You would think that bed bugs would not be able to live in Maine, but our bitter cold winters do nothing to phase these blood-eating pests. Bed bugs live almost exclusively with humans. That means that, when it gets well below zero outside, those tiny insects are as snug as a bug in a--um, bed. So, we need to be on our guard against the spread of these pests. Getting bed bugs can be a traumatic experience. It is best to stop infestations before they start.
Where have bed bugs been found?
There are two ways to look at this question. If you're wondering what businesses have been reported to have bed bugs, there are several ways you can go about finding this information. Bedbugreports.com and bedbugregistry.com are two resources that specifically track complaints filed by customers, but these sites are focused on places where people spend the night.
Bed bugs have been found in more than just hotels and motels. Across the United States, infestations have been found in a wide variety of places such public transportation, movie theaters, office buildings, city halls, schools, colleges, fire stations, nursing homes, federal buildings, police stations, libraries, and the list goes on and on. It is only fair to assume that these places can be infested here in Maine, or may already be infested.
There are currently no statistics for how many bed bugs there are in Maine--at least none that we are aware of. The best indicators we have are the number of infestations being reported. But since we don't have numbers from other pest control companies in the state, we can't provide a clear picture of the threat level. What we can say is that infestation levels are much greater in Southern Maine due to the higher population.
Bed Bug Identification
Since bed bugs can be picked up in such a wide variety of places, it is important to know one when you see one; but you're going to have to look closely. When bed bugs hatch from their eggs, they are only about the size of a pen tip. So, you're not likely to notice them unless you're looking for them.
These bugs go through 5 instars (development stages) before they reach adulthood. In their first instar, bed bugs will be transparent. If they have had a blood meal, they will appear bright red and bloated.
In the second instar, what do bed bugs look like? They are still rather small and appear black, even though they are still transparent. This is because their insides are black. But, if you look closely, you'll be able to tell that the black coloring isn't their outside skin color.
In the third to the fifth instars, bed bugs will continue to look black or reddish. While they are still mostly transparent, the feces and blood inside their bodies give them their coloring.
When bed bugs reach their adult stage, their reddish skin color becomes prominent--as do the horizontal creases on their abdomens. In an infested area, there will usually be a mixture of clear, black, and reddish insects crawling around.
Bed bugs shed their skins as they pass from one instar to the next. These skins are often an indicator of a bed bug infestation.
Bed Bug Signs
Recognizing bed bugs when you see them is your first line of defense, but there are other signs these blood-eating pests leave behind.
That black coloring we spoke of above is due to feces inside the bodies of bed bugs. These bugs leave their feces everywhere. Droppings may appear as dark black specks or streaks. Look for feces on sheets, pillowcases, mattress seams, upholstered furniture, bed boards, baseboards, wall outlets, and electronics.
Bed bugs also stain fabrics with blood. If you're finding blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases, you may want to take a closer look.
Shed insect skins will also give you a heads up that you have bed bugs.
If you have enough bed bugs, you may smell them. Bed bugs give off a pheromone scent that some describe as the smell of a locker room.
Bed Bug Prevention
If you are diligent to look for bed bugs wherever you go, you can reduce your chances of infestation, but bed bugs can hitchhike into your home in many ways. They can come home on your children from school or a friend's house. They can ride in on a family member who comes to visit. You can bring them back from work. The list of ways these blood-eating bugs can find their way into your home is long. Here are the three best things you can do to prevent an infestation:
Always inspect for bed bugs when you go to stay somewhere, no matter how clean the place you're staying is.
Always keep an eye out for these bugs, or signs of these bugs, inside your home.
Inspect any used furniture you bring into your home.
Wash and dry clothing on the hottest temperatures.
If bed bugs take root in your South Portland home, call Big Blue Bug Solutions. We have a solid track record of effectively eradicating bed bugs. You won't have to wonder if there are any bugs left. You can trust Big Blue to get rid of them all.