Even one sighting of a single bed bug would send most of us into a tizzy. At the thought of a bed bug infestation, some people might even proceed to throw out perfectly good furniture and discard clothes by the bagful. Before going into action, first, read this article and then decide to contact a local bed bug professional.
Does Seeing One Bed Bug Mean an Infestation?
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are tiny parasites that live on human blood. These creatures don’t have wings and cannot fly or jump, so they typically travel by hitchhiking. Bed bugs travel with their hosts and are mostly nocturnal. However, aggressive bed bugs will feed in broad daylight.
Signs of a bed bug infestation include:
- Bite marks on exposed skin such as ankles, shoulders, arms, neck, and upper back. Since bed bugs normally bite more than once, you will commonly find two to three bites in a line or clustered together.
- Bloodstains next to the bite marks and also on the pillowcase, blanket, or bedsheet.
Note: When a bed bug bites, you don’t feel anything due to the numbing agent present in their saliva.
Location is Key
Pest control companies will ask the following question: Did you find the bed bug around the bed or did you find it in the kitchen or the washroom? Any bed bug found away from a bed frame, mattress, and box spring could be a one-off. In fact, you might have picked it up from a public place such as the bus, movie theatre, or library.
Bed bugs are experts at concealing themselves and hide mainly in the bedroom. They can be found mainly in:
- Headboard cracks
- Mattress seams
- Box springs
- Behind pictures
- Under furniture
Finding the Source of Bed Bugs
Regardless of whether you found a bed bug in a commercial property or a household, it needs to be determined if it was just “dropped off” or if there is a more significant infestation of breeding adult bed bugs nearby.
If a small number of bed bugs are found in a single-family home, a local pest control professional stands a better chance of locating the source of the bed bug infestation. The hot spot areas for these unwelcome guests are usually beds and couches. The method of introduction was likely a piece of luggage, furniture, or sleeping bag.
(Travel experts recommend always putting your suitcase on a luggage rack — never the bed — or even storing it in the bathroom.)
Identifying the source of the bed bug infestation in apartments is a bit trickier. The source of the bed bugs could be the apartment next door, above, below, or across the hall. As a result, the bed bug treatment protocols in multi-family properties must include several or all units in the building and not just one unit.
Bed Bug Infestation – Key Points
- Finding one bed bug in a home is not necessarily a sign that an infestation is present.
- If you found a single bed bug, killed it, and can’t find another after a thorough search, wait for a few days. Bed bugs don’t take time off; if there are more, they will show themselves.
- Be vigilant. Once finding the single bed bug, keep looking. Examine your home every night and morning for bed bugs and bed bug eggs. You are looking for something the size of an apple seed in size, shape, and color.
- Commercial properties like schools, public transport, and office buildings are more likely to have ”transient” bed bug sightings.
- A wide-ranging inspection must be done to determine if a more significant infestation is present and how to get rid of the bed bugs.
- A local pest control professional’s advice should be adhered to in cases of an infestation.
- The states with the highest bed bug infestation rates include Illinois, New York, California, Florida, and Ohio.
Comforting Note in Conclusion
Despite bed bugs having prolific reproductive capabilities, they do not always increase in population. This is especially true in small numbers where a fertilized female bed bug may not be present. There is hope!
Additional Reading: How to Find Bed Bugs – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
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