Bed bugs are creatures that no one wants in their homes. Although they are not usually a health risk, infestations can quickly spread to an entire home. The larger the infestation, the more difficult and costly it is to get rid of the pests. The sooner the problem is addressed, the better.
A homeowner can expect to pay around $600 to $1,500 as the average price for bed bug extermination. Typically, you’ll pay $900 for an inspection, freeze treatment for one room with a moderate level of infestation, and preventative treatment for the two surrounding rooms. The lowest price you can expect to pay is $325 for a single room inspection and high heat treatment. The highest cost is $4,000 for an inspection, whole house fumigation, and follow-up visit.
|Bed Bug Treatment Cost|
|National average cost||$900|
The cost of bed bug removal varies widely depending on the method chosen, the severity of the infestation, and how many rooms have been affected. Expect to find the average cost for bed bug extermination to range from about $400 for one room up to $4,000 for the whole house.
|Number of Rooms||Cost|
|1 Room||$300 - $475|
|2 Rooms||$750 - $900|
|3 Rooms||$1,050 - $1,300|
|4 Rooms||$1,500 - $1,700|
|Whole House||$3,750 - $6,000|
The average cost to treat a single room for bed bugs is approximately $300 to $475. Bed bug infestations may be limited to a single bedroom in a home and can be targeted with heat, freezing, or chemical treatments. To confirm that only one room is impacted and not any other bedrooms, the pest control specialists may use bait traps in other areas where residents sleep.
The average cost to get rid of bed bugs in two rooms of a home will be between $750 and $900. If two rooms need to be treated for bed bugs, both rooms are likely to be bedrooms with sleeping residents that offer a blood source to the pests. Bed bug infestations don’t grow fast. So, affected residences may have had the pests in the home for a long time without detecting them. Bed bug infestations usually start to spread rapidly three months after the initial contact. Heat and chemical treatments are most often used for infestations in two rooms within a home.
Expect to pay around $1,050 to $1,300 to remove bed bugs from three rooms in a residence. In homes with three or more bedrooms, the bed bugs may need to be eradicated from each area they have actively invaded. Pest control specialists may set bait traps or use bed bug sniffing dogs to confirm their presence. Fumigation and chemical treatments are more often used for widespread bed bug issues.
Most homeowners pay an average of $1,500 to $1,700 to treat four rooms for bed bugs. If bed bugs have been in a home for several months, they may have spread to four or more rooms. The bed bugs may have hitched a ride on shared pillows, blankets, or clothing. Once a breeding female is introduced to a new room, she can lay over 100 eggs in another room within a month as long as she has access to blood meals. Fumigation and chemical treatments may be the best options for homes with four rooms requiring bed bug removal.
If you need to treat an entire house for bed bugs, you could expect to pay anywhere from $3,750 to $6,000. The need to treat an entire residence for bed bugs is rare. Most infestations are isolated to sleeping quarters since bed bugs stay within eight feet of their feeding source. However, whole house infestations can happen in overcrowded residences or dormitory-like settings. Fumigation treatments may be used in these cases.
Treatments themselves range in cost and effectiveness; there are several ways to kill bed bugs, but not all are going to be suitable for every application. Bed bug extermination methods all have advantages and disadvantages. For example, although heat is the least costly, the treatment will not eliminate any residual pests. The treatment area and the size of the infestation help the pest control technician recommend the best option for your household. Two or more methods may need to be used at one time to ensure the successful eradication of the bugs. A follow-up visit and inspection may be necessary in four to six weeks to make sure the bugs are gone. Two or more methods may need to be used at one time to ensure a successful eradication of the bugs, and a follow-up visit and inspection may be necessary in 4 to 6 weeks to make sure the bugs are gone.
|Treatment||Cost per Square Foot|
|Heat||$1 - $3|
|Chemicals||$2 - $4.50|
|Steam||$2 - $7.50|
|Freeze||$3 - $6|
|Fumigation||$4 - $8|
Expect to pay between $1 and $3 per sq. ft. or an average of $200 to $500 per room for heat treatment. Hot air that reaches temperatures of over 120 degrees is pumped 1 into the spaces with bed bugs during a heat treatment. The hot air remains in circulation for an hour or more with the use of fans. This method is best used in empty spaces, as the extreme heat can damage objects in the room. For this reason, items with low heat tolerance must be removed before treatment. This method does not use chemicals and kills bed bugs in all stages of their life, but it does not prevent reinfestation. No one is allowed in the building during this treatment, but you can re-enter immediately. Many exterminators use their own generators not to hike up the customer’s electric bill.
