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Bed Bugs

Whether in your home or business, a bed bug infestation can be overwhelming. Diagnosing the problem yourself is challenging, and DIY treatments usually worsen the infestation or fail. Contacting a professional pest control service is the best defense against bed bugs, so here are some resources for getting the process started.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are blood-drinking insects known for inhabiting beds, furniture, and other crevices in homes and businesses. The pests can be introduced into any environment, most often through used bed materials, second-hand furniture, or luggage after traveling. They can also travel between units in hotels and apartment buildings. Bed bugs are usually found harboring in small crevices, such as along mattress piping or tags, inside bed frames or headboards, behind wallpaper, in picture frames or light fixtures, or in floors.

The oval-shaped bugs are relatively flat, so they can easily crawl into a variety of crevices in close proximity to humans. Bed bugs are typically less than a ¼” long and are brown or reddish-brown in appearance. The bugs’ unusual coloring comes from their consumption of blood, and the brown-black or reddish-brown stains they leave behind on objects is from this same digested and excreted blood.

Bed Bug Bites: Symptoms & Signs

It’s important to remember that infestations can occur anywhere, from world-class hotels to public housing facilities; bed bugs know no social, economic, or geographical boundaries. Most bed bug infestations are identified by:
  • Dark spots on furniture, bedding, or mattresses
  • Hives, blisters, intensely itchy skin, or swollen skin
  • Visual sightings, especially at night
  • Finding eggs, eggshells, or skin sheddings
Bed bug bites are also indicators of the pests’ presence, but it’s easy to confuse them with other insect bites. Although not a comprehensive list of identifiers, here are some ways to determine if you have a bed bug bite:
  • If you felt the bite when it occurred, it was not a bed bug.
  • If bites are random and spread out, it was probably not a bed bug.
  • If the bite forms a blister, it could be a bed bug bite.
  • If the bites follow a pattern, such as a straight line or a zig zag, they could be bed bug bites. They also tend to be in groupings of three to five.

Service Specialist Inspection

When a Batzner Service Specialist arrives to inspect your property, we will perform a visual inspection of key areas including the bed, nightstands, and living room furniture. Service specialist visual inspections are recommended for single-family homes and hotels or apartments where only 2–3 units need to be inspected. Human inspections are advantageous because a skilled, experienced service specialist can search unconventional areas and higher-up areas, such as ceiling fans and vents.

Dog Inspection

Alternatively, we use scientifically proven Bed Bug Canine Scent Detection to identify the presence of bed bugs in your property. Dog inspections are recommended for high-traffic areas such as hotels, hospitals, or multi-unit buildings in which more than three rooms need to be searched. Trained dogs are advantageous because they can detect bed bugs in any life stage, can find bed bugs faster than humans, and are good at finding brand new or small infestations.

Bed bug sniffing dog at Batzner Pest Control in Wisconsin - Serving New Berlin, Green Bay, Milwaukee, Madison, Racine and surrounding areas

Bed Bug Treatment Options

If we discover bed bugs on your property, a Batzner bed bug specialist will discuss the two treatment options with you and recommend a plan of action. Which treatment we recommend depends on the number of infested rooms, how widespread the pests are, costs, and other case-dependent factors.

Thoroughly preparing for your bed bug treatment is crucial for a successful treatment. Plan for people and pets to vacate the building, treat clothing and fabrics in the dryer, store personal items (such as books or toys) in airtight bins, and follow all other instructions on the preparation checklists and from your service specialist.

Protect+ Treatments

Protect+ Extended

Uses a 3-part precision treatment and preventative/residual materials, providing longer lasting coverage against bed bugs and quicker turnaround time for minimal disruption to your facility. Includes an activated box spring liner for additional protection and 90 day warranty

Protect+ Essential

Uses a 3-part precision treatment and preventative/residual materials, providing longer lasting coverage against bed bugs and quicker turnaround time for minimal disruption to your facility. Includes a 30 day warranty

Heat Treatments

Heat treatments eliminate bed bugs at all stages of the life cycle. Heat treatment is best when results are needed quickly or a chemical-free solution is desired. 

During the treatment, temperatures are raised to 120–140 degrees, which is lethal to bed bugs. For added protection, a Protect+ treatment is applied. People and pets must vacate the premises for 9–12 hours.

