Top 25 sings of bed bugs

Don’t Let Them Bite: Top 25 Signs of Bed Bugs

Top 25 Signs of Bed Bugs

Creepy crawlies that skitter about in the night are enough to give anyone shivers. Bed bugs are serious pests that can not only destroy your property, but they can make an impact on your life.

These tiny insects - it takes three-to-four to cover just Lincoln's head on a penny - can be a major headache for anyone experiencing an infestation, and no matter where you live, it’s possible to encounter these little creatures.

If you are concerned that you may have a bed bug infestation or want to be sure one doesn’t get out of hand, here are the top 25 signs you might have bed bugs.

Bed Bugs small on a penny
How many bed bugs can fit on a penny?

#1 - You see bugs!

This should be the most obvious sign of a pest problem, but bed bugs are very small (between 5-7mm in length) and have several life stages making it difficult to pinpoint them. What’s worse is they could be just about anywhere.

#2 - You have recently encountered someone or a place that has reported bed bugs

While this is no guarantee that you will get bed bugs, if someone you know has had them or recently discovered they have had them, it’s a good idea to check around your own home to be sure you didn’t pick up a stow-away.

#3- Shells or molted skins

While living bugs can be elusive, they manage to leave behind a little present. Bed bugs shed their exoskeleton as they molt to the next stage. You will find these “leftovers” in cracks, under furniture, or anywhere they may be nesting.

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#4 - Fecal spots on bedding/mattress

Liquid fecal spots on your bedding is a sure sign of bed bugs. These small, liquid waste spots can be scattered across your bed depending on how often the bugs have fed.

#5 - Blood stains on your sheets/pajamas

If you are a host for a family of bed bugs, another sign would be blood stains. The primary diet for bed bugs is blood from humans or other warm-blooded animals. Seeing unexplained spots of blood on your sheets could be a warning flag.

#6 - Dark spots on the walls or upholstery

Sheets aren’t the only place for bed bugs to hide. These little creatures can easily slip behind your wall paper or into other enticing spots they can hide away during the day.

#7 - Multiple bug bites

Maybe it’s not mosquitos! If you find yourself waking up with multiple little red dots, it’s likely that you have bed bugs. The problem is, however, you may not actually feel the bed bug bite. The bites are painless, but they may cause you to have a reaction.

Top 25 sings of bed bugs
Bed Bugs are extremely small

#8 - Painful, swollen bumps with a dark center

If you aren’t 100% sure you have been bitten by a bed bug, one way to tell is by looking at the bite. They are often swollen with a dark center. In some cases, they can have a white center as well

#9 - Raised, red welts

Often, if you have bed bugs, you will have multiple bites. They often appear on your skin like a rash across a localized area. They are often raised and have the appearance of hives.

#10 - Burning and itching

While the initial bite may not hurt, bed bug bites tend to leave victims with a burning and itching sensation.

#11 - Fever, nausea, or a swollen tongue

Bed bug bites can cause a severe reaction in certain individuals. Coupled with the other signs of bed bug bites, such a reaction could be a sign of an infestation.

#12 - Marks on exposed skin

If you have rash-like patches, bites in a straight line, or burning hives on your exposed skin, you may have bed bugs. Depending on the clothing you wear to bed, bed bugs will latch on to exposed skin for an easy meal.

#13 - Not everyone displays symptoms; others have a strong reaction

It’s common for people to have different reactions to bed bug bites, even within the same household. Keep an eye on your skin, and the skin of small children, because it can be difficult to spot the sign without a reaction.

#14 - Uncomfortable nights

Another sign of a bed bug infestation is an uncomfortable night’s sleep. While you may not feel the bites, your body may react in response to any interaction with these pests. They are quick and often run across your bed at night to feed. While you may not be aware of the presence, your body may experience restlessness as a reaction.

#15 - Musty smell

Bed bugs have a particular smell. Much like the scent of a dirty, wet towel, where there is an infestation, there is often an overwhelming damp scent.

Bed Bugs signs on sheets
Signs of bed bugs on sheets

#16 - Rusty spots on the bedding

Much like seeing spots of blood, a common sign of bed bugs is in the rusty spots from expelling blood and fecal matter.

#17 - Flat, reddish bugs

If you do happen to see a bed bug, they are about 5-7mm in length and they are no bigger than a sunflower seed. These small oval bugs are so tiny they can fit almost anywhere and are so light it’s hard to tell when one is on you.

#18 - Bug exoskeletons or bodies

A sure sign of bed bugs is finding dead bodies throughout your house. These little creepers can find various spots to nest in your home, so don’t limit yourself to just the bedroom and mattress.

