Unfortunately, this is a common call we receive here at A-Team Termite and Pest Control. People are panicking about bed bugs and what they can do about them. The truth is, bed bugs are not easy to eliminate. Which leads to another unfortunate thing we hear, the amount of money people have spent in trying to DIY (Do It Yourself) bed bug control.
One thing I have learned in almost twenty years of pest control, is it will require hard work and an investment of money to eliminate bed bugs. It doesn’t matter if you try to DIY the bed bug treatment or if you hire a Pest Control Professional. There is no easy or inexpensive way to eliminate bed bugs in your home. Below are a few facts and tips that may help you decide on how to tackle your bed bug problem or when it is time to seek assistance from a pest control professional.
Bed bugs come out at night and feed on you, you are their food source. That is why one of the first things we look at, when inspecting for bed bugs, is the home owner’s bed sheets. Typically, there are small blood spots on their sheets from where the bed bugs have fed. For example, a couple of years ago my family and I ended a vacation early because we found small dots of blood on our sheets and because of my knowledge and experience, we knew it was bed bugs. We will never stay at a hotel without checking that out beforehand again. Luckily, we didn’t bring them home, because we knew what precautions to take.
Bed bugs will feed at night and hide during the day. They typically hide within 10 to 15 feet of their food source. However, as the colony grows, the bed bugs will move further and further away from the food source until they infect your entire home. A pregnant bed bug can travel, which will also lead to spreading the colony to your entire home.
Bed bugs can hide in the tiniest of cracks and crevices. We have found them in ceiling fans, behind electrical outlets, mini-blinds, screw holes in furniture, and any other tiny hiding place they can find. Before treatment, preparations do need to be made by the home owner. For example, the room needs to be cleared out completely, so chemical can be applied to every crack and crevice in the room. We usually tell people the room needs to be as clean as a surgical room to ensure 100% coverage.
Something else that makes bed bugs difficult to control is if you miss one female, she can begin laying eggs and start the colony over. Another thing to consider when trying to eliminate bed bugs, is where did you get them from? I have treated many homes and eliminated their problem, then a few months later they are infected again with bed bugs. Some examples of how you can bring bed bugs in to your home:
Grandparents or one of the kid’s friends have bed bugs and never treated for them.
The kids spend the night with their grandparents or friends and bring one home.
Buying used furniture. Even if you keep the furniture in storage for a few weeks before bringing the furniture into your home, there is still a danger of infection. Bed bugs can go several months without feeding, so it’s hard to starve them out of your furniture in storage.
You travel and stay in hotels.
You work in an environment like a doctor’s office, day care, school, or you visit people’s homes for work. Bed bugs can be transferred that way as well.
You can see there are several ways bed bugs can be brought into your home. One tip is if you believe you have been somewhere and may have been exposed to bed bugs, make sure you get out of your clothes as soon as you get home and place the clothes in the dryer. You want to get the heat up to between 130 degrees and 140 degrees for at least 30 minutes. Extremely high heat will kill the bed bugs. Don’t take any chances.
A large colony of bed bugs is easy to find. Keep in mind, if you see a live one walking around and it’s during the day you have a big issue. Another way you notice them are the blood spots on the sheets or you begin getting bit by something at night. You may also see their shells or excrement, especially around your mattress or box springs.
A smaller colony may not be as obvious. If you suspect that you have bed bugs, most pest control companies do offer free inspections. If you have a pest control company that you use regularly, you should reach out to them for help. If you don’t have a company that you use, please feel free to contact us, A-Team Termite and Pest Control (405-732-0348). We do offer free inspections and during the inspection, we can offer more information and guidance to help you decide which method of bed bug treatment will work for you.