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What is a Bed Bug, anyway?

The first steps to removal & prevention are knowing where bed bugs come from, how they live, & how to remove them.

BedbugBed bugs come out at night, drawn to their prey by sensing carbon dioxide emissions from breathing. They can scale sheer surfaces, and fit in the smallest of crevices. They feed on human blood, gorging themselves. They then lay eggs, producing an exponentially-growing swarm of young.

No, it’s not a science-fiction movie from the 1950s, although the present-day story begins there. Bed bugs have been with us since the dawn of human history. Up until the 1940s, these pests were found everywhere, and the only methods of treatment were ineffective, poisonous to people, or both.

When the chemical commonly-known as DDT arrived in the late 1950s, it was so effective in the United States there was talk of complete bedbug eradication. But nature abhors a vacuum, and the insects adapted.

With the lessening use of DDT due to environmental & health concerns, the remaining bedbugs (which were already adapting to DDT) found themselves in a much better position to survive. Starting in 2006, a resurgence of bedbugs in the United States exploded into the problems we have today.

Learn more about bed bugs with our Q & A.

Q. If I find a single bed bug, should I be concerned?
A Yes! The threshold for bed bugs is ZERO. Unlike an occasional ant or spider, just one bed bug has the risk of spreading complete havoc in your living area. Not all bed bugs are capable of reproducing, but if that one is, one can turn into a few hundred before you know it.

Q. Can I solve a bed bug problem myself?
A. While it is possible – the answer is generally “no.” If the problem is caught very early where you can remove all live bugs and all eggs then “yes.” Usually you won’t be aware of the problem until the later stages when it is very unlikely to address all bed bugs & eggs in every hiding spot. Also, it may be necessary to discard furniture and belongings to aid in removal, whereas using a professional can help you avoid that.

Q. What are the costs involved in a bed bug infestation?
A. The treatment costs are based on level of infestation, amount of “stuff” in the structure, and the size of the structure. When evaluating costs, it’s very important to consider costs outside of the treatment itself. With a chemical treatment all clothes and linens will need to be laundered and removed, and you may have to throw away beds or furniture and you may have to purchase encasements. The cost to replace a mattress alone can be $300-$4000. With electric heat treatments, this is not a concern. All furniture can be effectively treated and saved and the prep work on the customers’ end is almost nothing.

Q. Do the products they sell at the corner store work on bed bugs?
A. Some do*, some don’t. The challenge with bed bugs is that you would have to *physically contact each and every live bed bug with the spray to have an effect. With their hiding habits, that’s nearly impossible. The eggs are the major concern. The eggs are naturally resistant to most chemicals and if one or two bugs are missed then the problem starts all over again.

Q. Where do bed bugs come from?
A. Bedbugs have been around for centuries, but a recent resurgence of pesticide-resistant bugs have made news for the past five years or so. For our modern day concerns, they come from and are transferred by humans. They can be transferred on your clothing or the clothing of others to new surfaces. You didn’t get bed bugs because you did anything wrong – they don’t discriminate as to whom they choose.

Q. What do they feed on?
A. The food of choice is human blood. (It is possible for them to feed on pets, for instance, but pet hair generally deters them – so they go for the easy food source.)

Q. How long can they go without feeding?
A. An adult bed bug can go a year or more without feeding. If a food source is readily available they will feed anywhere from daily up to every five days.

Do you need to get rid of bed bugs?

Call Presidio today for a free home bed bug inspection & to learn more about getting rid of bed bugs.  Call (248) 457-5233, it’s easy, it’s free!