Bed Bug Control

Bed bugs Aren’t Just Back, They’re Spreading

The vast majority of people have never seen or heard of bed bugs except in the context of some mystical “boogie man.” Parents would commonly say, “Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite,” as children were put to bed. In fact, bed bugs were also relatively rare for researchers to encounter until the past decade or so. This was largely due in part to the wide spread use and availability of insecticides and improved hygiene.

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Once the scourge of every homeowner, bed bugs were thought to have disappeared, particularly with the widespread use of DDT during the 1940s and 1950s. However, there have been nascent populations which have continuously existed throughout the world. Locations in the near and middle east, Africa, Central and South America and Europe have all remained. More recent attention to the presence of bed bugs has been observed in the United States and Australia where they have become highly visible in the hotel and lodging industry. They are increasingly being encountered in homes, apartments, hotels, motels, dormitories, shelters and modes of transport. It is widely believed that international travel and immigration have contributed to the resurgence of bed bugs in this country as well as others. Reliance on integrated pest management (IPM) practices which do not use insecticides and the reduction in the number of different active ingredients are among factors believed to have contributed to this current resurgence trend.

Description & Habits
Bed bugs are small, brownish, flattened insects that feed solely on the blood of animals. The common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, is the species most adapted to living with humans. It has done so since ancient times.
Adult bed bugs are about 1/4 inch long and reddish brown, with oval, flattened bodies. They are sometimes mistaken for ticks or cockroaches. The immatures (nymphs) resemble the adults, but are smaller and somewhat lighter in color. Bed bugs do not fly, but can move quickly over floors, walls, ceilings and other surfaces.

Under favorable conditions of temperature (above 70° F) and regular feeding, female bed bugs will lay about 200 eggs during her lifetime at the rate of 3 or 4 per day. Eggs are coated with a sticky substance, causing them to adhere to objects on which they are deposited. The eggs hatch in 6 to 17 days and the nymphs begin to feed on blood immediately. After 5 molts, bed bugs reach maturity. There may be 3 or more generations a year. Environmental factors and the availability of food will cause considerable variation in the developmental rate of all stages of growth. Young and old bed bugs may live for several weeks to several months without feeding, depending upon the temperature.

bed bugs exterminators

Bed bugs feed mostly at night, by piercing the skin of people as they sleep. However, if they are very hungry and if the light is dim, they will feed during the day.

When bed bugs bite, they inject a fluid into the skin that assists them in obtaining blood. Often the fluid causes the skin to become irritated , inflamed and to itch. Elongated, spindle shaped welts develop as a result of the bite. If the bites are on the limbs (arms or legs), these welts will be aligned with the long axis of the limb. This elongated, spindle shape distinguishes the welts from those resulting from mosquito or flea bites.

If its feeding is undisturbed, a full grown bed bug becomes engorged with blood in 3 to 15 minutes. It then crawls to its hiding place, where it remains for several days digesting its meal. When hunger returns, the bug emerges from hiding and seeks another meal of blood.

Habitual hiding places are evident by black or brown spots of dried excrement on surfaces on which the bugs rest (shown right). Eggs, egg shells and cast skins also may be seen near these places (shown left). There usually is a distinctive odor in rooms where bed bugs are numerous.

At the beginning of an infestation in a room, bed bugs are likely to be found only about the turfs, seams and folds of mattresses and covers; later they spread to crevices in the bedsteads.

If allowed to multiply, they establish themselves behind baseboards, window and door casings, pictures and picture moldings, and in furniture, loosened wallpaper, cracks in plaster and partitions.

Bed bugs prefer to hide close to where they feed. However if necessary, they will crawl several feet to obtain a blood meal. Initial infestations tend to be around beds, but the bugs eventually may become scattered throughout a room, occupying any crevice or protected location. They also can spread to adjacent rooms or apartments. This can be especially problematic on college campuses and anywhere multi-housing scenarios occur. For this reason, control really must be comprehensive and pest management professionals must think 3-dimensionally.

