Bed bugs are nasty little pests that invade our homes and feed off blood to survive. If that isn’t enough to put chills down your back, there is an increasing bed bug population in the U.S. that is creating a nightmare for both home owners and businesses alike. When bed bugs enter your home, they can be incredibly difficult to kill, and even harder to spot. In order to avoid an infestation, proactive detection techniques are the best tool. However, since bed bugs are so difficult to spot, an infestation may occur in your home and pest management professionals should be used to exterminate them.
Although any level of bed bugs in your home would be bad, there are actually varying degrees of bed bug infestations. Most pest management professionals use a 1 to 10 scale to determine the severity of a bed bug infestation. This scale helps standardize assessments done by bed bug exterminators in order to determine the best route for extermination. Keep in mind that these are guidelines and identifying a bed bug infestation level can be difficult without professional assistance.
Although this scale can be helpful for you to detect the varying degree of an infestation in your home, it is recommended to contact a pest management professional immediately to exterminate the bed bugs and avoid further infestation.
Professional Bed Bug Infestation Scale
- One or two bed bugs that are all in the same life stages with no signs of breeding, 2- 6 week duration.
- Three or four bed bugs with no signs of breeding, 2 – 6 weeks duration.
- Five or more bed bugs with no signs of breeding, 2 – 6 weeks duration.
- Few adults and signs of eggs, 1 – 6 week(s) duration.
- Few adults and babies of 1st and 2nd instar, 1 – 8 week duration.
- Adults and babies of 1st to 3rd instar, 4 – 12 weeks duration.
- Multiple breeding generations, 6 – 18 week duration contained to original room.
- Multiple breeding generations in multiple rooms with continual activity in the main room and sporadic in other rooms.
- Multiple breeding generations per room and ongoing breeding.
- All areas infested and likely to spread to adjoining properties.
How to Prevent Bed Bug Infestations
As you can see, there are varying degrees of bed bug infestation, each of which lead to the next if not proactively treated. The good news is there are a number of ways to prevent an infestation from ever occurring. The easiest method is to avoid activities that will introduce bed bugs into your home. These include avoiding buying used clothes from a thrift store, picking up items that have been left on curbs, and purchasing a second-hand bed. Other activities that might introduce bed bugs into your home that are more difficult to avoid include traveling, having overnight guests, and sending children off to summer camps. These are obviously situations that you can’t avoid but it is important to note that they may cause bed bugs to enter your home.
Early Detection Signs
When you can’t avoid situations that introduce bed bugs into your home, the best way to avoid an infestation is through early detection. Although bed bugs can be very difficult to spot, once you know what to look for the process becomes much easier. You can conduct home inspections for bed bugs by closely examining high-risk areas like beds, furniture, and in cracks where the wall meets the floor. Along with looking for bed bugs, keep an eye out for dark spots in the bedding and furniture as well. After a bed bug digests the blood they have consumed, they will excrete the remains as dark spots. You may also see blood stains if a bed bug is crushed while still digesting blood, but this is a rare occurrence. Another sign of bed bugs is bite marks. If you wake up and notice you have bite marks in a line on your body, it could be bed bugs. Bed bugs will only feed every three days on average, but when they do they will leave a series of bite marks on their victims.
If you find any sign of bed bugs it is important to contact a pest management professional immediately to have them removed before an infestation occurs. Professional bed bug exterminators will use a variety of treatments to remove bed bugs from your home depending on the severity, including heat, chemicals, and/or removal of infested items. Proactive treatment is the only way to avoid a bed bug problem to turn into an infestation, so don’t hesitate to contact a professional even if you are unsure.