Monday, January 20, 2014

50 Things You Should Know About Bed Bugs

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50 Things you should know about bed bugs 
This may be just the information you're looking for. Bed bugs are absolutely disgusting, no if ands or buts about it. Unless of course you come from the scientific field we know as entomology. However, it is important to talk about them, and increase bed bug awareness.

Here I attempt to unveil the top 50 things you should know about bed bugs. If you can understand all of these facts, then you will be well on your way to preventing these ugly creatures from invading your bed.



1. Bed bugs are real

They're real and they're here to stay. So, really, you should stop telling kids "good night, don't let the bed bugs bite". That's just mean.



2. What are bed bugs

Bed bugs are scientifically known as Cimex lectularius. The name bed bug is of course based on their preferred habitat, specifically a warm climate. 



3. Bed bugs don't fly

These are not flying critters. They only crawl. Mind you, they crawl very fast. If you have a flying insect of some sort, it's not a bed bug.




4. You can see bed bugs

Bed bugs are big enough to see with the naked eye. When they are first hatched, they are extremely difficult to see. With the assistance of a magnifying glass and a flashlight, you can see them first hatching. 




5. What do bed bugs look like




Here's a picture. If you have a bed bug in your hand, and it doesn't look like this, chances are it's not a bed bug. There are other insects that are similar in size and shape.




6. Do bed bugs smell

Bed bugs do have a smell, and of course it goes without saying, the more bed bugs you have the more they smell. Some people say they smell sweet, or musty, or like coriander. Whatever the case, if you have a bed bug infestation, chances are the smell has gradually grown on you, and perhaps you won't even smell it.




7. Do bed bugs burrow into your skin

No, bed bugs do not burrow such as other insects may. They will stay on your skin, and feed, and then head back to their nest. So, you don't need to worry about this one.




8. Do bed bugs bite

Unfortunately, the answer here is yes. And, they bite you. They primarily feed on human blood. Similar to the mosquito, except mosquitos don't sleep in bed with you. Eww.




9. Bed bugs were big in the 30s

This is where the "sleep tight don't let the bed bugs bite" saying came from. All of those old wive's tales really were tales of old wives (well, maybe some young wives too). 




10. Why bed bugs made a comeback

There are a few reasons why. First off, they never really disappeared altogether, obviously :) But, International travel is one of the main reasons. However, bed bugs' resistance to pesticides has been a contributing factor. A lack of public awareness doesn't help matters. 




11. Bed bugs must mate to lay eggs

Bed bugs do mate (they are not asexual). So, in order for an infestation to occur in your home, you need to bring home a pregnant bed bug, or both male and female. 




12. Heat from your dryer kills bed bugs

This is one of the most important tools you have in your home to help you prevent bed bugs. Keeping your dryer on high heat for 60 minutes should do it. Use you best judgement, as bigger, more dense items may require more time. If you can invest in a dryer shelf, do it.



13. Bed bugs will be close to your bed

Or any sleeping area in your home. They typically live within 16 feet from their food (that's you). So, even though they are bed bugs, they can be anywhere in your home.




14. When doing your laundry

Think twice about how you get your laundry to the laundry room. If you have bed bugs, and you are laundering your clothing to prepare for treatment, don't just rush to take them to your laundry room. If you spread them throughout your house, you are making your problem worse, and the exterminator's job that much more difficult.




15. Seal your clothing in bags

If you are doing laundry, and don't want to spread bed bugs through your house, seal your items in a large garbage bag first, and carefully place them into your dryer. Do the same thing when you are travelling. Bring your clothes home in a sealed bag.




16. Dry first then wash & dry

Why is this so important. Because, often your water is not hot enough to kill bed bugs. By washing them first, you are taking the risk of having the bed bugs fall off in the wash basin. Sometimes you may do laundry, and not dry the items... Bed bugs from your laundry basin can cling to your clothes. So, dry everything first, then wash, then dry again. 




17. Signs of bed bugs

Sure signs of bed bugs are finding a live bug, or the poop stains on your mattress or sheets. Of course there are other signs, such as bed bug skin shedding / moulting, or a sweet sort of musty smell. 




 18. Bed bugs are attracted to humans

Bed bugs are attracted to human breath, or carbon dioxide and our warm body temperatures. So, if you could somehow keep your body temperature very cold at night, and not breathe, you would not attract bed bugs.





