Bed bugs were virtually non-existent for almost 50 years. Before the 1950’s they were associated with run down houses and filth. Bed bugs were thought to have disappeared but began resurfacing around 1995. For the last two decades the numbers of bed bug infestations have dramatically increased. The thought behind this increased traveling has added to the spread of these pests.
When you are unsure whether or not bed bugs are the pest you are dealing with, you should be asking several questions. What color are bed bugs? Where do bed bugs hide? How could the bed bugs have gotten into my home or personal space? And finally, what can I do to protect myself against bed bugs? Below you will find the answers to all of these questions.
What color are bed bugs?
When you are looking at something you have found in your home, instinctively you are worried about what it could be. The answer for what color are bed bugs is simple, reddish brown. That is for what an adult should look like. The reddish tint occurs after the bed bug has fed from the host’s blood. Generally the bed bug is oval, flat, and overall more brown than red. The younger bed bugs are lighter in color, but still carry a brown tint. The newly-hatched nymphs are almost clear when compared to their more mature counterparts. At full size the bed bugs are only ¼ of an inch long.
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How can you tell bed bugs from other similar pests?
You may be wondering how you will be able to tell bed bugs apart from similar pests that may find their way into your home. Knowing the basic information about bed bugs is essential. Once you find a specimen of the pest, you can begin to figure out what it is. Bed bugs are small and are only able to be seen by the naked eye at the adult level. What color are bed bugs? They are brownish with a possible red tint, especially after feeding. Easily mistaken for swallow bugs, bed bugs are wingless. If you are unsure about the type of pest it really is, you can call an exterminator to have a look.
Where do bed bugs hide?
Generally bed bugs aren’t found until there is a large problem. They are so stealthy, they are almost undetectable to the naked eye. There are several places you should check for them. Not finding evidence of bed bugs isn’t necessarily an “all clear” sign, especially if the infestation is just beginning. Below are a few of the hiding places bed bugs like to seek out.
- Mattresses. In, on, and around the seams are all places you should check. Of course if these pests have made a home inside the mattress, it won’t be obviously. The molting the bed bugs do when growing often leave signs behind and can be seen near the seams.
- Behind the headboard. This is the first place bed bugs run when daylight happens if they are too far from “home.” It is dark and usually undisturbed. The headboard is rarely bothered unless you are cleaning or have misplaced something and believe it could have fallen behind there.
- Couches and upholstered furniture. Check along the seams of couches and furniture. Bed bugs find these place suitable living conditions because of the warmth the fabric draws from being used. Also, check in between the couch cushions if they can be removed.
How could bed bugs have gotten into my home?
Even the most careful person can end up with bed bugs. Sometimes they are brought into your home unknowingly by a friend or acquaintance. Below you will learn about the ways bed bugs can be brought into your home.
- Traveling. From a hotel to having luggage on a plane, the spread of bed bugs is a very real possibility. This is the exact reason researchers believe bed bugs are being spread so easily and making a return. Be proactive when traveling and staying hotels.
- Used furniture. If you are buying something for your home that is made with any type of fabric, you are taking a chance of getting bed bugs.
- Dumpster diving. Stopping on the side of the road to pick up used furniture is a bad idea. Generally people throw away items that are infested and usually don’t slash them to prevent others from picking them up.
- Buying used clothing. When purchasing used clothing you should only bring them into your home in a sealed bag. Immediately washing and drying them should eliminate any possibility of bed bugs being brought into your home.
What can I do to protect myself against bed bugs?
Being proactive before a bed bug infestation occurs is important. You can head it off by doing a few simple things to ensure your home isn’t inviting these pests in.
- Use mattress protectors. This is something everyone should be doing, but only a small fraction actually do. Mattress protectors will keep from getting any bugs into your mattress. It will also assist with the allergy issues some people have. They are not overly expensive and are worth spending the few dollars for protection.
- Don’t buy used furniture. You will be taking a chance with any piece of furniture you buy that has previously been in another home. If you absolutely need to buy something used, have it cleaned before entering your home.
- Immediately wash all clothing you buy from a garage sale or social media site. Place them in sealed bags and bring them directly to be washed and dried upon entering your home.
- Be prepared when traveling. Hotels are becoming infested with bed bugs more frequently than you may think. Always check your mattress and room furniture before settling in. This way, if there is an issue you can ask for a room change immediately. Also, keep your luggage away from the bed and off the floor. This will hinder any chance bed bugs have of finding their way into your belongings. And finally, keep your personal hygiene items in sealed bags and on the counter in the bathroom area.
How can you get rid of bed bugs?
There are several methods of getting rid of bed bugs, but most of them are tedious work. Calling an exterminator is the most recommended, but also the most costly. If you prefer to go the route of doing it on your own, you will need to ensure you do a thorough job. Vacuuming is a good place to start. Be sure you have a sealed bag that can easily be disposed of later without the chances of any bed bugs being dropped or lost. Several hardwares stores offer pesticides that say they will help to get rid of these pests. You can try one or all, but they may not work. Trash the infested furniture and remember to slash it so no one else will pick it up. Even after you attempt to do it yourself, you still may need to call an exterminator. Call around and price local companies. Often they will give discounts and stand behind their work if they know you are shopping around.
Dealing with bed bugs isn’t a pleasant thing, especially since they can’t be easily killed. Identifying the correct type of pest is important. Knowing the answer to “what color are bed bugs” is important when trying to decipher between bat bugs, bed bugs, and swallow bugs. Remember to take the steps necessary to ensure your house will not be re-infested if you find yourself with a bed bug problem. This isn’t fun, but it doesn’t have to continue to happen over and over again either. Having a game plan in place is essential, especially if this is the first time you have encountered these blood-sucking pests.