#19 - Egg shells or eggs

Bed bug egg shells are about 1mm and are a pale yellow. Like the exoskeletons or dead bodies, spotting eggs could mean you have a nasty infestation.

#20 - Shells in drawers

Much like your bedroom, it’s possible for bed bugs to house themselves in your clothing drawers. They can hide between the cracks, underneath, or even in the clothes themselves.

#21 - Spots near electrical receptacles and appliances

Another spot you may find black and rust colored spots is by electrical sockets. While it’s more common to find bed bugs in your mattress, it’s possible to find them just about anywhere in your home.

#22 - Box spring nightmare

If you have any bed bugs, the most likely spot you will find them is within your box spring. Bed bugs can squeeze themselves flat and fit in just about any little space.

#23 - The head of a screw

While the most obvious places may give you difficulty, consider this possibility: bed bugs in a screw head. Depending on the severity of the infestation, bed bugs can fit themselves in some of the strangest places.

#24 - Bites on your animals

If you have any warm-blooded animals, like cats or dogs, you may want to inspect them. Bed bugs don’t just bite humans!

#25 - Overall decrease in personal well-being

If you find yourself covered in welts, having a rough night sleep, and can’t stand the smell of your bedroom, it’s likely that your well-being is suffering. Not knowing the signs of a bed bug infestation can lead to poor quality of life.

Bed bugs are a pest that no one wants to encounter. If you see any signs that may indicate an infestation, take care of it as soon as possible. Your skin, pets, and furniture will thank you for it.

To learn more about our Bed Bug treatments, contact The Pest Rangers.

9 Fall Pest Control Tips: Prep for These 5 Major Pests

Fall Pest Control Tips

Fall is a time for colorful leaves, pumpkin spice, and haunted houses. It’s also the season for five major pests that can make life a real nightmare.

As the weather turns from warm to cool, little critters will be searching for a place to call home. Whether you are experiencing an influx of ladybugs, stink bugs, cluster flies, boxelders or rodents, battling an infestation can make any season miserable.

To avoid any pesky pest mishaps this autumn, here are a few pest management tips to help get you through the season.

#9 - Seal Cracks and Crevices

The first step to stopping pests is to keep them from getting in your home. You can do this by simply sealing any cracks or crevices on the outside of your house. Bugs and rodents can sneak in through small openings, so be careful to inspect siding and outer walls. By using caulk or steel wool, block up any potential openings on your home’s exterior.

Stinkbug infestation!

#8 - Keep Counters Clean

Open food on the counter is like an all you can eat buffet invitation to any would-be pest. The best way to prevent a pest problem is by storing food in airtight containers. Avoid leaving food out for long periods of time. Do you have a pet? This tip includes any pet food in bowls or in open bags.

#7 - Close Up Garbage

Like the inside of your home, you want to be sure any food source outside is sealed. Open garbage can be a breeding ground if not properly handled. Also, it can attract not only several fall pests, but also some additional, bigger creatures you may not want rummaging through your trash.

#6 - Keep Basements, Attics, and Crawl Spaces Vented and Dry

Moisture is a major attraction for pests. Some creatures thrive in a wet, moist environment making basements, garages, and attics especially vulnerable. Try installing a dehumidifier to control the amount of moisture and protect your home.

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#5 - Screen Open Vents

While cracks and small holes in your home’s exterior can be plugged up easily, often the less obvious entry ways are overlooked. Attic vents, chimneys, and pet doors can be like a welcome mat to pests. The best way to avoid any creature invasions is to put screens over any opening that cannot be sealed.

#4 - Inspect Incoming Packages

An easy, and often forgotten, way for critters to enter your humble abode is foreign objects: packages, grocery bags, outside decorations, yard equipment and more. The last thing on our mind when bringing in the groceries is pest control. Pests can often sneak inside using any of these and more. Be careful to inspect anything you bring in your home.

#3 - Keep Up with the Outdoors

Have a fire pit? Firewood is the ideal place for pests to nest. It’s a good idea to store any refuse, firewood, or any yard waste at least 20 feet from the house. Additionally, monitor your draining system. Pipes, open waterways, or gutters can easily bring a rodent or insect infestation. An easy way to prevent any pest problems is by keeping up with your outdoor maintenance.

Ladybug pest control tips
Though considered to be lucky, ladybugs infestations can provide much anxiety to home owners.

#2 - Make Repairs

 A simple way to protect your home from pests this fall is to perform yearly maintenance. Keep any cracks filled, install door sweeps, and repair damaged screens. Make sure that your windows are screened and cleaned, closing off yet another entry point. Any loose weather-stripping or mortar can provide pests access to your home. If you want to keep unwanted visitors out and keep your home warm, be sure you make the necessary repairs.

