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Bedbug bites
Bed Bug Bites on Face

Bed Bug Bites on Face

Bedbug bites are much more common than they were just a few short decades ago. While it used to be a cute saying when kissing your child good night, “Don’t Let the Bed bugs bite”, today it can now be a legitimate warning.

First of all, you must decide if these truly are bedbug bites, and not a spider, or an ant, or a mosquito, or a flea. The best way to figure that out is to actually search out and find the bed bug infestation if you have one. There are numerous tools and ways that you can establish this.  First off, you can inspect your sleeping area. If its a couch, or a dorm room, or a bedroom, this is more than likely the places they will feed. The bed bug wants to typically remain within 10 feet or less of where it will feed. That means that they will come out from their hiding place (almost always at night) and scurry over, and take a blood meal, and then go into hiding again. Here are a few dorm room ideas to help with or show an infestation if it exists. If in doubt, and bedbug bites happen, contact the school and let them know your concerns.

How to Find Bed Bugs? Where do Bed Bugs Hide? Here is a study from University of Kentucky showing  the distribution of where they found bed-bugs in 13 infested apartments.

Here is a list of the top areas where bedbugs are typically found.

Top 8 Places to Find Bed Bugs.

1. Box Springs ….almost 35% .

2. Couch or Chair….almost 23%.

3. Mattress ….about 22.5% .

4. Frame/Headboard….about 13.4%.

5. Walls and Ceilings….about 2.3%.

6. Night stand or dresser…about .2%.

7. Base board areas…..1.4%.

8. Other …..3.1%.

If you have bedbug bites, it is imperative that you find the infestation and try to eliminate it. These bugs can travel in luggage (check out this cool new luggage idea to try and help stop bed bug movement). There are many pictures of bedbug bites and bed bugs on this site so spend some time educating yourself on what you should be looking for. You may want to try some of the ideas we have listed here, or if you are not sure you are comfortable doing so, you may want to contact a Pest Control Professional who can help identify your problem. In either case, you could see that bedbug bites often occur in 3’s . Often people in the industry will describe this as Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. That is because you will often get multiple bites from one bug. Sometimes bedbug bites can cause an allergic reaction in some people while hardly bothering others. Bites can become infected if being scratched and it just makes sense to make sure you eliminate the bedbug bites problem. Whether you choose to try it yourself, or you bring in a professional, you need to get busy and take care of the problem.

Can Bed Bugs Fly
Can Bed Bugs Fly

Can Bed Bugs Fly

       This is one of the many myths and misconceptions that will often get perpetuated.  While the answer to can bed bugs fly is No, it could also be yes.  Although the bed-bug has no wings that actually work, it does have vestigial front wings that are more like pads.

Bedbugs cannot fly in the normal sense of the word. They don’t take flight by themselves but they are well known to travel in luggage or clothing that has been in infested areas. They can fly in First Class, Coach, or in the luggage section of the plane.

When we travel we carry a bed bug kit of sorts with us. We bring a flashlight, bed bug traps, pillow encasement and mattress encasement. You may want to consider a crib encasement if your child is young and in a crib.

Bedbugs typically want to hide during the daylight hours and normally try to take a blood meal at night. Bed bugs don’t jump on passersby but they can attach to just about anything that you drop onto an infested area. Luggage (here is an interesting product.. heated luggage to try and help combat bed bugs) on an infested bed or clothes dropped on that hotel bed can be a one way ticket back to your home for the bed-bug. Since the mating process is very traumatic for the female bed bug, she typically will try and remove herself from the colony. This often means that the bed bug that climbed into your baggage is a pregnant female who is looking for a new opportunity to colonize. The female can store the male bed bug sperm long term and can actually become pregnant once she finds a suitable location.

While they do not have operable wings, the question can bed bugs fly is actually …yes. They fly all over the world all the time. They travel from country to country and city to city. They can infest poor homes, nice hotels, cheap hotels, college dorms, your house, your neighbors’ house, or anywhere they find a suitable place. They do want a blood meal in order to be able to develop and populate. This means that they are looking to be near a food source such as a human or animal. (they do prefer humans).

