All About Bed Bugs: Pest Library

Feb 7, 2022

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Bed Bugs – Description


Bed bugs (Cimex sp.) are common household pests in Canada and elsewhere. As parasitic insects, they must live near their hosts. Given humans are bed bugs’ hosts, bed bugs live in homes, hotels, and other structures humans are regularly found. Their needs are minimal, requiring only a safe area near their human hosts. Bed bugs quickly move to bite the exposed skin of sleeping humans and then return to their hideout following their blood meal. Despite their small size, bed bugs are able to travel greater than three meters from their hideout to take a blood meal but are more commonly found in closer proximity to their host, usually one to two meters.

All About Bed Bugs In Calgary

Bed Bug Detection and Identification

Bed bugs are easily overlooked unless you have learned key features to identify them. Adults are 4 to 5 mm in length, are reddish brown in color, are oval-shaped with flattened bodies, and have two antennae and six legs. The abdomen of bed bugs is darker in color after a blood meal. Their flattened body allows them to hide in small places like bed frames, sofas, behind loose wallpaper, under carpets, in baseboards or cracks in floors, as well as behind picture frames and other areas that make them challenging to observe. Bed bugs hang out in close proximity to one another and a resulting large population will emit an unpleasant, sweet odor.

Lifestyle of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are attracted to humans because of the carbon dioxide and warmth we produce. They especially infest multi-unit buildings, like hotels and apartments, which experience high turnover and where they are frequently introduced by luggage or used furniture. Bed bugs are hitchhikers that hide in people’s belongings, like purses, briefcases, and laptop bags; they don’t actually cling to people. Once hiding within belongings, they are easily introduced to homes, offices, hospitals, and other structures. Additionally, bed bugs can infest various modes of transportation. Unlike many other pests, proper hygiene does not prevent bed bug infestations. 

Signs of Bed Bug Infestation

To detect bed bug activity, observe bedding, mattresses, and box springs for living or dead insects, molted skins, and small reddish-black spots of fecal matter. Bed bugs also lay their eggs (which are 0.8 to 3 mm in size) in small cracks and crevices near where they feed. Frequently bed bug bites are not noticed or are misdiagnosed.

Spreading of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs tend to stay in areas where they have become established, but they may also be spread as the result of several scenarios. Bed bugs may spread as the result of disturbance, such as from taking apart furniture or from incorrectly applied pesticides. When they experience a food shortage, bed bugs may migrate to neighboring rooms in search of suitable hosts. Likewise, a shortage of appropriate sheltering areas may result in bed bugs migrating to other rooms. Bed bugs can also be spread through many human activities, such as using the same vacuum cleaner in multiple rooms or by moving infested furniture within the home or passing it on to others. 

After Detection

Upon detection of bed bug activity, leave the room and do not disturb the contents any further. Make sure not to take any items out of the infested room as that may contribute to allowing the bed bugs to spread further. Immediately contact a trusted professional pest control company, like Major Pest Control. The pest control company will inspect the premises and advise on pre-treatment procedures.

Life Cycle of Bed Bugs

Bed bug infestations require the services of a professional pest control company because their life cycle makes them extremely difficult to eradicate. Females lay up to 500 eggs in their lifetime, in clutches of 10 to 50 eggs at a time. After six to 17 days of development, eggs hatch and nymphs are released. These nymphs look like small versions of adults and will undergo several molts in becoming adults. Adult bed bugs can survive more than one year between blood meals.

Prevention of Bed Bugs

Bed bug infestations can be prevented by regularly cleaning and vacuuming bedrooms, by conducting regular inspections of bedding for live or dead insects or their molted skins, by using certified bed bug encasements to protect mattresses and box springs, by using light colored sheets to make fecal spots easier to detect, by inspecting furniture near sleeping areas paying particular attention to seams, crevices, and folds, and by sealing cracks in the walls, trim, and bed frames.

ANTS – Calgary – Frequently Asked Questions & Concerns

What are key signs of bed bug activity?

Carefully examine bedding, mattress, and box springs for living or dead bugs or for sheddings that are left behind after molting. Look for small spots of reddish-brown fecal mexoskeletonsatter on bedding, mattress, and box springs. Check any dark crevices on your bed frame for eggs, which are 0.8 – 3 mm in length.


How do I know if I have a bed bug bite? How do I know if I’ve been bitten by a bed bug?

Everyone reacts differently to bed bug bites. Some people who are bitten will not have a reaction. Others experience raised reddish welts that are itchy and around 0.5 to 1 cm in diameter. Multiple bites are often clustered near each other in groups of two to three. It is important to note that many other insect bites can result in similar welts, and so the bites themselves are not diagnostic without other direct evidence of bed bug activity.


Are bed bug bites harmful or contagious?

While some people experience pain from bed bug bites, many others do not. A bite can be harmful if it develops blisters or welts. Welts may develop into a more serious secondary infection that may include pain, major inflammation, and swelling. While bed bug bites represent some health risks, they are not contagious.


Can you eliminate bed bug problems independently?

Depending on the degree of the infestation, it may be possible to eliminate bed bugs on your own. In the case of moderate to severe infestations, it is extremely difficult to achieve complete eradication independently. Engaging a professional pest control company is recommended for eliminating a bed bug infestation. Major Pest Control is a trusted professional pest control company that can eliminate bed bugs from your home with safe and effective extermination services available 24/7 from our trained pest control specialists.

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