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How Long Does It Take for Bed Bugs to Appear?

bed bugs

How long does it take for bed bugs to appear in your home?

The short answer: a long time.

Bed bug infestations happen slowly. It takes about two months for bed bugs to go through a complete life cycle from birth through five molting stages before they are able to mate again. This makes a bed bug infestation difficult to discern in the early stages. And there is an even bigger problem. Bed bugs are very good at not being seen.

For instance, bed bugs are nocturnal. You are not going to notice them crawling around while you’re cleaning during the day. They spend their daytime hours in very secure hiding places. And bed bugs only need to come out to feed once a week for a couple of a minutes.

Plus, bed bugs are very small. They are about the size of an apple seed. They are have a flat, round shape and a red-brown coloring. They like to choose hiding spots of that same red-brown color, making them even harder to find with the naked eye.

So, it will be nearly impossible to search for, find, and kill apple-seed-size bugs who hide all day and only come out for a few minutes every week while you’re sleeping. It takes a long time for a bed bug infestation to grow. But if you can notice the signs, you can stop the infestation quickly and early.

That’s No Mosquito Bite

Bed bugs are parasites. They need a host to feed on. Unfortunately, you are that host. Bed bugs feed and live exclusively on blood. And their blood of choice is human, although they will sometimes feed on other mammals and some birds.

When they feed, they insert a sharp beak into your skin. They fill up with your blood in about 10 minutes, which keeps them fat and happy for days. This bite will leave a mark.

For most people, the bite will leave a small red dot and feel itchy and a little sensitive to the touch. For others who are more sensitive, the mark may turn into a very uncomfortable rash. When most of us see the mark left by a bed bug, we excuse it as a spider or mosquito bite and move on.

Our advice: don’t ignore the mark! This is the first and most obvious sign that you may have bed bugs in your home. Now, it is time to go find them.

The Search Begins

As we talked about above, you probably won’t notice the bed bugs themselves, but you can notice the evidence of their occupancy in your home. Bed bugs try not to hide far from their host. They will tend to gather and hide 10 to 20 feet away from where you sleep. That is the first place to begin checking for bed bugs.

The most obvious evidence is feces. Since bed bugs only feed on blood, their dropping are little more than partly digested blood. Bed bugs will leave small red spots in places they hide, known as harborage sites. They may even leave small red spots on your sheets if they are finding places to hide that close to the host.

Here’s a tip. If you think you may have bed bugs, sleep on the whitest sheets you own for a week or so, since the bed bugs won’t necessarily come out every night to feed. If you see any spots, you most likely have bed bugs.

You can also be aware of a discernable, sweet smell found in larger infestations. Also, molted skins can also be noticeable where lots of bed bugs gather and hide. If you see any of these signs, you have bed bugs. It is time to get rid of them!

We recommend calling a professional exterminator. Bed bugs are hard to find and hard to kill.

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