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Frequently Asked Bed Bug Questions

1. What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are small nocturnal insects that feed exclusively on the blood of humans and animals which is required for their development and reproduction. The common bed bug has been feeding upon the blood of humans since the beginning of recorded history, causing countless numbers of sleepless nights and a great deal of distress to individuals who share their homes with this blood feeding pest.

2. What do bed bugs look like?

Adult bed bugs are relatively small, about 5mm long and 3mm wide, broadly oval, flat, and mahogany brown or reddish in color. Prior to feeding, young bed bugs (nymphs) appear translucent or pale in color and about the size of a poppy seed. After the bed bug has taken a meal, it’s color will change from brown to purplish-red and it becomes larger and more cigar-shaped.

3. What do bed bugs eat?

Bed bugs prefer to feed on the blood of humans and will travel 5-20 feet from established hiding places to feed on a host. Bed bugs feed every three to four days and feeding takes 3-12 minutes. Adults can survive for months without a blood meal, lingering in furniture, suitcases and bags until they are near a host again.

4. Are bed bug bites dangerous?

Aside from the itchy welts and rash-like symptoms that often result from their bites, bed bugs are not considered a pest of medical importance. Bed bug bites affect individuals differently, and the social stigma that accompanies an infestation may be more serious than their bite. However, people who have a bed bug allergy, may develop an allergic reaction after being bitten and may need to seek medical attention.

5. What does a bed bug bite look like?

Bite symptoms often occur on parts of the body that are the most exposed during sleep such as the arms, legs, neck and face, but can occur on any part of the body. Typical symptoms are small red marks or welts, in a series of linear bite patterns or cluster of bites. Bites look similar to mosquito bites with intense itching lasting for several days.

6. How do you treat bed bug bites?

Many individuals do not react the first time they are bitten by a bed bug and will exhibit a delayed response. In general, bed bug bites can be itchy and mildly irritating, like a mosquito bite. Calamine lotion, aloe vera and toothpaste are natural remedies for bed bug bites. Bed bug bites generally heal on their own, but if they become a concern, it is important to seek medical attention.

7. Where do bed bugs live?

Bed bugs live in groups and typically inhabit locations where people sleep or rest for extended periods of time. Bed bugs can be found in homes, schools, office buildings, retail stores, movie theatres, medical facilities and other areas frequented by the public. These pests favor cracks, crevices or seams in headboards, mattresses, box springs, bed frames and upholstered furniture.

8. Where do bed bugs hide?

The majority of bed bugs are found in close association with sleeping and resting areas. While beds may be the usual infested area, infestations are also common in upholstered furniture such as sofas and chairs where people may nap. Bed bugs can also hide in folded areas of bed, adjacent furniture, picture frames, switchplates, wallpaper and anywhere inside a home, car, bus or other shelter.

9. Who’s at risk of getting bed bugs?

Since their resurgence in the 1990’s, anyone and everyone is at risk of attracting bed bugs when visiting an infested area. High risk areas include any location with a high turnover of people, like hotels, schools, public transportation, office buildings and movie theatres. Bringing home second-hand furniture and used clothing can also put an individual at risk for an infestation.

10. How do you get bed bugs?

One of the greatest misconceptions regarding bed bugs is that infestations are caused by poor hygiene and poverty. Bed bugs are not attracted to dirt or grime, but are attracted to warmth, blood and carbon dioxide, needing to be introduced to an environment. Incapable of flying or jumping, bed bugs will hitch rides on clothing, luggage, second-hand furniture, books and other various objects.

11. What are the signs of a bed bug infestation?

Common signs of bed bugs include:

  • Red, itchy bites in clusters or patterns on legs, arms and exposed body parts while sleeping.
  • Reddish brown fecal spots on mattresses, walls and upholstery that smear when wetted with a damp cloth.
  • Visualization of shed caste skins, eggs or eggshells in cracks and crevices.
  • A sweet, musty odor.

12. How do you inspect for bed bugs?

Bites on the skin are a poor indicator of a bed bug infestation, as bites can look similar to other insect bites like mosquitoes. In the event that bed bugs are suspected, the first step should be to confirm that an infestation actually exists. Inspect bedding for dark spots, stains on sheets, egg casings and actual live bugs—all indicators of a bed bug infestation.

13. How do you get rid of bed bugs?

Bed bugs can survive temperatures of nearly freezing to 120 degrees. Because of this, bed bugs are not a pest that can be treated with DIY measures. At Anderson Pest Solutions, we have several treatment options available in order to completely eliminate a bed bug infestation. After a thorough bed bug inspection, we will recommend a customized bed bug treatment, with minimal disruption to your home or business.

14. Which bed bug treatment is most effective?

Heat treatment is the most successful method of eliminating all life cycles of bed bugs without utilizing any pesticides or chemicals. Anderson Pest Solutions’ heat treatment specialists will create circulating heat that reaches the kill zone of 120F or higher. This heat treatment process generally takes 8-10 hours and ensures that all bed bugs are eliminated, no matter where they are hiding.

15. How do I prepare for bed bug treatment?

In order for bed bug treatments to be successful, some preparation is necessary. To provide the best outcome, it is essential that areas to be treated are properly prepared prior to treatment. From stripping down bedding to sealing items in heavy-duty plastic bags, there are a number of actions you will be asked to take to prepare Anderson Pest Solutions to treat and eradicate your home of bed bugs.

16. How do you prevent bed bugs?

Eliminating an established bed bug infestation can be very difficult, so it is always best to take steps to prevent the introduction of bed bugs by following these steps:

  • Avoid purchasing used furniture or second-hand items, especially mattresses and bedding.
  • When traveling, do not set luggage down on bed or furniture, until you have inspected bedding, mattresses, curtains and headboard.
  • Inspect luggage when children return home from college or camp.

Bed Bug FAQ Serving Illinois and Indiana

Chicago | Illinois