Bed bugs are tricky to beat, especially if you’re unsure about the key signs of an infestation. While bed bug bites may help you understand a problem is afoot, some homeowners won’t have reactions or even notice bites!
Finding evidence, like a bud bug molt, droppings, or blood, are excellent indicators that bed bugs have invaded your home. Because molted exoskeletons suggest a growing population, you can even know approximately how long the pests have hidden away!
Look at our blog to learn more about bed bug molting and how to eliminate them from your home.
Signs of Bed Bugs
One of the most common signs of bed bugs is itchy, painful bites. Bed bug bites are often grouped in a line or cluster and may be red and swollen. These bites are usually accompanied by blood stains left behind as the bed bugs feed.
Exoskeletons, or molted skin, are another sign bed bugs are near and reproducing. You may see these piled along the seams of mattresses and furniture. In these areas, it’s also possible to find fecal spots or droppings.
The presence of live bugs, accompanied by a musty odor, is a cause of concern and implies bed bugs have infested your home. These reddish-brown pests are nocturnal, and finding them out and about during the day means the infestation has significantly grown.
If you suspect that you have bed bugs, it’s crucial to confirm their presence before taking action. Look for these signs in your home, especially in your sleep areas, and call a professional exterminator for further evaluation.
What’s a Bed Bug Molt?
Bed bugs go through a molting process as they grow and mature. Molting involves shedding the exoskeleton, a hard outer shell that protects their bodies. Bed bugs will typically molt five times before reaching maturity.
During the molting process, the bed bug’s exoskeleton splits, allowing the insect to wriggle out of its old shell. The new exoskeleton is soft and hardens and darkens over time.
The bed bug’s body will also increase in size during molting, allowing it to accommodate its growing body. Molting occurs at regular intervals, and the time between molts decreases as the bed bug ages.
It’s important to note that molting does not kill bed bugs, and the process does not affect their ability to feed or reproduce. Molting is a normal part of the bed bug life cycle, and understanding the process is vital for effective bed bug control.
Bed bug molted skins can be a great indicator of an infestation, so keep these identification tips in mind as you evaluate your home for a bed bug infestation.
- Color: Freshly molted skins are cream or translucent in color.
- Shape: Molted skins are oval-shaped and have a flattened appearance. They are slightly larger than the bed bug’s body, usually the size of an apple seen.
- Texture: Molted skins have a slightly rough texture, similar to sandpaper. They are often found in clusters near bed bug hiding spots, such as cracks and crevices, or along the seams of mattresses and box springs.
- Presence of Legs: Bed bug molted skins will have six legs that are still attached, which can be seen under a microscope or magnifying glass.
- Location: You can find bed bug molts in and around bed bug habitats, such as in the folds of mattresses and box springs, along baseboards, and in the seams of furniture.
It’s important to remember that other insects, like cockroaches and beetles, can also shed their exoskeletons, so examine the skins closely to ensure they are from bed bugs.
How to Clean Household Items During a Bed Bug Infestation
Bed bugs can be a complex and persistent problem, but with proper cleaning techniques, you can eliminate them.
Once you’ve found bed bugs in your home, wash all bedding, including sheets, covers, and blankets, in hot water (above 130°F) and dry them on high heat for at least 30 minutes. This will kill any bed bugs and their eggs.
After removing infested linens and blankets, vacuum your mattress, box spring, and any furniture that may be infested with bed bugs. Use a crevice tool to get into all the nooks and crannies, and dispose of the vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag.
Steam cleaning is an excellent tool to eliminate any bed bugs in carpeting or rugs. The heat from the steam may kill the bed bugs and their eggs, while the cleaning solution could help remove left-over bed bug molt.
If your children’s room is infested with bed bugs, don’t forget to clean out their toys. Soft toys and stuffed animals can be washed in hot water and dried on high heat. For toys you cannot wash, place them in a sealed plastic bag and freeze them for at least 72 hours.
Clothes, shoes, and other items that may have come in contact with bed bugs should be washed and dried on high heat. If you cannot clean the items, stick them in the freezer for a few days.
While bed bugs can’t enter from the outdoors, it’s still important to seal any visible cracks where the bed bugs may hide away. Some bed bug infestations continue to flourish despite pest control treatments if they sneak into unsealed crevices.
If the infestation is severe, consider hiring a professional pest control company. They have the experience and knowledge to eliminate bed bug populations and can also provide ongoing monitoring to prevent future infestations.
Finding a bed bug molt indicates a severe infestation, and you’ll want to act fast before they grow out of control. An exterminator has the tools, equipment, and expertise to assess the infestation, identify all bed bug hiding spots, and implement a comprehensive treatment plan. Bed bugs are challenging, and DIY methods are often ineffective.
An exterminator can also help prevent the spread of bed bugs to other areas of your home or properties. But remember to be patient, as it may take multiple treatments to eliminate the bed bug population entirely.
Contact us today to discuss how you can eliminate bed bugs from your home with proof.!