It’s the most wonderful time of the year when families and friends gather for celebrations and enjoy some well-earned vacation time. For many, December is a time of travel. If your plans include hotel or rental home stays, learn now how to check your lodgings for bed bugs and ensure you go home with great memories and not itchy, bitten skin.
Adult bedbugs are flat, oval, brown, and small. They sort of look like apple seeds. While they don’t fly, they can scurry across surfaces very quickly, and with females able to lay hundreds of eggs, bed bugs can take over a space rapidly. These pests feed on the blood of mammals. In fact, immature bedbugs require a meal of blood each time they shed their skin which they do five times in the month it takes them to reach adulthood. That’s a lot of biting.
When they bite, they pierce through the skin and use a beak to suck out blood, feeding from 3 to 10 minutes and then simply crawling away with puffed-up full bodies. Through the mysteries of nature, bed bugs are most active at night, somehow knowing that the best time to bite their victims is when they are fast asleep so the biting goes unnoticed. For this reason, bed bugs make their homes most often where people sleep, like mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards. And while they may like to gather together at the foot of the bed awaiting bedtime, they do move around so can be found in other locations.
Your best defense is to inspect anywhere you sleep. Lift up that mattress, look under the bed, get a closer look at the headboard. Explore further, checking behind nearby wall hangings, and in rugs and carpets surrounding the bed. Even if you’re the lucky relative who always draws the short straw to have to sleep on the couch, check out those surroundings including couch seams and in-between cushions. If the couch is a place where people sleep, bed bugs may have taken up residence.
If an area is heavily infested, bed bugs may be hiding nearly anywhere. Because their bodies are so thin they can squeeze into very small spaces like under loose wallpaper, in electrical receptacles, in corners where walls and ceilings or floors meet, and even in drawer joints. They are good at hiding in plain sight which is why it is important to look closely in every corner.
What should you look for when inspecting for bed bugs:
- The bed bugs themselves
- Tiny eggs and yellow skins that have been shed by immature bed bugs
- Bed bug excrement that appears as tiny dark spots and can bleed onto fabric
- Reddish stains caused by bed bugs being crushed.
If you are in a hotel and spot bed bugs, request a room change and closely inspect your belongings before you head home. If your holiday plans include stays with friends and family and you find bed bugs, kindly and gently inform your host and suggest they call in the experts. If you are hosting overnight guests, we are more than happy to visit your home, do a thorough inspection, remove any unwanted pests, and be on our way before the first visitor arrives. Don’t take a chance of having this holiday remembered as the year of the bed bug. Call Northwest Pest Control and put your mind at ease.