Originally thought to be wiped off the map in the United States, bedbugs have come back with a vengeance. Reports of infestations are up 500% in the last decade alone, due in part to the increased world travel of people and goods, and also to the elimination of the chemical D.D.T. To start, lets look at some facts about these most unwanted parasites……..

  • They are flattened and reddish brown in color. They resemble apple seeds in both appearance and size.
  • They can lay between 1 -5 eggs PER DAY with an incubation period of 10 days in warm climate. The newly hatched bug will require 5 feedings before becoming an adult.
  • A female can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime. Since it only takes a few weeks for the nymphs to grow to maturity, your problems could get out of hand very rapidly.
  • Under favorable conditions (70-80 degrees), the bugs can complete development in as little as a month, producing three or more generations per year.

Bedbug activity……

Bedbugs are active mainly at night. During the daytime they prefer to hide close to where people sleep. Their flat bodies enable them to fit into tiny crevices – especially those associated with mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards. Bedbugs don’t have nests like ants or bees, but do sometimes congregate in habitual hiding places. Characteristically, these areas are marked by dark spotting and staining, which is dried excrement of the bugs. Another, less frequent sign of activity is rusty or reddish blood smears on bed sheets or mattresses from crushing an engorged body. Though they prefer to hide close they can, and will, travel several feet for a blood meal if necessary.

How infestations begin……

It often seems that when bedbugs show up somewhere, they arise out of nowhere. That’s due to the fact that they are very good hitchhikers and are usually transported in or on luggage, clothing, bedding, furniture, and other items. This poses a real problem for hotels, motels, and apartments, where turnover of occupants is constant. Acquiring secondhand beds, couches, and furniture are other ways they can be brought in, along with hitching a ride on the clothes or shoes of people who live in an infected setting.

Once bedbugs are introduced, they often spread throughout the building. They can travel from room to room or floor to floor by person or by crawling between the wall or along the pipes. Unlike cockroaches that feed on filth, the cleanliness of a place has very little to do with most infestations.

Where they hide…..

Bedbugs can hide in almost any crack, crevice, or protected location. The most common place to find them is on the bed, hiding within seams, tufts, and crevices of the mattress, box spring, bed frame, and headboard. Things to look for if you suspect activity are for the bugs themselves, and the light-brown, molted skins of the nymphs. Dark spots of dried excrement are often present along mattress seams and wherever the bugs have resided. Box springs afford many places for them to hide, especially under where the fabric is stapled to the wooden frame. Cracks and crevices of the beds frame should be examined, especially if they are wooden since they have an affinity for wood and fabric over metal and plastic.

Under mattress seam is a common hiding spot

Many areas, besides beds, can also harbor the pests. Upholstered chairs and sofas should be looked at, especially in the seams, tufts, skirts, and crevices. Sofas and chairs can be major problem areas if they are commonly used for sleeping. Nightstands and dressers should also be emptied and examined, along with the edges of wall-to-wall carpeting (especially behind beds and furniture), cracks in wood molding, ceiling-wall junctures, behind wall-mounted picture frames, mirrors, switch plates and outlets, behind loose wallpaper, among clothing and clutter inside closets, and inside of electronics.

Now that you found evidence of them, whats next…………..?

Now you have to decide which pest control company you want to take care of the problem. A common mistake people make at this time is to go out and buy something off the shelf labeled as a “bedbug killer.” There are a couple of problems associated with these kinds of products – one is that they are (if they have any effectiveness at all) contact killers, which means that you have to directly hit the bug to kill it. Since they can hide for up a year without feeding, you would have to sit up every night for 365 days and see every single one to do it yourself, since these products have zero residual affects. The second problem is there are VERY few products that have proven to be effective to pest control professionals, and a license is required to get these industrial – strength type chemicals. So I have my doubts when it comes to anything that just anyone can use and spray right onto their bed.

Do I have to throw away my bed, sofa, and chair……?

This will be decided by you and your pest control technician. If there are holes or tears in the fabric, the bugs and eggs may be well hidden inside. There are also restrictions on how beds can be treated with pesticides. For these reasons, it is sometimes recommended that you discard the items, especially when heavily infested or in poor condition. The other option would be to encase the mattress and box spring in a protective cover. We offer the Mattress Safe line of covers here at Four Seasons. Mattress Safe offers a line that not only is soft to sleep on (unlike some of the store-bought cheap ones made of plastic that tear easily and make noise when you move around at night) but also contains a unique zipper-locking clasp that will insure the zipper does not open as you move around on the bed. This product ensures that after your treatment, nothing gets out that was in before, and nothing gets in that that was out. These products are all made in America, waterproof, fire resistant, and affordable – that’s why we are very confident offering these products to you, our valued customer. Call the office today for a list of prices and options on these and other Mattress Safe products. Also a great investment for anyone who travels a lot, goes off to college, or just wants that added peace of mind at night.

HOW DO WE TREAT FOR BEDBUGS? (And how are we different?)

After seeing the need for better, more affordable, options in our area, we decided to take an all-encompassing approach to bed bug elimination and throw everything in the arsenal at these pests that are causing you to lose sleep and not be comfortable in your own home. We tried alot of approaches over the past decade or so in dealing with these, and each approach had its own pluses and minuses. After taking a look at what we did and comparing to what others around the nation had done, we developed our own unique, multi- pronged approach to elimination in the fastest and safest way available. We have tailed our preparation list to make it as user-friendly as we can, through years of trail and error. Then we will come in and chemically treat the home with the best product available on the market that will get you the best and quickest results possible. Unlike any other pests however, the amount of preparation that is done by you has an effect on how quickly the problem is eliminated. We have a checklist of how to prep your home available on this website as well for your convenience. A major advantage that we feel we have is that we have one, specialized bed bug technician, and that is all that he does. This has benefited us majorly because with all of the work that he has, there is not many situations that he hasn’t already seen, and our results have been fantastic.

So if you think you have an issue with bed bugs, just pick up the phone and give us a call. Our highly-trained technician will come out and look over your situation for you, and then guide you where to go from there. Don’t move anything around or spray anything, as you may move the problem around or spread the infestation. We look forward to helping you with your problem and making this process as fast and easy as we can for you so that you can get back to sleeping comfortably in your bed at night.

some of the content for this page was written in P.C.T. hand-out “Your Guide to Bed Bugs” written by Dr. Michael F. Potter

Under mattress seam is a common hiding spot