Have you recently awoken in the morning with red, itchy bumps on your skin? You may have passed them off as flea or mosquito bites, but if it keeps happening, consider another source - bed bugs.

You've likely heard about the recent surge in bed bug infestations in Canada, with hotels, buses, libraries, and movie theatres making the news, but the reality is that your own home could be crawling with these insects. Here's the lowdown on bed bugs and what can be done to prevent them from taking over your home or place of business and what you can do to get rid of bed bugs.


Bed bugs are insects that feed on animal and human blood. The carbon dioxide that humans and pets exhale attracts them, so they gravitate toward sleeping areas where it is easy for them to feed at night. These bugs are small and can easily hide in mattress pads, box springs, drawers or any small spaces around a sleeping area. They can live for up to a year if all conditions are right, this includes an environment in which temperatures range from 21 to 28 degrees celsius and a healthy food supply.

During a one-year life span, a female bug can lay up to 400 eggs. Getting rid of bed bugs can be extremely difficult. If you think you have an infestation, it is best to contact a professional pest control company with experience in how to get rid of bed bugs.


How to Identify Bed Bugs

Oval shaped and flat, bed bugs are about 10 mm long. They are brown before feeding, changing to red once they feast on human or animal blood. Younger bed bugs are smaller and lighter coloured but also turn dark and red after feeding. They cannot jump from place to place and, because they are wingless, cannot fly, and smooth metal or other polished surfaces are a challenge for them to climb. Bedbug eggs are white, roughly a millimetre long and not easily detected by the human eye.


Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites & Can They Cause Disease?

These creepy crawlers most often feed on areas of your body that are exposed, including the arms, legs, face and neck. The lesions left behind, which can be either flat or raised, are red and itchy and sometimes present in groups of three that form a straight line. While many people have little to no reaction to the bed bug saliva injected during a bite, some will develop large blood or fluid-filled welts. The allergic reaction from a bite is temporary and harmless, as bed bugs do not spread diseases. While the bites are irritating and uncomfortable, the only danger you face is an infection from scratching them too much or not keeping them clean.


Common Causes for Attracting Bed Bugs

Regular, deep cleaning of your home or business, including frequent vacuuming, is the best way to prevent a bed bug infestation. Decluttering is another effective strategy, as it gives bugs fewer places to hide. Common hiding places include peeling wallpaper, cracks in plaster and frayed carpet edges, so make sure these and other damaged areas are repaired.

You should also be careful of any second-hand furniture you purchase, as bed bugs can travel into your home from a garage sale or antique shop. To inspect furniture and other objects for an infestation, rub dirty spots on surfaces and crevices with a baby wipe or alcohol-soaked cotton swab. If the spots turn reddish-brown, they may be bed bug droppings.

Also be aware when traveling not to bring bed bugs back home with you. Hotels are notorious for harbouring these pests, so keep your suitcase wrapped in a plastic bag during your hotel stay and inspect it thoroughly before bringing it home. After you get home, you should also launder your travel clothing in hot water, followed by drying your clothes on the hottest available setting.


Treatments for Bed Bugs

If you have cleaned your business or home thoroughly, sealed off cracks in the walls and floorboards and you have removed unnecessary clutter but still have a bedbug problem, it's time to call a pest control professional.

Our bedbug treatments are customized in order to give our customers optimal results. We don't use the same methods for each situation, as there are many factors at play that determine which treatment will work best. We also take into consideration the concerns our customers have regarding the health and safety of the different types of treatments. Part of our process includes educating our customers about the pros and cons of different treatment options so they can make an informed decision.


Highly Effective Treatments

Safe Insecticide Use: Safe insecticide use is the most effective treatment in totally eradicating an infestation of bedbugs. Insecticide use often times gets a bad rep as it has been labelled by some as a health risk. Pesticides are some of the most regulated substances by the Federal Government and steps are taken to ensure there is no risk to human health or the environment. All insecticides used by Environmental Pest Control are approved by Health Canada.

Canine Inspection: We use specially trained canines in order to help pinpoint bed bug infestations. Canines are often used when people aren't sure if they have bed bugs, but they are being bitten. They will confirm even the smallest of bed bug problems and help us locate treatment areas. Canines are great for large jobs such as hotels and restaurants, but we also use them on a regular basis in houses as well.


Eco-Friendly Treatments

Thermal heat:This is a chemical-free, non-toxic method of killing bed bugs. As these pests thrive in temperatures between 21 and 28 degrees, significantly increasing the temperatures in the infested space will naturally kill them. Using a special heater, a dry heat is applied and circulated around the room to infiltrate all hiding spaces.

Cryonite: Another environmentally-safe method, Cryonite uses the opposite approach to thermal heat and rapidly freezes the bed bugs. Made of a carbon dioxide "snow", Cryonite is applied directly to areas of infestation, where it will remain for a certain period of time to ensure that the bugs and their eggs are killed.

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