Can bed bugs fly…the answer is actually …no. They cannot achieve flight by themselves. Only by hitchhiking on an unsuspecting traveler or host can they actually fly. And fly they do. As reported cases of bed-bug infestations climb, their numbers are obviously increasing.

Make sure to always bring a small flashlight with you when traveling in order to inspect the bed and the room where you will be staying. Look in cracks of beds, wallpaper, headboards, floorboards, box springs, and the mattress and bedding. Should you find bed bugs, ask for another room and inspect it too. If you are uncomfortable, move on to another hotel…but you have to inspect it too. While the answer to the question Can bed bugs fly, is no…they still do travel very well.

Bed Bites

How emotionally draining must it be when someone is compelled to search the internet for Bed bites? You can almost feel the stress that someone may be under when they type in that search term. Please…oh Please…oh Please….Don’t let it be bedbugs they are probably thinking.

Maybe they are totally oblivious to the bed bug explosion throughout the world. If it is bed-bugs in their situation, they are in for an education that we all hope to never experience. Bed Bugs Gone Completely Wild …is a great read to help you understand the problem should you want to know more about bed bites.

While it is unlikely you will need to burn the house down as some of the media hype might make someone think, there is a lot of work to be done in order to manage an infestation of Cimex lectularius (bed-bugs).

First of all, Do Not Panic.

Bed bites could be mosquitoes, or fleas, or a spider bite,or some other insect that you were not aware bit you. Bed bites could be from any of several sources. Here is a product that a lot of people have used for  bites with some success. See reviews.

The best way to know, is to correctly identify the insect if there are Bedbugs present. You can see many pictures of bed bugs on this site. It is not normally a good way to diagnose bed-bugs by just looking at the bites. However , bed bugs will often bite multiple times in one area. Three times is pretty consistent. Some call it…breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Bed bites in groups of three, sometimes more could point to bed-bugs.

If you think it could be bed bugs….Check your home and see if you have an infestation. You can begin by taking a flashlight and looking at your mattress, box springs, and all bedding. Look in all crevices in and around the bed or area where you or others sleep. Be sure to check cracks in walls, behind base boards and walls and mostly in areas within 10 feet of where you sleep. Night stands, tables, screw heads, and anywhere they can squeeze into is a possible hiding place for bed bugs. Pick up and clean up any clutter around the bed area and inspect it for bed bugs too.  You can usually tell because you will see reddish rusty looking dots, or black spots, exoskeletons, and possibly live bugs. They are often described as flat and similar to the size of an apple seed. When engorged after feeding they will be a reddish brown in color.

If in doubt, check with a licensed Pest Control Professional to perform an inspection. They may also be a good option for you should your home need treatment to eliminate an infestation. Nobody should have to endure Bed Bites in their own home. Some folks find that it is helpful to use a pillow encasement and mattress encasement to help protect their pillow, box spring, and mattress.

If the pest control company does not find Bed Bugs, then you need to look for other possible culprits…and a professional company should be able to assist you with that too. Bite Back is another good read written by a Pest Control operator in New York.

Signs of Bed Bugs

If only those were the actual Signs of Bed Bugs. Instead, bedbugs will typically sneak out at night, feed on you, and sneak back into hiding. Their goal would be to leave no signs as they are nocturnal feeders who hide during the day.

Although it’s not uncommon to find the lone bug away from the group, usually you will find infestations where many bugs are trying to hide together. Once you understand what to look for, it’s very possible to see the signs of bed bugs, and if you do have a Cimex Lectularius (Bed Bugs) problem.

So if these guys are not usually out during the day, they are feeding on me at night, and they hide during the day, how do I know if I have a problem or not?

Here are some indicators.

Signs of Bed Bugs

Since bed-bugs are drawn to carbon monoxide from their sleeping hosts, they usually feed during the night. They will consume a blood meal during the day however if in a heavily infested area. These opportunistic little guys will feed on other animals too, but prefer to feed on humans. It takes them up 10 minutes to feed and engorge themselves. Once they have fed, they will move to an area to hide for up to 10 days.

-Do you have numerous bite marks or reactions on your skin that you cannot explain. If so, these could be signs of bed bugs. However, it could also be fleas, spiders, mosquitoes or any other of the myriad of biting insects. If it is ongoing, or multiple bites, or you have an allergic reaction or infections, or you just want to make sure, it might make sense to go see your doctor.

