How to Spot a Bed Bug Infestation

Identifying a bed bug infestation in Seattle WA - United Pest Solutions

Identifying a bed bug infestation in Seattle WA - United Pest SolutionsBed bug infestations can be very challenging to get rid of, especially if they have the chance to spread throughout your home. Spotting an infestation early can help you get rid of these pests quickly. However, since bed bugs are so small and good at hiding, it’s important to know where to look for these insects in your home so you can spot an infestation early on.

Common Places Where Bed Bugs Hide

The best place to search for bed bugs is where a person spends the most time sleeping, like the bed, or sometimes the sofa or recliner. Look for sheltered or protected areas with lots of nooks and crannies that bed bugs could be using as hiding places. Here are some of the most common hiding places for bed bugs at or near the areas described above:

  • Windowsills, including drapery
  • Baseboards
  • Piping or seams of mattresses
  • The bottom of box springs
  • Headboards and bed frame
  • Electrical outlets
  • Pet beds or kennels
  • Furniture like nightstands or dressers

Signs of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are tiny insects, measuring from very tiny to about the size of an apple seed. Because of their small size, you’ll want to look for several signs of an infestation rather than just relying on finding live bed bugs. The biggest signs of an infestation to look out for include:

  • Shed skins. As bed bugs grow through the different stages of their lifecycle, they shed pale amber-colored skins. If you are experiencing an infestation, you will likely spot these skins in nooks and crannies that are near food sources.
  • Fecal matter. After bed bugs consume a meal, they may leave behind some fecal matter. Their feces are small and usually look like small, black dots about the size of a pen tip, and they are generally located near their host.
  • Bloodstains. To help feed on blood, bed bugs will insert an anticoagulant into the skin of their host. This can cause the host to bleed a little, which may cause smears or spots of blood on your bed, sofa, or other feeding areas.
  • Eggs or shells. Bed bug eggs are only about 1 mm in length, so they can be difficult to spot. However, these small and whitish eggs may be located near prime feeding areas, and they are a telltale sign of an infestation.
  • Strong odor. Heavy bed bug infestations often come with a distinctive odor, which has been described as smelling like coriander, moldy shoes, or musty clothes. If you notice a similar scent and can’t find the source, it could be bed bugs.
  • Live insects. Bed bugs usually don’t come out until after you’re asleep. However, if you do happen to see live insects, then you are definitely dealing with an infestation and should call a professional as soon as possible.

What to Do If You Have Bed Bugs

A bed bug infestation is a nightmare for a lot of homeowners, especially because of how difficult these pests are to eradicate. However, you don’t have to deal with it alone. If you notice the signs of bed bugs in your home, call a professional bed bug exterminator to help you eradicate these pests as quickly as possible.

At United Pest Solutions, we are proud to offer bed bug extermination services with personalized treatments that address the root cause of the infestation. We have served the greater Seattle WA metropolitan area for almost 60 years, and we are prepared to help you get rid of these pests once and for all. Call us today to get started!

How to Prevent Bed Bugs When Traveling

How to avoid bed bugs while traveling in Seattle WA - United Pest Solutions

How to avoid bed bugs while traveling in Seattle WA - United Pest SolutionsThis time of year, many of us are packing our bags and getting ready to travel for the holidays. The last thing you want to deal with is a surprise visit from a horde of bed bugs! These tricky pests can be more than just bothersome; in addition to leaving behind itchy bite marks, bed bugs can trigger serious allergic reactions and may cause anxiety or insomnia in victims.

