Among the most undesirable pests you can find in your home, bed bugs probably top the list.

Unlike cockroaches and termites, bed bugs like to dwell where you sleep and make their presence known by leaving red, swollen welts all across your skin.

If the idea of sleeping with bed bugs scares you, then it’s important to understand what causes bed bugs in Maryland so you can be better prepared. 

Read more to find out what causes bed bugs, how to identify their presence, and what to do once they find their way into your home.  

What Causes Bed Bugs in Maryland Homes

Bed bugs are opportunistic insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. They are excellent hitchhikers, often making their way into homes through various means:

  • Travel: Bed bugs are notorious travelers and can easily latch onto luggage, clothing, or other personal items during travel. Infested hotel rooms or public transportation are common sources.
  • Second-Hand Furniture: Bringing used furniture into your home without proper inspection can introduce bed bugs. Infestations often begin when unsuspecting individuals acquire infested items.
  • Clothing and Belongings: Bed bugs can hide in clothing, bags, or personal belongings. Shared laundry facilities or storing items in infested spaces can contribute to their spread.
  • Neighbors: In multi-unit dwellings, bed bugs can move from one unit to another through wall voids, electrical conduits, or shared plumbing.
  • Visitors: Guests or visitors may unknowingly bring bed bugs into your home. Vigilance is necessary, especially when hosting guests from areas known for bed bug prevalence.

Avoiding these common hotspots for bed bugs will help you maintain a bed bug-free environment, though some causes may be out of your control. 

Identifying Signs of a Bed Bug Problem

Imagine waking up to itchy red spots that weren’t there the night before. You might just have unwelcome guests hiding in your mattress seams or box springs. Yes, I’m talking about bed bugs—the tiny pests that feed on you while you’re dreaming away.

If you’re spotting small blood stains on your sheets or noticing dark spots that are actually fecal matter from these wingless insects, pay close attention because these could be signs of bed bugs. These critters are sneaky; they can hide almost anywhere due to their small size but leave behind telltale marks like tiny white eggs and shed skins around sleeping areas.

Some common signs of bed bugs include:

  • Itchy Welts: Bed bug bites often result in itchy red welts on the skin. The bites may be arranged in clusters or lines.
  • Tiny Bloodstains: Bed bugs are messy feeders, and their bites can leave small bloodstains on sheets and pillowcases.
  • Dark Fecal Spots: Small, dark fecal spots on bedding or furniture indicate bed bug activity. These spots may resemble pepper or coffee grounds.
  • Musty Odor: A distinct, musty odor in the infested area can signify a large bed bug population.

Prevention and Treatment Tips for Controlling Bed Bugs

Now that you understand where bed bugs come from and when they’re around, it’s time to start thinking about solutions. Here are seven prevention tips to eliminate bed bugs from your home. 

1. Inspect All Second-Hand and Travel Items

Before bringing second-hand furniture or travel items into your home, conduct a thorough inspection. Check the seams, folds, and crevices of any clothing or furniture for any signs of bed bugs. Be cautious when acquiring used items from thrift stores or garage sales, as these are common sources for bed bugs. 

2. Reduce Clutter

Reducing clutter minimizes hiding spots for bed bugs. Pull furniture away from the walls to create space and make it harder for bed bugs to establish harborage areas. Likewise, pick up any loose clothing or garbage and consider inspecting behind molding to spot any bed bugs on the loose. 

3. Quarantine Areas with Bed Bugs

If you suspect bed bugs in a specific area, consider quarantining infested items. Seal them in plastic bags to prevent the spread of bed bugs to other parts of your home. Eliminate all foot traffic to that part of the home and work on tactics to eliminate bed bugs immediately. 

4. Clean Your Sheets and Linens with High Heat

Regularly washing and drying sheets, pillowcases, and other linens with high heat is an effective way to kill bed bugs and their eggs. Use the hottest settings allowed for the fabric and run all infested sheets under a hot cycle. You should also consider a steamer for your carpets–another area where bed bugs may linger. 

5. Vacuum Floors and Molding

Frequent vacuuming helps get rid of bed bugs and their eggs from carpets, floors, and moldings. Use a vacuum with strong suction and dispose of the vacuum bag or contents in a sealed plastic bag.

6. Use Safe and Approved Pesticides

When considering pesticides, choose safe and approved options. Follow label instructions carefully and treat areas where bed bugs are likely to hide.

Bed bug pesticides are mostly not recommended for DIY solutions as they present many risks. For this reason, it’s best to contact an exterminator. 

7. Hire an Exterminator for an Inspection

Professional exterminators have the expertise and tools to conduct thorough inspections and treatments. If you suspect a bed bug infestation, consulting with an exterminator can provide a comprehensive solution.

Pest Czar can help instantly identify and remove an infestation from any home or business so you can have greater peace of mind. Be sure to ask about our Czar Guard packages, which offer bed bug prevention and control for a low monthly rate. 

How Will I Know When Bed Bugs Are Completely Gone?

Your exterminator will be able to perform an inspection to determine if bed bugs are still present. Otherwise, you will know bed bugs are gone if:

  • There are no new bites
  • There are no visible signs of their presence, including smear marks, exoskeletons, and live sightings. 
  • There is no longer a musty odor.

Regular monitoring and maintenance are crucial even after apparent eradication to ensure that any potential resurgence is addressed promptly.

Bed Bug FAQs

Can Bed Bugs Live in Cold Climates?

Yes, bed bugs can endure cold climates, although they prefer warmer temperatures. Extreme cold may slow their activity, but it does not guarantee their elimination.

Do Bed Bugs Carry Diseases?

While bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases, their bites can cause itching and discomfort and may lead to secondary infections if scratched excessively.

How Fast Do Bed Bugs Reproduce?

Bed bugs reproduce rapidly. A single female bed bug can lay hundreds of eggs in her lifetime, leading to a significant infestation in a short period if left unchecked.

Can I Get Bed Bugs from Public Transportation?

Yes, it is possible to pick up bed bugs from public transportation. Maintaining vigilance and avoiding contact with potentially infested areas can reduce the risk.

Are DIY Bed Bug Treatments Effective?

DIY treatments can be effective for minor infestations. However, severe infestations may necessitate professional intervention for comprehensive eradication.

Can I Get Bed Bugs from Public Transportation?

Yes, it is possible to encounter bed bugs on public transportation due to the high turnover of passengers and the variety of environments people come from. Bed bugs can hitch a ride on clothing, bags, and other personal items, so it’s essential to be vigilant and check your belongings after using public transport.