Have questions about bed bugs? You’re not alone. Our pest control experts get questions from our customers everyday about how to know if they have bed bugs, how to treat bed bugs, and much more. View the table of contents below to learn more about bed bugs or find the answer to your specific question!
The following content was provided by Jamar Paige, one of our pest control heroes and bed bug experts here at Clegg’s Pest Control. Jamar has extensive experience dealing with bed bugs across North Carolina, in both residential and commercial buildings. Some relevant links have been added to audio transcripts to provide resources or additional information.
Table of Contents: Bed Bugs
Click on a question below to be taken directly to that answer and content.
- How do I know if I have bed bugs?
- What do bed bugs look like?
- What do bed bug bites look like?
- What are the signs of a bed bug infestation?
- Where do bed bugs come from? How did I get bed bugs?
- When should I call a bed bug exterminator?
- What happens during a bed bug inspection?
- What is the treatment for bed bugs?
- How does bed bug heat treatment work?
- How does liquid bed bug treatment work?
- Can bed bugs come back after treatment?
- How do I know if the bed bugs are gone?
- How can I prevent bed bugs?
- How can I protect my mattress and furniture from bed bugs?
- What bugs can be mistaken for bed bugs?
- Can I get bed bugs in my couch?
- What is the season for bed bugs? Are they more active at certain times of the year?
- How do I prepare my home for bed bug treatment?
- Bed bug treatment 30 day warranty
- Example of how homeowner can bring bed bugs into the home
- Jamar’s craziest bed bug story
Need help with a bed bug infestation? Contact us through the form below or give us a call to schedule your FREE initial inspection. Otherwise, continue reading below to learn more about bed bugs!
How do I know if I have bed bugs?
By the bed of course. Bed bugs definitely need a blood meal, so typically they’re going to be around the mattress, box springs, and any cracks and crevices of headboards, bed railings, screw holes, and areas of that nature.
What do bed bugs look like?
Bed bugs are reddish brown, long O-shaped bodies. Sometimes they could be the shape of an apple seed, they’re flat until they receive a blood meal. Once they receive a blood meal, they look like tiny little brown balloons, and they’re like fleas and ticks, they need a blood meal to survive. However, bed bugs can survive up to a year without a blood meal.
What do bed bug bites look like?
Bed bug bites are itchy, red, and normally in a line, usually three at a time. Unfortunately, people react differently. Some people aren’t even affected by bedbug bites and might not even have a reaction. A husband and wife can sleep in a bed together and the bed bugs might just feed on the husband and never touch the wife. So their bites can vary depending on what type of reaction you have, but typically, they’re red, they’re very itchy, and they’re in a line.
What are the signs of a bed bug infestation?
So after bed bugs feed and you see their blood meal, they leave fecal deposits on the seams that they crawl in back to their cracks and crevices. So typically when we’re doing an inspection, those are the things we’re looking for. Fecal deposits, cast skins, and even live bed bug activity in the seams of couches and mattresses and box frames.
So, when you’re looking for bed bugs and their cast skins, typically the cast skins are yellow in color, almost like when the bed bugs molt and shed, they leave behind that cast skin and the fecal deposits are these really fine black dots. And what that is, is the, of course, from when they’re feeding and receive their blood meal, as they’re crawling back, the fecal deposits and blood stains smear on the mattresses and box springs and bed sheets. A lot of times that’s a blood meal. If a person is like tossing and turning or turning over, sometimes the bed bugs get squashed and then you see blood deposits on pillowcases and things of that nature.
Where do bed bugs come from? How did I get bed bugs?
Well, bed bugs are hitchhikers. So when we go into places like airports, bus stations, train stations, bedbugs can hitch hike on your luggage. They can hitch hike in your briefcase, even on your personal items, such as pocket books. They can call into your pocket. And that’s how bed bugs are spread because they are excellent hitchhikers and can hide in the smallest cracks and crevices.
When should I call a bed bug exterminator?
A lot of times people ignore the first signs of bed bugs and that’s what causes extreme infestations. Either because they’re not sure what the bug is, or that they’re ashamed to say something about that. Bed bugs have no, it doesn’t matter if you have a lot of money, if you don’t have any money. We treated homes that were a million dollars for bed bugs. So, anyone can be affected by them.
What happens during a bed bug inspection?