Bed bug infestations can also be very challenging to get rid of, which is why it’s so important to avoid picking these pests up in the first place. Unfortunately, travel is the number one way that these insects spread from place to place. Knowing how to avoid bed bugs while traveling is a crucial step in keeping yourself safe from these pests. Here are our top tips for preventing bed bugs while on vacation:

Carefully Inspect Hotels and Guest Rooms

Though bed bugs can travel through clothing or luggage, you’re most likely to pick these pests up by unknowingly staying in an infested hotel or guest room. That’s why it’s so important to carefully inspect your room for signs of bed bugs before getting too cozy. Here are some of the main signs of bed bugs to look out for:

  • A strong and musty or pungent odor
  • Dark or rusty spots on bedding or walls or bloodstains on bedding
  • Fecal spots, which look like small black ink spots from a Sharpie pen
  • Pale white eggshells, which are difficult to see against light surfaces
  • Shed skins, which look like a bug but will shift or float away when disturbed

Use a Mattress Protector or Encasement

Mattress protectors and encasements are water-resistant sheets that can be placed on top of or zipped around a mattress. They are intended to shield you from all sorts of contaminants, including bed bugs. After inspecting your room for bed bugs, you can use a mattress protector or encasement for an extra layer of defense.

Seal Your Clothes in Plastic Bags

Bed bugs often travel by hiding in the folds of our clothing. So, if you leave your clothes out near an infested area, some insects could crawl into your luggage and spread to your home that way. Keeping your clothes sealed in plastic bags, even while inside your suitcase, is a great way to keep these pests from attaching to your belongings.

Vacuum Your Luggage Upon Returning

Vacuuming your luggage immediately upon returning from a trip can help you eliminate any stray insects that may have wandered into your bags. This step is particularly important if you carried your luggage through an airport, which jumbles your belongings with that of hundreds of other people.

Immediately Wash and Dry Clothes on High Heat

High temperatures can kill adult bed bugs and their eggs. Just 20 minutes of 118°F heat is enough to wipe out any existing insects. So, washing and drying your clothes on high heat is a quick and easy way to eliminate stray pests and stop an infestation before it has a chance to begin.

Store Your Suitcases in Plastic Bags

After you’ve vacuumed your suitcases, it may be valuable to wrap them in plastic bags before storing them. That way, if you missed any insects or eggs while vacuuming, they will suffocate and not be able to spread into the rest of your home.

Experienced Bed Bug Exterminators

While these steps are great ways to prevent bed bug infestations, these pests are incredibly tricky. Even a few bugs could lead to a full-blown invasion, which could be very challenging to get rid of. Thankfully, if you’re dealing with a bed bug infestation, you’re not alone. The experts at United Pest Solutions are prepared to help you quickly and safely remove these pests so you can rest easily. Just give us a call to get started!

 

Where Do Pests Go in the Winter?

Rodent in the snow-United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA talks about where pests go in the winter.

Rodent in the snow-United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA talks about where pests go in the winter.As temperatures drop and weather conditions become harsher, wildlife goes into survival mode. Some animals migrate, some hibernate, and others have unique traits that allow them to endure months of cold.

But, where do all the pests go during winter? Though it may seem like they simply die off, many insects actually have survival tactics that allow them to withstand freezing conditions. Here are what some common pests do during winter.

Ants

Ants are incredibly common during the summer, but it’s rare to see them once winter rolls in. That’s because ants use a special survival tactic called diapause, which is very similar to hibernation. During diapause, the ant’s body fills with a substance called glycerol that keeps them from freezing.

Ants prepare for diapause over the summer by eating in a surplus to gain fat, which allows them to survive when food is scarce. Then, as the cold sets in, the ants will begin to slow down and gradually become less productive. When temperatures are low enough, the ants will close off the colony and remain underground until warmer weather arrives.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are a common household pest that are incredibly resilient. Even the cold of winter isn’t enough to cause these pests to go into survival mode, because their bodies can withstand temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for a few days before dying.

Since bed bugs are so hardy, they are pretty much a year-round problem. Freezing temperatures aren’t enough to keep these pests away, and our homes make the perfect environment for them to thrive no matter the season.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches are known for their incredible ability to survive even the harshest of conditions. However, these pests are typically drawn to warmer climates with more humidity. Many types of cockroaches – such as the German cockroach or the American cockroach – will migrate to warmer spots when winter sets in.