Chemical treatment should cost between $250 and $600 per room or $2 to $4.50 per sq. ft. Chemicals that kill bed bugs can be sprayed or laid in the home or business. Several types of chemicals that are used include liquids for cracks, crevices, molding, or along the edges of carpets. Aerosols can be used in furniture, bed frames, and box springs. Many different types of chemicals kill bed bugs. Each kills differently but is not very effective on its own, so they need to be combined with other types of treatment. Some of these chemicals work like poison, others destroy the bugs’ outer protective coating, and some disrupt cellular function in the pest. This type of treatment may be combined with fumigation to reach the entire space.
Steam treatment for bed bugs should cost between $2 and $7.50 per sq. ft. or $250 to $1,000 per room. A steam treatment uses no harmful chemicals. Bed bugs cannot tolerate extreme hot or cold temperatures and die when exposed to them. During this method, steam that reaches over 200 degrees will be applied to the infested areas. It should be noted that several passes are often necessary for this treatment to work. This kills bed bugs in all stages 2 of life. It penetrates materials and soft surfaces, such as mattresses, better than other methods. However, it can damage some items such as electronics or wood furniture.
Bed bug freeze treatments should cost about $500 to $750 per room or $3 to $6 per sq. ft.The freeze treatment is one of the newer, chemical-free methods that exterminators are using. Just as bed bugs cannot tolerate extreme heat, they also cannot tolerate extreme cold. This method uses high pressure to pump freezing cold temperatures into areas that are infested with bed bugs. It is basically like powdered snow that will hit bed bugs and kill them instantly. But, sometimes, it can blow the bed bug away instead of killing it. This method is safer for many surfaces that may not tolerate high heat but can have difficulty penetrating soft surfaces like mattresses. Keep in mind that if it is not done correctly, it could result in another infestation.
A bed bug pesticide treatment should cost between $4 and $8 per sq. ft. or $600 to $1,000 per room. It is very important to let a professional handle chemicals that kill bed bugs. If the bed bug pesticide treatment is applied incorrectly, it can be harmful to the health of people and pets. To perform this eradication method, the professional seals off the entire house or place of business and then fills it with an insecticidal gas. This kills all of the bugs inside. Be aware that everyone will need to stay out of the building during the treatment, two to three days for everyone’s safety. This method is great for reaching cracks and crevices, as it kills 99 to 100% of bed bugs and all other pests present in the space but does release harmful VOCs. Unfortunately, it also does not prevent reinfestation.
Bed bug contracts with a pest control company differ from standard maintenance contracts. A company may recommend multiple visits as a way to confirm that there’s no longer evidence of live bugs or eggs on the property. Return visits may be for inspections only and not for active treatments and may have a reduced cost if no additional treatments are needed. For instance, you may only be charged a $100 to $150 service fee for each inspection visit.
If a large infestation has occurred at a property, the pest control company will create a contract to arrange future visits. Bed bugs can live without an active food source for as long as 400 days, making it very important to reinspect a home after bed bug treatment. The following table details the average bed bug remediation cost based on the frequency of visits to the property.
|Frequency||Average Cost per Year|
|Yearly||$750 - $950|
|One-Time||$900 - $1,100|
|Quarterly||$1,800 - $2,100|
|Monthly||$5,000 - $7,200|
|Semi-Monthly||$5,500 - $8,350|
Many pest control companies offer their services to remove bed bugs from a residence. Some prefer using a pest control franchise since costs may be more controlled, and technicians must follow certain service protocols. The following are the most popular companies used for bed bug control around the United States and their average cost for bed bug removal.
|Provider||Average Treatment Cost|
|Orkin||$550 - $1,200|
|Terminix||$625 - $1,800|
|Ehrlich||$750 - $2,300|
|Rentokil||$800 - $2,000|
Orkin bed bug services cost an average of $550 to $1,200. Orkin offers a variety of bed bug treatments to residential customers. For most homes, Orkin provides chemical treatments and heat control methods. Orkin takes an aggressive approach since missing a single bed bug could result in a reinfestation. Treatments are guaranteed for a total of 30 days with no extra inspection costs.
