Bed bugs are flat, reddish-brown, oval insects up to 4 to 5 mm long or the size of an apple seed. Swollen and reddish after a blood meal. For more information, see What do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Behavior, Diet & Habits
Bed bugs only feed on blood. Under cool conditions, bed bugs have been able to survive up to a year without a meal. They prefer to be more active at night when the host is asleep.
Bed bugs are found in cracks and crevices, including mattress seams, sheets, furniture, behind baseboards, electrical outlet plates and picture frames. Often found in hotels, where they can travel from room to room and in visitors’ luggage or other personal belongings such as purses and briefcases.
Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation
- If you are actually seeing the bugs. Adult bed bugs are about the shape and size of an apple seed.
- Case skins. As the juvenile bugs grow, they shed their skins, discovery of which can indicate their presence.
- Defecation. After feeding, bed bugs return to their harborage to hide where they defecate black to brown stains on porous surfaces or black to brown mounds on nonporous surfaces.
- Bites also may indicate bed bug activity, but further signs will need to be found, since other sources can cause red welts on the skin.
How do you get Bed Bugs?
You can pick up bed bugs almost anywhere — offices, stores, hotels and gyms for starters. They’re great at hiding and have been known to hitchhike in luggage, personal belongings or even you. Once indoors, they can be very difficult to control without the help of an experienced pest specialist.
Remove all clutter from your home, which makes finding bed bugs easier. Wash and dry your bed linens on the hottest temperature permitted. Closely inspect any second-hand furniture before bringing it in your home. Inspect your home after moving, trips, service calls or overnight guests.
Females can deposit one to five eggs a day, and may lay 200 to 500 eggs in a Bed Bug’s lifetime. Under normal room temperatures and with an adequate food supply, they can live for more than 300 days.