Learn About Bed BugsEducation is key to getting rid of your bed bug problem.
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs, scientifically known as Cimex lectularius (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) are small insects that are flattened dorsally. Bed bugs feed on warm blood, making human the perfect host. The bed bugs develop from nearly microscopic eggs, through 5 developmental stages. Each immature life stage (called nymphs or instars) must take a blood meal in order to develop into the next life stage. This process takes place in approximately 24 to 36 days at optimal temperatures (72° F) and regular blood meals. The adult bed bug is easily seen with the naked eye. They are reddish brown in color, and are approximately ¼ inch in length. Although they can move swiftly in horizontal and vertical positions, they don’t fly and they don’t jump. Depending on their feeding status, bed bugs look very different. An unfed bed bug looks more like a flat disk but when after taking a blood meal they increase in size to approx. 3 to 4 times that of their original size. Fully fed, the bed bug takes on the shape of a torpedo with an elongated trunk bright in color. As digestion progresses the bed bug darkens in color and flattens out until the next blood meal. A female bed bug can lay a few hundred eggs in her lifetime, but these are not deposited all at one time, (regular feeding and mating are required). Depending on temperature and conditions, these eggs can hatch anywhere from three  to ten  days or longer.
The Physical Signs of Bed Bugs
Although bites can be a strong indication of bed bugs it is not the way to accurately identify whether one has bed bugs or not and signs of them must be found. Finding a live bed bug would be best but because of the bed bugs amazing ability to hide, you may not always find a live bed bug. As you do your inspection routine you will want to be looking for these other signs.
Fecal Stains (Poop) – This sign of bed bugs is fecal (poop) dropping or stains. The larger the infestation, the greater amount of these will be found. These stains appear to be minute “ink dots”, (like from a black marker pen), can be found just about anywhere. Some materials are “impervious to moisture” and the dropping may “bead up” on the surface.
Cast Skins – These are when the bed bug grows out of its skin and leaves the old one behind. They are normally a paper thin opaque duplication of the bed bug. Depending on how long you’ve had an infestation, you may find different “sizes” as each stage of growth to maturity is a little larger than the last.
Blood Spots – Outside of bite marks, people may find blood spots. These spots may be recognized as rusty spots on bedclothes, sheets, furniture and surrounding walls.
Peculiar Odor – The next sign is a peculiar “odor” that can be from defecated blood and oxidized iron in blood, a sort of rusty smell. Most odors are associated with higher numbers of bed bugs and longer infestations. However, like any of the normal human smells and scents, if you reside in the room on a regular basis you may be “use to” the smell.
How To Identify a Bed Bug
It is very important to know what bed bugs look like compared to similar insects as the treatment options and costs are very different. Often people tend to mistake other bugs for a bed bug.
Adult Bed Bug
How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Call In the Pros
Call one of the IBBRA certified pest professions in your area to solve your bed bug problem.
Purchase Certified DIY Products
Use one of the IBBRA tried and tested bed bug DIY products.
Rent Bed Bug Heaters
Rent bed bug heating equipment and kill bed bugs yourself!