While bed bugs were once thought to be near extinction, these pests have made a shocking comeback – and more than a few headlines – in the past few years. Bed bugs spread via infested spaces and items, and once they do, infestations happen seemingly overnight. But how fast can these invasions spread, and what can you do to stop it? Horizon Pest Control explains how bed bugs get inside and multiply, as well as how to get help.
Understanding Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are tiny, oval-shaped insects with vestigial wings. They feed on human and animal blood, and they’ll go anywhere to get it, from the beds, chairs, and other furnishings in your home to movie theaters, office buildings, public transit, and more. That makes them a problem for homeowners and commercial property managers alike.
Bed bugs don’t spread disease, but they can cause itchy bites, difficulty sleeping, stress, anxiety, and more. Getting rid of these pests presents a significant challenge and business owners face additional costs due to bed bug invasions, including lost business and reputation damage.
How They Spread and Multiply
You may have heard that bed bugs prefer unsanitary conditions, but this isn’t true. Instead, they choose locations with a consistent food source and safe places to hide. Bed bugs travel not from person to person like lice or fleas, but on clothing, luggage, furniture, and other items. This means they can travel quickly in numbers and begin laying eggs immediately.
And while bed bugs don’t reproduce at the same high speeds as house flies or similar pests, infestations occur rapidly when not thwarted. The average female lays one to five eggs daily, which hatch in about two weeks. After hatching, the nymphs require five molt cycles to reach maturity, when they too lay up to five eggs each day. This cycle can result in hundreds of bed bugs in each generation with up to three full generations annually.
Stopping the Spread
If you’ve noticed bed bugs, bites, or other indications of their presence, it’s important to contact a pest control specialist right away. Bed bug infestations are extremely difficult to stop without an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy and trying to resolve the issue yourself will only lead to the insects’ spread. However, there are a few things you can do to support pest control efforts:
- Purchase a tight-fitting, zippered mattress bag.
- Launder bedding and dry it for at least one hour on high heat.
- Put items that cannot be dried into the freezer for at least two weeks.
- Eliminate clutter near beds and other furniture, and do not store items beneath your bed.
- Vacuum daily, using attachments to access small spaces.
- Maintain a gap between furnishings and walls.
Keeping the lights on or switching bedrooms won’t deter bed bugs – they’re indifferent to light and will follow their food source. Turning up the heat to extreme temperatures is ineffective unless a temperature of at least 120° can be maintained throughout the entire space. Finally, avoid insecticides from your local hardware store. Most are ineffective against bed bugs and can have health consequences for your family. Only a licensed professional should use chemical treatments to remove bed bugs.
Get Your Home or Office Building Inspected Today
If you suspect that your home or office building is infested with bed bugs or other pests, contact Horizon Pest Control. Our pest control specialists will assess your situation and work quickly to eliminate bed bug infestations for good. Call us at 888-612-2847 or visit us online today to schedule an appointment or inspection.