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Considering all the pest problems we have here in Florida, from termites to cockroaches to mosquitoes, bed bugs may not have ever crossed your mind when you were formulating your Fort Myers pest control plan. However, unfortunately, bed bugs have been making a comeback since the turn of the century, and they are now virtually everywhere in the United States. Every time you travel on public transportation, stay in hotels, or shop secondhand, you have the potential to pick up these nasty pests. And once you have these little hitchhiking bloodsuckers, they can be very difficult to kick to the curb. 

Bed Bug Bites Are Usually The First Sign Of A Problem

Bed bugs are sneaky, and there are several reasons why you might never see a real live bed bug, even if you have a serious infestation. For one thing, bed bugs are tiny. There's some misinformation out there that says they are microscopic, and while this is not true, it is true that bed bugs are so little that it is very hard to spot them with the naked eye unless you are looking for them. 

This issue is exacerbated by the fact that bed bugs are extremely good at hiding. They can squeeze themselves into some pretty unbelievable places, including behind light switch covers, inside electronics like laptops and keyboards, and even in between carpet fibers. Not to mention the fact that bed bugs are nocturnal and only come out at night after they sense you've gone to sleep.

All these factors mean that you'll have to look for other signs of bed bugs if you suspect you might have a problem. One of the first signs you have an infestation is bed bug bites. If you start waking up in the morning with unexplained bites, you should definitely suspect that it's bed bugs. To be sure, check out the bites themselves. Bed bug bites usually appear in lines or clusters where your body made contact with the bed during the night. They're also typically small and red, and they may look similar to flea bites. So the pattern is the best way that you can differentiate them. 

Once you suspect you have bed bug bites, start looking for other signs. Signs of bed bugs include:

  • Shed bed bug exoskeletons
  • Bed bug eggs (look like tiny sesame seeds)
  • Small brown bloodstains on sheets
  • Actual bed bugs 

Keep in mind that though it's rare for you to see live bed bugs, if your infestation gets severe enough, you will start to see dead bed bug bodies and, if you look for them, living bed bugs themselves. 

A Bed Bug Infestation Only Gets Worse With Time

When it comes to breeding speed, bed bugs don't take the cake. They are not as fast reproducers as, for instance, rodents or roaches. However, as the saying goes, slow and steady wins the race. Adult bed bugs consistently lay a few eggs every day and mature quite quickly after they hatch. If nymphs are getting a blood meal whenever they want one, they can mature into fully grown adults in a few weeks. Combine this with bed bugs' talent for hiding, and the likelihood that you won't notice you have an infestation until it has ballooned to a major one is quite high. 

You might think that even if you do wind up with bed bugs in your house, it's not that big of a deal. After all, they don't sting or spread disease. However, a bed bug infestation can mess up your life in other ways. For instance, it's quite common for people with bed bugs to start developing anxiety around going to bed and begin to suffer from insomnia. This means that bed bugs may not directly infect you with a disease, but they can negatively impact your health over time if not dealt with appropriately. 

It's Very Difficult To Get Rid Of A Bed Bug Infestation On Your Own

Once you do notice you have a problem, you might be tempted to poke around on the internet to see if you can find some solutions. There are a lot of ineffective bed bug solutions out there that people claim can get rid of an entire infestation. However, the fact that bed bugs can easily spread throughout your house without you even realizing that's what they're doing means that spreading a little baking soda or some essential oils on your mattress is not going to solve your problem. Even store-bought bed bug control products like foggers and dusts rarely even slow down bed bug infestations, much less eliminate them. This means you'll need a better solution than the ones most homeowners are typically able to do themselves. 

That's where we come in. Here at Stat Pest Control, we can get rid of your bed bug problem – stat! The first thing we'll do when you call us out to your house is to conduct a thorough investigation of your home's nooks and crannies to ensure we are finding every place that bed bugs are hiding. This helps us get a full picture of the severity of your infestation and create a plan to eliminate it. 

Once we've conducted an inspection of your home, we will be ready to move forward with our treatment plan. Depending on the size and severity of your infestation, we can do liquid treatments for individual rooms to get rid of a few bed bug hotspots, or we can fumigate your entire house. If we fumigate your house, we'll provide you with a prep sheet for how to move your furniture and other items to ensure all bed bugs get the full force of the treatment. We'll also do at least one follow-up visit to ensure we have eliminated the entire infestation.

The Best Way To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs And Keep Them Out

The fact that it's so difficult to get rid of bed bug infestations means that it's a whole lot better to never get one in the first place. The good news is there's plenty you can do to avoid ever having to deal with an expensive and frustrating bed bug problem. You'll need to take precautions when you travel, when you use public transportation, and when you shop at places like thrift stores and garage sales.

In fact, it's generally ill-advised to shop at secondhand stores if you're looking to avoid bed bugs. While some thrift stores do take measures to prevent bed bugs from spreading, these measures aren't always entirely effective, and some stores don't take any at all. So there's no way for you to know for sure whether they're inadvertently spreading bed bugs. And this is to say nothing of garage sales and other places where you buy directly from another individual homeowner. This is why the best thing you can do to avoid bed bugs is to avoid buying used items of any kind. If you can't kick your thrifting habit, make sure you are inspecting all of your purchases for signs of bugs before bringing them into the house. You'll also want to wash and dry things like clothes and other fabric items on the highest heat settings possible as soon as you bring them home. 

You might be able to quit thrift shopping, but the likelihood of you being able to entirely quit traveling is probably pretty low. This means you'll want to take precautions when you travel in order to avoid bringing home a nasty surprise in your suitcase. To protect yourself:

  • Always inspect hotel mattresses for signs of bugs before you sit or lie on them.
  • Never put your luggage or clothing on the ground or on soft hotel furniture. Use a luggage rack or a hard surface.
  • When using public transportation, avoid placing your bags on the floor or allowing clothing or other items to touch the floor.
  • Check luggage for signs of bugs before bringing it into your house after travel. 
  • Wash and dry clothes on the highest heat settings as soon as you get home from travel.
  • If you use the laundromat while you travel, don't fold or sort clothes on-site. Take them back to your hotel room and sort them on hard hotel furniture like desks or tables.

Following these steps can help ensure that you never have to deal with a bed bug infestation in the first place. 

If you do wind up with an infestation, don't hesitate to contact the best bed bug control near you: Stat Pest Control! We're Fort Myers' premier source for bed bug control services. We know exactly where to look for these sneaky little hitchhikers, and our battery of treatment options can help put your bed bugs to bed for good. So don't wait until you have a house full of these little bloodsuckers, give us a call or visit our contact page as soon as you start to see the signs of bed bugs. This may help you nip an infestation in the bud and avoid costly whole-house treatments.