They’re everyone’s least-favorite house guests—and no, we’re not talking about in-laws. We’re talking about bed bugs: the tiny, sneaky pests that can take over your home and start their own extended family in the comfort of your bedding and furniture. Did we mention they bite, too?

Bed bugs are increasingly common in residential settings, but that doesn’t make them any more comfortable to deal with. These crawling critters are out for blood (literally), and they’ll stop at nothing to get it from you. And let’s be real—no one wants to wake up with a bunch of painful bite marks.

When dealing with bed bugs, it helps to be informed so you know what to expect. That’s why we’ve combed over Orkin’s massive bed bug knowledge database and picked out five key facts every homeowner should learn about these nighttime nuisances.

Here’s what you need to know

What bed bugs look like

They have a flat, broad, oval shaped body and dark brown colouring. Adult bed bugs are very small (4-5 mm long) but still visible to the naked eye—so you can put the microscopes away.

How they move

These pests are speedsters. Bed bugs have been recorded traveling at about a meter a minute. For a human, of course, that’s nothing. But at a bed bug’s size, it’s a full-on sprint. In fact, it’s the equivalent of a person running the length of a football field four and a half times in 60 seconds.

When they feed

Bed bugs are nocturnal pests, meaning they prefer to feed at night. Typically, they are most active between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. But they’re also not too picky about timing and will seek a food source during the day if they get hungry.

Diseases they carry

Research from the University of Cincinnati has shown that bed bugs can carry almost 50 pathogens, which they leave behind in fecal matter. Fortunately, transmission of these pathogens to humans remains undocumented—but we can all likely agree that having pathogens spread across our homes isn’t ideal.

Their reproduction speed

Bed bug populations can double about once every 16 days. That means if you have 500 bed bugs today, you could end up with 1,000 in just over two weeks. Yikes.

Now that you know the most “interesting” facts about bed bugs, it’s time to take steps to keep them from taking over your living space. The risk is real, but it can be greatly reduced with professional assistance. Call your Orkin Canada branch today to learn how to protect your home from bed bugs and keep yourself, your family and your guests out of harm’s way.

If you would like to download this fact sheet, click here.