We just celebrated another great birthday for America. We shared barbecue, fireworks and apple pie, but one thing we don’t celebrate is the resurgence of bed bugs across the country.
These tiny, persistent pests have troubled people for millennia.
Until recently, though, bed bug infestations were a rare occurrence in the United States. Many people thought they had been all but eradicated. Then about ten years ago, it seemed that you couldn’t turn on the local news in any American city without hearing about a bed bug infestation. Exterminators who had never dealt with bed bugs suddenly got multiple calls per month to get rid of these tiny insects.
Unlike a lot of the other types of pest infestation, bed bugs have nothing to do with how clean your home is.
Typically, homeowners bring bed bugs into their own homes when staying in hotels, dorms or someone else’s house.
Bed bugs are an American problem through and through, showing up in every state in the nation. If you ever stay away from your home or invite guests to stay with you, you could potentially get bed bugs.
As their name suggests, most bed bugs live close to the bed where their host sleeps. These tiny vampires suck blood from their hosts, causing itchy bite marks in about 70% of the population (the other 30% has no reaction to the bites). They are nocturnal and can infiltrate any type of building from an apartment to a single-family home, to an office building.
Avoid at All Costs
You can dramatically reduce your risk of bringing bed bugs into your home with a few careful tips:
- Check the mattress and box spring and sheets for any live bugs or speckling bed bug droppings that can look like mold or black pepper before you unpack or use the bed at a hotel. If you find tiny black dots, ask to be moved to a room on another floor (and inspect there too!), or consider finding another place to stay.
- When you get home, wash everything in your suitcase. Vacuum the interior of your suitcase, or put the whole thing in a sealed garbage bag.
- Never buy bedding or upholstered furniture used.
- Resist the urge to sleep in a different room if you think you have bed bugs, as this can actually cause the bugs to spread farther when looking for blood.
Spot the Tiny Black Spots
Most of our clients don’t realize they have a bed bug problem until they notice the bites.
They look like tiny black specks and may be mistaken for a bit of mildew at first. The females reproduce very quickly, so the more time passes without calling the professionals, the more bites you’re likely to get.
Cleaning or changing your mattress will not solve the problem; bed bugs can hide in the tiniest cracks and can survive for more than a year without feeding.
Bed bugs adults are ¼ oval and reddish in color and most of the time people find adults, or they find evidence of them because of their droppings that can look like mold.
The small bright side is that contrary to some urban legends, people cannot catch diseases from bed bugs. They are itchy and uncomfortable to be sure, but they do not pose a serious threat.
If you suspect you have bed bugs, there are a few things to check:
- If you react to the bites, they will be inflamed and itchy, and often appear in a row. If you notice itchy “mosquito bites” each morning, you may actually be dealing with bed bugs.
- If you see tiny black dots in your mattress seams, don’t try to clean it yourself. Only professionals have the products and experience to get rid of bed bugs in the long term.
- If you’re not sure that you have bed bugs, and haven’t seen them yourself, Brody Brothers can employ dogs specially trained to hone in on bed bugs through a third party. In our experience, that’s the best way to minimize the damage of an infestation because it’s caught so quickly.
Put Bed Bugs to Bed
We can’t say it enough: Leave getting rid of bed bugs to the professionals. Treating for bed bugs yourself will only reduce the population for a short period.
If it does turn out that bed bugs have invaded your home, Brody Brothers have a tried and true treatment plan:
1. First, we wash and dry all fabric washables on high heat.
2. Second, we vacuum up as many visible bugs as possible.
3. Next, we apply treatment products anywhere bed bugs may be hiding, including furniture
4. Then, we encase your mattress and boxspring in a bed bug-proof liner.
5. Finally, we repeat our treatment products and treat deep in the walls with long-lasting products, to make sure your bug problem is history.
Now that bed bugs are back in a big way in the Baltimore area and across the United States, the Brody Brothers have time-tested methods for dealing with them.
If you think you have bed bugs that you need to get rid of, contact us for a permanent solution to these tiny, itchy pests.