For decades, bed bug infestations were widespread in the U.S, but potent insecticides eliminated the problem by the late 1940s. From the 1950s to the 1990s, issues with the bugs were so rare that many people only knew about them from stories. As more Americans began to travel internationally, they unwittingly imported parasites from developing countries.
It wasn’t long before the U.S. bed bug population exploded, and the old problem became new again. As a result, many Raleigh, North Carolina residents now deal with infestations and need professional help removing the insects.
Bed Bug Facts
Unlike pests that leave hard-to-miss signs, bed bugs can be tough to recognize. For one thing, they are difficult to see. However, professionals like those at Sustainable Pest Systems are trained to locate the insects and can help clients identify signs of an infestation.
The insects are tiny, flat, parasitic creatures that feed on the blood of people and animals as they sleep. Reddish-brown, wingless, and about the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny, the bugs can live many months without consuming blood.
Why the Insects Have Become Such a Problem
One of the primary reasons bed bug infestations quickly became a huge problem is that most people know little about them. Almost every North Carolina resident instantly recognized signs of the bugs at one time, but entire generations grew up without ever encountering the problem. Today, many residents only realize they have bed bugs in Raleigh homes when pest control professionals identify the issue.
People living in areas like North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa immediately recognize a bed bug problem because insects are common in their areas. They also know how to prevent the creatures from entering their luggage and homes.
However, American travelers often do not take precautions because they don’t know there is a problem. The most common places for bed bug infestations are sleeping areas and not just budget accommodations. Infestations have occurred in five-star hotels.
They are also excellent travelers and have been found on cruise ships, buses, and trains. While the insects don’t fly, they crawl and can quickly get into luggage. Travelers bring the nearly invisible hitchhikers home, where they quickly get comfortable.
How to Avoid Importing the Bugs
While traveling is a common way of creating a bed bug infestation in your home, the insects can also arrive in other ways. To minimize the chances of importing the bugs, the EPA suggests that you:
- Avoid putting suitcases directly on beds. Use metal racks, and keep belongings in plastic bags when traveling.
- Check second-hand furniture, which is one place the bugs are often found
- Reduce clutter to eliminate hiding places
- Vacuum often to remove bugs that have found their way into the house.
- In multi-family buildings, seal your unit to prevent the insects from crawling in.
- When using shared laundry facilities, transport clothes in plastic bags and put them directly into plastic bags from the dryer.
Signs of an Infestation
The first, and sometimes the only, sign that your home is infested will likely be finding small bite marks on your body when you wake up. Responses can range from no physical signs of a bite to a tiny bite mark to a severe allergic reaction. While a bed bug bite is not generally dangerous, an allergic reaction to multiple bites could require medical attention.
Other things that signal the insects’ presence include bugs’ exoskeletons left after molting, bugs in mattress and sheet folds, rust-colored spots caused by the material the insects secrete, and a musty, sweet scent.
Pest Control Professionals Offer a Solution
Once a bed bug infestation takes hold, it is tough to treat. Many old-fashioned DIY methods don’t clear up the problem or involve destroying personal property, such as mattresses and bedding.
In contrast, professional bed bug treatments are guaranteed to be effective. Technicians use thermal treatments and offer preventative inspections. They follow up and ensure the problem is solved after treating your home. In many cases, professionals can resolve the issue with a single treatment. They ensure eggs and adults are eliminated. Specialists also guarantee their work.
Pest control specialists are happy to help clients determine whether they have an issue. Sometimes, homeowners can send a photo of a bug, and technicians will tell them whether it is a bed bug.
Sustainable Pest Services is a full-service pest control business serving Raleigh, North Carolina, and surrounding areas. The company’s friendly staff provides guaranteed results and exceptional customer service.