Bedbugs invade even the cleanest homes, hitching a ride on luggage, clothing, bedding, or furniture. These pesky parasites then spread throughout your home when you move bug-infested furniture or clothing, or as your pets wander.
By day, adult bedbugs and their nymphs hide in the seams of mattresses, joints of furniture, and crevices between surfaces. By night, they emerge to feed on your blood, using sharp mouth parts to pierce the exposed skin of people and their pets. Bedbugs remain on the skin just long enough to feed, and then they return to their hiding places.
To eliminate this stubborn pest, understanding the bedbug life cycle is helpful:
- Egg: A sticky coating secures eggs in position for the six to ten days until they hatch.
- Nymph: Immature bedbugs, or nymphs, need a blood meal immediately upon hatching. To become adults, nymphs molt five times, each molt requiring a blood meal. Smaller than the adults, nymphs are a translucent white-yellow color.
- Adult: Adult bedbugs, about the size of an apple seed and reddish brown in color, neither fly nor hop. Rather, they walk to their food source guided by heat and pheromone sensors. Each female bedbug lays 200 to 500 eggs in her ten-month lifetime, depositing 1 to 12 eggs per day. While temperatures between 70°F and 90°F encourage egg laying, temperatures below 50°F discourage reproduction.
Bedbugs have not been proven to transmit disease; however, their bites do cause physical as well as emotional discomfort to both people and their pets. In addition, recent research suggests that bedbugs can carry drug-resistant bacteria on their bodies.
To eliminate bedbugs, patiently repeat a cycle of discovery and treatment. Bedbugs, eggs, or bedbug fecal spots are most often found on bed frames, along baseboards, and in seams of clothing or curtains, mattresses or cushions. As you discover evidence of bugs, treat washable items by laundering them in the hottest possible water and dry for an hour at 120°F, a medium/high dryer setting. Treat non-washable items with a powerful flea spray for house and home such as Adams™ Flea & Tick Home Spray, a non-aerosol spray that kills bedbugs for up to 14 days while also killing roaches, ants, ticks, and flea eggs and their larvae for up to 7 months. Remember to spray your furniture, carpets, and upholstery. Repeat treatments so long as you find evidence of bedbugs.