Terminix charges an average price between $625 and $1,800 to get rid of bed bugs. Terminix is one of the largest pest control companies in the United States. Before hiring the company, they provide a free inspection to evaluate for bed bugs and recommend the best course of action. Terminix will most often rely on freezing methods as a way to remove bed bugs from a home. The treatment is non-toxic, and the company guarantees the results for up to 30 days.
Homeowners pay an average of $750 to $2,300 to get rid of bed bugs using Ehrlich. Ehrlich provides bed bug treatments throughout their franchise locations in the United States. The company customizes each treatment plan on a case-by-case basis. In many incidences, technicians attempt to get rid of bed bugs with heat treatments. However, the pest control company also employs newer strategies for removal, including bed bug sniffing dogs. Inspections are free from Ehrlich, and results are guaranteed by the company for 30 days.
Rentokil costs an average of $800 to $1,500 for a single bed bug home treatment. Rentokil uses a multi-step process as a way to get rid of bed bugs for good. The company typically uses environmentally-friendly sprays and fumes to target areas with high activity levels. The company may combine chemical treatments with heat to eliminate bed bugs in the entire space. The service comes with a 30- to 60-day guarantee with inspection costs included.
The earlier a bed bug infestation is found, the better. It is easier and less costly to get rid of light infestations. A professional exterminator can come do an inspection and determine the level of infestation. This can affect the method of extermination used and the overall cost.
|Level of Infestation||Cost|
|Small||$225 - $350|
|Moderate||$325 - $500|
|Severe||$3,500 - $4,750|
You can expect to pay about $250 to $350 to treat a light infestation. A light bed bug infestation would include 1-5 bed bugs found with no signs of breeding. This would need to be caught within 2 to 6 weeks of them entering your home. Freeze treatment, chemical treatment, or steam treatments work well for light infestations.
On average, you’ll pay about $325 to $500 when treating a moderate infestation. A moderate bed bug infestation will include signs of breeding. There will be adults, babies, and signs of eggs. A moderate infestation is contained to the original room and caught between 6 and 18 weeks of them entering your home. Freeze treatment, chemical treatment, or steam treatments work well for moderate bed bug infestations.
Homeowners will likely pay between $3,500 and $4,750 to treat a severe bed bug infestation. A severe bed bug infestation will, at minimum, include multiple generations of bed bugs located in multiple rooms with breeding still occuring. An entire property can become infested with bed bugs, with the chance of them spreading to adjoining properties. This is the worst case scenario. Heat treatment or fumigation work best for severe bed bug infestations since they can treat the entire house.
Because home remedies are often ineffective, it’s usually recommended that you seek professional extermination. These services range from $75 for a simple inspection to more than $4,000 for a whole house heat treatment. Bed bugs may not infest your entire home. If you catch the problem early enough, you may only need to treat one or two areas. However, if the bugs are discovered in multiple areas around your home, you may require more extensive treatments.
The labor and costs of exterminating are directly tied to the size of the infestation. Small infestations confined to a few areas cost less than whole house infestations. Most exterminators charge either by the room, by the square foot, or by the job. Costs for labor range from $250 to $1000 per room, $1 to $7.50 per sq. ft. or up to $4,000 for whole house treatments for a single application.
A whole house treatment can take as long as 48 hours to complete. More than one application may be necessary to eradicate the bugs. A follow-up visit and inspection are usually recommended and cost between $75 and $200 about 4 to 6 weeks after treatment. If necessary, additional treatments may be scheduled at that time.
On average, an emergency bed bug extermination appointment adds $200 to $500 to the total bed bug service cost. Bed bug emergency extermination depends on where the infestation is centralized and if you’re able to relocate until the pest control company arrives. For example, suppose the bed bug infestation seems limited to one bedroom in a single family home. In that case, you can vacate the room until a pest control specialist arrives at the property. Most bed bug treatment companies realize that the pests require quick and efficient treatment and won’t make you wait an extended time.
