You are probably aware that your yard is filled with living creatures. Worms and bugs live in your soil. Birds live in the trees. Rodents and other wildlife scurry around in your landscaping. Insects buzz in the air. Around your home is a complex ecosystem of living creatures, all of which can accidentally become pests. Rodents can chew their way through weatherstripping and slip inside. Spiders can squeeze in through gaps around your pipes. Ants can get in through the tiniest of gaps around your window frames. Flying insects can find their way in through holes in your screens. With proper pest control, you can create a barrier to prevent these living creatures from getting in. This is not the case with bed bugs. These insects present a somewhat unique pest problem. Here's what you need to know.
The Problem With Bed Bugs
From the dawn of time, bed bugs have been living with humans. It is extremely rare to find bed bugs in nature. They live almost exclusively with us. So your efforts to seal your exterior walls to prevent pests from getting in will not help in keeping bed bugs out.
What Used to Keep Bed Bugs Out?
If you were born before 1990, you may not remember bed bugs being a problem here. Why is this? Back in the 1940s, a product called DDT was created and widely used to eliminate pests. But it was found that DDT had a harmful impact on human health over long periods, so it was banned by the government. This decision has made us healthier as a nation but has also allowed bed bugs to return and plague us once more.
What Works Now to Keep Bed Bugs Out?
While DDT was an easy fix, it was not a healthy fix. In this modern age of technology and information, we have learned a better way to address pest issues such as bed bug infestations. It takes a little more effort but protecting the health of our families is worth the extra effort. We now rely on detection, behavioral modifications, and effective treatments to manage many pest threats.
If you know what a bed bug looks like and what warning signs they give, you'll have a better chance of preventing a bed bug infestation from taking root in your home. Use these as a guide:
- You've probably seen an image of a bed bug on the news. They are seed-shaped, rusty brown insects with crease lines on their abdomens. But all bed bugs don't look like this. If you see a bed bug feeding on your skin, it won't look like this at all. Those rusty brown bed bugs are adult bed bugs, which only come out at night when CO2 levels rise. Bed bugs that feed on you while you are awake are more likely to be pale or tan in coloration. These are pre-adult bed bugs. So, if you see a pale, six-legged insect with a bright red abdomen feeding on your skin, take note that it is a bed bug.
- When bed bugs infest a location, you may be able to tell by noticing the presence of black fecal matter, black streaks, dried blood stains, shed skins, tiny white eggs or the presence of these tiny insects crawling around. If an infestation is large enough, you may notice a musky smell.
This is a sciency way of saying, "taking steps to prevent pest problems." Here are a few ways you can modify your behavior to keep bed bugs out of your home:
- Bed bugs are drawn to clothing that has been worn. If you, or someone else in your home, stays the night somewhere, be sure to put laundry items in a sealed bag to prevent bed bugs from laying eggs in these items.
- If you purchase a used item, do a detailed inspection for bed bugs, especially mattresses, box springs, and upholstered furniture. Do an inspection of sleeping bags, duffle bags, pillowcases, and other items used on sleepovers.
If you detect bed bugs on an item that can be put in your dryer, placing that item in the dryer for 30 minutes can kill bed bugs in all stages of development. When you return from a trip, it is always a good precaution to run everything through a hot wash and hot dryer cycle.
Being on the lookout for bed bugs and knowing how to make it harder for bed bugs to infest your home can prevent an infestation. It takes a little work but it is worth the effort.
If an infestation does takes root, remember that Dan's Property Services is standing by to assist you with industry-leading bed bug control. Reach out to us today for immediate assistance.