An itchy threat from the past is slowly but surely coming back to our modern world – bed bugs.
Bed bugs were a usual part of American life until 1939 when Swiss chemist Paul Hermann Muller developed a strong pesticide called DDT, which was highly effective at killing insects. DDT was able to keep our homes and hotels bed bug-free for decades and for a long time we took a good night’s sleep for granted.
However, a bed bug resurgence has been observed since 2000, caused by multiple factors. On the one hand, new strains of pesticide-resistant bed bugs have emerged. DDT was banned in the 70s due to its toxicity, and meanwhile, the increase in air travel both domestically and internationally helped to spread resistant bed bugs.
Additionally, not everyone is allergic to bed bugs and some people can live with them without even noticing. In the meantime, these people are unwillingly helping to spread the pest to other homes.
Looking for a bed bug exterminator in NYC is no longer a matter of the past, but it can be a very current and pressing problem. Even if you have never been affected by bed bugs, we advise you to carefully read our guide in order to avoid these annoying, blood-thirsty, and difficult-to-eliminate insects.
How Do You Recognize Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small, oval-sized, and brownish insects that feed on the blood of animals and humans. They can be hard to observe because they are active at night only. They bite people while they are sleeping and feed by piercing the skin, injecting a mild anesthetic, and withdrawing blood through an elongated beak. Every feeding session lasts anywhere between 3 to 10 minutes until the insect is engorged and disappears without being noticed.
Mosquito or flea bites can easily be mistaken for bed bug bites, so let’s see exactly what the signs of a bed bug infestation are:
- Blood stains on your sheets and pillowcases;
- Dark or rusty spots on sheets, mattresses, bedclothes and walls – these are bed bug excrements;
- Eggshells and shed skins in crevices where bed bugs hide;
- The presence of a musty odor secreted by the bed bugs’ scent glands;
- The actual presence of bed bugs, which may be confused with other household insects.
How Do Bed Bugs Grow and Reproduce?
Bed bugs are not able to fly but crawl quickly on floors, walls, and ceilings.
Bed bugs need blood meals to be able to reproduce. A female will lay between 5 and 7 eggs per week and 200-500 eggs in her life if she has access to food. Eggs are minuscule, the size of a speck of dust, and hatch in 10 days.
In order for juvenile bed bugs to thrive, the insects in the nymph stage of development need to shed their skins five times. Bed bugs need five meals of blood for each shedding in order to become adults, and if they have favorable conditions, the process lasts as little as one month.
Bed bugs do not have nests like other social insects, but they also live in groups, in hiding places such as mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards. From there, they can spread to other crevices and migrate to nearby rooms and apartments.
How Do Bed Bugs Affect Our Health?
Bed bugs are a nuisance, but are not known to transmit diseases.
Some people do not even react to bed bug bites. For those who are allergic to bed bugs, bite marks appear within minutes or days in areas of the skin that are exposed during sleep. Bites cause small bumps or large itchy welts (without the central red dot we see in flea bites) and can be very itchy and irritating. The welts usually heal in a few days.
However, the anxiety about being bitten can cause sleeplessness and this affects one’s well-being and health in the long term. Anxiety can be reduced only by eliminating the pest effectively, with assistance from the Bed Bug Removal Company in New York.
How to Prevent Bed Bug Infestations
Bed bugs enter homes through infested luggage, clothing, used furniture, and other items. Because they have flattened bodies, bed bugs can easily fit into small spaces and pass unobserved.
Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are not necessarily found in filthy places. They can also be found in places with very good hygiene as long as they have a source of food available because they only live on blood.
A few precautionary measures include:
- Never bring furniture, box springs, mattresses, couches, and bed accessories found on the street into your home;
- Check used or rented furniture for bed bugs;
- Inspect the bed and upholstered furniture when traveling. Keep suitcases away from the bed and floor and check them for bed bugs before you leave;
- If you suspect you have come in contact with bed bugs, immediately wash your clothing at a high temperature or seal it in plastic bags until you can;
- Seal crevices in your home with caulk to prevent pests from coming in.
How to Eliminate Bed Bugs for Good
Anyone can get bed bugs. If you live in a block of apartments, notify the landlord and other tenants, because the pest can spread to nearby properties, too.
Next, find a reliable Bed Bug Exterminator in NYC to make sure every single insect and egg is eliminated. Professional bed bug exterminators will usually take the following steps:
- Vacuuming thoroughly to reduce the bed bug population;
- Isolating the bed from the wall and the floor;
- Removing clutter where bed bugs can hide;
- Using pesticides that are not available to the general public but are safe when used according to instructions;
- Applying hot steam to infested areas;
- Recommending interceptors to be installed under bed and sofa legs.
How to Choose a Bed Bug Removal Company in New York
Getting rid of bed bugs can last days and even weeks. Choosing a reliable Bed Bug Exterminator in NYC is vital if you want the elimination process to be successful. Look at the following aspects when choosing a Bed Bug Removal Company in New York:
- They have trained, licensed pest management professionals (you can check their license at www.dec.ny.gov)
- You find the company through referrals, directories, or professional associations;
- They can detail their procedure when requested and admit that elimination requires at least two visits;
- The company quotes based on the inspection report and their price is not the cheapest;
- Their staff treat you with respect, offer advice, and work with you until the problem is solved.