The first thing we do is when we come into the home, we speak with the customer, ask them what they’ve been experiencing. Then we go to the bed, of course, and we check the mattress and the box spring. Typically, they’re going to hide in those cracks and crevices because they’re going to kind of stay close to where their blood meal is. A lot of times we find bed bugs in screw holes, so when we’re doing a bed bug inspection we’ll find bed bugs around the box spring and mattresses. We can dig a little deeper and check things like picture hangings, around lamps, dresser drawers, and things of that nature, anything that’s in the close proximity of sleeping quarters.
What is the treatment for bed bugs?
So there’s several options. Actually, there’s a liquid treatment that can be done to ward off bed bugs, and also we can do thermal treatments, which heats the home up to 140 degrees. It takes care of furniture, behind walls. So in the most extreme infestations, we highly recommend the thermal treatment, so we are able to eradicate the bed bugs that like to hide behind switch plate covers, behind cracks and crevices of baseboards, under hardwood floors. That’d be the best treatment. On a lighter scale, we can do a liquid application, to where we can treat the seams of the mattresses and box frames, treat the cracks and crevices of the headboards and bed railings, treat the cracks and crevices of the baseboards and carpeted areas. So there’s several options depending on the level of infestation.
How does bed bug heat treatment work?
So we use propane heat and we heat up to 140 degrees. Once we receive the right temperature of 140 degrees, we go back into the home and we move furniture around, couches, desk draws, beds, because bed bugs, at that point, are going to try to find a cool pocket to escape from that heat. So it is important that once we reached the right temperature, we go in and we move furniture around so the bugs not finding any cool pockets, and we hold that heat of 140 degrees for four hours. After that four hours, we come back in, we use a Pest vac, we will vacuum up any bed bugs that was left behind. And then we would do a 14 day followup to see if the problem was taken care of.
How does liquid bed bug treatment work?
We use a product specifically called TempridFX. TempridFX is not a repellent so the bed bugs cross through the product, and that’s how they come in contact with it. A lot of times, when we do a bed bug treatment, the customers say, “Hey, you guys came to the home. You did a bed bug treatment. I’ve seen bed bugs the next day.” Well, of course, that’s normal because the bed bugs have to come out of their hiding spots in order to come in contact with the chemical. So, for example, if the bed bugs are in the headboard and we treat the headboard, after the product has dried, they come out, they get into that product. And then therefore, once they’re infected with the product, that’s going to take care of that issue.
Can bed bugs come back after treatment?
Yes. As I stated before bed bugs are hitchhikers so it’s very important to be aware of where you’re at, where you’re sitting. Bed bugs cannot climb slick surfaces so I always recommend to clients, if you’re staying in a hotel, use the luggage racks, put your luggage on a luggage rack because the metal legs on it the bed bug can’t climb up. A lot of times people make mistakes. They check into a hotel room, they set their luggage on a bed, or they set it on the floor and we don’t recommend that. And we always recommend, as you check into the hotel, pull the sheets back, look for those signs of fecal deposits. Look for those signs of castings and they’re going to be into the seams and folds of the mattresses and box springs.
How do I know if the bed bugs are gone?
Yeah. So they say, “Well, how do you know all my bed bugs are gone?” Well, we have a canine department and we have a canine whose name is Rambo. And what we do is, if a customer’s unsure or wants reassurance, we’ll call in my canine and he will do an inspection to clear the home for the resident.
How can I prevent bed bugs?
Be aware of your surroundings. Wood furniture is notorious for having bed bugs in them. So I like to tell people all the time, buying second furniture hand can be a bad idea because you don’t know if it’s infested with the bugs until you bring them into the home. Because like I stated, they can go a year without a blood meal. So say for example, that furniture was sitting in a thrift store or warehouse for six months. You bring it home. Now, you just affected your home with bed bugs. So it’s important just to understand and to know certain things to look for before bringing furniture into the home. We offer a service here at Clay’s Pest Control that we’ll do fumigation as well. So for example, if there were bedbugs in mattresses or box springs or used furniture, we offer a service, you can put that stuff in a U-Haul, bring it to our local office and our fumigator will fumigate the bedbugs right there in the trailer, and that’s a hundred percent eradication whenever he’s using fumigate.
How can I protect my mattress and furniture from bed bugs?
