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Bed bugs 101

Here are some of the most common questions we get asked about bed bugs.

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are small wingless insects that feed solely upon the blood of warm-blooded animals. Hatchling bed bugs are about the size of a poppy seed, and adults are about 1/4 of an inch in length. From above they are oval in shape, but are flattened from top to bottom. Their color ranges from nearly white (just after molting) or a light tan to a deep brown or burnt orange. The host’s blood may appear as a dark red or black mass within the bug’s body.

Vermont Bed Bugs

Do bed bugs cause harm or spread pathogens?

Repeated exposures to bed bug bites during a period of several weeks or more may cause mild to intense allergic responses. Physicians often treat patients with antihistamines and corticosteroids to reduce allergic reactions and inflammation. Bed bugs are not known to transmit any infectious agents.

How do bed bugs invade a home?

Because bed bugs readily hide in small crevices, they may accompany luggage, furniture, clothing, pillows, boxes, and other objects when these are moved between apartments, homes and hotels. Used furniture, particularly bed frames and mattresses, are of greatest risk of harboring bed bugs and their eggs. Bed bugs can also wander between adjoining apartments through voids in walls and holes through which wires and pipes pass.

How can you tell if the residence is infested?

The bedroom and other sleeping areas should be carefully examined for bed bugs and signs of bed bug activity. Folds and creases in the bed linens, and seams and tufts of mattresses and box springs, in particular, may harbor bed bugs or their eggs. They may also be found in: - Pleats of curtains - Beneath loose areas of wallpaper near the bed - Corners of desks and dressers - Spaces of wicker furniture - Behind cove molding - Laundry or other items on the floor or around the room.

What should you do if you find bed bugs?

Because several different kinds of insects resemble bed bugs, specimens should be carefully compared with good reference images to confirm their identity. Samples may be retained for our technicians to examine during our initial inspection and estimate. Once their identity is confirmed, a treatment plan will be designed to eliminate the bed bugs.

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