The speed at which bed bugs reproduce and spread is alarming, but they aren’t incredibly fast. They can only move three to four feet per minute. However, their ability to find a host, such as an empty mattress, can allow them to spread relatively quickly. The average bedbug will live for about 10 months.
If you suspect that you have bedbugs, the best course of action is to try to eliminate them as soon as possible. Heat treatments are very effective at removing bedbugs from a home. However, they can be very costly. Heat treatments are more effective than pesticides, but they can cost up to $2,300 per home. Fortunately, scientists are working on new strategies to destroy bedbugs without the use of harsh chemicals. Researchers are pursuing freezing bedbugs, developing bait similar to cockroaches, and developing cheap, automated bedbug traps.
Adult bed bugs are about four to five millimeters in length. They lay up to 200 eggs per lifetime. They can easily hide in wood, so it’s important to remove furniture that you use to sleep in. Also, remove any upholstered furniture or cushion covers to inspect the insides. If you find evidence of bedbugs, look for the following signs: tiny white eggs on the furniture, fecal stains on surfaces, dried excrement, shed skins, and blood spots. You can also smell an acrid “buggy” smell, which can indicate an infestation.
After an infestation has started, it can spread from room to room. The temperature of your home will also determine the speed at which bedbugs spread. If you find eggs or adult bedbugs, call a pest control professional as soon as possible. In a week or two, an infestation can spread throughout your home.