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Bed Bugs In Virginia

Bed Bugs In Virginia

Common Features of Bedbugs

Introduction to Bedbugs

Bedbugs don’t just feed on human blood, they also love to drink the blood of animals. The bed bug (Cimex lectularius) is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a public health pest. Although, bed bugs are not known to transmit disease. They are just disgusting, can invade your home, are hard to get rid of, and can cover you in itchy bites.

In the United States including here in Virginia, there has been a large increase in bed bug infestations. This number likely increased over the past few decades because the ease of travel and the number of trips people take have gone up. Before we discuss the bed bug’s lifecycle, behavior, or danger, we want to dispel some myths people have about bed bugs.

  • Some people say you can’t see bed bugs with the naked eye but in reality, you can see eggs, nymphs, and adult bed bugs without magnification.
  • Contrary to popular belief, if your home becomes infested with bed bugs, it’s not because you’re dirty. Bed bugs are not interested in filth. Bed bugs are attracted to warmth, blood, and carbon dioxide.
  • Bed bugs do not carry diseases.
  • Bed bugs are still considered a public health pest because an infestation can cause serious mental harm and allergic reactions to bites.
  • If you keep the light on at night, it will not stop bed bugs from biting you.
  • Pesticides can not eliminate bed bugs alone. A pest control company will need to employ multiple techniques to remove the infestation.

That concludes the Greenshield Home & Pest Solutions introduction to bed bugs. The next section will be about their life cycle and general behavior.

Bed Bug Lifecycle and Behaviors

Lifecycle

Bed bugs have a longer lifecycle than other pests. A bed bug begins as an egg and then goes through multiple nymph stages before becoming a mature adult male or female. A female’s ability to lay eggs and how many depends on her access to blood. The more blood she can consume daily, the more eggs she will produce. A female bed bug can survive up to an entire year, although more recent studies show male and female bed bugs live up to 300 days.

If an egg hatches in favorable conditions (>70 degrees F) and gets a first meal, it will develop into the next stage of life. These stages of life are all determined by access to blood. Most bed bugs will not be able to obtain enough food to survive into adulthood. Yet, studies show that if bed bugs have infested your home, the favorable conditions result in 80% of the eggs becoming mature adults.

Behavior

Bedbugs are nocturnal and prefer to hide in cracks and crevices where they won’t be disturbed. At night, specifically when humans are in their deepest sleep, they come out of hiding to feed. Studies have shown bed bugs don’t even need to be in your mattress. They can travel several yards to their human hosts to feed. Even though this is possible, most bed bugs prefer to live within the host’s bed so they don’t have to wander around searching for the host.

When a bed bug finds the host, it begins probing the feeding area with its mouth. When they find a suitable spot, they begin to suck the host’s blood. This feeding period lasts 5 – 10 minutes before the bed bug returns to the crevice it was hiding in. This means during an infestation, most of the population is in a 3 – 5 day digesting state. That’s how many bed bugs there can be when you are bitten every night, yet they only feed every 3 – 5 days.

Are Bed Bugs Dangerous?

Bed bugs are not dangerous and do not spread disease however, they are still a nuisance to public health. Although they do not transmit diseases, they can cause physical harm through allergic reactions, mental health damage, and economic consequences. Some people do not react to their bites, while others could have a severe allergic reaction including anaphylaxis (severe, whole-body reaction). A large number of bites can also cause secondary infections of the skin. Infections like impetigo, ecthyma, and lymphangitis. Finally, many people report a decline in mental health due to nightly fear of being bitten, insomnia, and systemic reactions.

Have You Been Getting Bitten At Night?

Simply being bitten at night doesn’t mean you have bed bugs. However, you should get a free pest inspection from your local pest control professional. Bed bugs can be hard to spot and even harder to remove, so you don’t want to risk a larger infestation. You can get more information on our bed bug treatment page.

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Who Are We?

Greenshield Home & Pest Solutions is a full-service, eco-conscious pest control service based in Ashland, VA, and serves the entire Richmond, VA, metro area.

Bed Bugs FAQ:

What time of year are bed bugs most active in Virginia?

There is no specific time of year when bed bugs are more active however, infestations are more likely in the summer and early fall months when people travel more. This is how bed bugs get around. They hitch rides on animals and in suitcases.

How can I tell if my bed has bed bugs?

A mattress with bed bugs will likely have small reddish stains on it. These stains are the result of bed bugs being crushed. You can also find very dark, tiny spots from bed bug feces. Other signs are consistent bites during the night, bed bug shells, and live bed bugs.

Are there any bugs that can be mistaken for bed bugs?

Fleas, ticks, carpet beetles, bat bugs, swallow bugs, head lice, and baby cockroaches, are just some of the insects that can be mistaken for bed bugs. 

What do I do if I find a single bed bug?

Finding a single bed bug isn’t necessarily a sign there’s an infestation. You can wait a couple of days and see if you find another, or if you wake up with any bites. Bed bugs want to feed on your blood and will show themselves. If you’re not sure, call a local pest control professional.

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