In recent years, bed bug infestations have become more and more common nationwide, including in California. While these bugs do not pose significant health risks, they can be very unsettling. Understanding what bed bugs look like, how they behave, and how they move from location to location can help you reduce your risk of bringing bed bugs into your home.
Here we take a closer look at the bed bug in California and what a bed bug infestation can mean to you and your family.
- Learn how to identify bed bugs and their bites
- Understand how bed bugs can enter your home or business
- Explore ways to reduce your risk of a bed bug infestation
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small insects that feed on human blood during the night while you sleep. When most people think of bed bugs, they assume they live solely in the mattress, box spring, or bedding. While this is most often the case, bed bugs can also be found in clothing, luggage, bed frame, headboards, other furniture, baseboards, underneath wallpaper, and in the walls around outlets. They are very small in size and can hide in the smallest of crevices. Bed bugs are wingless and do not fly but rather crawl from location to location. During the daylight hours, they can be found hiding in your mattress seams or other dark, quiet areas. When you go to bed, the bed bugs come out to feed on your blood.
What do bed bugs look like?
Bed bugs are very small in size, with an adult being around the size of a small apple seed. Young bed bugs are yellowish-white in color, changing to a reddish brown when they become adult bed bugs. When they feed on human blood, they swell in size and become a bright red color.
What are the causes of bed bugs in California?
So how do you get bed bugs in your home? Contrary to popular belief, the presence of bed bugs does not correlate with the level of cleanliness and these pests can be found anywhere from apartments to 5-star hotels. They remain in places where people sleep but can go months or longer without a blood meal. In most cases, bed bugs enter your home by hitchhiking a ride from another location. For example, if your family just went on vacation and stayed at a motel, bed bugs could have hitched a ride in your clothes or luggage, and you brought them right in when you came home. In addition, purchasing used furniture can also bring bed bugs into your home.
Are bed bugs dangerous?
While bed bugs do bite and feed on human blood, they do not spread any diseases as other pests do. How someone reacts to a bed bug bite can vary from no physical signs to small bite marks or welts to a severe allergic reaction. In most cases, you will experience itchy, small bites. With excessive scratching, however, you can open the bites and increase your risk of potential infections.
Control and prevention of bed bug infestations in California
If you suspect a bed bug problem in your home or business, a professional pest control company is recommended as it can be difficult to eliminate a bed bug infestation. For your home, there are additional things you can do to help promote bed bug prevention.
For property owners, residential bed bug control experts can come in and treat your home in order to kill any bed bugs present. Once they are gone, it is important that you take measures to reduce the risk of bringing bed bugs back into your home.
- Avoid bringing in any used or rental furniture.
- When traveling, always place your luggage on the metal luggage stands in the hotel and avoid placing your suitcase or clothing on the bed or floor.
- Always examine the sheets and mattresses in your hotel for signs of bed bugs, such as small blood spots on the sheets or the presence of live bugs.
- If you see signs of bed bugs in your hotel room, remove your belongings and report them to the hotel staff. If you must stay at the hotel, ask for another room on the opposite side of the hotel, as bed bugs can travel to neighboring rooms.
If you are a commercial business owner and see signs of bed bugs, it is important that you contact a commercial pest control agency to address the infestation immediately. Hotels and multi-unit dwellings should have a bed bug surveillance, control, and prevention program in place and all employees should be trained in this protocol in order to reduce the risk of bed bug infestation. Even if bed bugs are only found in one area, chances are the entire property will need professional treatment as these pests can move from room to room looking for a source of food.
Keeping your home bed bug-free
No matter how clean and tidy you keep your California home, a bed bug infestation can still occur. When traveling, it is important to keep your luggage and clothing away from potential bed bug hiding spaces in order to reduce your risk of picking up an unwanted traveler. In addition, before bringing home any used furniture, be sure to thoroughly check it for any signs of bed bugs.
If you do find yourself facing a bed bug infestation, don’t try and take care of it yourself. While there are many DIY bed bug treatment options available, such as heat or cold treatments for your clothes and bed linens or steaming treatments for your mattress, along with at-home pesticides and insecticides, these treatments are rarely effective at eliminating a bed bug infestation.
At Insight Pest Management, our team of professionals understands bed bug behavior and is experienced with bed bug removal, allowing you to eliminate bed bugs and get a good night’s sleep. To learn more, schedule an appointment with us today.