Dealing with bed bugs is unpleasant and problematic—and unfortunately a not uncommon issue in Queens, NY. If left unchecked, a single bed bug sighting can quickly become an infestation. The best way to prevent an infestation is to identify the problem early and call an exterminator before it gets out of control. Knowing what to look for will help you avoid bringing bed bugs home—and help you spot them before they spread further.
What do Bed Bugs Look Like?
A bed bug is a small, flat, oval-shaped insect similar in size and shape to an apple seed. An adult bed bug grows to approximately ¼ inch long and is a red-brown color. They do not have wings.
Bed bugs have three stages of life: egg, nymph, adult. They must be eradicated in all forms for a successful extermination. Newly hatched nymphs are much smaller and can be more difficult to spot. They are about the size of the head of a pin and are lighter in color until they feed.
How Do You Get Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are just as likely to infest a spotless house as a messy one. They are most often transported by humans in personal belongings such as luggage and purses. Bed bugs cannot fly or jump, but they can move quickly and often hide in bags and outerwear without being noticed. They then hitchhike to new locations where they can spread quickly. A single female can lay as many as 500 eggs in her lifetime, so even just a couple of bugs can cause an infestation. That’s why it’s best to have an exterminator handle the problem as quickly as possible.
Some of the most common places to find bed bugs are hotels and public transportation. But infestations can occur almost anywhere, from offices to gyms to schools. Eggs hatch within 6 to 17 days, which means that even if you kill the adult bug, an infestation can happen as much as two weeks later. Though they rarely have to, adult bed bugs can survive a year without feeding. This means that they can survive long trips on luggage and live in empty rooms for extended periods of time.
Signs of Bed Bug Bites
Bed bugs feed exclusively on blood and prefer human blood over animals. Bites are most often found on skin that is exposed during sleep including hands, feet, legs, arms, necks, and faced. Bites sometimes occur in small groups or in a line or zigzag pattern.
The size of the bite will vary from person to person as everyone reacts differently. Bites usually appear as small, flat, or slightly raised areas that become inflamed, red, and itchy. The bites themselves are not painful, and it may take a few days for symptoms to develop. This can make it difficult to pinpoint exactly when bites occur.
Where Do Bed Bugs Hide?
Bed bugs can easily hide in small cracks and crevices. They are most often found in the seams of mattresses or inside box springs. But they also hide in small spaces such as under door frames, in electrical outlets or vents, and behind baseboards.
But even if you don’t see a live bug, there are still ways to spot an infestation. They leave small dark spots on mattresses and linens, as well as reddish bloodstains where bugs have been crushed. You may want to call the exterminator if you see those things as well as any pale-yellow skins that nymphs shed as they grow larger.