Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are very common in Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky. They are classified under the family Cimicidae. Other names include chinches, red coats, and mahogany flats. The body of a Bed bug is oval-shaped and flat. Nymphs are extremely small and translucent. Adults are still only about ¼ inch long and rusty red in color. The appearance can be compared to an apple seed. Contrary to the popular belief that bed bugs are a sanitation issue, they can be found in even the cleanest household. They are not transmitting any diseases but they are feeding off blood and are capable of ingesting 7 times their body weight.

Bed bugs are attracted by the carbon dioxide that humans breathe out. Bed Bugs do not have wings and they do not jump, they crawl slowly, predominately they are active at night when people are sleeping. Because of that they feed at night and tend to stay close to the bed. Bed Bugs tend to gather together and hide in cracks and crevices where they can feel pressure on their bodies such as mattress seams, bed frames, furniture close to the bed, behind baseboards, picture frames on the wall, or behind electrical outlet covers. Other hiding places include behind wallpaper and under carpet. Bed bugs spread by hitchhiking, which means that they hold on to clothes such as bed sheets, pant legs, shoes, luggage, and purses.

Because of increased traveling, Bed bugs are more rampant than ever, especially in hotels, offices, stores, and gyms. Bed bugs can also be found in mattress covers. Typical signs are dried fecal smears on mattresses, sheets, and comforters. During their life cycle, Bed bugs shed their skin which is another indication of a bed bug infestation. In a cool environment, they can survive without feeding for about one year.

It is good advice to de-clutter the home and wash and dry all cloth materials such as bedding, blankets, and clothes on the hottest possible temperature setting. Under optimal conditions, the lifespan is about 300 days. Another measure to take is inspecting second-hand furniture and clothing and being aware of guests possibly bringing a bed bug into the home. Females lay up to 5 eggs daily, which amounts to 200-500 eggs throughout their lives. Infestations can sometimes be detected by their distinctive smell which can be described as sweet but unpleasant.

Bed bug bites can cause itching and allergic reactions. There are multiple species, some of which prefer to feed on birds and bats instead of humans. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the rooftops are clear of birds’ nests. Bed bug infestations can only be controlled through the help of a pest control professional and a general rule is that the earlier an infestation is treated the less costly it will be.

Because increased travel leads to the spread of bed bugs, here are a few tips on how to avoid picking up bed bugs from a hotel room. After entering the hotel room the first time, place the luggage into the bathtub. Inspect all surfaces, cracks, and crevices of the bed and mattress, and look at the sheet, bed skirt, and headboard of the bed. Lift the sheet and mattress and check under the bed frame and furniture. Usually, bed bugs can also be found in the surrounding areas of the bed. Bed bugs can hide behind headboards, electrical outlet covers, and wall decorations. Store the suitcase off the ground and away from the bed. Inspect all belongings frequently and put clothes into the dryer for 15 minutes using high heat right away after returning home.

Fun facts about bed bugs:

11 in 5 Americans has experienced a bed bug infestation either first or second hand
2bed bug infestations are primary found in apartments, single-family homes, and hotels
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Bed Bugs in Tennessee and Kentucky

Serving Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky

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