Tag Archives: bed bugs

Do bed bugs have a favorite color?

bed bugs gravitate towards red and black

Bed bugs are sneaky little pests that move fast and are experts at hitching rides in luggage, electronics and other travel items you take with you on overnight trips.
Well, that’s probably the most common way unsuspecting travelers return home with bed bugs in tow.

Bed bugs gravitate towards red and black

On April 26, CNN reported researchers at the University of Florida discovered that bed bugs, “just like flies and other insects — have favorite colors. They really like dark red and black, and they shun dazzling white and bright yellow.”

This study, published in the Journal of Medical Entomology maintained that when given the choice, bed bugs gravitated towards little red and black tents set up in Petri dishes and steered clear of the white, yellow and green tents, prompting reporters to speculate about the potential of brightly colored luggage and bedding to deter bed bugs.

  • Some researchers think that since bed bugs spend most of their time hiding in folds and crevices, they will naturally try to find dark spaces that provide better protection from predators than lighter spaces.
  • Researchers also take into consideration the fact that bed bugs “like to stick together and might mistake the red and black colors for fellow bed bugs.”
  • Roberto Pereira, an urban entomology research scientist at the University of Florida, who worked on the study thinks that because bright colors expose bed bugs to light, “the more exposed these insects are, the more they lose water, and if they lose too much, they will die or have to feed again.”

Nocturnal insects, bright colors present an alien environment to bed bugs

While bed bugs don’t carry diseases, scratching their bites can cause secondary infections. Nocturnal beings, bed bugs leave the protection of folds and crevices at night to feast on humans. Attracted by exhaled carbon dioxide and warm bodies at rest, bed bugs only come out of hiding for about 5 to 10 minutes at a time for a blood meal. So moving around in a brightly lit environment would be out of their character and the black and red colored tents were the only thing that vaguely resembled their normal habitats.

Better ways to prevent bed bugs

But before you run out and buy bright-colored luggage and bedding, Dawn Gouge, an associate professor of urban entomology at the University of Arizona thinks there are better ways to exclude bed bugs and their eggs from your home. Gouge recommends using hard-bodied suitcases and encourages travelers to unpack luggage in their garage or other suitable outdoor area, such as a patio.

Gouge says the new study sheds light on bed bug monitors and on the focus of her work: finding the best ways to monitor for bed bugs in homes and other environments.

Rethinking bed bug monitor colors

Bed bug monitors, or traps, look like bowls with steep walls placed under the legs of beds or sofas to trap bed bugs that crawl into them but does not allow them to get out. Currently, of the two most popular monitors on the market, one is white and one is black. “If we are monitoring for these bugs…I am convinced I should be using the black ones,” because the insects might avoid the lighter colors, Gouge said.

Gouge points out that, while monitors can’t terminate bed bug infestations, they are proving useful in detecting bed bug infestations. “The sooner you find them, Gouge continued, “the easier, the cheaper and faster it is to get rid of the infestation.”

Bed bugs require professional protocols to eliminate and control

Even though new studies and devices, like bed bug traps, can give homeowners further insights into bed bug infestations, homeowners should contact a professional pest control company, such as Hulett Environmental Services immediately if there is a suspected bed bug issue. Because bed bugs can go undetected until their populations have grown substantially, setting up a free inspection with one of Hulett’s entomology trained and certified technicians at the first sign of bed bugs will save you and your family the persistent, uncomfortable nightmare of a bed bug infestation.

Bed bugs can be difficult but not impossible to eliminate. Once bed bugs have been detected, your Hulett professional will guide you through the necessary preparation needed before treatment. Some of these preparations include:

  • Laundering all bedding and washable items in affected areas in hot water and drying them on your dryer’s highest heat setting.
  • Removing clutter from the affected area and placing non-washable items, like clock radios and decorative items in plastic bags.
  • Vacuuming the affected area thoroughly, making sure to dispose of vacuum bag or the contents of your vacuum canister in a plastic bag before placing in a tightly closed bag in an outside receptacle.

Hulett’s researched, developed and tested bed bug service protocol really works. Our approach includes the latest products on the market, proven to manage bed bugs, as well as steam treatments, which kill all bed bugs in their life stages. Our bed bug program includes treating:

  • Mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, nightstands and dressers
  • Behind pictures or mirrors on walls
  • Carpeting, baseboards, electrical outlets, and any other voids where bed bugs may hide.

Ask your certified Hulett technician about bed bug specific encasement systems for your mattresses as an affordable option to purchasing new bedroom furniture. Once bed bugs are eliminated, you should practice precautionary measures when traveling and returning from your travels.

Consult any one of a number of bed bug registries, such as www.bedbugregistry.com and registry.bedbugs.net before you book hotel accommodations. When returning from a trip, remember to launder all washables in your luggage and thoroughly vacuum everything else, including your luggage. Take back your home!

Just call HULETT for your free, in-depth bed bug inspection at 1-866-611-BUGS

How to Deal with Bedbug Bites

How to Deal with Bedbug Bites

How to Deal with Bedbug Bites- 670Bedbugs are problematic enough when they aren’t biting you. Dealing with the bites, though, that’s a whole other problem. Here are some tips to help you deal with and treat bedbug bites.

Bedbug Bites: The Details

Probably the most important thing to know about bedbug bites is that you won’t feel them right away. One of the stranger things about these insects is that their bites are painless. Another thing that is important to know is that you won’t know for a while that you’ve been bitten. According to the CDC, a bedbug bite can take as long as a few days to “show up”.  So, by the time you notice the bites, you could have a big problem.

Identifying Bedbug Bites

At first glance, bedbug bites look like pretty much every other type of mite or insect bite that you might acquire while you sleep. There are some things that will help you tell these bites apart from the other red and itchy types of bites you might get.

