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Is it a Bed Bug: Identifying the Difference Between Pests

Bed bug on woodReports of bed bug infestations throughout major U.S. cities hit the news with regularity. Unfortunately, according to pest control experts, there has been a upward surge in the presence of bed bugs in both public establishments like hotels and in residential homes. Could you recognize a bed bug or the signs of bed bugs?

Bed bugs don’t discriminate. They can be found globally even in five-star hotels. Knowing the difference between a bed bug and other pests can help determine how to treat the bite and the type of pest control needed.

Is It a Bed Bug?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define bed bugs or Cimex lectularius as “small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep.”

Bed Bug Characteristics:

  • Color: reddish-brown
  • Size: small, ranging from about 1 millimeter to 7 millimeters
  • Shape: flat and slightly seed-like with no wings

Bed bugs require blood, it’s their main source of nutrition. Without blood from a human or animal, the female bed bug can’t lay her eggs and the immature bed bugs can’t develop into adults. Bed bugs bite and will leave little welts similar to a mosquito or flea bite. The area may appear red with a dark red center plus it’s likely to be slightly swollen. It also may itch. Often bed bug bites appear in a straight line, but they may also appear in a random order.

Differences Between Bed Bugs, Fleas and other Pests

One of the best ways to help determine if it’s a bed bug infestation is to consider the bites. Bed bug bites typically appear as a red welt that’s raised but still flat. Commonly, multiple bites appear as a row or line. A bed bug bite may not appear until a few days after the initial bite. Bed bug bites may happen on any area of the body but typically appear on the arms, legs, feet, back and abdomen.

Mosquito bites may be mistaken for bed bug bites, but typically their bite appears as a puffier red welt that itches soon after the initial bite. Mosquito bites appear as a single bite or in random clusters. When several mosquito bites are close together, it may look like one large bite.

Flea bites also are tiny and red but appear with a reddish halo. Typically, flea bites occur on the lower extremities and itchiness sets in almost immediately. These bites tend to be in clusters versus the straight line that bed bug bites form.

Chigger bites are extremely itchy, appear in folds of skin or where any clothing may fit tightly. These bites are small, red and may look like little pimples or even blister-like.

Hiding Places of Bed Bugs

If you’re still wondering is it a bed bug, then consider inspecting the places that bed bugs like to hide. While bed bugs may travel more than 100 feet in a single night, the pest usually lives within eight feet of where humans sleep. Look for evidence of bed bugs in the following places:

  • Seams of mattress and box springs
  • Bed frames, including headboards and footboards
  • Night stands (inside crevices)
  • Inside lampshades
  • Behind wallpaper or hanging pictures near the bed
  • In the seams and upholstery of bedside chairs

You may also see fecal stains on sheets or even upholstered fabric. These stains simply look like black spots that won’t brush of the fabric and will smear when rubbed with a wet cloth.

Bed bugs are a serious issues across the United States. It’s been reported by the National Pest Management Association that one in every five homes have bed bugs. If you suspect you have a bed bug infestation, rely on All Bed Bugs Begone for safe, effective bed bug removal.

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