#1 - Watch for the Signs

Regardless of how vigilant you are, everyone is human, and it’s possible a pest can slip into your home. The best way to stay on top of an unwanted pest problem is recognizing the signs. Keep an eye out for droppings, signs of burrowing, or nests. If you see one stink bug, it doesn’t mean you have an infestation. However, if you see numerous stink bugs clustering near a window, you may have a problem and the source. Educate yourself on what to look for to avoid any larger problems.

Concluding Thoughts

Fall is a beautiful time of year, but the cold weather shift serves as a reminder to perform yearly maintenance to protect your home. Be vigilant and you can avoid any pest problems. The best way to combat an infestation is through prevention.

Contact The Pest Rangers today for a free consultation.

7 Facts & Myths About Small Rodents of Northeast Pennsylvania

7 Facts & Myths About Small Rodents of Northeast Pennsylvania

Northeast Pennsylvania: Facts & Myths About Small Rodents

Rodents. Why did it have to be rodents? One of the most dreaded household pests can inspire woe for anyone who catches a glimpse or hears the unmistakable scratching of a rat, mouse, or mole.

From the many horrible myths floating around about these destructive pests, people have some sketchy rodent control information that makes taking care of the problem more difficult.

Will mice only explore during the night? Would getting a cat work if a rat can match it in size? Can you snag those critters with a hunk of cheese?

Here are some myths and facts about mice and rats that can set the record straight.

Myth #1 - Rats can be a large as a house cat.

Fact - Norway rats can sometimes reach up to 1 pound and measure nearly 8 inches long; they are nowhere near the size of house cats, which are normally around 10-12 pounds.

These “big” rats are more than like confused with another rodent species. Since many rodents use a water source to travel, it’s may be that rats are confused for much bigger animals.

7 Facts & Myths About Small Rodents of Northeast Pennsylvania
Are cats a solution to mice?

Myth #2 - Cats will take care of a mouse problem.

Fact - A cat in a home may take care of your rodent problem, provided they are “mousers.” Not all cats are hunters, and not all hunters will hunt mice. Well-fed cats may not be bothered to hunt any whiskered intruders. Of course, some cats will hunt for fun and thrill, but some cats do not. It’s also rare for a cat to challenge a rat.

Myth #3 - Rats and mice can get through tiny holes because they are boneless.

Fact - Rats and mice have internal skeletons but have very flexible ribs allowing them to squeeze through the tiniest gaps. Rodents have more flexibility and lack a collarbone which makes getting into small places much easier. Quite simply, if they can get their head through it, they can bypass it.

Myth #4 - Rats and Mice are nocturnal, thus if you see one in daylight, there must be many of them!

Fact - Rats and mice are primarily nocturnal, but they always move about regardless if it is day or night. If you see one, it’s not necessarily a sign of a big infestation - it’s just much easier to see them in the daylight.

Mice will only explore when they feel safe or when they are hungry. Their senses are sharp and always alert for any potential threats. Additionally, they usually have their own routes where they can move around undetected. Also, they only sleep for a short period of time. Better signs of a major infestation include droppings, burrows, or actual property damage.

Myth #5 - The best bait to catch a mouse or rat is cheese.

 Fact - Though cartoon mice going after cheese are plentiful, it’s more likely that mice would enjoy grains, seeds, or fruits. Though a rodent may eat cheese, what they will go after is dependent on the species and how hungry they are. They tend to go after foods higher in fiber or fat. The ideal bait options for catching mice include fruit, grains, and peanut butter.

Myths and Facts about Rats and Rodents
If threatened, rats like this can become aggressive.

Myth #6 - Rats and mice aren’t aggressive creatures; they will not attack you.

Fact - Like any cornered animal, rats and mice will attack when threatened. They will likely go on the offensive if surprised or if they feel trapped. They can easily puncture skin with a bite that could cut nerves, strike bone, and cause infection.

Rats won’t necessarily only attack when cornered - they will even bite if they smell food. While rats don’t necessarily carry black plague, they can transmit some pretty nasty diseases including leptospirosis and rat-bite fever.

Myth #7 - Having rodents means a home is run-down or in poor condition. 

Fact - Though rodent control is needed in places with poor sanitation, they can be found just about anywhere. They move along water sources like streams and sewers, and they can invade anywhere they can find access. They require water to survive, like any other creature, and tend to stay near it. What they rely on is an adequate food source which can be just about anything: garbage, pet food, bird seed, or fruit trees.

Concluding Thoughts

The key to proper rodent control is knowing the facts. The key to effective pest control is to be proactive. Take steps to be sure your home is fortified against all manner of creatures and stay informed. The first step toward taking care of your problem is separating myth from fact.

The next step is to get them under control. Contact the pest professionals at The Pest Rangers today for a free consultation.