So we just try to give our customers tips that they, can do. For example, putting your mattress and your box spring in an approved bed bug encasement that helps preserve your mattress. We understand that some mattresses can be upwards to $1,200, and we hate for you to have to discard your mattress so in order to preserve that $1,200 mattress, we recommend putting it in an encasement. And if there’s an extreme infestation in your furniture, like I stated before, it can be loaded into a Uhaul, brought to our office. You treat it all at one time. And that saves the customer money. So they don’t have to replace all their furniture because a lot of times I’ve run into situations that customers don’t know that we offer that service and they throw all their furniture out. Now they have to have the cost of, of course the treatment and replacing all their furniture. And we understand that that can be very expensive. So we try to offer services that will help them with the financial side of the bed bug epidemic.
What bugs can be mistaken for bed bugs?
Typically, carpet beetles are mistaken for bed bugs a lot, because carpet beetles are the type of bug that will get around your mattress and box frames. So a lot of times people mistake carpet beetles for bedbugs.
Can I get bed bugs in my couch?
Oh, absolutely. Bedbugs will typically hang out wherever humans will rest or sleep. So a couch is an ideal place also for bedbug activity.
What is the season for bed bugs? Are they more active at certain times of the year?
Well, so that heat has to be 140 degrees in order to kill a bed bug. So there’s no particular season for them. Even when we’re dealing with the 102 degree temperatures on the outside, most people homes are climate controlled, so they’re not having that extreme heat on the inside of their property. So, there’s no particular season for bed bugs. We deal with bed bugs every season, they just don’t go away.
How do I prepare my home for bed bug treatment?
Okay. So there’s two different prep sheets. There’s one for the liquid, of course, and there’s one for the thermal. For the liquid treatment, we recommend that you wash and dry your clothes on high heat, bag them up and take them out of the home before we arrive to do the treatment. Of course, you need to have your linens and things stripped off your bed, any furniture pulled away from the wall, outlet covers taken off so we can apply insecticide and dust behind the outlet voids. We recommend vacuuming before we come, because vacuuming will remove any cast skins or eggs, because we know at this point, hey, you have bed bugs so these are the things that need to be done in order for us to come in and rid you of these parasites.
Bed bug treatment 30 day warranty
We offer a 30 day warranty on all our bed bug treatments. And the reason why we offer the 30 day warranty, because we know that bed bugs can be introduced back into the home very easily.
Example of how homeowner can bring bed bugs into the home
Sure. So we was treating a home for bed bugs and I was receiving several callback services for treatment. So I noticed a gentleman had a backpack and he used to, every time we show up to do the service, he would leave with his backpack and then come back. So after a couple of treatments, once I noticed that, I arrived and he was there with his backpack, I caught him before he was able to leave the property and I said, “Well sir, do you mind if I take a look inside your backpack?” And when I inspected his backpack, there were hundreds of bed bug eggs and thousands of bed bugs, just in the bottom of the backpack. Once we discarded that backpack and retreated the property, the bed bug situation went away. So it was important that people understand that bed bugs don’t always have to be on your bed. They can be in a purse, they can be in a briefcase, they can be in a backpack, they can be in books. I mean, there’s so many different places where they can hide.
So we recommend…declutter. That’s the best way to deal with bed bugs because the more clutter you have in your home, the more hiding spaces they have. And with our program, we send out a prep sheet on things that the customer needs to do to prepare before we come and when the last service. If that prep sheet is not followed, that can cause our treatment to fail. Not because the product didn’t work, but the things that we needed done, wasn’t done. So there’ve been times that I’ve arrived to bed book treatments, and I had to say, “Hey, I can’t do this today because there’s still more prep work that needs to be done before we could start the service.” Once the prep is completed, we have a very great success rate with dealing with bed bugs.
Jamar’s craziest bed bug story
Oh wow. Crazy bedbug story. Okay, well, I got one for you. It was a group home and infestation was so severe that it took me and four other technicians to go in and treat the home for it. We had to have full Tyvek suits on and respirators. It was a three story house, so the bed bug infestation was so severe that there were bedbugs literally in the basement. It wasn’t a finished basement, there was no one staying down there or anything. But the bedbugs got so out of hand and it went so long, I think the customer said that they’ve been dealing with this issue for five years before they contacted anyone.