal, they primarily dine on humans. Bed bugs do not transmit diseases, but their bites can become red, itchy welts.
Things that you can do to prevent bed bug infestations include:
- Vacuum suitcases after returning from a vacation.
- Check your bed sheets for tell-tale blood spots.
- Consider bringing a large plastic trash bag to keep your suitcase in during hotel stays.
- Carry a small flashlight to assist you with quick visual inspections.
- Never bring second-hand furniture, especially mattresses and box springs, into a home without thoroughly examining for signs of a bed bug infestation. You might consider having a pest control professional inspect the furniture as it is difficult for an untrained person to detect an infestation.
- Regularly inspect areas where pets sleep for signs of bed bugs.
- Seek professional pest control to address an infestation as bed bugs are elusive creatures.
Preparation and treatments for bed bugs vary in every situation. All bed bug treatments are very thorough. If there are confirmed bed bugs on a piece of furniture, the entire room and everything in that room will be treated, with no exceptions. An inspector must visit and evaluate the entire home to make sure nothing is missed and a precise and effective treatment plan can be provided.