Size: 3 to 5 mm
Because these oval, non-flying insects infest many homes as well as commercial properties such as hotels, an infestation can easily become uncontrollable without the proper plan. The blood-sucking parasites leave unsightly evidence of their existence, especially on bedsheets, which is where they get their name. Though psychologically distressing, bedbugs do not cause any physical or health risks to humans. Due to the size and nature of the insects, professional services are required.
Bed Bug Habitat
Bedbugs will hide in small cracks and crevices within a human environment close to their food source. They are often discovered behind baseboards, wallpaper, upholstery, and in furniture crevices especially in mattresses and box springs. Bedbugs are also known to survive in temporary or alternative habitats, such as backpacks and under the seats in cars, theatre seating, suitcases and even in hospitals.
Bed Bug Life Cycle
After mating, the adult females lay white, oval eggs (1/16″ long) into hidden cracks and crevices. A single female bed bug can lay 200 to 250 eggs in her lifetime. Eggs usually hatch within 6 to 10 days and the newly emerged nymphs will seek a blood meal. The immature nymphs molt five times (they shed their outer exoskeleton) before reaching adulthood and able to breed. In any given habitat, with producing bed bugs there may be three or more new generations per year. All ages from nymph to instar to adult are found in a reproducing population. The average life span of a bed bug is 2-4 months under normal circumstances.
Bed Bug Prevention
Bedbugs are often contracted during travel- Inspect your personal items before packing to leave a destination and when you unpack. You can only confirm that bed bugs are present by carefully inspecting each item. Pay attention to cracks, crevices, seams and folds of material.
If you find bugs, then you have to be careful in containing the infestation. If you are concerned about bed bugs on clothing remove suspect articles and put them into a plastic bag. Remove the clothing you are wearing in a place with a non-carpeted floor so bed bugs will have to travel before finding a hiding spot.
If you think there might be bedbugs on your items seal everything in plastic bags until they can be laundered, washed by hand, heated or frozen. There is no need to throw away luggage and clothing after discovering an infestation. Sort anything that can be washed and separate these items into garbage bags as you would if you were normally separating laundering items. Tie bags closed. To Launder, set the washer and dryer for the hottest setting that the fabric can stand. If using a dry cleaning service, mention that the items may have bed bugs and that they can keep the articles in the plastic bags until just before loading into the machines.
Inspect suitcases and other items that cannot be placed into a washing machine and place them into plastic bags if you find bed bugs. Items that cannot be washed may be heated or frozen.
A two-hour core exposure at 120°F (45°C) is considered a minimum target temperature for heat treatments.
For freezing, a minimum of 23°F (-5°C) must be maintained for at least 5 days.
Most household freezers will have temperatures between 30°F and 20°F.
A 2-week freeze time is recommended if you are uncertain of the freezer temperatures.
Bed Bug Service Prep Guide
There are many things that should be done to prepare for a bed bug treatment. For the full list of ways to make your bed bug treatment successful, view our Bed Bug Preparation Guide.