I have been inspecting homes for over 15 years and I have never had anyone ask about bedbugs untill this year. I'm not a pest control contractor, but I do know how to research and I have foundout a great deal about these little critters that I never knew.
According to experts infestations of Bed Bugs are up 5000 percent as are the number of reported attacks! The nightmare begins when a Bed Bug finds its way into your clothing; it usually happens at a hotel but can start anywhere.
Finding bed bugs in your home has nothing to do with poor hygiene! It takes only one bed bug to hitch a ride on your clothing (furniture, suitcase, etc) and infest your residence. What's worse is that they can live up to one year without drinking a drop of your blood. Feeding takes about 10 to 15 minutes for adults and less for the nymphs; they feed about every three days. Depending on the conditions, bed bug nymphs can survive for months without feeding.
Bed Bugs are insects, more specifically, 'True Bugs', which have piercing mouthparts that in most species are used for feeding on plants. Unfortunately, there are some species of bugs with mouthparts that have been adapted to feed on human blood while inflicting very little pain (most never feel the blood feeding).
This is a picture of their life cycle and what the adult bug looks like....
The adult bug is about the size of pencil eraser head, but they are flat unless they are gorged with blood from their victim!
We as home inspectors and the professional who list and sell home need to be very aware of this little bug. They are not covered under any WDO clearance letter or even looked for. So who is going to be looking for this little brown bug? They have become such a problem across the country that they have even closed shops and store in major retail areas so that their infestation can be dealt with.
It might be time for everyone to rethink just how Bed Bugs need to be handled. Do we need to add them to disclosure statements? Do we need to have special Bed Bug inspections by the pest control experts? What needs to be done to protect buyers from purchasing a new home that is infested with Bed Bugs?
I have compiled some Bed Bug facts that might help.
Here are the facts about Bed Bugs:
- Bed Bugs are flat, brown, wingless and about 1/4 of an inch
- They have 6 legs, shiny reddish-brown but after a good serving of your blood, they appear dark brown and swollen as in the picture below.
- They can be seen with the human eye, but do a great job at hiding
- Bed bugs are not known to carry diseases as of yet
- They feed on human blood preferring to do it in the dark when you're sleeping
- Simply using chemical treatments will not remove the infestation
- These bugs love to hide in the seams of your mattress including:
- Sofa seams
- Cracks in the bad frame and or head board
- Under chairs, couched, beds and dust covers
- Under rugs, edges of carpets, drawers, baseboards and window casings
- Behind light switches, electrical outlet plates, cracks in plaster
- Televisions, radio clocks and phones
- Backpacks, Sleeping bags, Cloths
- Behind wallpaper, picture frames and other dark areas
I hope that you do not cross the path of a Bed Bug, but if it does happen hopefully this blog post will help you to understand and deal with them. Keep in mind that if you find just one Bed Bug you have an infestation and it needs to be dealt with by a pest control expert.
Middle Tennessee Home Inspections by Trace Inspections, 615-302-1113