19. Bed bugs inject an anesthetic

When a bed bug bites, you won't feel it. That's because they inject an anesthetic. This is different from a mosquito bite (you know when you feel a mosquito bite, but usually it's too late).





20. Bed bugs cause anxiety

If you have had bed bugs, and can't sleep, you aren't alone. Not that this information is helpful to your situation. But at least you can know that you aren't going crazy, this is a normal side effect of bed bugs.




 21. Bed bugs do not spread disease

At the time of this writing, there have been no known cases of disease spreading by way of bed bug bite. However, they do drink blood, and if that blood is someone else's blood, I don't want any part of it. 




22. Bed bug bites are itchy

Bed bug bites are itchy, red and bumpy. Often a bed bug is disrupted while feeding, so it will bite you again, relatively close to the first bite. So, often you may see a pattern of 2-3 bites in the same area. This is different from the pattern of a mosquito.




23. Severe loss of sleep

Many people suffer from severe loss of sleep. If you have found an invasion of bed bugs in your bed, its understandable that you may lose sleep. Make sure you contact a trusted bed bugs exterminator to treat a bed bug infestation properly. Otherwise, you may find yourself with an ongoing nightmare.




24. Heat kills bed bugs

Yes, this may be the only proven way to treat a bed bug infestation. However, this is still an extremely tricky task.




25. Combination of heat and chemical

There are health risks with chemical treatments, however the most complete treatment is the combination of a bed bug heat treatment, followed by a chemical treatment the following day. Any walking dead bed bugs that may survive a heat treatment will be subject to the chemical. It's your sleep! The more complete you are, the better.


26. Bed bug dog detection

This is the best choice to detect bed bugs. However, be extremely careful when choosing a dog detection company. Some dogs can't smell a bed bug in a bag right in front of them. Do your research. Call us if you'd like some advise on what company to choose. 647-727-0968 or 1-800-955-1890.



27. Don't throw away your furniture

Throwing that couch or mattress away will not  get rid of your bed bugs. In fact, when you drag it through the house, you'll be spreading them. A bed bug heat treatment will kill all bed bugs in your furniture.




 28. Treating a single item

If you purchased a used piece of furniture, or you need to move to another home, a mobile bed bug heat treatment  may be a great choice. Mobile heat treatments can heat treat just one item or an entire 3 bedroom house. 




29. Can I prevent bed bugs

You can take steps to prevent bed bugs. If you travel, be aware of your surroundings. When you return home, you can dry your clothes in the dryer. When you borrow a book, you can place it in your dryer. Stay away from used clothing and furniture. Every time you change your sheets, look for signs of bed bugs.




30. Travel tips

When you travel: 
  1. Use soft luggage 
  2. Do not place your luggage on the bed, chair or floor
  3. Do not trust the chair in the room
  4. Do a complete check of the bedding
  5. place your luggage on the metal luggage rack or bathtub
  6. Bring a large plastic bag with you and place your clothes in this before you return



31. Bed bug experts

Think twice before rushing into a treatment. Some people spend a full week preparing for their treatment, and the pest control company comes by and sprays, and leaves after less than 30 minutes in your home. And, then you get dinged for a $1000. You know your bed bugs aren't gone, and you feel completely ripped off. This industry is full of great and not-so-great companies. Again, do your research. You want to get rid of your problem, but rushing into it won't help




32. Not all treatments are equal

Your sanity is on the line. Don't assume the pest control company will care. Very few bed bug companies actually care about your problem. I have personally seen a few acts of bad business in the pest control industry, and all I have to say is, be very cautious when you hire a company. 



33. Heat treatments in Toronto

The last thing I want to be is biased. I am in this business because I care about the families that are suffering from bed bugs. However, the Heat Assault is the best equipment in the industry, hands down. So, if you are looking for a heat treatment, make sure the company uses heat assault equipment. 



34. Chemicals can be dangerous

If you hire a company that uses chemicals, make sure they are highly trustworthy. If they rush, and spray randomly, that chemical could end up in your food, toothbrush, end tables, etc... and chemicals have been known to cause physical health related issues. There are times when chemical is appropriate, such as after a heat treatment. Just make sure you thoroughly research the company.



35. The landlord is responsible

If you rent, your landlord is responsible to treat any bed bug infestation you may have. 



