Here at Swepe-Tite we have received a large number of questions about bed bugs, like what is a bed bug, where do they come from, how dangerous are they, etc… Here are some of most popular questions and Swepe-Tite’s corresponding answers.

What is a bed bug?

A bed bug is a small nocturnal insect of the family Cimicidae that lives by hematophagy (or in other words by feeding on the blood of warm-blooded hosts. The reason they especially like humans is because we have less hair.). Bed Bugs can be found all over the world, generally in human-inhabited environments because of the reasoning stated above.

Bed Bugs are fairly small; an adult may grow to be the size of 4-7mm. They are a reddish-brown color and their shape is flat and oval. Some folks have the misconception that they are not visible to the eye, this is not true, and they are in fact visible and easy to spot because of their slow movements.

Where do Bed Bugs come from?

Bed Bugs can come from many places. The most common forms of infestation is through contact with infested furniture in hotels, motels, and other places of temporary accommodation. Bed Bugs can even be passed on from used clothing or furniture. Cleanliness is not a factor in the spreading of infestation directly. The idea that dirt causes Bed Bugs infestations is false. However keeping clutter down, by depriving the bed bugs of some of their hiding places, does slow down the infestation. Apartments, Hotels, and Dorms often have Bed Bugs because they can get from room to room easily.

What are the feeding habits of Bed Bugs?

As mentioned before Bed Bugs feed on the blood of humans. (This is amazing) When a bed bug bites a human it injects two hollow tubes into the skin. With one tube the bed bug injects an anti-coagulant, anesthetic and with the other tube it steals your blood. Generally takes a bed bug about five minutes to feed before returning to its hiding place. Also, Bed Bugs typically are active only at night because they are generally nocturnal, but can be seen anytime especially if a chance to feed occurs like in a dark theater and airplane. They also generally feed every 5-10 days but Bed Bugs can survive for up to eighteen months without feeding. A hungry bed bug looks different from one that’s just been fed. A hungry bed bug is typically flat with a circular shaped abdomen while a blood-fed bed bug is elongated with a tapered abdomen.

Are bed bug bites dangerous?

Most often you can’t feel a bed bug bite until minutes or hours later after they have feed and gone into hiding. The bite most often looks like a flat welt or even a raised, red bump and is often times very itchy. At this time it is believed that their bites aren’t dangerous but a study in Canada is conducting a study to see if they do or can carry the dangerous staph infection MRSA or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. (These dangerous strains are often referred to as Superbug because of their resistance to many standard antibiotics.) Most often they cause skin irritation or rashes so it’s a wise idea to get rid of them as soon as possible. If you end up itching or your skin gets irritated you may be allergic to bed bug bites due to the chemical they release when they bite you.

How can I tell if I have Bed Bugs?

Check out Swepe-Tite’s Bed Bug Checklist for a suggested list of ways in which you can check for bedbugs is most often the first thing you may notice is a peculiar odoriferous odor. If you think you may have Bed Bugs do a visual check your bed, as Bed Bugs can often be spotted. Also, you may notice are blood spots, fecal stains, or cast exoskeleton skins. Take particular attention in checking the mattress itself and the corners of bed nets. Bed Bugs typically will hide in furniture, behind headboards, any crack or seam close by, and in mattress or box springs and bed frames. Just because they are called Bed Bugs doesn’t mean they are only in beds. Although in most cases Bed Bugs are in a small, concentrated area and usually within 10-20 feet of where their source of food is humans.

How can I get rid of Bed Bugs?

It’s a good idea to get rid of Bed Bugs as soon as possible because each individual bed bug can lay four to five eggs a day, so if you do the math that’s a lot of Bed Bugs you don’t want around (Bed Bug Math – 40 Bed bugs at 70 degrees x 6 months = 5,900 to 6,000 Bed Bugs that would like to feed every 5-10 days.)

So you think you have Bed Bugs?

If you think you have Bed Bugs do not bring anything else into the contaminated room. The reason is it may become contaminated also. Another thing to remember is to not start sleeping in a different bed, sofa, or with another family member or friend. The reason for this is because there is a great chance that the Bed Bugs will follow you to the new location and therefore contaminate another area. Do not throw anything out, try to get rid of the Bed Bugs. Make sure you do not bag anything unless it has been washed in hot water and dried on hot for one to two hours. Just a reminder, if you bag up clothing or bedding that has not been washed and they contain Bed Bugs when you open the bag the Bed Bugs may contaminate your living space again as they can live up to 18 months without feeding. On the safe side just treat everything in the room that is infested.

Do Bed Bugs ever bite private parts?

YES! – They don’t care what part of the body they feed on, but they don’t like hair and will move to the area that is free from hair.

Do Mattress covers work?

Mattress covers will seal the mattress and keep bedbugs that are in and those ‘trapped’ bugs will eventually die unless you get a tear or opening in them. Remember a Bed Bug can go 18 months between feedings. Also the bed bugs that are hiding around the bed frame and other areas will still find their way to their food source, you. Don’t be fooled that this is a cure all, it is not, a mattress cover simply protects the mattress (not you).

Do Bed Bugs have an odor?

Most people say that bed bugs smell like sweet like raspberries and bit in cases where the place is infested; it can smell like mold.

What if I have a pet with me, will the bed bugs feed on it instead of me?

No! You have less hair so therefore you are Grade A – the preferred host for feeding!

Can it take up to 14 days for a bite from a bed bug bite to show up?

A study from the California Department of Public Health Vector-Borne Disease Section says, “A bed bug bite may not show for up to 14 days!”

Remember everyone’s reaction is different to bed bug bites, but if a reaction does occur, most often it happens by late morning.

Swepe-Tite produces green cleaning products for several uses, including the treatment for bed bugs line and biodegradable cleaning products for household, commercial and industrial cleaning.