Bed Bugs Fact Sheet
IMPORTANT BED BUG INFORMATION FROM CANADIAN SHIELD PEST CONTROL
What are bed bugs?
How do you know if you have bed bugs?
How do you avoid bringing bed bugs into your home?
What do I do if bed bugs do get into my home?
What are the treatment options?
Can I treat bed bugs myself and save money?
Bed bugs are small parasitic insects (about 1/4 inch long when fully mature) they are brown in colour (the colour of a brown beer bottle) and will infest your entire house if left unchecked. Bed bugs start their life cycle as a small egg then hatch as a bed bug. This is known as incomplete metamorphosis, which means there is no larvae or pupa stage in their development. Other insects that share this trait are earwigs and cockroaches. Bed bugs will shed their entire outer exoskeleton 5 times before they reach maturity. These shedding stages are known as instars. Each bed bug must have a blood meal before going to its next instar. This means that a bed bug must feed on a host (human, dog, cat, bird) five times before it becomes an egg laying adult. After each feeding a bed bug will hide virtually anywhere that provides a crack or crevice. We have found them in kitchens, bathrooms, creases of curtains, lamp shades, behind wallpaper, in sofas, chairs and of course beds and bed frames. Bed bugs have been known to stay in stasis for up to a year in empty homes to feed on the next people who move in.
You can guard against a bed bug invasion by following these tips. Bed bugs are introduced into a home as hitch hikers, brought in on infested clothing or furniture.
If you shop at used clothing stores be sure to place these articles of clothing in a hot dryer for at least 1/2 hour to kill any bed bugs or eggs. If you have to buy used furniture look very closely in seams and zippers of cushions for the tell-tale signs of bed bugs.
If you stay overnight in any motels strip the beds and do a thorough inspection of mattress seams and piping. Launder all clothing that you took with you before it comes back into your house! Have all luggage sprayed with insecticide registered for bed bug control.
If you know for certain that someone has bed bugs at their house ask them not to come visiting until there house has been deemed bed bug free by a qualified pest control company. They may leave bed bugs at your house from their clothes.
If you suspect you have bed bugs there are some things you can look for.
Bites are generally when people suspect that bed bugs may be around. Bed bug bites can be nasty looking depending on the person’s reaction. Sometimes bites can be confused with fleas. Flea bites generally will be around wrists and ankles, whereas bedbug bites can be all over the body.
Staining. Bed bugs leave stains behind on fabrics. Look for small black coloured x’s on pillowcases and sheets. This is excrement left behind and is easily identifiable. Also check around piping on mattress, you will find the same stains, and bed bugs too. Fabric covered chairs and couches can be the first place infested before your bed so be sure to check them. Look in the fabric folds and under skirting, use a magnifying glass to find immature bugs.
If you find them or are uncertain call a pest control company that has specific training in bed bug control.
Treatment options are few. Using a combination of all treatment options brings the best results to eliminate a bed bug problem. Specialized equipment is necessary to successfully control bed bugs. Steamers are sometimes used to kill eggs and bugs on mattresses and beds. The latest craze is heat treatment. This involves bringing the ambient temperature of the inside of your house to about 145 degrees Fahrenheit. This is impractical in most cases and will damage sensitive electronics. Chemical sprays and insecticidal dust is the most practical and economic treatment method. Most treatments are done using a combination of steam and chemical applications using special sprayers and PAS systems (Portable aerosol systems).
Treating bed bugs yourself is nearly impossible. You will spend hundreds of dollars on aerosol sprays just to find the bugs back again. There is nothing sold over the counter that is going to provide enough residual chemical to work so my advice is to call a professional first.
If you do need treatment for bed bugs you can expect many different prices from companies ranging from extremely high (upwards of $700 to cheap $200). Most companies will charge an inspection fee from $75.00 to $225.00 to determine if you have bed bugs. Some will reimburse this money off your bill, if you go with them, some will not.
NOTE: BED BUG TREATMENTS REQUIRE EXTENSIVE PREPARATION TO HAVE SUCCESS!
CANADIAN SHIELD PEST CONTROL WILL WORK WITH YOU THROUGH ALL STAGES OF TREATMENT. WE WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH ALL PREPARATION INSTRUCTION. WE WILL EVEN HELP YOU PREPARE IF YOU ARE ELDERLY OR UNABLE. ANY INSPECTION FEE WILL BE DEDUCTED FROM YOUR BILL WHEN INITIAL JOB IS COMPLETED. TWO FOLLOW-UP TREATMENTS ARE MANDATORY AND ARE COVERED IN INITIAL PRICE.
This instructional material was produced by Steve Springstead owner of Canadian Shield Pest Control. It is intended as a guideline only to assist homeowners in the prevention and treatment options of bed bugs.
Any questions should be forwarded to CANADIAN SHIELD PEST CONTROL at 1-866-798-1886