Squash Pest Control - Bed Bug Control

Squash Pest Control – Bed Bug Control

Worried your Pierce County, WA home might be run over by bed bugs? Don’t worry, because Squash Pest Control is at your disposal. Our host of professional pest control experts is here to help you get your home back to normal. And because educating yourself on a potential bed bug outbreak is crucial, that’s what we’re aiming for with this page. In the lines below, we’ll give you all the information you need on bed bugs, like how to identify bed bugs, possible dangers of having bed bugs, and of course, a very hands-on guide on what to do next.

First of all, here’s a quick definition – bed bugs are tiny, wingless insects that thrive on human blood. Certainly sounds gory, doesn’t it? The good news is, they are not by nature parasitic, like other similar insects (such as ticks, or fleas), in that they don’t attach to the host. Rather, they come out, often while you’re asleep, feed, and then retreat to a safe hiding spot.

Bed Bugs: What They Look Like & How to Identify Them

Bed bugs are small, about the size of an apple seed, and tend to have a reddish-brown, earthy color. They have elongated bodies, six legs, and a smaller head. That’s adult bed bugs. Newborn bed bugs (also known as nymphs) are about the size of the head of a pin, and so couldn’t be spotted, even if you wanted to.

How do you identify a bed bug infestation?

It’s important to know the warning signs so that you can act against the bed bugs ASAP. The longer these creatures plague your home, the worse the situation will get, in terms of the size of and the damage caused by the infestation.

The number one problem with “spotting” them is that bed bugs are nocturnal creatures, meaning they come out to feed during the night, and hide during the day, making it difficult to actually spot any. Rather, you’ll need to look for signs of their presence the night before.

So the signs of a bed bug infestation are, as follows:

  • Dark spots on your bed or bedding – these tiny stains are, in fact, bed bug excrement, and they’re the first, earliest sign of a bed bug infestation that you can find. While one singular dark spot can be a drop of blood, or have a vast number of other sources, multiple dark spots in one night are most likely bed bugs;
  • Reddish stains – these will look like a tiny burst of blood because, guess what, that’s precisely what they are. These reddish stains appear when a bed bug gets crushed by you in your sleep, and the blood it’s accumulated is then splattered against your mattress;
  • Bed bug eggs – tiny, white dots that look like specks of dust, but are in fact future bed bugs;
  • Shed skin – Similar to snakes, bed bugs will shed old skin casings as they mature.

If you want to try and see bed bugs for yourself, we recommend looking at the headboard, edges of the mattress, or even inside your nightstand at night, using a flashlight.

Are bed bugs dangerous?

Perhaps the only good news here is that no, bed bugs aren’t a threat to your health. Unlike other blood-sucking insects, like mosquitoes, bed bugs do not have the capacity to spread disease. Their bite marks are very similar to that of any other insect, which unfortunately makes it difficult to tell apart from other infestations.

How to get rid of bed bugs:

If you suspect that your Pierce County, WA home might be overridden by bed bugs, then the first impulse will be to get rid of them. The question is how. While it might be tempting to attempt DIY removal with larger wildlife (like raccoons, opossums, or even mice), because bed bugs hang around in clusters, that might not be efficient.

Luckily for you, you don’t have to go it alone, but rather can call us at Squash Pest Control, and we’ll do all of the actual heavy-lifting for you. Here’s how it works:

Step 1. We inspect the property and determine the culprit. While you might have compelling evidence that it’s bed bugs that are causing all the trouble, we still need to check, and make sure. This process also allows us to determine the extent of the infestation.

Step 2. We make a plan on how to combat the nasty insects. Different circumstances will dictate different extermination methods. Of course, we will consult with you every step of the way while planning the extermination, to make sure we do things by the book.

Step 3. We exterminate. Last but certainly not least, we go to work, and begin the extermination process, to rid your home of bed bugs for good.

Additionally, our team of pest control experts will advise you on the steps you can take to prevent future bed bug infestations in the future, so you don’t have to go through this again.

