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New Jersey's Guide To Bed Bugs

October 20, 2020


bed bug crawling on new jersey bed headboard

In this blog post, we’re going to focus on a notorious hitchhiker. The bed bug. About the size of an apple seed or smaller depending on stage of development, these bugs are capable of causing big problems for homeowners in East Orange, Cranford, and Princeton as well as those throughout New Jersey. We’ll discuss the problems associated with this pest a bit later, but first let’s go over what these bugs are exactly, how they get into homes, and other frequent questions, we’re often asked by worried property owners.

What are bed bugs?

You might think their names is explanation enough and while it’s not a misnomer, bed bugs are not a pest confined to the bed. In fact, these tiny, flat, reddish-brown bugs can be found anywhere humans congregate. Bedrooms of course but also living rooms, school dormitories, movie theaters, nursing homes and hospitals… we think you get the point.

They are blood-sucking insects but they are not like ticks, another blood-sucking pest in New Jersey. Whereas ticks and other arachnids have eight legs, bed bugs only have six, and while ticks live primarily outdoors and only come inside on hosts, bed bugs are indoor pests for the most part. Finally, ticks prefer animal hosts (we said preference because they will most certainly bite humans) while bed bugs prefer to feed on human blood. Grossed out yet?

How do bed bugs get into homes?

Bed bugs have made hitchhiking an artform. They travel the world on the coattails (literally and figuratively) of unsuspecting travelers. You may encounter a bed bug on a plane, train, cab or other commercial transportation and unknowingly bring them home. Your hotel room may be infested with bed bugs and they may find their way into your suitcase. Travel as a cause of bed bugs is especially noteworthy as we are heading into the holiday season and, in typical years, travel increases as people head home for the holidays. Point of fact, both domestic and international travel is the widely accepted primary cause of bed bug infestations but it’s not the only way. 

Along the same lines as travel, if you’re college-aged child comes home from college or apartment for the weekend, they may bring home more than dirty laundry. School dorms and apartment complexes are hotspots for bed bug activity. That’s because these master hitchhikers move from dorm room or apartment unit by crawling under flooring and behind walls. Even if your child is a fastidious cleaner, keeps his space organized, and takes other precautions, it may be his neighbor next door who introduces these pests into the building.

Buying used furniture and other household items has always been popular and with options like Facebook Marketplace, buying someone’s couch or bed has never been easier.  That said, we urge you to use caution or avoid buying used completely when you’re on the hunt for a new piece to add to your home. Sure, you might save a buck but the cost of bed bug treatment could end up costing you more than a new bedframe and mattress.  In the words of Flea Market Flip host, Lara Spencer, “"It's not a bargain if it has bed bugs."

What are the signs of a bed bug infestation?

The most obvious sign of a bed bug infestation in your home is finding live, adult bed bugs. They may be crawling on your arms, legs, or other body parts as you try to catch some shut eye. Because bed bugs come out at night to feed, you’re very likely to find bed bugs on bedframes and mattresses as well as other furniture near beds. They may also hide out in cracks of floors and spots where floor meets wall.

Other signs of a bed bug problem include:

  • Bed bug exoskeletons, also referred to shed skins.
  • Blood spots and fecal matter on bed linens.
  • Bites on the neck, face, arms, and other uncovered skin usually discovered after a night’s rest.
  • A sweet, musty smell (Usually only in the case of SEVERE infestations)

How do I inspect for bed bugs?

If you suspect you’re sharing your home with bed bugs, we recommend grabbing a flashlight (your phone’s will do the trick) and search the areas we mentioned above thoroughly.  Make sure to check other rooms too as these bugs do move.

How can I prevent bed bugs in my home?

INSPECT, INSPECT, INSPECT! When you’re traveling, look for bed bugs. At your hotel, grab your flashlight and search the room paying close attention to headboards and mattresses. When you welcome family and visitors into your home ask them to check their belongings and their persons for these biting bugs. When you arrive home from your business trip or getaway, check your luggage, purse, and clothes very carefully and never inside your home! Inspection of belongings should occur outside as to prevent bed bugs from entering. Don’t let fear of offending or embarrassing others or yourself keep you from checking for these bugs! When it comes to bed bugs, it’s far better to be proactive then reactive.

What’s out there for bed bug treatment options?

There are several effective ways to exterminate bed bugs including physical removal, thermal remediation or heat treatments, and chemical treatments. While pest control companies vary in their technique, it is critical you employ the skills of trained professional. That is if you want to get rid of bed bugs completely!

At Arrow Pest Control, we kill bed bugs using a combination of methods including physical, thermal, and chemical. When you contact us to get rid of bed bugs in your New Jersey home, the first thing we’ll do is inspect your home. A highly trained and licensed pest control pro will search your home, looking for any indication of a bed bug infestation including, but not limited to, adult bed bugs and bed bug eggs.

Once our inspection is complete, we’ll go over our findings with you and, if bed bugs or signs of bed bug activity, are found we’ll outline a treatment plan and provide you with a quote for the bed bug control service. 

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