Whether you are obsessive about cleaning your home or not, you can still get bed bugs. Anyone can. Chances are, you had no idea they had a way in. Many times people unknowingly bring them home. Bed bugs are travelers and excellent at hiding. Their bodies are thinner than a credit card, so they can creep through very small spaces.
Your Home Is Not Bug Proof
Any crack in the wall is a possible entrance point. Tiny slivers of space in the corners, or even cracks in the paint or torn wallpaper, are enough to allow them to crawl through. They can also travel in from a next-door apartment through tiny openings in walls or the floor or ceiling. Sometimes exterminators use pesticide foggers which cause bed bugs to scatter and even find refuge in adjacent apartments. This can also spread harmful chemicals, so it’s not recommended.
An infestation in one apartment can spread throughout the building. It’s also important to realize they’re not only in the walls, ceilings, and bedding. Bed bugs can seek refuge in boxes and suitcases and remain their long after the rest of them have been exterminated.
They Go Where You Go
These are hardy insects. While they must seek out human hosts and their blood to survive, bed bugs can go for months without feeding. They’re also known to come along for the ride. Creases in clothing give them something to hold on to. You might be bringing home a bed bug from a hotel room or even the bus on your shirt, pants, or shoes.
The insects spread easily from one place to another. Your child might bring one home in their backpack. Bed bugs have been seen in schools and also hospitals, restaurants, offices, and public buildings such as police stations. Dorm rooms to cruise ships have been infested. All it takes is one unsuspecting person to have some travelers hitch a ride home with them.
On the King County fact sheet, there are some tips on how to spot bed bugs in their tracks.
Bed Bugs Are Travelers
Aside from hitching a ride on a backpack, car, bus, train, or plane, a bed bug has a lot of mobility. They can’t fly. One is able to go up to 20 feet to find a host, and further if they find more. Primarily nocturnal, they will venture into full daylight to satisfy their hunger.
No matter where they go bed bugs will survive as long as the temperature is right. They are just fine in temperatures as low as 46°F. From there, these insects will thrive. They die as soon as their body temperatures reach 113°F, which is why many exterminators recommend extensive heat treatments in infested apartments.
Just as with discarded furniture, these pests can travel on any rug you toss. They can survive in books, magazines, and paper. If you’re borrowing or purchasing these used, check for signs of infestation. Bed bugs can also be present in electronics. They’ve spread around in old TV’s, computers, radios, and even CD players.
If you look closely, many tiny bed bug eggs will be present during an infestation. They are highly efficient reproducers. Females can lay up to three eggs per day, and up to 500 in her six to twelve month lifespan. Some bed bugs live longer.
Mating and egg production require feeding. For this, they require a meal at least once every 14 days. Each bug needs one meal at the very least in order to develop into the next stage of its life. All bed bugs have six life stages. Between each, they molt their shell. They can feed more than once if there are abundant hosts.
Some insects are mistaken for bed bugs. Carpet beetles have been. On the other hand, people have misidentified bed bugs as something else. That enables them to have more time to spread. You might wave it off if there’s one or just a handful, but that’s how it starts. Bites might not be present but a lot of folks don’t have any reaction. Besides, bites alone don’t prove anything because they look like those from mosquitoes and other bugs.
If you know how bed bugs spread, you can prevent them from taking over your home.
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