Unfortunately, as cockroaches search for a warmer place to stay, they may end up inside homes, offices, or industrial buildings. Homes are more susceptible to a cockroach infestation over the winter, as they often provide the perfect mixture of warmth and moisture for these pests to flourish.

Fleas

Fleas are known for piggybacking on your pets, causing an itchy or painful reaction for anyone who’s bitten. While the cold weather certainly slows these pests down, fleas can still be an issue during the winter – especially if they can hitch a ride into your home.

Fleas thrive in warmer areas with a little bit of humidity. Around 75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for them, which makes your house the perfect spot for them when winter rolls around. Continuing to treat your pets and watch for these pests can help keep your home flea-free, no matter the season.

Mosquitoes

As bothersome as mosquitoes can be during the summer, they seem to disappear as soon as winter comes around. During the colder months, many mosquitoes do actually die off. So, how do they come back year after year?

Right before everything freezes over, female mosquitoes lay their eggs in still bodies of water. The eggs only need about half an inch of water to survive, and they are hardy enough to endure harsh winter weather. So, even though mosquitoes aren’t a bother during winter, they always make preparations to come back in the spring.

Pest Control During the Winter

Since so many pests seek a warm and cozy home for winter, it’s still important to keep your eye out for an infestation even when it’s cold out. If you’re struggling with pests during the winter, a local pest control company like United Pest Solutions may be able to help! From thorough inspections to quick extermination, our experts have been serving the Seattle metropolitan and Puget Sound area since 1960. Give us a call to keep your home pest-free, without the hassle!

Late Summer Pests in the Pacific Northwest

United Pest talks about the late summer pests in the Pacific Northwest.

Family enjoying a BBQ. United Pest talks about the late summer pests in the Pacific Northwest.

[2021 Update]

Summer brings warm weather and longer days, but it also brings pests. As you anticipate your pest control needs this summer, keep in mind the various pests that invade homes and businesses in the Pacific Northwest during this time of year.

Here are some of the most common invaders and tips to help control them.

Common Late Summer Pests in the PNW

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are one of the most common pests discovered in hotel rooms. Since summertime is a time when many families travel, it’s important to stay on guard. Remember, these pests are great at hitchhiking.

Ticks

Ticks can transmit diseases to humans, some of which are considered harmful. These pests breed in the summer and live in tall grassy, or wooded areas and on pets.

Ants

These tiny pests start to come out in the springtime and stay around during the warmer summer months. You’ll most often see them out on pavement but after a good rainfall, they may make their way into your home seeking dry shelter.

Flies

If you’re having a lot of gatherings outside your home that involve food, you’re likely to see flies buzzing around. They like food and warmth. So summer BBQs are a good recipe for attracting flies.

Stinging Insects

Like flies, stinging insects including bees, hornets, and wasps prefer warmer weather. Since they’re out more during this time of year, the chances of someone coming near a nest are higher.

Mosquitoes

This time of year is famously known for its high number of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so mosquito problems may increase after heavy rain.

Wildlife

As summer turns to fall several critters, including squirrels and raccoons, may start planning ahead to the winter months, looking for warm shelter. This may involve them invading your home, damaging it in the process.

Termites

Subterranean termites and Dampwood termites live in the Pacific Northwest. They will make nests in your soil and in any wood items you may have around your home including old wood stumps.

How to Prevent Pests During Late Summer

  • Eliminate standing water: like previously mentioned, mosquitoes breed in standing water. So eliminating these sources will help reduce mosquitoes on your property. Think buckets, tarps, birdbaths, and flower pots.
  • Keep your grass trimmed: this will help reduce mosquitoes and help
    prevent ticks.
  • Relocate firewood: if you keep firewood on your property, store it away from your home and if possible keep it elevated.
  • Properly seal your home: ensure windows, doors, and garage doors aren’t kept open for long periods of time and install or repair any screens.

Pest Control Seattle

If you’ve tried these methods or already have a pest infestation on your property, we can help! United Pest Solutions is your local source for pest control in the Seattle area. Our certified technicians will identify which type of pest you have and find a solution. So contact us today!

