You would think that in January, you wouldn't have to worry about insect infestations. It is freezing outside. No insect in its right mind is flying or crawling around in your yard. But bed bugs don't live outside. They are indoor pests that travel from one indoor location to another. What causes you to get bed bugs is not an entry point in your exterior walls, it is accidental exposure to bed bugs while you're out or exposure to bed bugs when someone brings them into your home. Let's look at a few ways you might get bed bugs and how you can keep yourself from getting them.
"How do I get bed bugs?"
Bed bugs spread passively. They climb into items and hide and they also lay their eggs in hidden places. If they hide in an item that is transportable, such as a piece of luggage, a duffle bag, or an article of clothing, they can be moved from one location to another. A few ways this might happen:
- You could pick them up while spending the night somewhere, such as hotels, motels, resorts, and also the homes of friends or relatives.
- You could pick them up when you travel by plane, bus, taxi, and even an Uber ride.
- You could get them at work, at a friend's house or when you go to visit a relative in an assisted living center. Bed bugs are mostly active at night but immature nymphs can move around in the day time and climb on you when you go out to visit someone.
- Your kids can get them at school or at a friend's house.
- Family and friends can bring them over when they come to visit you.
There are many ways bed bugs can hitch a ride into your home and not a whole lot you can do about some of them. But the more you're able to do, the lower your chances of having an infestation will be.
How do I keep from getting bed bugs?
- Recognize bed bugs when you see them. When a bed bug first hatches, it is pale in color, mostly transparent, and may have a bright red abdomen if it has had a blood meal. As it grows, it will become less transparent and will turn tan in color and eventually brownish-red. An adult bed bug is oval in shape, flat and has horizontal creases on its abdomen.
- Recognize the signs of a bed bug infestation. In an area of infestation, you may see shed insect skins, tiny white eggs, black patches or streaks, tan bloodstains, or you may notice an aroma that some describe as the smell of a locker room towel.
- Teach others to recognize bed bugs and the signs they leave. The more your kids, your friends, and your extended family know about bed bugs, the lower your risk of an infestation will be.
- Take precautions. Always check a room for evidence of bed bugs before you spend the night. Put laundry items directly into a sealed plastic bag when you take them off. Put all your clothes through a hot wash and at least a 30-minute dryer cycle when you get home.
What diseases do bed bugs carry?
Recent studies at Penn State have revealed that bed bugs are able to spread Chagas disease, but there are no documented, real-world cases of this as of this writing. Bed bugs are not considered a disease threat at this time, but their presence in your home can cause distress, sleeplessness, and lead to anemia after prolonged exposure to bites.
If you live in the Greater Pittsburg area and you discover bed bugs in your home or business, we want you to know that the team at Witt Pest Management has the tools and training to effectively eliminate bed bugs. Reach out to us. We can help.