Adult bed bugs are brownish in color, about 3/16. long and are relatively flat. They are nearly as wide as they are long, and oval in shape. Immature bed bugs (nymphs) resemble the adults, but are much smaller and lighter in color. Newly hatched nymphs are translucent and are no bigger than a pinhead (1 mm). After feeding on a blood meal the immature bed bugs may appear bright red in color. Bed bugs lack wings and therefore they do not fly, but they are capable of moving swiftly on both horizontal and vertical surfaces.
Monitoring and Detection:
You can detect a bed bug infestation by inspecting for the pests or their fecal spots, egg cases, and shed skins. Current research reports more than 85% of bed bugs are found in or near the bed, so inspections for infestations should focus on the mattress, bed frame, and headboard areas. Lift the mattress and inspect all seams and surfaces as well as the box spring. You may need to dismantle the bed. Use a flashlight to aid the inspection process.
Bed bugs are Hitchhikers. People usually bring bed bugs into their homes, in luggage or on clothes, after visiting an infested dwelling or hotel. If you travel frequently, watch for signs of bed bugs in your hotel room by checking under sheets, inspecting mattresses and headboards (tip: spraying a little Lysol behind the head board will usually flush them out). If you suspect bed bugs, check your luggage before leaving and place all clothing into a plastic bag. Wash all your clothes in hot water and place in dryer on high heat as soon as you get home. Vacuum your suitcase thoroughly. You also can bring bed bugs into your home on bedding or furniture. Stay away from second hand furniture and mattresses on the curbside awaiting garbage pickup.
Manage your home or apartment. Try to eliminate things you do not need i.e. paper, boxes etc.
Protect your Bed:
Installation of mattress encasements and climb ups (a devise that is placed under each leg of the bed which traps the insect) are great ways to prevent or limit an infestation. Mattress Encasements are great at eliminating harborage areas and/or containing an infestation in or around the mattress and box spring. Climb ups act as a trap that bed bugs crawl into and cannot climb out. Since bed bugs cannot jump or fly the only access to a bed is through climbing up the legs of the bed (as long as the bed is not touching the wall and the blankets and bed skirts are not touching the floor).
If you have or feel you have an active condition try not to panic. The first thing you should do is contact a Pest Control Professional to do an inspection. Early detection is key. If you remove infested items from your home they must be wrapped in plastic and thrown out immediately.
Your Pest Control Professional should provide you with a preparation sheet prior to treatment. It is extremely important to follow protocol when having a chemical or thermal treatment performed in your home. Many bed bug treatments fail due to lack of preparation.