-Rusty brown or black dots on the sheets or mattress or box spring or bedding. If present, Bedbug feces will often leave spots in the area where you or others sleep. These are common signs of bed bugs.

-The actual bugs themselves can be found in a hiding place such as cracks and crevices. They have 6 legs, and become red-brown after a blood meal. Adult bed-bugs which haven’t fed will be a rusty brownish to mahogany color. Use a flashlight and inspect the bed, the bedding, and any furniture around the area of the bed. ( Always bring a small flashlight with you when traveling so you can check any rooms before you stay in them for signs of bed bugs). Bed bugs are usually flat if they have not had a recent blood meal. Some describe them as the size of apple seeds or small watermelon seeds.

-Since the females can lay hundreds of eggs during a lifetime, it is possible you may see an infestation with….eggs(while difficult to see as they are transparent and small) nymphs, bugs, exoskeletons, and bed bug feces, mixed together. It may make sense to bring an encasement with you for a crib if you use one.

-Moltings or exoskeletons are typically in the mix also as a bedbug must molt 5x on its way to adulthood. This usually takes about 21 days. These appear as cast off tan/yellowish exoskeletons. Some people like to keep all of their clothing in large double zipper plastic bags when traveling so as not to make it easy to pick up hitch hikers. It also makes sense to bring a small travel flash light with you too to check for the above signs of bed bugs.

The Signs of bedbugs will be there…if you have a problem, and you know how to read the signs. Here is a good resource in order to help you learn and understand more about the signs of bed bugs and what they mean to you.

Can You See Bed Bugs

   Can You See Bed Bugs is a very common and reoccurring question. Sadly it belies the fact that people are uncomfortable with even the concept that these guys could be present. What is more than likely running through the mind of the person asking is…. Do I have a bed bug problem and if so, how do I know. They are thinking…if I can see bugs at a hotel or a public place, then more than likely, I can avoid them.

They may wonder, what is this red bump on my neck. This may lead them to believe that maybe  I really do have a problem. If so, then maybe I brought them back with me from that trip I took to Washington DC last month or from Chicago the month before that. Expanding furthermore, the thought process is…Gosh, if I can know where these insects are and how to find them, then I can know to avoid that hotel or that city that I keep hearing has an infestation problem.

   So the answer to the question Can You See Bed Bugs,  is Yes…. however the answer to the question is also No. How can that be you may ask. Because that is how these insects are built and have survived for a millennium. These little guys are very shy and hide during the day. They don’t want to be seen. They are wired to do everything they can to not be found. However, if you go out and look in the right places, you can likely find them if you have an infestation problem. Here is a really good resource to help you learn a lot more about bed bugs and what they look like.

   To find these bugs, it helps to know a little bit about how they feed and where they usually like to live. Its well known that Bed Bugs prefer to typically remain within about 10 feet or less of where there blood host will be sleeping. Although they can move up to 100 feet in a nighttime, they tend to try and live near where they will be feeding at night. Many folks use bed bug traps under their bed to help them try and find a problem.

   It is easier to find them when you know what you are looking for and where to be looking for them. Sometimes, its easier to see the indicators of an infestation once you know what you are looking for. Rust colored dots are a pretty good indicator that you may have bugs present. As they feed, they excrete blood infused droppings that will often appear rusty brownish on the sheets, blankets, bedspreads and mattress/box springs. Sometimes an engorged adult may be crushed recently while one sleeps and that will show more as a reddish blood spot. Since a bed that has bed bugs can very easily host a population with both nymphs and adults it means that you can see them more easily. The adults can be seen by the naked eye,, and are typically up to about 1/4 of an inch long. They appear somewhat flat unless they have had a recent blood meal at which time they will appear reddish purple and engorged. You will typically see them in the cracks, crevices, and tight areas in or around the bed area and during the daytime. They feed at night on unsuspecting hosts and then hide in these areas during the daytime.  Look where they hide…that’s the best way to see Bed Bugs if you have them. Use a flashlight especially when traveling.

Bed Bug Rash

Is this a Bed Bug Rash?  Ouch!  This stuff is driving me crazy. My arms and hands and neck are red, they are swollen, they itch, and whatever it is, its driving me nuts!