Why Choose Batzner?

Batzner works quickly to identify and eliminate bed bugs in your home or property. Infestations can quickly get out of control, so it is important to have a pest control professional correctly identify bed bugs and treatments designed for your specific needs. It’s equally important to attack a bed bug problem as soon as you suspect you have one. We not only want to help you be proactive about bed bugs but provide you with the education you need to do so successfully. Trained and knowledgeable professionals, environmental responsibility, and legendary customer service are reasons why customers keep choosing us year after year.

Everything you wanted to know about bed bugs (but were afraid to ask).

Bed bugs do not transmit disease. The medical significance of bed bugs (in addition to the fact that they feed on human blood) is associated with secondary infections at bite sites due to scratching open bites. 

Probably the most problematic side effects from bed bug bites are the psychological ones. Experiencing a bed bug infestation can be a very emotional and highly stressful experience. The idea of little bugs living in your bed and drinking your blood can be creepy to say the least. Not to mention that there is still a social stigma associated with bed bugs, whereby many people think that infestations have something to do with personal or household hygiene or social status. And while things like hygiene and social status have nothing to do with getting bed bugs, unfortunately these are myths that are alive and well among the masses.

Bed bugs are most attracted to humans compared to all other potential vertebrate hosts. Bed bugs use multiple cues in order to detect humans, including:

  • Body heat
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Human odors
  • Bed bug sightings
  • Small dark spots on sheets and pillowcases
  • Dark spots in seams on mattresses
  • Dark spots on bed frames and headboards
  • Cast, shed skin (exoskeleton that appears translucent)

Bed bugs are found anywhere that humans are motionless for an extended period of time. The most common of these places is of course, the bed, which is where bed bugs get their name. Bed bugs prefer to be as close to their human food source as possible, and are frequently found on or in close proximity to the following places:

  • Beds – including box springs, mattresses, headboards, mattress covers
  • Couches – including cushions and pillows
  • Reclining chairs
  • Any other areas where people are sedentary for long periods of time.

As infestations grow larger, bed bugs tend to spread out within a room, and can end up in unusual places such as behind baseboards on curtains, along ceilings, in electrical outlets and behind pictures.

  • Folds, seams and buttons on beds and furniture
  • Areas where you sit often, like chairs and couches
  • Under the bed, between mattresses, and within the seams of the mattress
  • Cracks and crevices in bed frames and headboards
  • High up on the walls or hide behind curtain rods
  • Behind hanging picture frames, baseboards, dressers and lighting. Wood serves as an insulated home for bed bugs keeping them cozy
  • Anywhere within 3-5 feet of where you sleep or spend a lot of idle time

Typically bed bugs feed at night but are active whenever a warm body is nearby and idle for an extended period of time. They prefer to feed when you are asleep and less likely to move or wake up as a result of them feeding. However, bed bugs will adapt to take advantage of a food source. If you work at night and are home during the day, they can feed off of you during the day while you are sleeping. In a movie theater, where it’s dark all the time, bed bugs will feed off patrons during the day.

Bed bugs can move pretty fast, with adults crawling up to 5 feet in about a minute.

They transfer on personal objects via close proximity. A person can transport bed bugs on an infested item, such as a backpack, handbag, or piece of luggage. Once set down, bed bugs will leave these items in search of a blood-meal and can climb onto other items – spreading the infestation. Bed bugs can also be transferred via the purchase of used, infested furniture, or second-hand mattresses.

Bed bugs have been around for thousands of years. Many experts believe that bed bugs have evolved from bat bugs, hypothesizing that bed bugs switched from feeding on the blood of bats and birds to feeding on humans, when cave dwellers first began taking up residence in the same caves as the bats.

Bed bugs are notorious hitchhikers and can crawl into your luggage, or other belongings, and catch a ride to your residence. They can also lay eggs on your belongings and return to their hiding spot, leaving behind a future generation that will emerge at a new location. You can pick the resilient little creatures up from any infested area or from visits by friends and family carrying belongings that have also been to areas with an infestation.

Housing that is multi-family, such as apartment buildings and condominiums have led to the expansion of some bed bug populations. In these types of housing, bed bugs can crawl out of one residence, down a hallway, and into another residence. They can also travel within the walls.

