As we head into tourist season in New York, this is the perfect time to take a moment to learn about bed bug prevention. These are often called "hitchhiking" bugs, but they could easily be called "vacation" bugs because, when people vacation, these bugs go too. Here's what you need to know to protect yourself from vacation-bugs.
Understand What Doesn't Work
Bed bugs are a somewhat unique pest threat. They don't live in your yard and crawl in through entry points in your exterior walls; these insects come into your home or business in the belongings carried by people. That means you're not going to keep them out with perimeter pest control.
Know What Bed Bugs Look Like
Your first line of defense is knowing what these insects look like. You may have been told that they're too tiny to see, but that isn't true. An adult bed bug is around 4.5 mm. That's pretty small, but you'll definitely be able to see them.
Eggs: Bed bug eggs do not need the mother bed bug in order to hatch. Therefore, a bed bug infestation can begin with a batch of eggs. These eggs will be about 1 mm in length and may be found by themselves or in a batch. Look in creases, cracks, stitching, pockets and other hiding places.
Nymphs: Bed bugs do not have a larval stage. When they hatch, they look like white bed bugs. If you see a fed bed bug nymph in its first instar, it will appear as a white insect with a bright red abdomen.
Adults: As bed bugs mature, they become tan, and eventually brown. They are the size of an apple seed and have a similar shape. If they have not had a blood meal, they will be flat. If they have had a blood meal, they will be bloated and pill-shaped.
All bed bugs have six legs, two antennae, three body parts, transparent skin with visible black feces on internals, and horizontal crease lines on the abdomen.
Preventative pest control for bed bugs requires routine inspections. These are best performed by canine bed bug inspectors. Dogs can move quickly through rooms without disturbing the items in those rooms and quickly detect bed bugs in all stages of development. With their powerful sense of smell, they can sniff out bed bugs with up to 99% accuracy.