Bed Bugs 101
Most Common Bed Bug Entry Points
Travelers & Guests
In today’s increasingly transient and mobile society, travel has become easier and more affordable than ever before. Not surprisingly, bed bug infestations are on the rise in many cities and towns, plaguing both residential and commercial properties. If you enjoy traveling or often host guests from different parts of the country or abroad, you could be introducing bed bugs into your business or home. This is especially true if you work in or own a hotel, which can serve as a revolving door for guests, both welcome and unwelcome.
Furniture & Luggage
Although it’s rather uncommon for new furniture to pose a bed bug threat, used or hand-me-down furniture should be carefully inspected, as bed bugs might have been a problem wherever these items were previously located. More often than not, bed bugs enter homes and businesses via luggage, following travel to other countries and hotels.
5 Things To Know About Bed Bugs
Bed bugs Multiply Rapidly
- Female bed bugs produce 100s of eggs during their lifetime. Once hatched bed bugs will reach the adult stage within 5-6 weeks with regular feedings.
Bed bugs Don’t Love Bathrooms - Or Tile Floors
- Bed bugs struggle to climb onto or travel across slippery surfaces typically found in bathrooms, like tile, porcelain or glass.
- Any bed bug found in a bathroom was likely transported there on an infested item.
Bed bugs Can Survive A Cold Water Wash Cycle
- Bed bugs aren’t bothered by the cold and can survive laundering in a cold water wash.
Bed bugs Change Color As They Age
- Baby bed bugs or nymphs are practically colorless when they hatch, but grow browner in color as they age into adulthood.
Around 20% Of Americans Deal With bed bugs At Some Point
- Current research shows that 1 in 5 Americans have had or know someone who has had a problem with bed bugs either in their own home, business, or hotel.
- 2nd Stage
- 3rd Stage
- 4th Stage
- Unfed Adult
- Fed Adult
Size of Unfed Adult Compared with U.S. Penny
Areas Where Bed Bugs Can be Problematic
Bed bugs have their favorite places to hide, where they typically remain out of sight and unnoticed. bed bugs are increasingly problematic across the country, posing the greatest threat to apartment buildings, dormitories, and hotels -- in other words, shared, close-quarter style living spaces. However, bed bugs can also easily infest single-family residences and commercial establishments. bed bugs are most commonly found in the following areas:
- Behind pictures & mirrors
- Behind electrical outlets
- Behind headboards
- Inside nightstands or dressers
- Mattress seams
- Along baseboards
- Curtains or drapes
- Upholstered furniture
Bites and Skin Reactions
Photo courtesy of aad.org
When it comes to identifying a bed bug bite, most people report a visible spot, often raised and reddish in color, that is usually accompanied by significant itching. These bites usually present in multiples, popping up in a line or row.
While most people experience the itchy irritation associated with bed bug bites, some never do. Given the nature of both their appearance and effect on the skin, bed bug bites are easily confused with common mosquito bites. However, unlike mosquito bites, bed bug bites can go unnoticed for hours or days because the initial bite is generally not felt.
As with any bite or skin irritation, it’s best to have a physician evaluate and diagnose your condition. Some common sense tips for treating the actual bites prior to your appointment include washing the area to prevent infection and alleviating the itch with a hydrocortisone cream. Depending on the severity of the bites, your physician might even prescribe a steroid cream to speed up the healing process.
Prevent bed bugs from getting in
Prevent guests / residents / animals from bringing bed bugs in the first place.
Remove or seal off attractive areas for bed bugs
Wrap or cover mattresses, luggage, clothing with bed bug-resistant wrapping.
Clean / heat-treat any affected fabrics
Launder with high heat or use heat-treatment to remove any bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs.
Vacuum using pest-rated tools
Utilize HEPA-rated filter to fully remove any miniscule bugs, nymphs, or eggs.
Work with a bed bug professional
Experienced professionals bring knowledge, tools, and even safe chemicals to fully and remove all traces of bed bugs.
Every living space has locations that bed bugs prefer. By taking a few simple steps we can drastically improve our ability to prevent, monitor and detect the presence of bed bugs in any living space.
Photo Courtesy of Protect-A-Bed
There are many mattress encasements on the market, and many claim to have bed bug resistant properties. Unfortunately only a few can actually back up their claims. We endorse and exclusively use Buglock® Encasements, manufactured by Protect-A-Bed.
This line of products was scientifically developed and is proven to prevent bed bugs from infesting new mattresses. And because bed bugs cannot escape from or bite through the material, they can eliminate the need to dispose of a mattress that was previously infested or in an infested space.
By treating the mattress and encasing it we will save the mattress owners a lot of money. We highly recommend that both your mattress and your box spring be encased with Buglock® Encasements
Photo Courtesy of ClimbUp
One of the most effective strategies for detecting and monitoring for bed bug activity is to utilize pitfall style traps beneath the legs of beds (or couches). Because the bed (and the bodies sleeping therein) are the most attractive things in the room to bed bugs, bed legs are the most effective locations to monitor.With a very simple trap like the Climbup® (pictured) you can easily determine if there are bed bugs within an occupied living space.
Suffering an infestation of bed bugs is not for the faint of heart, whether you rent or own your home. However, these pests can prove even more problematic for those of us who rent and do not have the kind of agency or control afforded by home ownership.
In either case, you need to know the facts in order to address the issue effectively, efficiently, and equitably. The fact is - you have rights as a tenant, and so does your landlord.
A big reality with respect to bed bug remediation concerns location. Various states have their own laws regarding bed bugs and which party is deemed legally responsible for addressing any infestations.
Generally speaking, your landlord will be required to assume the costs of professional bed bug extermination if an infestation existed prior to you moving in or you reported an issue and the landlord left it unresolved.
However, if you were determined at fault for introducing the bed bugs into your living space, you might be required to assume partial or complete cost to eradicate them from the property.
But, fault is hard to determine. bed bugs can attach to luggage, gym bags, sports gear, or even gain entry via a visitor like a repair professional, plumber, electrician, etc.
In some cases, the landlord may be required to submit upfront costs for professional pest extermination and you, the tenant, if determined responsible, might be assessed a partial fee, following the effective resolution of the issue.
If you’re unsure of the bed bug laws in your area, consult the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website: https://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/bed-bug-laws-and-regulations
A common challenge facing landlords and property owners is bed bug infestations. The fact is, bed bugs don’t discriminate between dream tenants and difficult ones. But, as always, a little bit of knowledge goes a long way.
By and large, they key to dealing with bed bugs in rental properties requires understanding your rights as a landlord.
First of all, who is responsible for the costs associated with professional bed bug remediation in rental properties? Well, in many cases, the landlord may be expected to pay the costs upfront; however, if your tenant was deemed at fault for the bed bug infestation, then you have the right to charge them a partial payment for the professional treatment.
Now, if you own or manage a multi-unit rental property, you needn’t fear that one infested unit means every unit is riddled with bed bugs. When addressed by a professional pest service, the bed bugs can effectively be contained to the infested unit.
However, you should never assume that one infestation will restrict itself to a single unit. When you contract a professional pest control service to treat the issue in one unit, you should also have their professionals inspect all other units, both surrounding and adjacent. This way, you can confirm that the infestation hasn’t spread or, if there are indeed signs of bed bugs in other units, you can address the issue immediately and stop the infestation from spreading further.
With respect to both your rights and the rights of your tenant, be sure to check the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website, regarding current laws and regulations, specific to your state: https://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/bed-bug-laws-and-regulations
Images on the page are for illustration purposes only.