Many people are shocked to find out that they have a bed bug problem. It’s easy to think, “I keep my house so clean and neat, how could this have happened to me?” The truth is, even the tidiest homes are liable for bed bug issues if you don’t take proper precautions when going about your business in public. It seems like bed bugs can always find a way in—it leads us to ask, how are these stealthy pests so good at spreading?
What Allows Bed Bugs to Travel So Far?
Bed bugs make great use of their small size to find new homes. Reaching about 1/4” in length at most, bed bugs can easily hide in a wide variety of materials. They are often discovered in these places:
Furniture: Bed bugs are famous for infesting mattresses, but they will also make homes out of chairs, couches, carpets, rugs, and other household items made with dense fabrics.
Luggage: Setting down your suitcase, backpack, or purse on an inconspicuous surface could easily attract bed bugs. We have seen many reports of bed bug outbreaks that developed after a recent vacation.
Clothing: Bed bugs thrive in second-hand stores, where they can easily spread from one article of clothing to another. When you bring home thrifted clothes, be sure to watch them right away.
Steps to Prevent a Bed Bug Problem
It’s hard to avoid an infestation once bed bugs have made their way into your home, but it is possible to make your home harder for them to thrive in. To prevent a bed bug problem, you can:
Shield your mattress and box spring with protective covers.
Vacuum your home on a regular basis and organize your belongings to avoid clutter.
Hang up your bags and clothes when staying in a hotel.
When washing clothes at the laundromat, transport your clothes in sealable containers.
Keeping order in your house and in your habits will reduce your chances of experiencing a bed bug infestation. However, some people just get unlucky, so don’t feel that you’ve failed if you still end up with bed bugs after taking all of these steps.
How to Prevent Bed Bug Infestations in Northern Utah
Waking up in the morning with little red bumps in zig-zag patterns is a telling sign of bed bugs in your home. Wait up before deciding to toss out everything that you think is infested, though! When you look to a professional bed bug exterminator for help, they can use specialized heat treatments and other techniques to remove every bed bug and their eggs from your home. To learn more about our strategies or for a free estimate on bed bug control, reach out to our team today!
Entomologists from Rentokil’s parent company, Rentokil Provide their Pest Predictions for 2021
READING, Penn. (Jan. 4, 2021) — As if 2020 didn’t present enough challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 could be a banner year for pests around the country.
To help residents prepare for 2021, entomologists from Rentokil used field knowledge and data to provide their predictions for pests in the upcoming year.
1. Rodents, Rodents Everywhere:
With shutdowns across the country, it’s no surprise that rodents are on the rise nationwide. Empty buildings, the scarcity of food and warmer winters have combined to create a rodent apocalypse.
“We’re seeing more rats in urban, suburban, and rural settings because of the shutdowns,” said Marc Potzler, Board Certified Entomologist. “Food sources are cut off, and rats are having to travel to scavenge for food. We’ve seen rats out in public during the day, which is highly unusual.”
Warmer winters have also allowed for mice populations to boom in residential areas as it allows for a longer breeding season and there is a lower population loss due to hard freezes.
“Right now is the perfect time to rodent-proof your home,” said Potzler. “Make sure to repair any gaps on the exterior of your home, such as around garage doors, windows, or pipes.”
2. Mosquitoes on the Move:
Mosquitoes populations have been increasing over the last few years. Aedes species, which are disease-carrying mosquitoes, are also moving to new areas. These mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and Zika virus, among other diseases.
“There is an increase of mosquitoes across the country, but notably on the West Coast, and they are adapting each year,” said Eric Sebring, Associate Certified Entomologist. “We have seen evidence of behavior adaptation, where mosquitoes lay their eggs strategically to hatch throughout the season.”
Protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes by removing any standing water on your property. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one teaspoon of water. Also, wear EPA-approved insect repellent while spending time outside.
3. Bed Bugs:
The chatter about bed bugs was quiet in 2020, but that’s not because they have gone away.
“As people begin to travel again, we will start to hear about bed bug infestations,” said Sebring. “Bed bugs can be dormant for several months at a time, so they can emerge when a food source, humans, become available.”
Bed bugs are considered hitchhikers, traveling from place to place on people, luggage, clothing, and other personal belongings. Homeowners and businesses such as hotels, colleges, hospitals, senior living facilities, retail stores, and libraries have experienced problems with bed bugs.
If traveling, inspect the bed by pulling back the sheets to examine the mattress. Check your luggage before packing and unpacking, and look for signs of living or dead bugs the size of an apple seed or black fecal smears.
4. More Time Outdoors = More Pests.
From hiking to gardening to dining al fresco, there is no doubt that the pandemic has forced people to spend more time outdoors.
In 2021, we will see the outdoor pest pressures continue:
Ticks: Ticks are responsible for transmitting several diseases, including Lyme disease, to humans and animals. These small insects are found in grassy areas and in the woods, so it is important to inspect yourself and your pets after spending time outdoors. Cover as much skin as possible while outdoors, wear long pants, long sleeves, closed-toed shoes, and tuck pant legs into socks. Light-colored clothing will also help any ticks you pick up stand out.
Ants: “As soon as the weather starts to warm up, we will see an increase in ant populations,” said Tom Dobrinska, Board Certified Entomologist. “Most of the ants we are dealing with are odorous house ants. When spending time outside, make sure to clean up any food, water, or sugary substances and ensure that your home is free of any holes or cracks for them to enter.”
