Bed Bugs - Frequently Asked Questions

    Bed Bugs
  1. Why after years of not hearing about bed bugs are they suddenly so prevalent?
    1. International Travel
    2. Loss of DDT
    3. Immigration
    4. Natural increase of population
    5. Donating Furniture, Clothing, etc.
    6. Furniture Rentals
    7. College Dorms, Spring Break
    8. Laundry-mats
    9. Hotels, airplanes, trains, buses (public transportation)
    10. Housing- Tenants are hesitant to report an infestation because they don’t want to be blamed or labeled as unsanitary.
    11. Changes over the years have restricted the spraying of pesticides proactively (before infestations occur) leaving these infestations to flourish.
  2. Bed Bug Bites
  3. How large is an adult bed bug?
    4 to 5mm x 1.5 to 3mm
  4. How long can an adult bed bug live?
    On average, 6 to 12 months.
  5. What color are the adults?
    Reddish-brown colored.
  6. What is the size of a bed bug egg? Is it visible to the eye? What color is it?
    1mm x 0.5mm barely visible about the size of a dust speck, but more so in groups off-white to white... bed bugs are not social but can be found in clusters
  7. What color are the nymphs?
    Translucent, lighter in color and become browner as they molt and reach adulthood.
  8. Do bed bugs go through incomplete or complete metamorphosis? egg, nymph and adult is there a larvae stage?
    It is gradual metamorphosis (egg, nymph, adult).
  9. How many times do they molt before they become adults?
  10. Do they need a blood meal in-between each molt?
  11. Do bed bugs feed on dogs, cats, birds, and reptiles?
    Yes, in the absence of a human host.
  12. Can you feel the bite of a bed bug?
    No, bed bugs have a numbing agent preventing you from feeling the bite. Some people can take up to 12 days to have a reaction to the bite.
  13. How long can they go without a blood meal?
    Up to a year.
  14. Is it true that the male bed bug is so obsessed with mating that the females will run and scatter away, which is why they spread so easily?
    Yes, this is active biological radiation. It is a genetic behavior regulated by pheromones from nymphs and females.
  15. Females mate once in a lifetime and then lay how many eggs?
    Each female can produce approximately 200-500 eggs in a lifetime in batches of 3-5 eggs per day, which she cements to rough surfaces in dark sheltered spots. Decline in fertility and egg production in female’s starts between 30 and 200 days of age; females can die after traumatic mating because of gut rapture or infection.
  16. How long before the eggs hatch?
    Approximately 10 to 18 days at room temperature.
  17. At what temperature will bed bugs stop feeding - breeding?
    Below 16.1 °C (61.0 °F), adults enter semi-hibernation.
  18. What is the preferred room temperature of a bed bug?
    Around 72 to 78 °F.
  19. Bed bugs are attracted to body heat and CO2 - we breathe out CO2, does our skin emit it also?
    No, CO2 from cellular respiration is processed in the blood stream and lungs and exhaled.
  20. How HOT does it have to be to kill a bed bug?
    113.8 °F for 38 minutes and newer research recommends 118 °F for 3 hours to get all heat- sinks up to thermal death.
  21. How COLD does it have to be to kill a bed bug?
    Bed bugs can survive for at least five days at −10 °C (14.0 °F) but will die after 15 minutes of exposure to −32 °C (−26 °F).
  22. Do I have to throw out my mattress and box spring?
    No. You can purchase zippered covers specific for the encasement of bed bugs. The bed bugs cannot get out nor bite through the fabric.
  23. What is a bat bug?
    Bat bugs feed on all of the common bats, but they are most frequently associated with the big and little brown bats, which roost in colonies. Although bats are their primary host, these bugs also may feed on alternative hosts including birds and rodents. Bat bugs will bite humans in the absence of their primary hosts. Bat bugs hide in dark, protected sites and they prefer tight, narrow retreats. Bat bugs typically are found in cracks and crevices in bat roosting areas, rather than on the hosts themselves, but they make repeated visits to the host to obtain a blood meal. Removing a bat colony often requires spraying for bat bugs to prevent their moving into the living space seeking a new host.

I am staying at a hotel should I worry?
Well, you should be prepared. Most hotels (even the most expensive) can be infested with bed bugs. The majority of hotels will only move you to another room and 38% of the time adjoining rooms are infested. Always keep your luggage off the bed and pull up the fitted sheet and inspect for bed bugs. Another favorite spot is the nightstand where they can hide and wait for you to fall asleep.

Miscellaneous facts:
47% of all delivery vans are infested with bed bugs
Bed bugs do not have tarsal pads they have claws (2 pointed toes on each leg) so it is difficult to be certain that they are coming into contact with residual insecticides. It is important that contact insecticides be applied to destroy the bugs on contact.

Our special thanks to Dr. Stuart Mitchell from the National Pest Management Association and Brian Cooney from MGK for this information.

Call Ford’s Hometown Services at for a quote on the cost for us to inspect your home or business and to verify if bed bugs are, in fact, the problem. From there, we’ll come up with the best bed bug treatment for your situation.

Ford’s Hometown Services…The Best in Pest Control for Over Sixty Years.

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