Bed Bug Control - New England, MA, CT, RI, ME

General Information

Although once greatly reduced in developed countries, bed bugs once again present a growing problem to urbanized nations , particularly in densely populated areas like New England. The common bed bug, scientific name, Cimex lectulariusL., is prevalent throughout the world but thrives in crowded regions with apartment complexes, hotels, public housing, and other buildings where people sleep collectively. The recent surge in bed bug infestations in New England is largely attributed to the growing popularity and ease of international travel. Other common names for the bed bug include the mahagony flat and red coat.

Appearance

Bed Bugs Identification
Bed Bugs (click for high res)

What do bed bugs look like? An adult bed bug is small and wingless, with flat, reddish-brown bodies shaped like ovals and measures about 1/5 inch long (7 mm) and 1/8 inch wide (about 4 mm). Bed bug bodies feature three legs on each side and two antennae above a pair of small eyes. Adult specimens are roughly the size of an apple seed, while maturing nymphs are smaller and lighter in color. The parasitic insects expand greatly and turn a reddish color after feeding, a direct result of the blood they consume to survive.

Habits

Bed bugs are nocturnal creatures that emerge at night to feed. During the day, the pests take refuge in a variety of places. Small, flat bodies enable the insects to hide in and around bed frames and headboards, box springs, mattress seams, and cracks and crevices in walls and floors. Unable to fly, bed bugs can nonetheless move rapidly across ceilings, floors, and walls. The insects often hide in briefcases, clothes, luggage, purses, or other objects scattered near beds, making it easy for travelers to unwittingly carry the bugs from one location to another.

Diet

Classified as parasites, bed bugs feed exclusively on the blood of humans and other animals, usually at night while the hosts sleep. Though, humans are the preferred host of the common bed bug. The insects boast elongated mouths similar to beaks that puncture the skin of sleeping host animals and extract blood. Bed bugs typically feed for three to 10 minutes at a time. Though typically feeding several nights a week, adult specimens have the ability to survive for a year or longer without eating.

Reproduction

Fully developed female bed bugs can lay between one and five eggs each day and often produce hundreds of eggs over the course of their lives. Difficult to find without intense scrutiny, bed bug eggs are roughly equal in size to specks of dust. Upon hatching, nymphs emerge and develop by molting their skin several times before attaining full maturity. Prior to each molt, nymphs must consume a blood meal. The insects can reach adulthood in as little as a month, with females sometimes producing upwards of three generations of offspring a year. The average lifespan of common bed bugs is about 10 months.

Problems Caused by Bed Bugs

What Bed Bug Bites Look Like
Bed Bug Bites (click for high res)

While bed bugs do not typically spread diseases, the parasitic insects cause slight to moderate discomfort by inflicting itchy bite marks as a result of feeding . Bed bug bites are usually painless, rarely waking the host, and result in small red welts similar to mosquito bites. In some cases, the bites inflicted by the pests may cause allergic reactions requiring medical attention. Generally, this reaction is uncommon and the insects are largely considered a nuisance. In addition to bite marks, bed bugs regularly leave other evidence of their presence, including musty odors, rust-colored fecal stains in and around bedding, and layers of skin shed by nymphs. Despite the widespread assumption that bed bug infestations are an indication of poor cleanliness or sanitation in the affected area, bed bugs simply require access to a host and ample hiding space. Bed bugs thrive in a variety of environments ranging from private residences to five-star hotels, and often prove difficult to find and remove completely. Professional extermination is usually recommended to treat infestations.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs with Waltham Services

Although sanitation is helpful in the control of bed bugs, cleaning and vacuuming alone will not control the problem. Insecticides must be applied after detailed preparations are made, with follow-up inspections and treatments in order to control the problem. Control can take days to weeks, and sometimes longer to achieve. Waltham Services will schedule a follow up visit to re-inspect and retreat if necessary.

More Information

How Bed Bugs Travel

Pictures of Bed Bugs