36. The tenant is also responsible

You are responsible to let your landlord know immediately after discovery of bed bugs. If you let it go for months before saying anything, you are now liable. 




37. Clutter is bad

Even though clutter is not the cause of bed bugs, they will find safe haven in your clutter. Also, when your heat treatment exterminators come to your home to heat treat it, the clutter is insulation, and doesn't allow the heat to penetrate. You must reduce your clutter to successfully treat your bed bug problem.



38. Carpet may need to be removed

Even though you don't need to throw out your belongings, there are certain circumstances that require your carpet to be removed. Let your bed bug exterminator inspect your house and tell you the straight facts.



39. Piles of clothing

No different than clutter, piles of clothing in your bedroom needs to be reduced. If you live in an apartment building, and you are getting a bed bug heat treatment, you still need to reduce the piles of clothes. Don't just drag all of your clothes to the laundry room, because you will spread bed bugs through the apartment. Place them in a garbage bag, seal the bad, and then take your clothes to the laundry room. Again, dry them first. Yes, this costs more money, but if you wash them first, you will be leaving bed bugs for the next innocent victim.



40. Bed bugs are everywhere

Not to freak you out. However, they are everywhere. Hospitals, hotels, libraries, schools, dorms, movie theatres, taxi cabs, etc... So, just be aware. If you lose sleep at night because of the thought of getting bed bugs, regularly dry your clothes when you get home. 



41. Sleepovers

You're children's best friend's parents are going to love you. Because, really, if you want to be completely safe, when your kids have a sleep over, their friends clothes should be placed into the dryer for 60 minutes. Yah, this is a little paranoid, so you be the judge of your surroundings. Trust me, lots of bed bugs are spreading this way.



42. Don't use home remedy

Spraying your home with bed bug killer, or raid, will just make matters worse. I remember seeing 4 cans of empty bed bug killer in one home. It didn't work. It just annoys the bed bugs, and they simply hide deeper into your furniture, walls and floors. 



43. Vacuum, dry and inspect

If you have a very small infestation, and a controlled environment, you may be able to help your own cause. Using all the techniques above, also vacuum the suspected areas. Take your vacuum bag out immediately and throw it away, in a sealed garbage bag. And follow the process of drying your clothes, and bedding first, and then washing and drying. I'm just saying, this is a much better approach to home remedy than spraying your own chemicals.



44. Self inspection

Get yourself a high powered flashlight, a magnifying glass, and wear clothes that can be dried right away. Strip your bed, ever so slowly, and look in the cracks and folds of your bed for signs of bed bugs.



45. Freezing does not kill bed bugs

Let me be a little more specific. Freezers are not cold enough to kill bed bugs. And, usually outdoor temperatures will not kill bed bugs. They go to sleep and stay in a dormant state, and could do so for extremely long periods of time (months even). Bed bugs need to be subject to -20 degrees celcius or lower, for a sustained period of time (less than 24 hours), before they will die. 



46. Throwing your mattress away

When you throw your infested mattress away, make sure to clearly mark it with tape or marker. Slice it up so other people will not want to take it home. The last thing you want to do is infest some other unsuspecting innocent victim.



47. Removing items from an infestation

If you are preparing for a treatment, be sure to place all items that you are throwing away into a very strong large garbage bag. It may be best to double up the bags and make sure they are completely sealed, tight. There's nothing wrong with clearly marking the bag(s) with bed bug warnings.



48. Bed bugs don't like light

Bed bugs are a creature of the dark. So, if you are looking during the day, it will be difficult to spot them, because they hide from the light. They typically nest in warm dark areas.



49. Preparing for treatment

Even though you are paying a lot of money for a treatment, it is your responsibility to prepare. The more you are prepared, the more successful the treatment will be. Make sure your bed bug exterminator gives you an extremely detailed list of preparation. Because, even your blinds and other belongings may be ruined if you aren't well prepared. 



50. That's it, the list only had 49 items

I ran out of stuff to say. There are only 49 things you should know about bed bugs, but that would have been a ridiculous title. So, I had to call it 50 things you should know about bed bugs. Till the next time, hope this helps, and I hope it creates great discussion.



If you live in the Toronto area and need a bed bug exterminator we are here to help!
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Green Heat Toronto Exterminators Bed Bug Blogs are written from a non-biased perspective, and are intended to give you accurate, current and relevant information helping raise bed bug awareness.

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