At Squash Pest Control, we employ several different pest extermination methods, such as:

  • Heat treatment – although bed bugs are highly resistant creatures, and can withstand impressive temperatures, even they have their cracking point, which makes heat treatment a highly efficient extermination method.
  • Mattress encasements – these are another excellent method to contain and exterminate the bed bugs that are living inside the foundation of your mattress.
  • Crevice injections are another important aspect of bed bug extermination. These unseen, hard-to-reach crevices are precisely why we don’t recommend that you DIY your bed bug extermination. While you may be able to treat the visible parts of the problem and exterminate the bugs living on the headboard, for instance, you won’t be able to get to the cracks and crevices where they dwell.

Generally, the extermination method chosen will depend on your particular situation. While most household items can be saved from a bed bug infestation, some items might need to be removed, also, if they can not be treated, to prevent further spread.

Once the bed bugs have been exterminated, we recommend vacuuming and thoroughly cleaning your home, particularly the affected areas of your house, to prevent any future apparitions. Unfortunately, since bed bugs are attracted by warm-blooded creatures (aka yourself), there isn’t much you can do by way of removing the attraction, as you would with other pests. Instead, the best you can do is maintain a clean home.

So call us at 253-260-4680 for a FREE QUOTE or a home inspection. Remember that the longer you allow bed bugs to linger, the larger the spread will become.

How to Prevent Bed Bugs

Although there are over 90 known species of bed bugs, just three find themselves going after humans. Unfortunately, those three are built around being as adapted to human life as possible, meaning that if you encounter any, you’ll have to work to get rid of them.

Fortunately, however, that means that some prevention methods can prove to be more than reliable in taking care of bed bugs at the root of their coming issues. With one in five Americans encountering bed bugs (or a person who has), they’re common bugs with common problems. And, with one-bed bug, there are likely more to come, meaning that prevention is key.

So, how do you get rid of bugs that can live nearly half a year without food? That’s exactly what we’re here to explain. And, without further ado, here’s how to prevent bed bugs.

Do you Bring Bed Bugs Home?

The most obvious solution to bed bugs is to prevent them from coming home with you. Although that’s a given, it can be tough to ensure that you don’t bring home any troublesome creatures after stays at hotels, friends’ homes, or even from others’ furniture. Bed bugs generally ride to your home via infested areas or furniture, including purses, luggage containers, bags, or other surfaces.

Bed bugs live in warm, soft areas, traveling incredibly easily, meaning that many surfaces that fit those two simple conditions could be carrying bed bugs. Fortunately, the most common place to find bed bugs is at a hotel, where you can quickly look for them – the simplest way to check for bed bugs is to pull back bed sheets or blankets and look for small dark dots throughout the bed.

If you don’t spot any, then you’re likely fine; these bugs spread quickly, so if there were any on a bed, you’d likely spot them after a quick but thorough glance. Being extra careful, you can check around the edges of the bed, the floor, and the pillows, a process that can be applied to furniture and second-hand upholstery.

Stay Safe at Home

However, prevention at a hotel is only one solution – bed bugs can theoretically make their way to your home regardless of where you’ve been, as others visiting can bring them. Fortunately, these bugs tend to stay on soft spots, most times like your bed, meaning a few extra steps can move to beat bed bugs to your bed.

There are a few ways you can work on preventing problems at home; these would include bed encasements, which would either suffocate existing bugs or block off future ones or add bed bug interceptors. Interceptors are a great way at preventing bed bugs, as the creatures crawl up these bed-leg-placed dishes, falling into them and laying stuck.

For people with their beds separated from the walls of their room and from the floor (as in legs are the only things touching the floor), interceptors are almost enough of a solution on their own, as there’s no other way to climb your bed other than to drop from the ceiling. 