An example of an emergency bed bug call is a widespread infestation that makes a residence inhabitable. Also, if bed bugs are found in apartments or dormitories, emergency visits prevent widespread infestation.
Because bed bugs can hide behind wall paper, picture frames and other out of the way areas, it’s important that your exterminator conduct a thorough inspection. These can take 1 to 4 hours to complete and involve the exterminator checking your furnishings, carpets, walls, bedding, and other areas such as cracks and crevices within rooms of the home to determine which areas to treat. Some companies will include the cost of the inspection in with the cost of treatment, others charge between $75 and $200 per inspection.
The cost of a bed bug sniffing dog inspection is between $300 and $600 for an average sized home. Bed bugs can be difficult to detect, so some companies rely on canines to locate the source of the infestation. Dogs can detect up to 96% of bed bug infestations, even in difficult to see or out of the way areas. Most homeowners and inspectors shouldn’t rely on bed bug sniffing dogs alone for confirmation of an infestation. Typically, after a canine has alerted the technician of bed bugs, traps are set in the areas that the dog sensed the pests. If you choose to use a bed-bug sniffing canine, ask to see certification for the dog. Most require at least the Minimum Standards for Canine Bed Bug Detection Team Certification.
Bed bugs are nocturnal, making them difficult to locate when they’re not feeding. Since they bite human hosts, they most often infest a bed. Not all bed bugs are found on top of the mattress, so it’s important to inspect the headboard, baseboard, and all along the seams 3 and piping of both the mattress and box spring. All bedding must also be evaluated for evidence of live bugs, eggs, and larvae. This includes looking for bed bugs in pillows, blankets, and sheets.
A common misconception is that bed bugs only infest a bed. Bed bugs in wood furniture are also a possibility. Bed bugs hide inside dressers and nightstands. To check for the pests, you must remove any drawers to look inside any cracks and crevices closely. Any other furniture pieces in the room could play host to bed bugs, such as accent chairs and couches.
Large-scale infestations lead to bed bugs residing in multiple areas in a room or even an entire house. More extensive treatments involve the need to eliminate bed bugs in walls and carpets. Bed bugs can crawl into any cracks in the wall or hide behind any torn pieces of wallpaper. More comprehensive control strategies like fumigation may be considered for bed bug infestations that spread through walls and carpets.
Bed bugs in electronics can occur, but it’s rare. Heat and steam methods may end up destroying any electronic components, so chemical treatment is likely the only viable option if you’re worried about the pests in televisions, radios, and video game consoles. Professional assistance will ensure all electronic items remain undamaged during the treatment process since they will know the correct protocols to use.
Bed bugs are always caused by the transportation of a live bug to another location. The bugs find a way to hitch on items such as clothing pieces, backpacks, bedding, and luggage. Bed bugs travel on almost any type of soft surface and begin to infest the new location after crawling off the material. For example, if you sleep in a hotel room with bed bugs and they get onto your luggage, they can infest your home.
Bed bugs can also be caused by living in buildings with multiple units or rooms. For example, apartment complexes, condominium buildings, and dormitories are all at risk for bed bug infestations. Bed bugs can travel between the rooms to infest multiple units in a complex.
A common misconception is that bed bugs target dirty homes. Bed bugs affect any household since the only requirement is that the pests need hosts to feed on blood.
The bugs themselves are very small, about 0.16 to 0.2-inches in length or about the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny. Therefore, it’s often difficult to see the bugs themselves. It’s not uncommon for signs of a bed bug infestation to go unnoticed for several weeks to months, especially because some people will never show signs of bites. Most people first notice signs of infestation due to a rash, blister, or other symptoms. Other signs of a bed bug infestation include:
If you suspect that you have a bed bug problem in your home, it is best to investigate quickly. Watch for all of the signs listed above and follow these guidelines for how to locate bed bugs. Carefully inspect couch cushions, mattresses, box springs, curtains, bedding, electrical outlets, loose wallpaper, carpet edges, framed pictures, wall joints 3, and in the areas between drawers. Grab a flashlight and search all of these areas, looking for signs of a bed bug infestation. Be aware that you may find just one egg, but in most cases, the bugs like to congregate and there will normally be many eggs. Also be aware of smells and watch for a musty, sweet odor. Note that you may actually see a bed bug, so keep an eye out. However they are most active at night and hide during the day. Once you have taken a look around, if you are concerned about a bed bug infestation, it is best to call in a professional for confirmation.
