What do bed bugs look like?
The human bed bug is the most common species found throughout the United States and Canada. They are small (roughly the size of an apple seed) oval-shaped insects that are flattened top to bottom (as thick as a credit card). They are normally brown in color and sometimes resemble immature cockroaches. After feeding they may appear red and bloated.
What harm do bed bugs cause?
Some people have no adverse reaction to bed bugs, while others may begin to itch, swell, or burn in areas of the body where the bed bugs have fed. Fortunately, bed bugs have not been known to transmit disease. However, where large infestations occur, these pests can weaken the immune system of small animals, such as pets.
What can I do if I discover bed bugs in my home?
Bed bugs are one of the most difficult pests to eradicate. Hiring a reputable pest control company with vast experience and knowledge concerning bed bugs is highly recommended. When a home is treated for bed bugs it generally takes several treatments by professionals to ensure proper control of the bed bug infestation.
You can supplement professional treatments by doing the following:
- Steam clean mattresses, carpets, drapes, and furniture weekly, specifically the seams.
- Launder ALL bedding, clothes, and textiles on the high heat cycle and store them in garbage bags or air tight containers.
- Launder all clothes and bedding used each week on these same high heat cycles.
- Use bed bug proof mattresses and box spring covers after your first professional treatment.
- Eliminate clutter and repair or fill any cracks or holes inside the home.
- Use diatomaceous earth around baseboards and other areas you suspect bed bugs may crawl. (When using diatomaceous earth use proper safety precautions)
- When traveling, inspect for bed bugs and make efforts not to bring them home with you.
Why are bed bugs so difficult to eliminate from my home?
Bed bugs are difficult to control because they are able to withstand temperatures near freezing up to 113 degrees F°. Many people have tried to wait the bed bugs out, meaning they stay away from a residence for a few days or weeks thinking the bugs will die of starvation. However, research has shown that bed bugs can go several months without a meal. The size of the bed bugs and their ability to hide also make it difficult to treat for them. Adults commonly hide in the seams of mattresses, box springs, or other furniture as well as any openings or junctions they find in the room, such as where the carpet meets the base boards or in electrical outlets. Additionally, bed bug hatchlings are small enough to pass through a stitch hole in a mattress.
How can I avoid bed bugs when I travel?
Before you travel, visit the bed bug registry to view hotels that have been reported to, at one time, have bed bugs: http://bedbugregistry.com. When traveling you can minimize your risk of bringing bed bugs home with you by doing the following:
- Travel with duffel bag style luggage (These bags have minimal seams and can be laundered if infested).
- Upon checking into your hotel room inspect the mattress, box springs, bed frame, and furniture near the bed for bed bugs (Pay close attention to the seams and junction points).
- Purchase, plastic, bed bug proof encasements for your luggage.
- Inspect pillow cases and bedding in the morning for bed bug fecal spots (These look like small, dark blue blotches of ink).
- If evidence of bed bugs exists, assume that bed bugs have infested your belongings. Sort clothes prior to leaving hotel room so you don’t have to sort them at home.
- Wash and dry clothes on hottest cycle possible that will not harm the fabric.
What assistance can the health department provide me?
The Davis County Board of Health has approved a Housing Regulation that dictates how bed bug infestations are addressed by the health department.
Single-Unit Infestations: Any dwelling that is a single-unit, such as a house, is responsible to control any infestation on their property. The occupant of an apartment that is part of an apartment building is also responsible to control any infestation, if their unit is the only one infested. In these situations the health department can only provide education and recommend for you to research reputable pest control companies in your area and contact them.
Multiple-Unit Infestations: If multiple apartments or units in the same building are infested, the health department may be requested to come out and inspect for bed bugs. This inspection can only take place if access is granted by the occupants or owners of the multiple units. If bed bugs are found in multiple units at the time of inspection, a Notice may be issued to the owner that notifies them of the findings and their responsibility to correct the issue by a specified date.