A single female bedbug finding her way into your home is all it takes for an infestation to begin. To make matters worse, most infestations go totally unnoticed until they’ve grown to an almost uncontrollable size. Although most hardware and home improvement stores stock a wide range of anti-bedbug products, are they truly effective? Can the average Joe solve his bedbug problems on his own, or does he have to call in for professional help? Let’s find out.
Las Vegas Bedbug Basics
Sun Tzu had a point when he said “know thy enemy; ” there are a few things you need to know before you can defeat your bloodsucking opponents.
Bedbugs are wingless insects with six legs. Adults are reddish-brown, flat, oval and about the size of an apple seed. Formally known as “nymphs,” young bedbugs are white, translucent and no larger than a poppy seed. Bedbugs of all ages will take on a bloated torpedo-like shape after a blood meal.
The bedbug’s small flat body allows it to slip into hard-to-reach cracks and crevices, such as between moldings and inside walls in Las Vegas houses. As a result, they spend most of their time in these areas and only come out at night when they’re hungry. Females can lay up to 12 eggs per day, which equates to roughly 500 eggs over their short lifespans. It’s no wonder bedbug infestations grow so quickly!
Identifying a Bedbug Infestation
Knowing how to tell the difference between an actual Las Vegas bedbug infestation and a lone imitator wandering across the floor can mean the difference of several thousand dollars. Outside of their bites that come in the form of small, swollen red dots, check for the following four signs of an infestation:
- Live bedbugs: Since Las Vegas bedbugs are nocturnal and hard to spot during the daytime, your best bet for finding them is to look in their favorite hiding spots. Bedbugs like to hide out in narrow cracks and crevices, as well as any object that allows them easy access to their favorite food source: you! As a result, be sure to not only check between architectural moldings, inside walls, behind loose wallpaper and underneath furniture, but also the mattress itself. They’re called “bedbugs” for a reason!
- Fecal matter: Unfortunately, Las Vegas bedbugs haven’t been housebroken. As a result, they leave their fecal matter in the form of small black dots just about anywhere they please. Since these excrements consist mostly of dried blood, they’ll turn red if they come in contact with water.
- Eggs and egg casings: Bedbug eggs are white, one millimeter in diameter and can be found close to their favorite hiding places, such as mattress seams and wall openings.
- Molted shells: Like all other insects, bedbugs “molt,” or shed their old shells as they grow. These shells can be found inside and around bedbug nesting areas, and are one of the easiest signs of an infestation to spot.
If you’ve identified any of the aforementioned signs in your own Las Vegas home, there’s a reasonable chance you have a bedbug infestation on your hands. With their population expanding almost exponentially every day, you need to act fast! So what’s the best way to get rid of them?
How to Exterminate Bedbugs in Las Vegas
The bedbugs are multiplying, and there’s no sign of them slowing down. Thankfully, most local home improvement stores carry a wide variety of products that can help with your problem. These products can be narrowed down into the following categories:
- Bedbug Traps: There are two types of bedbug traps: Passive traps and active traps. Passive traps attempt to capture bedbugs while they’re traveling, and usually consist of a sticky double-tiered bowl placed under furniture legs. Active traps attempt to lure bedbugs into an inescapable prison by releasing carbon dioxide into the air, which bedbugs naturally navigate to. While bedbug traps are capable of capturing hundreds of bedbugs at a time, they can’t catch entire infestations.
- Insecticides/Sprays: The effectiveness of insecticides is a common debate among pest control professionals. Some argue that they’re the most effective solution as long as they’re used according to the label while, others argue that they only drive bedbugs into harder-to-reach spots. While both arguments are true to a certain extent, insecticides can still kill a number of bedbugs, but not all of them.
- Mattress Covers: Mattress covers prevent bedbugs hiding inside the mattress from reaching food sources, eventually starving them to death. Although these allow for a more comfortable night’s sleep, they do nothing against the infestation itself.
While all the previous solutions are effective in their own ways, there’s a common trend that shouldn’t be ignored: None of these products is capable of eliminating an entire infestation. Now what?
When to Hire a Professional Las Vegas Extermination Service
While “do-it-yourself” bedbug products are able to leave a dent in an infestation, they’re unable to eliminate it entirely. Thankfully, bedbugs aren’t indestructible: In fact, they’re only able to withstand temperatures up to 122 degrees. Because of this, professional pest control companies use heat treatment to eradicate infestations effectively and safely.
While temperatures above 122 degrees will easily kill bedbugs, which we get pretty close to in Las Vegas, don’t bother turning up the thermostat; the entire house will need to remain at that temperature for at least an hour, which is only achievable by special equipment owned by – you guessed it – professional pest control companies. As a result, the only way to eliminate an infestation is to hire a professional bedbug extermination service.