The bites are typically found on the shoulders, hands and arms. These bugs seek out exposed skin and aren’t likely to crawl inside pajamas.  The bites are usually in a straight line though they can be randomly clustered too.

How to Treat a Bedbug Bite

Unless you are severely allergic to them, like a mosquito or flea bite, the bite of a bedbug is more annoying and itchy than it is dangerous or life threatening. You won’t require any medication to treat it. Just because they’re mostly harmless, though, doesn’t mean they won’t be incredibly irritating.  Some people find that they lose sleep because the itching gets so intense. It will be tempting to scratch and scratch at the bite, but you must resist. These bites, when scratched open, can easily become infected and that is the last thing you need.

In addition to keeping your hands off of the bites, you can try a topical ointment to help relieve the itching. Experts at the Mayo Clinic recommend looking for an ointment that contains hydrocortisone. You can find these ointments and creams pretty much everywhere and at relatively low prices. Mayo Clinic also recommends taking an oral antihistamine like Benadryl or anything containing diphenhydramine if the itching gets overly bad.

If topical treatments and oral antihistamines don’t work, you should see a doctor. He or she can prescribe a steroid cream that will help relieve the irritation and itching.

How to Treat Your Home

Unfortunately you can’t get rid of bed bugs completely by yourself. You’re going to need to enlist a professional pest expert to kill off the infestation. The sooner you do this, the better off you will be—especially if you’ve been losing sleep over the idea that the bedbugs have decided to move in.

Sometimes, though, it can take a while for a pest expert to have time in his or her schedule to help you tackle your bedbug problem. While you wait, here are a few things you can do; while they don’t completely eradicate the infestation, they can give you some peace of mind.

1. Clean Your House

Scrub your home from top to bottom. Make sure you clean along the backs of your furniture because bedbugs can infest tables and walls as easily as they can move into your bed and upholstered furniture.

2. Inspect Your Furniture

You’re going to be tempted to get rid of your furniture and buy all new stuff, but resist. For one thing, once the pest expert tackles your house, you should be able to use your furniture normally. Plus, not everything will be infested. Carefully inspect cushions (especially along the seams) for holes and rips.

3. Buy a Bag

You probably don’t have enough to buy a brand new bed. You should, however, have enough for a bed kit—these are bags that you zip around your mattress to help keep it safe from future infestations. This can give you incredible peace of mind at night while you’re trying to sleep.

Avoiding Bed Bug Nightmares

Avoiding Bed Bug Nightmares

Avoiding Bed Bug NightmaresIt’s been a couple of years since bedbugs made the national news, but the problem with these pests is far from solved. Bedbugs are still problematic for apartment dwellers, hotel stayers and even homeowners.

What Are Bedbugs?

Bedbugs are tiny, flat, parasitic bugs. They burrow into bedding and upholstered furniture (hence their name) and come out only at night to feed. They will target the exposed skin of any other living creature, though humans are the most common targets because of where the bugs live and lay their eggs.

Do You Have Bedbugs? How to Tell?

The most obvious way to tell if you have bedbugs is to wake up and find one crawling around. You might also wake up and find that you’ve got insect bites. Your face, neck, arms and legs are the most common places to find them, but they can be on any part of your body.

Unfortunately, according to the CDC, it can take a couple of weeks for a bite to actually show up. Bedbugs can also go a few weeks without eating. This is why it is important to regularly inspect your home to see if you can find traces of these insects.

How to Find Bedbugs

Look through your sheets and bedding for exoskeletons that have been shed as the bedbugs grew. These exoskeleton shells are typically light brown.

  • After a bedbug feeds, it will typically leave bloodstains behind on your bedding.
  • You might also find dark colored fecal stains (these often get mistaken for the fecal stains of other pets).

The best places to look for these things include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Your own bedding. Look at your sheets and blankets.
  • Inspect your mattresses for signs of infestation: run your finger along all of the seams and check for breaks or holes.
  • Check out your dresser and table drawers. Make sure you pull these pieces out from the wall and inspect their backs.
  • Go over all of your upholstered furniture carefully, checking seams, cracks, and tufts.

Keeping Bedbugs from Infesting in the First Place

Over the summer, we have published an article called “How to Check for Bedbugs” that teaches readers how to do exactly that while they are traveling. One of the things mentioned in this article is the importance of working to keep from tracking the bedbugs in. After you get back from taking a trip, inspect your luggage thoroughly outside before you take it into your house.

It’s good to do this even if your trip is to a friend or family member’s house. Remember: bedbugs can happen anywhere! You might also like this video that goes into more depth on the subject.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs—Hire a Professional!

Unfortunately, simply keeping your home clean isn’t enough to keep bedbugs from invading. Remember, these bugs have been found even in pristine, almost sterile five star resorts. To make matters worse, bedbugs are typically billed as the “non-DIY” pest.

Basically, if you find one bedbug you are likely already infested and sadly, there isn’t anything that you can do yourself to get rid of them. Unlike fleas or lice there aren’t any “at-home” products you can buy to rid your home of these creatures. Laundering all of your clothing and bedding might help you feel better but it won’t keep the bugs from furthering their infestation.

The only way to truly eradicate bedbugs once they’ve set up shop is to hire a professional exterminator to get rid of the pests for you. The good news is that since the banning of DDT, most of the products that exterminators use to rid your home of bedbugs are environmentally responsible.

Don’t waste time – if you find one, get to work inspecting and contact us to keep these pests from taking over completely!

Note: Although DIY tips can be useful, they can also be ineffective and potentially very dangerous! It’s always advised that, when in doubt, you seek out the help of a certified professional such as Hulett Environmental Services to take care of any pest issues you may have.