Sometimes it’s recommended that certain steps be taken prior to extermination. Old furnishings, for example, may need to be thrown out, and furnishings or decor that will not tolerate heat may need to be bagged and temporarily removed. Cluttered homes may need to be decluttered or to have a lot of debris removed before extermination can begin. Fabrics should be washed and dried on the hottest possible settings, and furniture should be steam cleaned. Loose items should be boxed for easier fumigation, and items should be moved away from walls. Many of these jobs you will need to tackle yourself; others are included in the cost of the extermination process. Ask your exterminator for a list of preparation tasks you will need to complete beforehand, and what they may be able to do for you and at what cost.
Bed bugs feed on the blood of humans or animals and, as they feed, their bodies turn a reddish color and swell. Despite the swelling, bed bugs aren’t easy to spot. They hide during the day and only become active at night when they bite and feed on the host as they sleep. These pests do not fly but can move quickly.
As far as breeding habits, females lay hundreds of eggs throughout their lives. However, the pests can live without feeding for several months, although they won’t reproduce during that period.
Bed bugs have not been found to transmit disease but are an unwanted guest in any home. Some human hosts develop an allergic reaction on the skin from bed bug bites. Without getting rid of the bed bugs, the pests continue to feed on the host and cause repeated skin irritations.
Bed bug eggs are very small and hard to spot, especially on white mattresses and box springs because of their cream or off-white coloring. The eggs are extremely tiny, with each egg only measuring the size of a grain of salt or approximately 1 mm. The exterior of the eggs is elongated with a sticky texture. The sticky substance keeps the eggs adhered to any surface they are laid on.
Eggs can only be produced after a female bed bug has fed on blood. After her feeding, she can lay dozens of eggs. As the eggs mature, a distinct dark mark appears on the surface. The mark can only be seen in eggs that are a minimum of five days old. The eggs can take six to ten days to hatch.
Bed bugs are unlike other pests like ants and don’t have nesting behavior. However, they do tend to congregate in areas that allow them easy access to blood. This is why the largest number of bed bugs will be found clustered together in the seams and edges of mattresses and box springs. The pests also hide under the bed or within the headboard or footboard.
Bed bugs prefer wood and fabric materials. They are less likely to infest plastic or metallic items. In all cases, bed bugs look for places to congregate that are no farther than eight feet away from their human hosts.
Adult bed bugs have a different appearance than younger bugs. Adult bed bugs are brown, about the size of an apple seed and oval. Due to the very small size, identification can be a challenge. On closer inspection, you can see that the adult bed bugs are wingless with a flattened midsection.
Without a feeding, bed bugs have a brown color. However, after feeding, the bed bugs' coloring changes, and they turn a more reddish color. The size of the bed bug is affected by a feeding, with it growing as large as 5 mm. The body shape becomes more elongated after a feeding.
Baby bed bugs are called nymphs and have a very different appearance than adult bed bugs. Not only are the nymphs smaller, but they don’t have a brown or red coloring. Nymphs are translucent because they have yet to feed on blood. After a feeding, the baby bed bugs take on a yellowish color.
Nymphs go through five stages until they reach adulthood. When baby bed bugs are first born, they only measure 1.5 mm. However, they gradually grow up to 4.5 mm as they advance through each nymph stage. It takes approximately 30 days for a nymph to go through each stage and grow into an adult bed bug.
Bed bug bites don’t always leave a mark on the skin. You may only see small red spots on bedding materials, which is a sign of the bugs feeding. When you’re looking for actual bite marks, check the common areas that bed bugs target--the arms, legs, face, and neck. Bed bugs target these areas because they are usually not covered by clothing during sleep.
