The Draculas of the insect world, bed bugs only feed on blood and make their move in the dead of night. Unlike many other pests, bed bugs are not a result of poor sanitation or housekeeping. Instead, they are often brought into homes on personal belongings, especially on luggage after travel. These pests reproduce at an alarming rate, so it doesn’t take long for a couple bed bugs to turn into a couple hundred.

Bed bugs are small, flat insects that are about the size and shape of an apple seed. They can range in colour from light tan to dark, reddish brown. In addition to spotting a live bed bug, signs of an infestation include shed cast skins and black or brown stains left behind by the insects. Bed bug bites can also cause skin irritation on sensitive individuals, but it is difficult to tell these bites apart from those left by other insects.

close up view of a bed bug on an infested object

So, what can you do to keep your home protected from these nighttime menaces? First, try to keep them from reaching your home in the first place. When travelling, inspect for bed bugs in your hotel and remember to S.L.E.E.P.:

  • Survey the hotel room for signs of an infestation. Look for black or brown spots on any furniture.
  • Lift and look in bed bug hiding spots: the mattress, box spring, bed skirt and other furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper.
  • Elevate luggage away from the bed and wall. The safest place is in the bathtub.
  • Examine your luggage while repacking and once you return home from a trip.
  • Place all dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 20 minutes at the highest setting after you return home.

At home, regularly inspect for bed bugs the same way and inspect all furniture before bringing it inside. If you find bed bugs or think you might have an infestation, call your Orkin Man right away and dry infested linens, curtains and stuffed animals on the highest heat setting they will allow.

For more information, check out this quick reference sheet: