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Bed Bugs

This page is our Bed Bug information page.  It contains some information about bed bugs, your interactions with them, their treatment, and some important tips to help you avoid and deal with issues involving Bed Bugs.

Common Bed Bug (Cimex lectularius)


Various life stages of Bed Bugs.  Note the younger stages (instars) tend to be clear, making them hard to see!

Bed bug infestations are typically discovered when people wake up with a skin reaction or find the bugs while cleaning or maintaining the bedding.  They are about 1/5th inch long and 1/8th inch wide as a full adult.  They are flattened and oval shaped, reddish brown to mahogany in color.  While they may actually be residing on the bed itself, in or on the mattress and boxspring, or on and around the headboard, the bed is not the only place where a bed bug infestation may be located.  They also may be found near the bed, under the baseboard, under furniture or in the walls themselves.  They are usually within a close proximity to the place where their hosts (you and your family) rest.  They require frequent blood meals to function, although they can stay dormant for months without a meal if a host isn't available.  While a bed or beds may be a logical choice, any place where people spend hours sitting may be infested.  We generally find them in the living room around your favorite couch or chair as well.   An adult female lays about 2 eggs a day until she lays 200 or so.  The tiny, clear colored eggs hatch in 6-17 days, and in anywhere from 4 to 9 weeks they will be laying eggs of their own! 

There is some good news.  Bed Bugs rarely if ever are at fault when it comes to spreading of disease.  Therefore, the only real issue with these bugs is your comfort!  Not that the issue of your comfort in your own BED isn't of paramount importance!  One problem with the "freaking out"(technical term) that one does when it dawns on them that they may in fact have bed bugs is that they tend to overreact.  Throwing out all your things, or even tossing a perfectly good bed, isn't necessarily the answer to the problem.  Many times it actually makes the situation much worse.  An infestation that used to be contained to an area around your bed may have just been dragged through the entire house, or put in the garage or basement.  Also, deciding to abandon the bed, and sleep on the couch, or even at a hotel or friend's home, may cause the bed bugs to spread out in search of a meal.  Next thing you know they are all over the house!  It is also impossible to gage infestation by proxy.  Meaning, just because a friend or family member is brave enough to "test" your bed, doesn't mean a lack of bite marks means they are gone.  In fact, everybody responds to bites differently.  Some get deep red marks, others not a mark at all!  This is why many doctors fail to properly identify bed bug bites many times.  Most often we can treat the infestation and save all your furniture.  Wouldn't you rather only have to pay for a treatment, than for a treatment, AND a new bed!! 

When deciding on a company to treat your bed bug issue, there are some factors we want you to be aware of.  Obviously we would love you to call Home Free Pest Control, but even if you use someone else, we would like you to know your options.

1.   Beware over the phone quotes.

Some pest issues are similar enough to accurately quote over the phone.  Bed Bugs are not, in our opinion, one of them.  The treatment is priced by the size and layout of the area.  Also by the ease of access.  While having a messy bedroom doesn't cause you to get bed bugs, it sure can cause issues with a proper treatment, and there are specific things to do with items such as clothing, bedding, and furniture.  A technician who shows up at a cluttered bedroom isn't going to clean up for you.  They are usually going to shrug their shoulders and do the "best they can".  Someone who gives you a price over the phone may either be priced high to cover excess labor, or low, which means they may rush through your treatment to make up the profit.  Also, these companies tend to have a blanket approach to how they do bed bugs, and may use a broad treatment better suited for other pests such as ants.  We want to come out and take a look at the situation, ask some questions, and look to actually see if you have bed bugs before we give you the best possible price by making suggestions for things you can do to help.  We want to be able to make suggestions before the treatment that will help it be totally effective and make sure those bed bugs are GONE!!

2.   In our opinion, bed bugs cannot usually be eliminated in one treatment.

There are some treatment methods available that can, such as the heat based treatments.  Heat treatments can be very effective, but are very cost prohibitive and require large blocks of time to perform.  With that being said, beware any company that comes once and either provides no guarantee or leaves it up to you to call.  Any professional with a vested interest in eliminating your bed bug issue should schedule at least one follow up visit to thoroughly inspect and re-treat as necessary.  We at Home Free typically schedule 3 treatments, 2 weeks apart.  If a forth treatment is deemed necessary after the third, we will schedule that as well, although that is a rarity.  Our guarantee for a bed bug treatment is 90 days. 

3.   Is the technician skilled and knowlegable?

Many companies, especially the larger ones, have very knowlegable salesmen that come to your door and do an inspection.  They find bed bugs, and sell you a treatment.  When it comes time for the treatment, a different person shows up at your door.  Many times this technician has a lower level of license that means they can only do what is written on their work order.  This means they may just be there to generally spray, without targeted application.  This baseboard spraying may work fine for ants, however a bed bug is an extremely hardy insect.  The reason for their return is due to many built up immunities to pesticides that they evolved over the years.  This means that a quick walk over a treated band may not do the trick.  Bed Bug treatments require precise, targeted application, both to limit exposure to you and maximize it for the bed bugs.  Every area gets treated differently.  We will treat your bed differently than your toddler's bed or crib!  We go in and find where the bugs are, and use minimal, safe, targeted applications as well as manual removal and certain mechanical apparatus such as bed leg isolators to eradicate them.  We will also give you advice on what to do to limit their spread, and minimize the time it takes for you to be BED BUG FREE! 

4.   The Home Free Pest Control Approach.

We will come out and inspect your home for bed bugs.  We will ask a few questions about where people sit often, what beds get used and how often.  Situations such as sleeping in multiple places may cause you to require inspections at multiple places.  This includes sleeping at a friends, or girlfriend/boyfriends house regularly, a child who has parents in different homes that they spend time with, or any situations such as these.  Bed Bugs are not outside waiting to come in, they are usually imported into the home on items such as jackets, bags, shoes, etc.  Also, it is not advisable to buy used furniture whenever possible.  Answers to these questions will allow us to find all the bugs you have and get rid of them fast and safely.  We will then instruct you on things to do such as...Putting all clothing and bedding from around the affected area through the dryer, as the high temperature will kill the bugs and their eggs,  Also picking up clutter.  We will advise on how to move items away from the area to allow better treatment access.  Boxes of toys may require different attention than a basket of clothes.  Then we will price and hopefully schedule the treatment for as soon as possible.  Be aware you will need to leave the treated area for at least a few hours. We will give you a return time once we know how long the treatment will take.  We will then ask you to sleep in your normal areas as usual, and you should see an immediate drop in bite activity.  If you need a night off, we understand.  Try not to sleep away from the bed for more than a night unless absolutely necessary, as it may cause the issue to spread out.  In two weeks, we will return, inspect, and re-treat as necessary.  Two weeks after that, we will return and inspect.  Hopefully we will be finished treating, although we may do a couple spots again if it was a tough infestation. 

Bed bug fecal staining on a mattress.  These blood stains can indicate an infestation where no bugs are immediately found.

Adult bed bugs next to Jeff's thumb for size perspective.

Home Free Pest Control
860-583-PEST (7378)
Email to sales@homefreepest.com


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