Bed bug bites are most commonly found in groups on the skin. They may appear in a flat line or a diagonal pattern. However, there can be solitary bites on the host. The bite marks will be small with a slightly raised surface. The skin around the bite will be inflamed with a pink or red color. For those with sensitive skin, the bites may become itchy and cause some blistering. Bed bug bite markings disappear within a day, although some bites can remain on the skin for as long as four or five days.
Making the distinction between male and female bed bugs is an important part of identifying a potential infestation in the home. You want to know if you have female bed bugs because they can lay hundreds of eggs if left unchecked. A solitary male will not infest a home since it won’t be able to reproduce.
Male and female bed bugs have the same basic red or brown coloring. They have six legs and a rounded body shape. However, the only physical difference between male and female bed bugs is the abdominal shape. Male bed bugs have a pointed tip on their abdomens. Females have fully round abdomens with no points.
Both males and females feed on blood. However, females produce for as long as ten days after a single blood meal. Each day, she’ll lay eggs, up to seven per day. To lay more eggs, the female will have to feed again.
Bed bugs aren’t attracted to the typical things like most pests. You won’t have a bed bug infestation due to unsanitary living conditions. Left out food also doesn’t affect the pests. Simply, bed bugs are attracted to blood and warm living conditions. Bed bugs thrive in warm, humid environments with temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bed bugs prefer soft items, such as fabrics and upholstery pieces. These items make it easier to travel than items crafted from steel and plastic. Plus, the bed bugs can conceal themselves better in these items.
Bed bugs cause both direct and indirect damage. For starters, as a direct form of damage, bed bugs can swarm certain furniture pieces and require that you discard the items to get rid of the pests. In some cases, homeowners discard beds and mattresses that have been infested with bed bugs. Bedding materials are usually thrown out due to damage from blood stains and left behind exoskeletons.
Certain items don’t tolerate bed bug treatment well and may become damaged, an example of indirect damage. The damage is considered indirect because the treatment products lead to the issues. For instance, electronics are difficult to treat since they can malfunction due to heat and pesticide exposure. Furniture items made out of wood may become warped or damaged when certain treatments are used to combat bed bugs.
According to the CDC, bed bugs themselves are not inherently dangerous. They can however, lead 4 to itching and rashes, where a person may develop a secondary infection due to scratching. Some people may also suffer from extreme allergic reactions to bed bugs, leading to the need to seek immediate medical attention.
Bed bug health risks include secondary infections caused by the bites, according to the EPA. Types of infections linked to bed bug bites include impetigo, ecthyma, and lymphangitis. The EPA warns of the psychological damage caused by bed bug infestations. Many people who live in homes with bed bugs suffer from anxiety and insomnia due to the pests.
While the bugs aren’t dangerous, they are considered a serious nuisance and pest. It’s recommended to deal with the issue professionally as soon as it’s noticed to avoid spreading the bugs to others.
Pet safe bed bug treatments are usually around the same cost as traditional treatments, an average of $1,000 to $2,500. Bed bugs are notoriously difficult pests to eradicate. It’s important for the safety of pets and humans to get rid of them efficiently. According to the ASPCA, some chemical treatments aren’t safe for pets, but many providers use pyrethrin, an ingredient that is safe for cats and dogs if administered properly. All pest control companies recommend that pets stay away from treated areas until chemicals have dried. The rooms should be well-ventilated, too, before pets are reintroduced.
The best way to stop bed bugs is to prevent them from entering your home in the first place. Because most people pick up bed bugs during travel, it is recommended that you inspect hotel rooms and other areas you may be staying for signs of the bugs, including carcasses and rust-colored spots. Check on and under mattresses for signs of the bugs. Elevate your suitcase and keep it away from the bed to prevent them from coming home. Purchase new toiletries for short trips and throw them away at the end. Wash and dry your clothing in hot water as soon as you return from a trip.
Keep in mind that hotels, hostels, dorms, and other places to stay are not the only locations to pick up bed bugs. They are also found on public transportation. If public transportation is utilized, keep a watchful eye for signs of bed bugs. Additional prevention measures are a good idea if your lifestyle includes travel and/or use of public transportation. These include sprays or chemicals used as a deterrent around your home and cost around $9 to $30 a bottle. Using a mattress encasement that is bed bug proof is also a good idea. These cost about $50.
