One bed bug, or new bed bugs, nothing to worry about, right? Well, you may want to think again. Experts believe a sighting of a lone bed bug is enough to warrant concern. Most average Norfolk residents have little to no experience with bed bugs. In fact, if you go from house to house, business to business, asking people what they think of bed bugs, you may be surprised by the feedback.
Believe it or not, most encounters, involving humans and bed bugs occur in motels, college dorms, and hospitals. These facilities generally see a lot of frequent fliers. A frequent flier could be someone who frequently visits, staying online temporarily. Ask yourself, am I a frequent flier. If so, you are at risk of encountering bed bugs along your journey.
Now, to make matters worse, most bed bug encounters occur, unknowingly to the frequent flier. It may be a few hours, days, weeks, or even months befor the incident is discovered.
What could be considered a bed bug encounter? Oxford Dictionaries defines an encounter as “an unexpected or casual meeting with someone or something.” In this case, the definition is right on. When you factor in, most participants are in the dark about the encounter. And, only figure it out when another encounter occurs. It could also be, the signs were always there, but you refused to decipher them.
Whatever the case may be, a sighting or one or bed bugs should warrant concern.
Unwillingly, Unknowingly: Becoming A Parasitic Host
It cannot be stressed enough, encounters between humans and bed bugs occur while visiting an infested establishment. Bed bugs colonize to protect the species from extinction. When the owner of the infested establishment is in the dark about the infestation or refuses to take the appropriate action, all visitors are at risk.
As long as the bed bugs go undetected or undisturbed, their colonies will continue to grow. Overcrowding is often the reason bed bugs decide to hitchhike rides with visiting humans and animals. The insect is all about remaining discrete to avoid potential eradication.
When the bed bug sees an opportunity, there is no time for delay. The insect hitchhikes a ride in suitcases, backpacks, overnight bags, purses, jacket pockets, animal fur, and other accessories. Their tiny claws permit them to grasp hold on for dear life.
The insect is transported from place to place until the host reaches the final destination, which could be a home or business. This could very well be the beginning of a bed bug infestation.
Why Worry About A Brief Bed Bug Sighting?
There are many reasons why a sighting involving a live bed bug is concerning. First, and foremost, it only takes a bed bug to develop into a full-blown infestation. It is not surprising when people blow off a live sighing of a lone bed bug. It seems innocent, does it not? Of course, it does and who wants to invest so much time worrying about a minor incident such as this one?
Bed bug infestation is more often the result of a bed bug than a colony of bed bugs. For this to be possible, the bed bug was a pregnant female when the initial encounter occurred. An adult female bed bug can reproduce at an alarming rate, laying up to 7 eggs daily and 200 in her lifetime. Now, are you concerned? You should be because the female will most likely deposit her eggs on your mattress, box springs, or bed linen. Yes, the bed bug will gladly share your bed, even if you are aware or unaware.
Difficulty Of Bed Bug Detection
Successful detection of bed bugs is extremely difficult, if not impossible for many reasons. The adult bed bug grows up 7 millimeters long, which is one reason why detection is difficult. The small size permits the insect to access tiny crevices when not feeding. Another factor that interferes with detection is the insect’s nocturnal behavior. Nocturnal insects like the bed bug are active at night, hiding away during the daylight hours to avoid human detection.
Unlike most nocturnal pests, bed bugs have the ability to alter their nocturnal behaviors at any moment in time. When the host is a daytime sleeper, bed bugs alter their schedules to feed during the day. This is a phenomenal capability that leaves some experts scratching their heads.
Last, but not least, the bed bug does not nest. Nesting is a process, in which, insects and animals build nests in preparation for birth. The female bed bug does not build a nest for her eggs, but instead, deposits them in crevices and cracks. The eggs are expected to hatch in 6 days, not longer than 10 in most cases.
With no nest, bed bugs are even more difficult to detect. Locating the insect’s hiding place is also complicated, thanks to its small size. Small crevices, cracks, and gaps in baseboards, bed frames, floorboards, mattresses, box springs, décor, and electronics.
How To Differentiate Between Bed Bug And Other Similar Insect Species?
As previously mentioned, the bed bug’s body is the shape of an apple seed. It is reddish/brown in color. The abdomen remains flat until each feeding, at which time, it becomes engorged with blood. The reddish/brown coloration also complicates detection. The coloration blends in with wood finishes, such as cherry, walnut, mahogany, Jacobean, ebony, coffee brown, and nutmeg.
Differentiating between the bed bug and other like species is not that difficult. Knowing the insect’s physical characteristics will ensure quick and easy identification.
What Are The Most Common Signs Of A Bed Bug Infestation?
- Dark Stains – Dried blood from the host found on bed linen
- Dead Skin – Bed bugs shed their skin when molting
- Translucent Eggs – Bed bug eggs, translucent in color, can be found on bed linen, mattresses, box springs, carpet, and in furniture tiny crevices
- Dark Droppings – Tiny oval and round fecal droppings found in infested areas
A visual inspection is required to determine the severity of an infestation if bed bugs are present.