There are lots of pests that get into Virginia Beach homes, but none are quite like bed bugs. What makes bed bugs different? They are hitchhiking pests that hide in secret places and come out in the dark to feed on blood. They're also indoor insects. You won't find bed bugs living in your yard. So, bed bug control is quite a bit different than how you control other pests. Join us today as we dig into three key topics. We'll look at how to identify bed bugs in each stage of development, what early signs of bed bugs look like, and how to prevent bed bugs from getting into your home. If you know all you care to know about bed bugs and you just want to get assistance with addressing a bed bug infestation, we can help with that. Click on the drop down menu of this page and select contact us to get in touch with us. Hawk Mosquito & Pest Control provides professional bed bug pest control in Virginia Beach. We'll help you get your home back to being bug-free.
The Lifecycle Of The Virginia Beach Bed Bug
Why is it important to understand the lifecycle of a bed bug? Because it will help you detect these insects when you're away from home and help you prevent them from coming home with you. Since bed bugs don't live in your yard, they're not going to enter your home by way of entry points in your exterior. Your perimeter pest control won't keep these pests out. You have to catch them before they hitch a ride with you.
Eggs: These are tiny, white, and about 1 mm long. You may see bed bug eggs as individuals or in small batches. They are typically found in tight spaces, creases, cracks, and crevices. We recommend using a credit card or a butter knife as a probing tool to inspect these places. It also helps to have a flashlight handy. While extremely small, they are visible with the naked eye—though it does help to have magnification.
Newly Hatched Nymphs: Bed bugs do not have a larval or pupal stage. They don't emerge from eggs as wiggly worms, maggots, or grubs. They are fully-formed insects, complete with three body parts and six legs. They are white like their eggs, unless they've had a blood meal. After taking a blood meal, a nymph will look like a tiny red insect because it stores the blood in its abdomen, which is much larger than its other two body parts.
Nymphs: As bed bugs grow, they become a tannish color. The coloration is the result of multiple blood meals. They are the shape of an apple seed, but smaller. They may appear red or black, red if they have had a blood meal recently and black if they have not. The black coloration is feces inside the nymphs.
Adult Bed Bugs: Once fully grown, a bed bug is about 4.5 mm long. It is reddish-brown and actually looks like an apple seed to a certain extent. After digesting a blood meal, adults will look black, even more so than a nymph. In some lighting conditions, you may think you're looking at black insects.
Bed bug detection and identification isn't straightforward because bed bugs have different appearances and they are very tiny. But, if you're aware of what to look for, you won't mistake one when you see it.
Signs Of A Bed Bug Infestation In Your Home
It is always best to catch a bed bug infestation early. These pests tend to stay close to their first feeding site until they grow a population. Once the population outgrows the first feeding site, they may get into walls to pass from one room to the next. It is often more costly to deal with bed bugs once they've gotten into the walls of a home. Keep watch for these early signs.
- Black spots on your covers, pillowcases, or sheets. Bed bugs leave their black feces as they travel. Examine your bedding when you get up and when you go to sleep. Do another check when you go to wash your sheets and pillowcases.
- Brown spots along with the black spots. Often, bed bugs excrete blood. These blood spots typically happen in the early evening and are no longer red by morning. They may also have black coloration due to mixing with fecal matter.
- Three bites. When one, or a few, adult bed bugs get into your home, you may only have one bug bite you at a time. Each bug is likely to bite three times in the night. Look for bites that are close to each other and in a line or zig-zag.
- A rash. When a bed bug lays eggs in your stuff, the eggs may hatch when you return home. The result is several nymphs looking for a blood meal. With each nymph biting three times, you'll have numerous bites all in one area and they will make a path across your skin. Initial bites aren't as bad as subsequent bites, so you might just think you have a bump rashy—not bug bites.
- Shed skins in cracks, creases, and crevices. Bed bugs shed their skins as they grow. These skins are yellowish and tiny. You'll need a credit card or some other device to probe for this warning sign.
- You may notice an unpleasant smell. The pheromones bed bugs excrete have an odor that some describe as resembling coriander.
When you detect bed bugs in your home, contact Hawk Mosquito & Pest for a bed bug treatment. We use industry-leading control methods to make sure no bed bugs remain in your home.
Ten Tips For Bed Bug Prevention
What do you do when you discover bed bugs while away from home? First, take a deep breath. It may not be as bad as you think. As we said earlier, bed bugs tend to stay close to their first feeding site. So, finding bed bugs in a hotel room does not mean the entire hotel has bed bugs. It is okay to stay in another room. Select a room that is not adjacent to the room where you found the bed bugs. Along with this, keep in mind that you can significantly reduce your chances of picking up these bugs if you use bed bug prevention. The following tips will help you before, during, and after you find bed bugs while away from home, and give you ongoing protection for your home when you aren't away.
1. Leave your bags in the vehicle or in the bathroom while you inspect your room. Doing so will help to prevent bed bugs from getting into them. Bed bugs aren't typically found in bathrooms, and they're definitely not going to be in your vehicle.
2. Always perform an inspection of your room. Use the tips we provided. The most important places to check are sheets, pillowcases, and mattress seams. Use your credit card to drag seams and bring signs to the surface.
3. Protect your bags. Storing luggage in a trash bag and sealing the top with a bread tie is the best way to keep bed bugs out. Some travelers swear by lavender. Bed bugs don't like the smell, but the real reason lavender works is that it masks the smell of you on the stuff in your bag. When you touch your things or wear your clothes, your scent gets on them, and they become attractive to bed bugs.
4. Protect your laundry. Bed bugs are strongly attracted to clothes that have been worn. Store laundry in a plastic bag to keep bed bugs out.
5. Use a luggage rack if one is available. Doing so will keep your luggage off the bed or floor and away from any bed bugs that might get the bright idea of trying to get into your stuff.
6. When you return home, wash all of your clothing in hot soapy water and put your clothing through a dryer cycle. High temperature and soap work to exterminate bed bugs in all stages of development.
7. Bed bugs can get into your home from other homes. Always check used furniture, electronics, and other household items you purchase.
8. Bed bugs can come home with your kids. Make sure you train your kids to detect bed bugs so they can stop these insects at sleepovers.
9. Bed bugs can be acquired at work or school. Refrain from putting book bags, briefcases, and clothing near those of other coworkers or students.
10. Perform routine inspections to catch bed bugs early.
Exterior perimeter protection is how you address most pests, but bed bugs are different. Bed bug prevention requires diligent effort. But you're not in this alone.
How To Keep Bed Bugs Away From Your Home Forever
If you have to maintain a home that is free of bed bugs, we can help. You can get routine bed bug checks from your Hawk MP technician. Reach out to Hawk Mosquito & Pest today. There is no way to keep bed bugs out of your home forever, but we can give you the best pest control solution to catch these pests early and limit their impact.