There was a time not long ago when the only mention of bed bugs in Madison was some silly thing my grandma would say to me on the way to bed. Oh, how times have changed! There is a lot of speculation as to why they went quiet and re-surged, but we will get into that. The ticket, to begin with, is knowing that everyone living in or passing through Madison needs to be familiar with Madison bed bug control.
When we think of bed bugs, we tend to think down the lines of cavemen, ancient Egypt (yes, there is evidence the Pharaohs of old dealt with bed bugs too), or hotels in big cities, but it is far more than that. Bed bugs have been found in:
- Single Family Homes
- Employment Centers
- Colleges & Universities
And the list goes on and on. Realistically, there isn’t a business or structure around that doesn’t have some potential for bed bugs. The reason for this is their close tie to people and hitchhiking skills.
The Blood Meal
Bed bugs aren’t like mosquitoes that just need the blood to lay some eggs, but the males feed solely on nectar. No, bed bugs really wholly and solely on blood for their meals. Not only are they 100% dependent on blood from nymph to adult. In fact, the nymphs need a blood meal to progress through each of the 5 stages of nymphal development called instars.
It isn’t just that they have to have blood too feed. They have species based preferences. Bat bugs prefer to feed on bats, chicken bugs like…you guessed it…chickens, and the bed bugs we deal with prefer us. In a pinch, they can switch species for food source, but they are all well adapted to stick to what they like.
When bed bugs bite you, they inject something into your skin to aid the feeding process. This combined with the dermal penetration causes many people to react with small, red, raised bumps. Some react much worse than others and some don’t react at all. This is why it is important to not determine the source of a bite based off of the look of the bite.
Inspect, Inspect, Inspect
The bed bug is a master hitchhiker. They are small and flat like and about the size of a watermelon seed. This helps them fit nicely into cracks and crevices of homes, bedding, electronics, luggage, shoe tread, and more. If they need to get around, they will find a way. When entering a place you will be staying, it is wise to do a thorough inspection for:
- Adult bed bugs
- Fecal specs (looks similar to pepper flakes)
- Blood spots
- Cast skins (shed exoskeletons from molting bed bugs)
When you get back from somewhere that could have bed bugs, it is also wise to inspect your belongings. Remember, it just takes one pregnant female to get a whole population going. Since the females are impregnated via traumatic inception, they are the most likely to scoot away from a population and find a ride to set up shop elsewhere.
The Power of Heat
If there is any doubt on a bed bug inspection, heat whatever items you can to a lethal temperature. Sustained, penetrating temperatures of 130 degrees Fahrenheit will kill bed bugs in all stages. Some materials such as clothes are great at blocking temperatures (no surprise, this is why we wear them – to insulate), so running them through a dryer cycle on high heat will help the heat penetrate to all parts and be sustained long enough.
Heat doesn’t just have to be kept to clothing and small items. Entire structures can be safely heated to the point of complete bed bug control. It is important to know that there is specific equipment that is calibrated for the safe application of such heat. There have been far too many incidents of people using the wrong tools for this job and failing to achieve complete control, burning down entire apartment buildings, and everything in between.
Other Tools for Bed Bug Control
The arsenal against bed bugs needs to be a mixed bag of goodies to ensure success as is proved by their population pattern. Old chemical means of controlling bed bugs relied too heavily on one chemical which wasn’t even safe for the type of widespread use it was being used for. This did knock the bed bug population down significantly, but it also built a population of super-resistant bed bugs that were already surging in numbers when certain chemicals got banned. In order to avoid failed control or encouraging further resistance to bed bugs, utilize multiple control tools such as:
- Decluttering – bed bugs aren’t a factor of clutter, but it gives them more places to hide
- Vacuum Removal
- Pit Fall Traps
- Sticky Traps
- Mattress and furniture encasements (use the bed bug certified brands)
- Cryogenic freezing
- Biological controls (there is a fancy fungus that attack bed bugs and not people or pets)
- Chemical Controls
Even if you are hyper-vigilant and avoid bed bugs in your personal life with 100% success, you may still have them creep into your life. It may be through a family member who accidentally picks them up from somewhere. It may also be something along the lines of a rental property that you have that gets them. As rental properties, university and college housing, VRBO, Airbnb, and so many other similar property businesses and ventures become more popular, so does the risk of bed bugs. Bed bug litigation can be tricky. It is important to have a solid control plan in place to ensure you avoid unwanted complications in this realm.
Expert Help and Guidance
The world of bed bugs is relatively simple compared to many other pests with regard to the biology of the pest itself, but the control portion is more complex. They can be a challenge to even identify considering the issues that just one or two can bring. Don’t wait until the bed bugs are obvious. Call in an expert to inspect and give peace of mind. The Bed Bug Experts at Rove Pest Control know all the tricks they have up their sleeve and can simplify the process for you from the beginning to the end.