Bed bugs seem to be everywhere lately –in apartment buildings, hotels and even hospitals. But these resurgent, resilient pests don’t just infest commercial dwellings – they also can be found in many homes across the country. Really, bed bugs can be found anywhere.

Unlike pests like cockroaches or flies, these bloodsuckers can survive and thrive in the cleanest of environments, so long as they can find a human blood meal. Bed bugs feed exclusively on blood and are attracted to carbon dioxide emitted by humans, as well as the associated heat and odor. Their bites can cause mild to serious skin reactions that result in soreness or itching.

In ideal conditions, these pests can live up to 12 months without a meal, can hitchhike with humans into homes and can reproduce (often exponentially) when undetected. They also have shown the ability to withstand many traditional control measures, which has proven a challenge even for pest management professionals.

The demand for a remedy has grown so large that many DIY bed bug products have begun appearing on the market. However, these products are not always safe. In fact, Health Canada issued a warning earlier this year against using unregistered bed bug products at home.

Know the signs

Bed bugs are nocturnal, reddish-brown insects that can crawl all over a mattress at night, only to disappear into cracks and crevices during the day. These wingless insects have flattened bodies that allow them to hide in areas such as floor cracks, carpets, beds and upholstered furniture.

Bed bugs can be difficult to detect, as they’re small in size and skilled at hiding. Look for these signs to determine if you may have an infestation:

  • Live bugs: Adult bed bugs are about the size and shape of an apple seed.
  • Case skins: As a juvenile bed bug grows, it will shed its skins. Shed skins can indicate the presence of live bed bugs.
  • Defecation marks: After feeding, bed bugs return to their hiding place, where they leave behind fecal residue – black to brown stains on porous surfaces or black to brown mounds on nonporous surfaces.
  • Bed bug bites: Bites also may indicate bed bug activity, but further signs are necessary to confirm activity, since other sources can cause red welts on the skin.

Should you spot any signs of bed bug activity in your home, quarantine the room and do not bring anything in or out. The bed bug experts at Orkin Canada can assess your situation and devise a plan customized specifically for your home.