While I’m no doctor… you may want to go see yours. If it is a Bed Bug Rash, you are going to have to find the little buggers and eliminate them. If not, then you should make sure your doctor knows you are having some kind of reaction. It is important to understand that there can be many causes of bite like physical reactions. You need to find out what is causing your mystery rash. These bugs use their sharp beak to pierce the hosts skin and then inject their saliva into the host. Their saliva has an anticoagulant that makes it easier to feed. It also acts as an anesthetic so the victim does not feel the bite. While some people will have little or almost no reaction to their bite, many folks complain of a rash, raised welts, and bites 3 in a row. This is because bed bugs have a tendency to feed in the same spot more than once. These bites can become infected especially if scratched consistently, and can become itchy and red. Some people complain that these areas can become welts that blister and can leave scars. A bed bug rash can be anywhere in between.

How can you tell if you have a bed bug rash and not just some other insect bite? …. The best way is to try and find the insect. Since these bug bites affect people differently, it could sometimes take a while to show up in some people, but more quickly in other people. You may have gotten bit a few days ago in that really nice hotel you stayed in or maybe it was 14 days ago in that youth hostel you stayed in. Maybe you took them home with you and now you have an infestation in your own home and a nice bed bug rash to go with it.

How do you know if you have a bed bug infestation at home?  The first thing to understand is that these guys feed at night. So it makes the most sense to check where you sleep. A good idea is to read up on bed bug infestations and there are many great bed bug books available here.

Bed bugs rarely travel more than 10 feet from where they feed so it should be pretty easy to spot an infestation if you have one. Cracks and crevices…..let me repeat….Cracks and crevices.  These buggers don’t want to be found. They are doing all they can to stay out of your way in the daytime and come out and feed on you when you go to sleep at night.Since you will likely not ever feel them feeding, you must look for them where they hide.  Let me repeat…Cracks and Crevices.  Bed coverings where they form creases, box springs, mattresses, backs of head boards, book shelves, spaces between base boards and walls, cracks in the wall, under bed stands where cracks form or out in of the way corners. Glue traps and other methods of discovering bed bugs presence can be used to assist in the process of finding bed bugs. A bed bug rash is the last thing you want to let you know that you have a bed-bug problem.

bed bug feces

The last thing you want to see when you check into your hotel room is Bed Bug Feces on the sheets. How do you know if these are droppings from Cimus Lectularius (bed bugs)…?

Most droppings or Bed Bug Feces would be described as being a reddish rusty brown in color although sometimes they may appear black too. However one of the other “droppings” that these little bugs create is their exoskeletons that they grow out of as they develop into adulthood. There will usually be quite a few of these too if you are seeing a growing and active infestation. Why? Because it takes about 5 Blood feedings and follow up molts in order for a nymph to reach adulthood. As they grow, they shed their outer exoskeleton.  The Bed Bug feces usually still contains some blood material so it will often leave reddish rust colored marks on bed covers, box springs, mattresses and the like. Any engorged adults that may get crushed during sleep time could leave more of a reddish color. So really when someone states that they see bed bug droppings, they are likely seeing a combination of bed bug feces and if in a hiding spot with an active infestation, bugs and exoskeletons too.

Since these insects are nocturnal…they are going to be hiding during the day and feeding during the night when they can find a blood meal. They will normally feed close to where they hide but they do have the ability to move about 100 feet in a nighttime if they need to.

The good news is that they do not jump or fly so they must either crawl or hitchhike to their destinations.  They aren’t going to leap up onto you as you walk by. The bad news is that they will go with you in your luggage and set up residence back at your house if you are not careful. If you travel and see signs of bed bugs such as droppings or bed bug feces in a hotel room, inform the management, and ask for another room, or find another hotel. Today’s reality however is that a seedy hotel or an elegant hotel could both be at risk for bed bugs.  Since bed bugs travel in clothes, luggage and materials being moved in and out of rooms, it is very possible that any room you walk into could have had these insects introduced into it. Most hotels are aware of the problem and typically do all they can to avoid the situation. The last thing the hotel  wants  to do is have you find bed bug feces in the room and to appear on a bed bug report on the internet.  Bugs are bad for business!  Here is a good read to help shed more light on the subject.

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