Bed Bugs

Bed bug infestations are on the rise in the Texas and Oklahoma areas. The National Pest Management Association recently released a study that reported an 81% increase in bed bug calls since 2000 for pest management companies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have issued a joint statement noting the insects’ rapid resurgence and have warned consumers to use caution in choosing bed bug treatments.

So how do you know if you have bed bugs? The pesky creatures are flattened, wingless insects that are about the size of an apple seed. The brownish or reddish insects feed solely on the blood of humans or animals and got their name because they've adapted to living in or near the bedding of humans.

Bed bugs develop by incomplete metamorphosis. The eggs hatch and go through five stages before becoming adults, with the nymphs looking very much like the adults except for their size and color. Young nymphs are colorless but become darker with each successive stage. Nymphs must consume at least one blood meal before molting to the next stage. They hide in cracks and crevices during the day and come out at night in search of a blood meal.

Bed bugs can be found hiding in bed frames, furniture, closets, tiny wall cracks and behind pictures. A few bed bugs hitchhiking in your suitcase can rapidly become a major bed bug infestation. A female bed bug can lay as many as 500 eggs during her lifetime, and each cluster can contain as many as 50 eggs. The eggs hatch in a week or two, and nymphs can reach adulthood in as little as three or four weeks.

Here are some of the common questions our bed bug experts in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin and surrounding areas receive from residential and commercial customers:

What does a ded bug bite look like?

Bed bugs are small, oval, insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. The flat bodies of adults are about the size of an apple seed and go from brownish to reddish after they feed.

What do bed bug bites look like?

Bed bugs pierce the skin of people and animals as they withdraw blood through their elongated beaks. Bites may appear as red blotches on the skin and could be easily be mistaken for mosquito bites. Unlike flea bites that are mainly grouped around the ankles, bed bug bites are on any area of skin exposed while sleeping. Bed bugs are attracted to sleeping people by their body temperature and odors. Bed bug bites are generally painless but could become itchy over time.

What are the signs of a bed bug infestation?

Because of their habits, bed bugs often aren’t detected even when they feed on room occupants. Dark fecal spots, cast skins and crushed bed bugs are all signs of possible infestation. Blood stains on sheets or pillowcases and an offensive, musty odor in the bed or room also are signs.

Do bed bugs transmit diseases?

While they are a big nuisance, bed bugs do not transmit diseases.

Are bed bugs a sign of uncleanliness?

No. Bed bugs feed on blood, which means anywhere are there humans or animals, the potential for the insect exists. Immaculate homes and luxury hotels have had and been treated for bed bugs.

What do bed bugs do?

Bed bugs feed on blood, emerging from hiding places at night to seek the warm blood of humans. Bed bugs are nocturnal, so bright lights and movements of the host food source cause them to crawl away and hide. If they are hungry, they will forage during daylight hours, but only in dark areas.

How long do infestations last?

Bed bugs can exist for extended periods of time without food. Adults can survive up to one year without feeding. Females can lay 200 to 500 eggs in their lifetime at rates of up to five per day when food is abundant. Eggs are attached to surfaces in cracks and crevices with "cement" produced by the female.

What can hotels do to help prevent bed bug infestations?

While it is impossible to prevent bed bugs from entering a hotel, steps can be taken to prevent the isolated introduction from becoming a full-fledged infestation. It is imperative to discover and deal with bed bug activity early, before they have a chance to reproduce and become an infestation. All staff members should be trained in what bed bugs look like and what the signs are indicating bed bugs are present. This will allow you to discover activity shortly after they arrive and deal with it before they reproduce, spread and bite guests or staff. 

Why choose ThermaPure Texas for bed bug treatments?

We use an exclusive heat treatment that is pesticide-free and non-toxic, and we offer a 100% guarantee after one treatment. There’s no need to replace mattresses, linens or other furniture, and rooms are available for normal use within hours after our clean heat treatment, which also improves indoor air quality and reduces room odors.