Sunday, June 5th was the start of Bed Bug Awareness Week and it’s also a time when the school year ends and families take to the road. Whether you’re planning to spend the summer traveling or staying close to home, this is the season when bed bugs can be especially active or even come home with you from a vacation trip. Here’s what you need to know to keep bed bugs under control in your Jacksonville home.
Bed bug facts
- Bed bugs primarily feed on humans, but may also feed on birds, mice, family pets, and other warm-blooded animals.
- They can lay one to five eggs a day, or more than 500 in a lifetime.
- Bed bugs can survive for several months without eating and withstand temperatures from nearly freezing to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
- They draw blood for about five minutes before retreating to digest and can ingest seven times their own weight in blood.
- Their hatchlings are so small that they can pass through the tiny hole made by a single stitch in a mattress.
How to identify a bed bug
Adult bed bugs are about a quarter of an inch in diameter. They look like a flat apple seed or lentil. They are brown, or may appear reddish after feeding. Bed bugs do not have wings.
Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs can be seen with the naked eye. The nymphs are white or tan and are difficult to spot, but adults can be seen.
Advice for travelers
Increased travel among Americans has been cited by the Professional Pest Management Alliance as one of the main reasons there’s been a resurgence in bed bugs in recent years. A study by the National Pest Management Association and the University of Kentucky showed that 75 percent of pest control professionals reported bed bugs in hotels and motels. Here’s how you can help ensure that bed bugs aren’t traveling home with you:
- To keep bed bugs from nesting in your luggage, put it in plastic trash bags or some type of protective cover while you’re in a hotel and don’t put your suitcases on the beds.
- Thoroughly inspect your entire hotel room before you start to unpack, including the furniture and behind the headboards.
- Pull back the bedding and check box springs and mattress seams for pepper-like stains that may be evidence of bed bug activity.
- If you think there’s an infestation, immediately notify the hotel’s management and change rooms. Get a room that’s not directly below, above, or adjacent to the infested room.
- When you get home, inspect all of your belongings and suitcases before you bring them inside.
- Wash all of your clothing, including items that have not been worn. Use hot water and an extra-hot setting on your dryer.
Call a professional
Many people hesitate to call a pest control company when they have a bed bug problem, but these pests have nothing to do with how clean or well-kept your home may be. Do-it-yourself methods, however, are not only ineffective — they can actually drive bed bugs deeper into their nesting sites.
Turner Pest Control offers caring, professional service for bed bug problems. Our trained technicians know how to find and identify these pests, and eradicate them with a comprehensive plan that includes precise inspections and re-inspections. Contact us for bed bug treatment today!