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Bed bugs are creepy pests that are so adept at hiding that most St. Charles residents wonder if they have a bed bug infestation or some other problem causing bumpy rashes on their skin. Let's look at where bed bugs hide, how to identify bed bugs, and what works to keep bed bugs out of your home. You may have success getting rid of these bugs on your own. If you require more assistance or would rather someone take care of your problem quickly and effectively, reach out to us for service. Pest Control Consultants offers professional bed bug pest control in St. Charles.

bed bug on furniture

The Lifecycle Of The St. Charles Bed Bug

A bed bug doesn't always look like a bed bug. These insects pass through several stages of development. If you hope to prevent a bed bug infestation, you need to have a clear understanding of what they look like in each of their stages.

  • Bed bugs begin life as newly hatched nymphs that are about 1mm long and pale in color. These nymphs have six legs, three body parts, and small antennae. They're also transparent. If you see one of these baby bed bugs attached to your skin, it will look red because the blood inside its abdomen will be clearly visible.
  • Bed bugs pass through five instars. As they grow, they become tan, their shape becomes more clearly seed-shaped. They also start to have more of a black coloration in the abdomen. That color is the feces produced after digesting blood. If you see a nymph that has had a recent meal, it will appear red and black.
  • Bed bugs develop visible crease lines that run horizontally across the abdomen and thorax. When light shines on the skin and catches these creases, you may see them clearly.
  • Adult bed bugs are a rusty brown color. Males have more of a seed shape because the abdomen has more of a point at the end. Both males and females appear flat if they have not had a blood meal.

All bed bugs are smaller than 5 millimeters. That is incredibly small. If you don't have good eyesight, they may appear pale, red, black, or rusty brown specks. It helps to know some of the warning signs they provide so you can have more clues when you see a little speck disappear into your bed, couch, or office chair. 

How Can I Tell If I Have A Bed Bug Infestation?

These insects are kind enough to provide clues of their presence in your home, but the clues aren't always easy to interpret. Let's begin with the most obvious sign of bed bugs.

Bed Bug Bites: We're often asked: "How do I know if I have bed bugs?" The reason for the question almost always stems from the fact that bed bug bites occur in unexpected ways and often look like a bumpy rash and nothing more. Do you have bed bug bites? Here are a few ways to tell. 

  • Bed bug bites are often slight at first, when immature nymphs are the bugs doing the biting. Unlike a general rash, these bites will likely look like a path across your skin. The reason for this appearance is that each bug will bite, move forward, bite, move forward, and bite one more time. As the small army moves over your body, they create a path of bumps.
  • You will typically find bed bug bites on exposed skin during the night. Covering your exposed skin with clothing or bedding will prevent bed bugs from biting you.
  • Bed bug bites are typically near the head because bed bugs are attracted to carbon dioxide. You may see them on your shoulders, neck, and face.
  • Bed bug bites don't look like fire ant bites, spider bites, or flea bites. Fire ant bites have a pustule in the center. Some spider bites have an ulcer at the center. Flea bites are extremely inflamed, and the rash is darker.

Blood Stains: Bed bugs sometimes excrete blood during feeding, which can stain your pillowcase, sheets, or bedspread. But you may not realize you're looking at blood stains. Here are a couple of reasons:

  • Some people mistake blood stains for urine stains, but insects don't urinate. If you see small brown spots on fabrics, you may have a bed bug problem. Blood appears tan after the hemoglobin breaks down.
  • The blood stains left by bed bugs often have a mixture of black. The black coloration is fecal matter.

Feces: The black feces from bed bugs is a more common site than blood stains. You may see this material in many places, such as sheets and pillowcases. But more often, fecal spotting and streaks are hard to see. You have to look for them.

  • Inspect the tight space between mattresses, box springs, or under the couch and living room chair cushions.
  • Inspect under labels and in pockets.
  • Drag a butter knife along the seams.
  • Use a flashlight to look into the recesses and sockets of bed frames.
  • Inspect baseboards and carpet edges.
  • Inspect wall outlet covers.
  • Inspect the exterior of electronic devices that have voids.

Keep a vacuum at hand when searching for signs of bed bugs. If you uncover bed bugs, suck the insects up. If isolated to an initial feeding site, this will arrest your infestation. Yup. It is sometimes that simple, but if even a single bed bug evades your attempt to suck them up, things can get tricky. Bed bug control isn't easy. St. Charles residents have the most success preventing bed bug infestations rather than getting rid of bed bugs once they've gotten in.    

Five Tips For Bed Bug Prevention

Bed bugs spread passively from one location to another. They don't select where they live. For this reason, you can find bed bugs infesting some surprising locations. You need to keep watch for bed bugs and take preventative steps no matter where you go, whether it is work, school, the home of a friend or relative, a movie theater, etc. Use these five tips to stop bed bugs in their tracks.

  1. Inspect your room. Always perform a quick inspection of sleeping accommodations. Keep your bags in the car or the bathroom as you perform your inspection.
  2. Protect your luggage. Bed bugs like to climb into tight gaps and cracks. When they happen upon your luggage, they may climb right inside. Some travelers put their luggage in sealed garbage bags to protect them. Others use a lavender spray on the outside of luggage to keep bed bugs out. Sometimes protecting luggage is as easy as storing it in high locations, such as a shelf. 
  3. Protect your laundry. Bed bugs are attracted to your scent. Put all laundry items in a sealed plastic bag. Some travelers use a trash bag and a bread tie for this. Be sure to protect your laundry, even inside your luggage. 
  4. Wash your laundry when you get home. Soap breaks down the exoskeletons of bed bugs.
  5. Put your laundry through a dryer cycle. If you have eggs in your items, they may survive the wash, but they won't survive thirty minutes or more in your dryer. Heat destroys bed bugs in all stages of development.

Along with these tips, keep watch for bed bugs and warning signs of bed bugs no matter where you are. You can get bed bugs when you travel in a taxi cab, on a bus, or a plane. Your kids can get bed bugs when they do a sleepover. Your family members can bring bed bugs into your home when they visit. Catching bed bugs in St. Charles early and using your vacuum to get rid of them can solve most bed bug problems. The trouble with bed bug prevention is that it takes a dedicated effort. If you let your guard down, these insects can find a way into your St. Charles home. When they do, it is good to know what works to remove those bugs from your home effectively.   

How To Get The Bed Bugs Out Of Your St. Charles Home

The best solution for bed bug control in St. Charles is to get professional service. Who do you call for local pest control for bed bugs? Pest Control Consultants is the right choice. We start with a thorough inspection to look for areas of bed bug activities. We will then customize a treatment plan for your specific needs. We use Temprid SC for our bed bug treatment and have received a 98% success rate in bed bug elimination. We also offer stream treatments on mattresses, box springs, and dust treatments around the room's perimeter and in wall voids. We will return in two weeks for a follow-up inspection at no charge. Reach out to us today to schedule a service visit. We'll help you find and apprehend those bugs.