Bites and Concerns

Houston bed bugs

Because of their cryptic behavior, bed bugs usually bite people at night while they are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin with their elongated beaks, injecting anti-blood clotting agents (apyrases) and withdraw blood directly from the host. Engorgement varies, but published ranges approximate the time as between 3 and 15 minutes. People seldom know that they are being bitten. Symptoms vary for each person, but can range from no reaction to severe welts and swelling. Hypersensitivity studies have demonstrated that in some rare occasions severe bullous bite reactions may occur. The host immune response and potential protein antigens present in the saliva of C. lectularius or specific antibodies have not been characterized thus far. Unlike fleabites, which occur mainly around the ankles, bed bugs feed on any bare skin exposed while sleeping (face, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, etc.). The welts and itching are often attributed to other causes such as mosquitoes. For these reasons, infestations may go a long time unnoticed, and can become quite large before being detected.

A common concern with bed bugs is whether they transmit diseases. Although bed bugs can harbor pathogens in their bodies, transmission to humans is highly unlikely. For this reason, they are not considered a serious disease threat. Their medical significance is mainly limited to the itching and inflammation from their bites. Antihistamines and corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce allergic reactions, and antiseptic or antibiotic ointments to prevent infection. Infestations also may cause anxiety, embarrassment, and loss of sleep.

Control Methods

To control bed bugs in homes, locate their hiding places such as described above and treat with an insecticide approved for this use.

Because it is impossible to penetrate all hiding places, control is usually not immediate. A few living bugs may be seen for a week to 10 days after application. After 10 days, a second application, equal to the first is necessary to kill the just hatching nymphs. The pesticides used for bedbug control have a short residual life and so this second application is always needed. For infested areas, it is recommended that a commercial pest control operator be consulted to control the infestation.

Origin of Infestations

Bed Bugs are especially efficient at hitchhiking and are a major reason rapid transportation has likely contributed most to the spread of this pest resurgence. They can be transported in/on luggage, clothing, beds, furniture, etc. Occurrences of bed bugs are particularly growing in frequency in countries where tourism is more common. Bed bugs are small, cryptic and agile, escaping detection after crawling into suitcases, boxes, and belongings. The eggs are almost impossible to see when laid on most surfaces. Use of secondhand beds, couches, and furniture is another way that the bugs are transported into previously non-infested dwellings. There is basically no where they can not hide!


How Can I Recognize a Bed Bug?

Adult bed bugs are about ¼ inch long, oval, reddish-brown, and wingless. Their body is very flat, and they possess long, slender legs and antennae. They have a long, segmented proboscis (beak) that extends forward when the bug takes a blood meal. At rest, the proboscis lies beneath the body and projects backwards between the legs. Immature bed bugs are known either as “larvae” or “nymphs.” They closely resemble adults, but are smaller and less deeply pigmented.

Where Are Bed Bugs Found Inside Dwellings?

Bed bugs typically are active at night and hide during the daytime. Being very flat, they are able to find a wide variety of places in which to hide. Typical hiding places include beneath loose flooring, behind loose wallpaper, inside box springs, in mattresses, and in upholstered furniture. One common hiding place in hotel rooms is behind bed headboards that are fastened to the wall and another is behind moldings just above the floor. Bed bugs also hide behind electric switch plates and inside appliances. However, sites that have surfaces consisting of plaster, stone, and metal typically do not harbor bed bugs.

How Far Do Bed Bugs Travel to Feed and Lay Eggs?

Bed bugs typically do not travel far to feed and lay eggs once they become established in a building. Females lay eggs more or less continuously as long as they have access to blood meals. A well-fed female is capable of laying about 500 eggs in her lifetime. The eggs are laid singly in the same sites that harbor larvae and adults. These sites often are marked by masses of bed bug feces, which appear as yellowish to reddish-black specks and contain the remnants of digested blood. Large concentrations of bed bugs may be accompanied by a characteristic sweetish odor caused in part by secretions from scent glands

What Should I Know About the Feeding Habits of Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs feed on warm-blooded animals. They have a normal host with which they live and on which they feed, but they will feed on other species. For example, bed bug larvae and adults feed readily on humans, bats, and chickens, and they do so when the host is at rest. Thus bed bugs living with humans typically feed at night while a person sleeps, but they also will feed during the day in dark structures such as infested theaters with upholstered seats. Male and female adults usually feed every 3-4 days and become engorged with blood in about 10-15 minutes.

