bed bugsKENTUCKY (5/5/17) — Critters inside a home are a cause for concern, but some of these uninvited guests inspire more ire than others. Bed bugs are among the least popular critters people can encounter.

Bed bugs can quickly change from being a minor nuisance to a major infestation. Therefore, understanding bed bugs, how they spread and when and how to treat a bed bug infestation is knowledge all people should have so they can nip bed bug problems in the bud before they become more serious.

The Environmental Protection Agency says many bugs that resemble bed bugs. Identifying bed bugs correctly is a critical first step to treating an infestation. Here are some of the more notable attributes of bed bugs:

• Bed bugs are generally long and brown with a flat oval-shaped body around the size of an apple seed. Bed bugs that have recently fed will be balloon-like and reddish-brown in color.

• Young bed bugs (nymphs) are smaller, and their color is a translucent white-yellow.

• Bed bug eggs are pearl-white in color and the size of a pinhead.

• Bed bugs have six legs and two antennae and they cannot fly. They cannot jump long distances, instead moving by crawling and climbing. They can climb heights and drop down from above onto beds to find a meal.

Orkin of Canada says that, since bed bugs are nocturnal and small, detecting them can be challenging. Usually blood stains on sheets or black spots of dried bed bug excrement indicate an infestation even before bugs are seen.

Bed bugs tend to be discovered in the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, and in the folds of curtains. Bed bugs may hide in drawer joints or in electrical receptacles. They even can hide in cracks along the top or bottom of a wall.

Bed bugs can survive and remain active at temperatures as low as 46 F, advises the EPA. Heat is what kills them most readily, and a room or area must be hotter than 113 F consistently to do so.

Avoiding bed bugs requires diligence. Reducing clutter, inspecting secondhand furniture for bed bugs and vacuuming frequently can help. Check luggage racks and hotel rooms for bed bugs prior to remaining in the room. Cold and hot treatments may kill some of the bed bugs, but an infestation usually will require treatment by a professional exterminator.

Bed bugs need to be identified and promptly address before a minor problem becomes something much bigger. For more information about controlling bed bugs, visit

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