Anyone can have bed bugs introduced into their home through used bed materials, furniture, luggage after traveling, or any public place such as waiting rooms, movie theaters, public transportation, etc.

Bed bugs are found in 5 star hotels as well as low-end motels, and in any home, regardless of the race, ethnicity or culture of its inhabitants. Bed bugs also don’t discriminate between those who are clean and those in need of a shower.

A dirty or cluttered house has nothing to do with bed bug attraction. However, rooms with extensive clutter can provide more places for bed bugs to hide, and therefore make bed bugs harder to remove.

Bed bugs are great hitchhikers. Routinely cleaning and clearing clutter can eliminate the hiding places for bed bugs. You should also carefully inspect any items brought into your home.

It all depends on the situation. The use of a heat treatment, in conjunction with some chemical applications, has proven to be very effective. However, conventional treatments with chemical treatments can also eliminate infestations.

It typically takes between 6-10 hours.

For any multi-family property or hospitality building, your risk is fairly high. Single family homes are also at risk.

Bed bugs are brought in either on clothing, personal belongings, or furniture.

Adult bed bugs are about the size, shape, and color of an apple seed. They are oval shaped, flat, and about 1/4 inch in length. Unfed nymphs are translucent and are about the size of a pinhead. Eggs are the size, shape, and color of a half grain of rice.

Their color will vary, depending on their stage of life and also when they last fed. Early stage bed bug nymphs are translucent to straw-colored, but will have a crimson-colored center if they have recently fed. As bed bugs get older, they darken, and adult bed bugs appear as a mahogany brown color, or a darker red if they are digesting a blood-meal.

You can see all life stages with the naked eye. You may see five different sizes because there are five different life stages.

They have an interesting form of reproduction known as traumatic insemination. Male bed bugs use their copulatory organ to puncture the body wall of the female’s abdomen, and inject their sperm directly into a specialized organ.

Bed bugs feed exclusively on the blood of vertebrates with humans their preferred host. A blood-meal is required for bed bugs to reach each life stage and to reproduce. When hosts are present and blood-meals are readily available, bed bugs will develop rapidly, and infestations will quickly progress and become unmanageable.

Identifying bed bug bites can be difficult. Here are some distinguishing factors to help discern them from other insect bites.

  • If you felt the bite when it occurred, it was not a bed bug.
  • If bites are random and spread out, it was probably not bed bugs.
  • If the bite forms a blister, it could be a bed bug bite.
  • If the bites follows a pattern (straight or a zig zag), they could be bed bug bites. My bites looked like The Little Dipper, crossing my chest onto my right shoulder. They also tend to be in groupings of three to five.

Bed bugs have beak-like mouthparts (proboscis) that are specifically designed to cut skin and suck blood. The proboscis is kept tucked beneath the bed bug when not in use. 

When bed bugs feed, the proboscis is placed at a right angle to the skin, and the bugs rock back and forth during insertion. Once in the skin, cutting parts of the proboscis slide through the tissues until a suitable blood vessel is found, and the blood is then sucked up. The pressure from the blood in the vessel is used to transmit the blood into the insect. 

The bed bug swells as is fills with blood, and feeding may take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. Similar to mosquitoes, when a bed bug bites, it releases anticoagulant and anesthetic compounds that keeps the blood flowing freely and makes the bite virtually pain-free. After feeding bed bugs will quickly return to their hiding place, where they will spend several days digesting the blood-meal. 

Bed bugs are sensitive to disturbance and will remove their proboscis to discontinue feeding if the food source moves, or becomes restless. Once settled, bed bugs will re-insert their proboscis and begin to feed again. This behavior can sometimes explain multiple bites in the same, or nearby, location.

No. Their saliva contains a substance that acts as a mild anesthetic so you will not feel it.

Although humans are preferred, bed bugs will bite pets if there is not a human host present. The bites will look similar to the ones found on humans. After feeding, bed bugs will return to a protected location, so they will not be found on the host. If you are concerned about a pet, the best thing to do is take it to the vet.

Bed bugs are not known to spread diseases to humans; however, infections from scratching bites are much more probable. Make sure to keep the bites clean and try not to scratch them.

Bed Bug Services and Treatments in Wisconsin

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