Unlike most pests, seeing a few bed bugs is a cause to call a professional. In most cases, you may only see one or two live bugs, but there still could be a large-scale infestation hidden to you. Bed bugs aren’t solitary pests and won’t live with only a few in their colonies. When left unchecked, a few bed bugs can turn into a full-blown infestation in no time.
The reason that you want to contact a pest control company after seeing one or two bugs is the potential for breeding. If a female bed bug is in your home, she can lay hundreds of eggs, as many as 500 in her lifetime. If you remove bed bugs before the pests reproduce, you stop the life cycle. Infestations occur when each life phase is present in the home--eggs, nymphs, and adults.
Common and tropical bed bugs are the two types of bed bugs that use humans as hosts. In the United States, most of the bed bugs seen by pest control professionals are the common type. However, there has been a recent resurgence of tropical bed bugs found inside residences in the U.S., although they are most often found in South American areas and imported into the country. Common and tropical bed bugs have many key similarities besides bloodletting, including concealment in cracks, crevices, and bedding materials. They follow the same life cycle through egg, nymph, and adult.
Physical differences are slight between the common and tropical bed bugs and may not be noticeable to the naked eye. The most significant difference is the shape of the neck. Common bed bugs have a more rounded neck area, while tropical types have a U-shaped. Coloring may be slightly darker, too, for the tropical type. However, most of these differences require microscopic observation to confirm.
Bed bugs and fleas are similar in that they are large producers and tend to cause large infestations indoors. The pests have the same reddish-brown coloring and size. However, bed bugs are oval and have a flattened midsection. In comparison, fleas have a long and narrow build. Fleas feed on the blood of all mammals. Bed bugs tend to prefer human blood. Fleas are more prone to infest areas where household pets rest, like dog beds. Meanwhile, bed bugs will gather within several feet of where humans sleep.
Flea bites and bed bug bites can have a similar appearance. Each person reacts differently to bites. Both types could have a raised, inflamed look on the skin. However, the location of the bites will differ. Flea bites usually occur on the lower half of the body, especially the ankles and the legs. Bed bugs bite the legs and attack exposed areas of the skin such as the neck, face, and arms.
Bed bugs and mosquitos don’t have similar appearances. Mosquitos are small black or brown winged insects with small heads, large midsections, and long legs. Mosquitos mostly remain outdoors with heightened activity during the summer months. Bed bugs live year-round and remain indoors, close to their human hosts. However, it’s not uncommon to mistakenly believe bed bug bites have come from mosquitos, especially during the warmer seasons.
Timing is one way to tell the difference between bed bug bites and mosquito bites. Mosquito bites cause a reaction within minutes. Bed bug bites take days to appear. Bites from a mosquito are usually elevated on the skin with a white or pink coloring. Bed bug bites will usually consist of small areas of reddish blotches. Mosquito bites cause pain and itching. Bed bug bites may not have any discomfort symptoms. Mosquitoes may bite in a singular area, while bed bug bites tend to be clustered together.
If you’re unsure of bed bug exposure, you may believe any skin irritations came from a spider bite. Bed bug bites and spider bites are very dissimilar. The main difference is that spider bites are usually singular marks, while bed bug bites will be clustered and may appear in a line or zig-zag pattern. One similarity between the two is that some individuals don’t develop a reaction to a bed bug bite or a spider bite.
Bed bugs don’t look like spiders, so there’s usually no mistake between the two. If you encounter a spider, the arachnid can vary in size and coloring with eight legs (two additional legs are also usually found on a spider but not used). Spiders leave puncture marks when they bite. The marks are so small that you may not see them unless the skin becomes inflamed around it. Bed bug bites are visible with a slightly raised, red surface.
Bed bugs and ticks share a surprising amount of traits. For starters, both pests are wingless and have oval-shaped bodies. However, the number of legs is different, with bed bugs having six legs and ticks having eight legs. Both are very small creatures, so it’s not likely you’ll be able to distinguish them physically. Ticks have a dark coloring and increase exponentially in size after a blood meal. Bed bugs have more of a blood color after a meal and will only grow slightly larger after a feeding.
