A bed bug infestation can be difficult to tackle. They can go undetected for a significant period. So by the time they are noticed, they are hard to eradicate. The life cycle of a bed bug from egg to an adult lasts for several weeks. This contributes to their ability to hide in homes and businesses for longer. Many people who have to tackle a bed bug infestation want to know how long they will live for. This can be important to know if you are creating a plan to get rid of them. You might also want to know if you are moving into a new home or doing something else that means sleeping in a strange bed.
It may also be important to know the life span of bed bugs for another reason. Sometimes they can be resistant to certain pesticides and other treatments. If they don’t respond to other ways to eradicate them, waiting them out might be the best solution. Removing their food source (i.e. people) and waiting for them to starve could be the next option.
Bed Bug Life Span
Many bugs only live for a few weeks, or even just a few days. However, bed bugs are hardier than most. They can live for up to ten months and may even be able to live for a year. Bed bugs begin their life as tiny hatchlings, which are called nymphs. Despite the cute name, you still wouldn’t want to have them in your bed. Eggs hatch in about a week after the female bed bug has laid them. It can take just over a month for a bed bug to go from an egg to an adult, assuming the conditions are right. From a nymph, there are five stages of growth for a bed bug to become an adult. When they go through each stage, they shed their skin. This skin can be found on beds and other places where the bed bugs are growing.
Bed bugs will generally last longer if they are able to feed. They suck the blood from humans and sometimes might bite pets too. They start feeding as soon as they have hatched. Removing their food source may help to get rid of them faster. However, they can still survive for several weeks. If the temperature and other conditions are ideal, they can even live for up to a year without feeding.
Controlling a Bed Bug Infestation
As you can see, it is not easy to get rid of bed bugs by starving them. Their lifespan can be up to a year even they don’t have a meal in that time. Therefore, a bed bug infestation should be dealt with in other ways. There are lots of things you can do to tackle the problem of a bed bug infestation. It’s better to take care of it as soon as the problem is noticed, rather than hoping the bugs will die on their own.
Detecting a Bed Bug Infestation
The first thing you need to be able to do is to spot the signs of bed bugs. If you know what to look for, you can pick up on an infestation before it gets too out of control. There are several things you should keep an eye out for and places to look. Firstly, you should be able to recognise a bed bug. They can be up to 5mm long and might be yellow, red or brown in appearance. Of course, this description could describe other bugs too. If you’re not sure if you have found bed bugs, you can check pictures or ask an expert to take a look. Other signs of bed bugs to look for include eggs and shell casings. The eggs are small and white, so can be very difficult to spot. It may be easier to spot the skin they shed, which usually look brown. They shed their skin each time they move into a new stage of their lifecycle until they reach adulthood.
To spot the signs of bed bugs, you need to know where to look. Of course, beds are a good place to start. Checking mattresses regularly is a useful way to prevent bed bug infestations. In particular, they might hide in the seams of mattresses. They can also be found in other hiding places in and around beds. They like to get into nooks and crannies. So you could discover them in gaps and cracks around bed frames, box springs, and other areas. However, beds are not the only place where you might discover bed bugs.
Despite the name, they can often be found in other areas. You should also make sure to check other furniture, especially if it is upholstered. Bed bugs can also hide in cracks in the floor, under carpet edges, and even behind wallpaper. Bed bugs might sometimes occur outside of the bedroom too. You could discover them in your sofa and perhaps in bathrooms or laundry rooms.
Of course, you might also see signs of bed bugs feeding. You might get a reaction from having been bitten, although not everyone does. Red and irritated spots on your skin could be bed bug bites. You should also check your bedding, clothes and upholstered furniture for blood. This might indicate that you have bed bugs feeding on you. Bed bugs can be discovered in the most unexpected places. They are small enough to get into tiny spaces, so it’s best not to leave any stone unturned.
Eradicating Bed Bugs
If you have discovered a bed bug infestation, you need to get rid of them. Leaving them to die out on their own isn’t a great idea. They could survive for a year before they go away. Ideally, you should seek help from a pest control company. They will have all the necessary tools to deal with an infestation. They can supply pesticides and other specialist equipment that you won’t have access to yourself. Getting rid of bed bugs can be a long process that requires careful inspections and sometimes taking furniture apart. A professional service will use methods such as insecticides and heat treatments. Raising the temperature can kill off bed bugs in all stages of life.
There are also some things you can do to help control bed bugs. Although using a pest management company is best, there are still tasks you can perform. For example, you can use the heat of your washing machine to get rid of bed bugs from bedding, clothes and anything else you can put in it. Use the highest setting you can without damaging your clothes to ensure the heat kills them off. It should help to kill all stages of the bed bug lifecycle. Cold temperatures can also help to kill bugs. You can consider putting some items in the freezer for a week or more. Some people suggest putting furniture outside during the winter. If it is cold enough, this may kill bed bugs. However, it isn’t guaranteed.
There are further protections you might use if you discover a bed bug infestation. For example, you can get encasements, designed to stop bed bugs getting into mattresses or box springs. You might want to use these if you have discovered bed bugs in another part of the house. You can also buy “interceptors” to protect your furniture. These plastic trays go under the legs of beds and other furniture. They have a well that prevents any bed bugs from climbing up the furniture.
Bed bugs may live for up to a year, even when they don’t have any food. So it’s essential to tackle an infestation as soon as it’s discovered.