Bed bugs detect carbon dioxide emitted from warm-blooded animals and respond to warmth and moisture as they approach the potential host. On humans, they tend to feed on exposed surfaces such as the face, neck, arms, and hands. Again, the bites are painless, and the host typically is not disturbed while bed bugs feed.

How Can I Avoid Being Bitten by Bed Bugs?

Preventing bed bug infestations is the best approach. This involves thoroughly searching for bed bugs or signs of infestation in any suitable hiding place, such as bedding, upholstered furniture, or packing materials that might be introduced into your home or apartment. You should search for feces, eggs, and shed “skins” of larval bed bugs, as well as for active bed bugs.

When staying in a hotel room, it is good practice to inspect the room for bed bug infestation. Upon arrival in a guest room, check the mattress, box springs, and behind the headboard before using the bed. It is very important to report suspected bed bug infestations to the hotel management immediately so that steps to control the infestation and prevent subsequent spread can be implemented as quickly as possible.

Hotel guests should place luggage and clothing on dressers or on luggage racks. Avoid placing bags and personal items on beds or upholstered furnishings because these types of fixtures may harbor bed bugs. Guests also should be vigilant and keep suitcases, brief cases, and computers and their cases closed when not in use. It is a good idea to search these items prior to vacating the room and again prior to bringing the items inside your home.

What Should Hotel Managers Do About Bed Bugs?

Training housekeeping and maintenance staff to check for bed bugs is strongly recommended in order to identify an infestation. A professional pest control company should be contacted immediately if an infestation is found.

Hotel staff should examine guest rooms closely, including sheets and bedding. In infested rooms, sheets and pillowcases used by guests who are bitten by bed bugs may have small bloodstains, which appear as small reddish brown spots. Mattress seams should be examined for brown spots that could be bed bug feces, for shed skins, and for active bed bugs. Cracks and crevices should be examined using a flashlight. Sites to be searched include behind bed headboards, furniture seams, draperies, floor moldings, areas where wallpaper is loose, and behind picture frames and baseboards, especially those located near the beds. If a centralized forced-air heating system exists, the heating ducts in guest rooms should be checked for signs of bed bugs.

Call FX Pest Control at: 281-256-2600 / 979-646-1521

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Bedbugs normally live in mattresses or suitcases. Exterminators say bedbugs aren’t venomous, they don’t spread dangerous disease, and they aren’t linked to filth.

1.Bed bugs are blood sucking insects that feed on warm-blooded animals, usually humans. They are brown in color and quickly change to dark red after having a blood meal.

2.They are considered nocturnal and usually feed at night on sleeping hosts. However, bed bugs will feed during the daytime if they are hungry and given the opportunity.

3.They find a host by detecting the carbon dioxide and warmth given-off by the host.

4.They have special mouth parts to be able to pierce the skin and draw-up blood. The mouth parts consist of two tubes; one tube injects an anesthetic along with anti-clotting saliva and the other tube is used to draw-up the blood into the body.

5.It is the saliva that causes the swelling and itch of the bite.

6.Female bed bugs can deposit up to 5 eggs a day and 500 during their lifetime. Eggs hatch in 7-20 days depending on temperature.

7.Adult bed bugs can survive 6-12 months without a blood meal and require only 3-5 minutes to complete their feeding.

8.They are not indicators of unsanitary conditions. These insects will infest the most extravagant hotels or the most humble of homes if they can get inside.

9.They do not transmit any diseases as far as we know.

10.They will travel long distances to get a blood meal. Some estimates are a far as 100 feet back and forth from their harborage sites. However, bed bugs usually stay much closer to their hosts.

11.They do not stay or attach themselves to a host to get a blood meal. After feeding, they will run off the host and scurry back to their hiding places.

12.They will often congregate in harborages.


Exterminators spray mattresses in an Army barracks with DDT solution in 1944. The chemical was part of a nationwide effort to get rid of bedbugs and other pests.

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