Bed bugs can live from 4 months to a year. They can survive several weeks to several months without feeding depending on their life stage and environmental conditions. Nymphs must feed more often because they must molt five times before reaching maturity. However, they can live for at least a few weeks without feeding. Adult bed bugs will try to feed in regular intervals (every 3 to 7 days), but they can survive for about 5 months without a blood meal. However, because bed bug infestations can spread rapidly you could have new bites every night.
Female bed bugs can lay 2-7 eggs per week and up to 500 eggs in a lifetime solely after one mating occurrence. She attaches them to surfaces with a cement-like adhesive so they stay safe until they hatch. Each bed bug takes 7-10 days to hatch and another 5 to 6 weeks to develop into an adult. A bed bug egg is about the size and color of a grain of salt so is very difficult for a human to find. A trained canine can locate eggs and all stages of the life cycle. If called early, a canine team can provide early detection before there is an infestation!
Although bed bugs can hide and travel on people from one place to another- like from a public area to your home- but they do not like to hang out on skin or hair. Bed bugs prefer to next somewhere out of sight when they are not feeding. If you frequently find bugs crawling on you throughout the day, there’s a good chance you are dealing with fleas or lice, not bed bugs.
Bed bugs and be found anywhere humans inhabit from houses to places of business. Some examples include hotel rooms, hospitals, retirement homes, apartments, cruise ships, libraries, doctor offices, movie theaters, and family homes. Most bed bugs like to live close to their human hosts and are therefore found in made-made structures close to areas where people sit or sleep—such as beds, bed frames, bedding, carpet, couches, chairs—as well as nearby areas such as nightstands, baseboards, pictures, electrical outlets, and even inside telephones.
Bed bugs are NOT attracted to dirt and grime. They are attracted to warmth, blood, and carbon dioxide (which is why they often feed while humans are sleeping). Clutter does not attract them, but offers them more hiding spots and can make them more difficult to find.
Bed bugs are very efficient and effective travelers. They hitchhike on personal belongings such as furniture, clothing, purses, backpacks, books, luggage and even on humans. If you visit a place that has bed bugs they can crawl onto your belongings or person and then be transferred to anywhere you travel. Bed bugs do not discriminate and prefer comfortable environments. They can be at 5 star hotels just as easily as a budget hotel. Once they infect an area they can spread to adjacent rooms by crawling into open spaces such as vents, electrical outlets or under doors.
Adult bed bugs are oval, wingless and rusty red colored. They have flat bodies, antennae and small eyes. They are visible to the naked eye but often hide in cracks and crevices, making them difficult to find. Bed bug eggs and nymphs are smaller than adults and harder to see. Canines can detect the scent of eggs and every stage of the life cycle, even in their best hiding places.
You might have bites similar to mosquito bites. They are often in a line where you were sitting or lying down. There could be rusty colored fecal spotting. It may also look like marks from a black sharpie point. Adult bed bugs are visible and are often seen in the crevices of mattresses and in box springs. At each nymph stage, they molt so you may find skin castings. If there is a large infestation you might smell a musty odor from their sweat glands. A trained canine is able to locate them using smell at any stage of the life cycle and even when only a few bugs are present.
Always check the mattress, box springs, and headboard for signs of bed bugs. Keep your suitcase on a luggage rack, coffee table or in the bathtub. If possible, keep all luggage in the bathroom as bed bugs are less likely to live in a tiled area. Keep your clothes in the suitcase and store dirty clothes in a bag off the floor. When using public transportation or visiting theaters, doctor’s offices, etc., be sure to check the seating areas for signs of bed bugs. Choose metal or plastic chairs instead of cloth chairs whenever possible.
The most important and first step is to determine if you have bed bugs and the extent of their infestation. A canine team can help identify areas that need to be treated as well as those that don’t. A canine can also help determine the extent of the infestation to help you make treatment decisions.
According to the EPA, Bed bugs are challenging to get rid of since they hide so well and reproduce so quickly. In addition, the egg stage is resistant to many forms of treatment so a single attempt may not be sufficient.
Steps to rid yourself of bedbugs