Stinging Insects: Stinging insects, such as wasps and yellow jackets, emerge at the first sign of warm weather, and as warm weather seasons are getting longer, stinging insects have more time to create issues. Make sure you check for nests early in the spring as they are smaller and get early nest treatment. Make sure to keep windows and doors shut, and secure outside bins so stinging insects are not attracted to the contents.
5. Termites Aren’t Going Anywhere
Termites are a pesky problem, and unfortunately, are not going anywhere. Termites can cause extensive damage to structures, especially homes. As people are moving out of cities during the pandemic to more suburban areas, education about termite protection is key.
“We received more calls for termites this past year than we have in many years,” said Potzler. “It’s important to raise awareness for homeowners now to have proactive protection to keep from costly repairs in the future.”
6. Pests in the News:
There are a few pests that will continue to steal the limelight in 2021.
The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an invasive pest that has been making its way across the country since it was first introduced from Asia in 2001. Besides its pungent odor, this stink bug has become a nuisance for homeowners as it gathers in large numbers on the sides of houses and buildings and enters through small cracks in the home. “The brown marmorated stink bug is here to stay,” said Dobrinska. “We will continue to see this species emerge in late spring in large numbers.”
The Spotted Lanternfly will continue to wreak havoc across the Northeast and beyond. The invasive pest, first found in Pennsylvania in 2014, is spreading across the Northeast, with New York reporting its first sighting this year. The pest can significantly damage trees and plants.
“The Spotted Lanternfly is becoming a big problem in the Northeast, and it will continue to spread,” said Potzler. “It can be devastating for agriculture and is a nuisance for homeowners.”
The egg masses look like a smear of mud on trees and outside of homes. It’s important to scrape the egg mass off, put it in a bag with rubbing alcohol and throw it away, and then call the state department of agriculture.
The infamous “Murder Hornet,” also known as the Asian giant hornet, grabbed many headlines, causing homeowners to panic trying to decipher the difference between stinging insects in their yards and this aggressive species. The Asian giant hornet is the largest hornet species in the world, growing up to 3 inches in length. Currently, the Asian giant hornet has only been found in the Pacific Northwest.
“We know that there was one colony found and eliminated in Washington State,” said Sebring. “Unfortunately, if there is one, there will be more.”
While your chances of being stung by an Asian giant hornet are fairly low, the sting can be dangerous as the venom volume is higher, causing more pain. The hives are primarily built underground or in hollows in trees. If you suspect it is an Asian giant hornet or any stinging pests, call your pest management provider to assess the situation as soon as you spot activity.
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If you have had a bed bug problem before, you know how difficult they are. In addition to spreading throughout your home, these bloodsucking pests are notoriously difficult to get rid of without a professional pest control expert. With Bed Bug Awareness week upon us, now is the perfect time to learn more about the true threats of bed bugs. There are many bed bug myths out there, and the team at Rentokil wants to dispel them! Keep reading to learn more about bed bugs and their common habits.
Bed Bug Myths to Stop Believing
If you have bed bugs, it’s important to know what’s fact vs. fiction. Here are some of the most common questions we get about these pests:
Do bed bug bites transmit disease?
Thankfully, no. Bed bug bites may be itchy and leave a red mark on your skin, but their bites do not transmit dangerous diseases as mosquitoes do.
Are bed bugs capable of living for months without feeding?
Yes, but it’s unlikely for them to live for a year unless they are in the most optimal conditions. Young bed bugs need to feed more often than adults.
Do bed bugs latch onto or burrow into your skin?
No, bed bugs do not latch onto humans or animals in the way that fleas and ticks do. After feeding, they will retreat back to their hiding places.
Are bed bugs more likely to infest messy homes?
This is one of the biggest myths. Anyone is prone to a bed bug problem, regardless of whether or not your home is clean.
Do bed bugs fly or jump?
No! Unlike fleas and ticks, bed bugs can only crawl from one place to another. This is mostly due to their underdeveloped wings.
Do bed bugs only feed at night?
No! Bed bugs are active when their hosts are at rest. This has led many people to think they’re nocturnal, but they actually can feed at any time of the day.
Can bed bugs infest areas of your home other than your bedroom?
Yes, they can! Although bedrooms are common targets, they can congregate in living areas near sofas, furniture, cracks in the wall, and more.
Can you see adult bed bugs without a magnifying glass?
Nymphs are nearly impossible to see due to their size and translucent color. However, adult bed bugs are the size of an appleseed and can definitely be seen, especially since they group together!
Should you throw away infested mattresses or furniture?
No! In fact, you shouldn’t move infested furniture in the midst of an infestation. Doing so can contribute to bed bugs spreading into other areas.
Can you get rid of bed bugs with DIY methods?
Getting rid of bed bugs always requires the help of a professional pest control company. DIY or all-natural methods may just make the problem worse.
Treating a Bed Bug Problem
As mentioned previously, it’s never a good idea to attempt to get rid of bed bugs on your own. That’s where the team at Rentokil come in! Our bed bug treatment options are designed to ensure every single bug is removed from your property. To learn more, contact our team today!
Specialized and Rentokil have joined forces and will be operating as Rentokil moving forward. Rest assured that you will still have a highly-skilled, local specialist, committed to keeping your property protected from pests.