During a frigid Midwest winter, most people hunker down in their homes. That’s also the case for most insects, including one of the biggest terrors — bed bugs.
Bed bugs are blood-sucking parasites named for their common hiding spot in mattresses. They’re incredibly hearty insects and can survive long durations without feeding, massive temperature swings, and at-home bed bug control remedies.
And, because they’re excellent hiders, infestations can be hard to spot until they’re very far along and taking over your hotel room or home.
While you’re spending more time inside, take this opportunity to learn the signs of a bed bug infestation, where to check for them, and how to travel bed-bug safe this winter.
What do bed bugs look like?
Bed bugs vary in size, color, and appearance depending on their age.
- Adult bed bugs are oval-shaped and roughly the size of an apple seed. They are generally flat and reddish brown in color, but may appear brighter or rounder if fed recently.
- Adolescent bed bugs are smaller than adults and generally translucent yellow or white.
- Larvae appear as pin-sized pearls. You can find them where other bed bugs typically hide, including the seams and tags of mattresses.
Signs of A Bed Bug Infestation
Generally, bed bugs gather in groups in dark, cool areas where people spend large amounts of time remaining sedentary. While the location may vary, common places to look are the seams of mattresses, nooks, and undersides of furniture, between cushions on couches or chairs, and the folds of curtains.
If bed bugs have inhabited these areas, you may find live bugs, cast skins (bed bug shells as the molt from one life stage to the next), fecal matter, which looks like black ink, and dried blood spots left behind after feeding.. Unexplained bites resembling mosquito bites, sometimes in a row, may be a sign of bed bugs, but many things cause skin irritation, so it should not be assumed that bed bugs are to blame. Bed bugs are visible, so the best way to determine if there are bed bugs present, is to look for them.
How do bed bugs get in?
By hitchhiking from hotspot to hotspot, bed bugs can be picked up anywhere. These bugs use their tiny size to latch onto clothing, bags, and seats without detection, and the most common infestation points tend to be hotels and motels but can also include public transportation and seating. Secondhand items, house guests, or luggage can also carry the small parasite or its larvae.
Preventing Bed Bugs Over the Holidays
With the growing prevalence of bed bugs, consider incorporating some best practices while you travel this winter.
Be mindful of how you approach your guestroom. Look over your room and mattress for signs of bed bugs upon arrival. Don’t place your suitcase on the bed — use metal racks where available and keep them away from the beds or other furniture. In your suitcase, limit hiding areas by using small plastic bags for clothing and other personal items. Also, change clothes after using public transportation and store dirty laundry separately from clean laundry.
When returning home, do your best to limit the amount of contact your traveling items have with your household. Shower and change into fresh clothes as soon as possible. Be sure to leave your suitcase in your car or garage until you can wash your clothing and check them over for bed bugs. Use hot water or dry clothing with high heat to help kill any unwanted passengers.
If you have family or friends staying with you over the holidays, make sure to inspect your bedding and furniture thoroughly after they leave. Doing so will allow you to detect any bed bugs that may have joined them in their travels and have decided to stay behind and make their home in yours.
Send Bed Bugs Packing with Wil-Kil
Despite our best efforts to prevent it, bed bug infestations can still happen — and bed bug control can be incredibly difficult to eliminate on your own. When this happens, you can trust Wil-Kil Pest Services to safely and quickly eradicate the issue. For bed bug treatment in Illinois and Wisconsin, contact the professionals at Wil-Kil and get back your peace of mind. Start with a free quote today.