Bed bug prevention and removal in Northern Virginia

Bed bug in Northern VA

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are insects that are  part of the cimicidae family. Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped insects that feed off of animal and human blood. They are known as a public health pest but they aren’t known for spreading or transmitting infectious diseases. They have flat, brown bodies that will turn red as they feed on blood. Bed bugs don’t have the ability to fly, but they move incredibly quickly along walls and floors. Bed bugs enter homes undetected by clothing, furniture and luggage. They don’t have nests but they live in large groups and will hide in bed frames, box springs, mattresses and headboards during the day so they are not seen. Many people believe bed bugs are not visible to the naked eye, but that isn’t true. Baby bed bugs however can be as small as a speck of dust. Bed bugs aren’t picky about where they make their home, they can thrive in either very messy homes or incredibly clean homes. The only things they need to live are a dark place with a food source.

They are active at night and will bite people and animals while they are sleeping, typically between the hours of midnight and five in the morning. They are drawn to the carbon dioxide produced by their hosts and the heat from their bodies. They feed for three to 10 minutes at a time every three to seven days, but they can live for up to a year without feeding. After bed bugs feed they will reproduce, a female bed bug will produce one to seven eggs a day up to 10 days and will lay a total of 113 eggs in their lifetime. 97% of the eggs they produce will hatch and survive. They begin as an egg and then enter five stages known as the nymph stage before entering the unfed adult stage.

Where do bed bugs live?

Bed bugs can live for up to 300 days in the laboratory, although we are not certain of how long they survive outside of a lab. Bed bugs hide in the seams of mattresses, between cushions, in the folds of curtains, in drawer joints, in electrical receptacles and appliances, under loose wall hangings and wallpaper. Some people believe that since bed bugs are active at night they will be deterred by the light, but that isn’t true. Bed bugs are difficult to see because they are skilled at hiding in places that people often don’t check or clean. Bed bugs can be found in all 50 states and are prevalent in homes and businesses. You can find bed bugs in large quantities in hotels and motels, nursing homes, schools and daycares, office buildings, college dorms, hospitals and public transportation. Bed bugs can be found in almost as many apartments as they are found in single family homes.

What are the signs of bed bugs?

One of the clearest signs of bed bugs is having bites. Initially the bites won’t itch or hurt, but then they will turn into itchy welts. Some other signs of bed bugs are blood stains on your sheets or pillow cases from the bites, excrement, egg shells and shedded skin. Bed bugs will also produce a foul odor that they secrete from their glands.

How to get rid of bed bugs in Northern Virginia?

Removing bed bugs can be an arduous task, because while there are over 300 treatments for them approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), they are resistant to some insecticides such as pyrethroid. There are steps to remove bed bugs, the first is to identify the problem and confirm there are bed bugs. The next steps are to develop a strategy or treatment plan, keep the infestation from expanding, prepare for the treatment, kill the bed bugs and evaluate and create a prevention plan. 

In addition to getting professional grade treatments from a pest control service, there are steps you can do at home to maintain the home and prevent bed bugs from getting in. It’s important to regularly clean bedding, clothing, curtains and linens in hot water and dry them for a minimum of 30 minutes in the hottest possible setting. Keeping homes void of clutter also helps to ensure bed bugs won’t be difficult to spot. It is especially important to keep the area around the bed clean. Mattresses should be cleaned and scrubbed with a stiff brush and also vacuumed regularly, which will also help with dust mites. You can consider installing door sweeps on the doors to discourage movement in hallways. Sealing cracks and crevices is also important for prevention. Purchasing portable light chambers will help treat the home. Bed bug proof mattresses and box spring covers are important to install if an infestation is detected and will assist in the control and elimination of bed bugs with the assistance of a licensed and experienced pest control company. While there are various chemicals and non-chemical options, the best thing you can do if you suspect you have bed bugs is to hire a pest control company to do a thorough inspection of your home. 

Why is removal and management important?

Proper removal and management is important because not only are bed bugs a nuisance causing people to itch and develop welts on their body, but the odor they produce is unpleasant. Bed bugs were actually eradicated in the United States following World War II with proper pest control and management. In the 1990s they were reintroduced and have since been growing in numbers and infesting homes and businesses again. Bed bug infestations pick up with the influx of travel. When traveling, there are some necessary steps you should take to make sure you do a thorough inspection of your motel or hotel room to look for bed bugs. If you find traces of bed bugs, you should request a different room or even find a new hotel or motel for your stay. Before leaving the hotel, it's important to check for bed bugs in your luggage and belongings to make sure you aren’t taking them with you when you leave. 

If you find bed bugs in your home in Fairfax, Alexandria, Arlington or other parts of Northern Virginia, it is important you hire a pest control company like Summit. We take pride in the services and we hope you choose us to resolve your bed bug problem or any related pest control issue. For more information about our removal services and other pest control offerings or to schedule a free pest control estimate, contact us today.

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