The way that ticks and bed bug bites is the easiest method to compare the two pests. Bed bugs bite and feed off a person quickly before retreating to their hiding spots. Ticks attach themselves to the host and gorge until they are physically removed. Bed bug bites appear in multiple areas on the skin, while ticks usually only bite one area on the host.
Chiggers and bed bugs are two pests that live off of human blood and leave behind similar markings. However, their living habits and feeding tendencies help you determine whether you’ve been attacked by bed bugs or chiggers. Bed bugs are visible, although small enough to be seed size. In comparison, chiggers are not usually visible to the naked eye since they measure only 1/150th of an inch. They are red-colored and are usually only spotted when clustering together in groups.
Chigger bites look like small, raised pimples and can appear for days to weeks after exposure. Bed bug bites are clustered and cause the skin to become red and irritated. Chigger bites tend to cause itching, especially the longer you’re exposed. Bed bug bites may go unnoticed altogether. Chiggers bite in areas where clothing is tight, such as around the hem of the underwear or socks. Bed bugs bite where the skin is exposed during sleep.
Bat bugs are the most common type of bug mistaken for bed bugs. The bat bug is from the same family as bed bugs, but they bite bats instead of relying on human blood. Physically, bed bugs have a more reddish-brown color, while bat bugs are dark brown. Both bugs have oval-shaped bodies, but bed bugs are almost double the size of adults as bat bugs.
Bat bugs stay close to bat hosts in the same way bed bugs remain near humans. The only time that bat bugs would appear inside a residence is if bats are in the home. If the bats are eliminated, then the bat bugs must relocate to find another host. Bed bugs require extensive pest control treatments to eradicate from a home.
Bed bugs may hide in small cracks and crevices where spray chemicals, steam, and even heat can’t reach. They may therefore reinfest your home after a typical treatment. If during inspection the bed bugs are found in the structure or foundation of your home, a structural fumigation may be recommended at a cost of $5,000 to $50,000 depending on the size of the home.
An integrated pest management plan is sometimes recommended for extreme infestations. This is a combination of different methods including chemical, heat, steam, and vacuum to help ensure that the pests are completely gone. It may also include prevention techniques to help keep the bed bugs from returning. This may include using monitoring devices, frequent inspections, a mixture of chemical and non-chemical treatments, and frequent cleanings/sanitation of the home. Costs may be in the range of $5,000 or more to treat serious problems.
High heat is traditionally the method used to kill bed bugs instantly. Bed bugs are killed instantly when a space is heated above 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bed bugs on a mattress can be hard to spot at first. Many times, there could be small clusters of cream-colored eggs measuring about 1 mm each. You may also see shell casings or blood spots from feeding. Live bed bugs are brown and look like apple seeds on a mattress.
Chemical treatments are used by technicians to kill bed bugs. Pyrethrins are the most commonly used chemicals to get rid of bed bugs and don’t have harmful side effects for children and pets.
Bed bug treatment using heat can damage some electronic components. You may be asked to remove any electronics from a space before the process begins.
Contact a professional to discuss an inspection and bed bug service cost estimate. DIY methods can be attempted but are not recommended due to the high likelihood of reinfestation.
Certain types of beetles are often mistaken for bed bugs. Spider beetles, carpet beetles, and bat bugs are three examples of insects that resemble bed bugs.
As part of your bed bug treatment cost, a professional will inspect the property, confirm the presence of the bed bugs, and determine where they’re located in the house. Based on the size of the infestation, the exterminator will use heat, freezing, or chemical treatments to get rid of bed bugs. Sometimes vacuums are also involved in helping remove the carcasses and any bugs from cracks. The type of treatment your exterminator uses may depend on the severity of the problem, the size of your property, and your personal wishes.
It can be difficult to treat bed bugs yourself. Thoroughly vacuuming along baseboards and in cracks and using a pesticide on all contaminated surfaces may help you deal with a small infestation. However, if you have a larger, more widespread problem, it’s best to seek professional help.
To prepare for a bed bug extermination, begin by decluttering your home and throwing away old furnishings and textiles that are not in use. Clean all fabrics on the hottest settings, box up belongings, and move furnishings away from the walls. Steam clean any furnishings that remain in the house and remove any decor that cannot tolerate heat.