Learn About Bed Bugs from the Los Angeles bed bug experts at Heat Pest Services

Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped insects that are about 4mm long and brown or reddish-brown in color. They have six legs and a flat, paper-thin body. As juveniles, they are very small and translucent. Once they have fed, they become darker and slightly elongated. Bed bugs are often referred to as “nest pests” because they hide in cracks and crevices in and around beds and other places of rest, such as couches. They are attracted to warm-blooded animals, but humans are their preferred host. Bed bugs do not live on or under the skin, but they do live in the human “nest” and will attack when their hosts are at rest. Bed bugs are not considered parasites according to the definition of the word, but they are called a human parasite due to their feeding habits. Bed bugs hide during the day and feed on blood when they sense that their host is asleep, whether during the day or at night. The bites are itchy and painful, but bed bugs do not transmit diseases like mosquitoes. Bed bugs have a short life cycle and can reproduce quickly, with females laying up to five eggs every day and more than 500 eggs in their lifetime. Bed bugs prefer the same comforts as humans, such as climate control and a place to sleep, and are brought into homes by people, hitchhiking on clothing, luggage, or used furniture. Evidence of bed bugs may include small black spots on sheets, pillowcases, walls, and ceilings, as well as a musty odor. Bed bugs are found indoors and not in the wilderness, and they can be eliminated by professional pest control services.

Bed Bug Bites

Bed bug bites can be a real nuisance for those who have to deal with them. These pesky insects sense when you’re asleep, usually by your breathing, and emerge from their hiding places to feed on your blood. While these bites are not known to transmit diseases like mosquitoes do, a recent report has found that bed bugs can transmit Chagas disease, similar to their cousins, the kissing bugs. If you are experiencing bed bug bites, it’s important to visit our bed bug bite page to learn more about how to identify and treat them.

Bed Bug Life Cycle

The rapid growth of a bed bug infestation is mainly due to the short life cycle of bed bugs. The development rate of the bed bug’s life cycle is largely dependent on the availability of food. In warmer regions like Los Angeles, bed bugs tend to be more active and reproduce more quickly during the summer season. Once a female bed bug has mated, she can lay eggs for the rest of her life without requiring another mating. The mated female bed bug will often leave her current nest to avoid mating with other males and create a new nest nearby.

Every day, a female bed bug can lay up to five eggs, totaling more than 500 eggs in her lifetime. The eggs hatch in about ten days, and what emerges is a translucent and minuscule bed bug that can feed right away. Their growth rate is dependent on the amount of food available. With less food, bed bugs will grow more slowly, while with an adequate supply of food, their population can explode to over 30,000 individual bed bugs within a few short months.

Bed Bug Evidence

If you suspect a bed bug infestation, keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • Live or dead bed bugs: Check the seams of your mattress, box spring, and furniture for these small, reddish-brown insects that are about the size of an apple seed.
  • Musty odor: Bed bugs release pheromones that produce a distinct smell that some people describe as sweet or almond-like. If you notice this odor in your bedroom, it could be a sign of bed bugs.
  • Black spots or stains: These dark droppings, which are made up of digested blood, fecal matter, and shed skins, may appear on your sheets, pillowcases, walls, or furniture, especially near the seams.
  • Groups of black spots: Bed bugs often defecate in the same spot repeatedly, so you may see clusters of black dots on your mattress, box spring, bed frame, couch seams, walls, or ceiling.
  • No visible evidence: In some cases, bed bugs can be present without leaving any noticeable signs, so it’s important to be vigilant and take proactive measures to prevent infestations.

Bed Bugs are Indoor Pests

Bed bugs are indoor pests that thrive in environments that provide them with climate control, a steady supply of food (your blood), and a place to sleep. Unlike outdoor pests like ticks and fleas, bed bugs don’t come from the wilderness. Instead, they come from other people. The higher the frequency of people coming in and out of a structure, the more likely a bed bug infestation will occur and spread.

But how do bed bugs spread if they only live indoors? They are brought into homes by people. Bed bugs can easily hitchhike on clothing, backpacks, luggage, purses, and even used furniture, beds, or couches. They can also be transported by a vacuum cleaner used in an infested area.

There are two species of bed bugs found in Los Angeles that live outside of homes and businesses: bat bugs and bird bugs. These species are almost indistinguishable in appearance from regular bed bugs, and their behavior is the same. However, they have different preferred hosts, and are usually found in the nests of bats and birds. It’s important to eliminate any bats or birds nesting on or near your home, as bat bugs and bird bugs will also feed on humans if the population in the bat or bird nest grows too large.

Bed Bug Habitats and Behaviors

As their name suggests, bed bugs are primarily found in human sleeping areas, such as bedrooms and hotel rooms. In Los Angeles, they don’t typically live outdoors except in certain bat and bird nesting areas. Bed bugs prefer to stay close to their food source (i.e., people) and avoid daylight, so they tend to hide in dark, tight spaces like mattress seams, furniture cracks, and baseboards.

However, bed bugs are not limited to beds or bedrooms. They can also be found in other areas where people rest, such as couches, recliners, and office chairs. They may even hide in unusual places like electronics, carpets, and walls. Bed bugs can be transported to new locations through infested items like luggage, clothing, and used furniture.

If you suspect a bed bug infestation, it’s crucial to act quickly to prevent the problem from spreading. Bed bugs can thrive in a variety of environments, including schools, offices, retail stores, hospitals, and even public transportation. If you live in a single-family home and opt for a bed bug heat treatment, you may be eligible for an 18-month warranty that covers re-treatment if live bed bugs are found during that period.