Other Solutions

Of course, these are only some solutions – others quote essential oils as a working solution, homemade remedies as fixes, and more. Although these are unproven, many testify that they work, so who knows? Either way, these are more than likely other ways to fix your problem before it starts.

Nonetheless, if you are dealing with a problem now, then it’s worth working quickly, now. Call a local professional or pest control to deal with any bed bug issues or steam everything fabric on your bed. Prevention is a great way to stop bed bugs, but only before the problems arise. 

What is the best way to check for bed bugs? 

Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to find and eliminate. This is particularly true if you live in a densely populated city like Pierce County. However, if you know what to look for, you can discover early signs of a bed bug infestation. That way, you can quickly reach out to a professional like Squash Pest Control in Pierce County to promptly resolve the issue. This post will explore the best strategy to check for bed bugs.  

7 Signs of bed bug infestation

Here are the seven most common signs of bed bug infestation:

  • Bites

If you wake up in the morning only to find small, red, itchy bumps on your skin, there’s a strong chance you have bed bugs around. Bed bugs commonly bite the arms, legs, and hands to draw blood, their primary energy source. Although their bites do not transmit diseases, they may cause severe itchiness, blisters, or painful swelling.

  • Blood stains

As bed bugs feed on blood, their original flat bodies become round. If you suddenly move while sleeping, you may crush the insect, and the blood will stain your sheet, cloth, or pillow. If you find these blood stains, they may be signs of bed bug infestation. 

  • Fecal marks

Bed bugs’ fecal marks are similar to the blood stains but are much smaller and darker. These fecal marks resemble ink dots from the tip of a black marker. You may find these stains on sheets, pajamas, mattresses, curtains, walls, headboards, and other surfaces. 

  • Eggs

Pregnant bed bugs lay 1 – 7 eggs daily, usually hatching within 7 to 10 days. These eggs are about 1 mm long, white, and ovular in shape. Because they are tiny, they can be challenging to see, except you’re actively looking for them. Even with that, it helps to use a magnifying lens to make your job easier. 

  • Shell casings

Do you know that bed bugs shed their skin? After taking their blood meal, bed bugs grow and then molt (shed their skin) to the next life stage. Bed bugs experience five stages in their lifecycle and shed their exoskeleton severely during this process. This shed skin is called ‘shell casing,’ typically translucent and yellow. Finding shell casings indicates the presence of bed bugs. 

  • Odor

The presence of an unusual, musty odor (for no apparent reason) may signify the presence of bed bugs. Bed bug pheromones may smell like coriander, raspberries, or almonds. Severe bed bug infestation may smell like moldy laundry, rust, and wet towels. 

  • Live bed bugs

This is the most obvious sign of a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs are small, oval, brownish insects. They are about 4 – 5 mm long (and when engorged in blood, they can reach up to 7 mm).

Checking for bed bugs

Now that you know all the signs of a bed bug infestation, here’s how you can methodically check for them. But before you start, make sure you wear latex or vinyl gloves to protect your hands from bites, blood, or fecal matter:

  • Strip the sheets and check the linen

Because bed bugs typically attack humans on beds, checking areas around your bed is the reasonable first step. Pull out the bedspread, duvet, sheets, and mattress protector and look for signs of bed bugs. Check the zippers also.

  • Inspect your mattress and bed frame

Closely look at your mattress, flip it over and inspect it again. You may see bed bugs crawling on your mattress. You may also see blood stains or fecal marks. Check out for live bed bugs and eggs on the bed frame. 

  • Check beneath the cushion and underneath the furniture

These are also good spots for bed bugs to hide, especially when people stay there for an extended period. Inspect the nook and crannies of your furniture. 

  • Check the curtains

Bed bugs may also hang around the bottom of the curtain and climb upwards. Check around the edges of the curtain, in particular, for signs of bed bug infestation.

  • Inspect less common spaces 

Other places to look out for include underneath desks and bedside tables, at the crevices around electrical items, under lamps, toys, and clocks, underneath the rugs, and within piles of clothes. 

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