Why Bed Bugs are a Real Nightmare

Up close look at bed bug. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA talks about why bed bugs are a real nightmare.

Up close look at bed bug. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA talks about why bed bugs are a real nightmare.Bed bugs are a nightmare to deal with, for both homeowners and pest control technicians. If you’ve ever dealt with them, you would agree. They infest your places of rest and affect your peace of mind. But why are they so hard to get rid of? For several reasons.

Bed Bugs are Great Hiders

First of all, bed bugs are very small and flat. They average about 4 to 5 millimeters in length, which is about the size of an apple seed. Because they’re so small, they can easily squeeze into places as thin as a credit card. Plus, bed bugs are most active when you are asleep at night. They hide during the day in mattress seams, headboards, nightstands, box springs, and other nearby places, coming out at night when you’re asleep. Sleep during the day? No problem, bed bugs will adjust to your sleeping pattern.

Bed Bugs Hitchhike

Bed bugs don’t have wings, so they cannot fly. They also don’t jump. But they are great hitchhikers. The way they move from place to place is by crawling quickly onto a person’s clothing, bag, or other personal belongings. This is why you should use caution when purchasing second-hand items.

Bed Bugs Don’t Need Food

Unlike many other pests, bed bugs don’t need a constant supply of food (blood) to stay alive. In fact, bed bugs can go without feeding for about a year, depending on the humidity and temperature. So, if you’re thinking about sleeping in another place to starve them, think again.

Bed Bugs Multiply Quickly

Female bed bugs can lay as many as 12 eggs a day after being fertilized. They’ll deposit their eggs in carpet lining, baseboards, and bed frames in a sticky layer to make sure the eggs are secure. Once the bed bugs hatch, a week to two weeks later, they’ll immediately begin searching for food. One Bed bug can produce hundreds of Bed Bugs in a single year.

Bed Bugs are Resistant to Pesticides

In the past few years, scientists have discovered that bed bugs have developed genetic defenses against many popular pesticides used for bed bug control. So you cannot eliminate these pests with a single treatment type alone.

Experts in Bed Bugs

Bed bugs aren’t dangerous, but their bites can cause allergic reactions and leave you sleepless. So, if you’re dealing with bed bugs, it’s important to contact your local pest control company immediately. At United Pest Solutions, we’ll not only treat your bed bug problem quickly, but we’ll also teach you some best practices to help prevent bed bugs from returning. Take a look at our bed bug extermination page to learn more about how to handle bed bug infestations and contact us if you need help. We offer free expert phone support to answer any questions you may have.

Prevent Bed Bugs This Summer

Up close image of a bed bug on a white surface. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA and Kirkland WA talks about how to help prevent bed bugs this summer.

Up close image of a bed bug on a white surface. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA and Kirkland WA talks about how to help prevent bed bugs this summer.Summer is a time for BBQs and outdoor fun. But, it’s also a time when we see a spike in bed bug calls. Bed bugs are one of the most common pests–in both residential settings and commercial settings. This is because of their skilled ability to hitchhike on clothing, luggage, furniture, and other possessions.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about signs of bed bugs, and how you can help prevent them from hitching a ride into your home.

Are Bed Bugs Dangerous?

No, bed bugs are not dangerous. They don’t transmit any diseases. Bed bugs are simply a nuisance. However, their bites can be irritating, especially if you’re allergic. To help alleviate the itchiness and irritation that results from a bed bug bite, you can apply an anti-itch cream to the affected areas, and take an oral antihistamine.

In some rare cases, people who are allergic to bed bug bites have developed a rash, hives, and experienced trouble breathing. If this occurs, you’ll want to see a doctor immediately.

How to Tell If You Have Bed Bugs

The easiest way to tell if you have bed bugs is by actually seeing them. However, these tiny blood-suckers are nocturnal and only come out when their hosts are sleeping, so we’ve come up with a list of other common bed bug indicators:

  • Bed bug bites: they generally look like small red welts in a zigzag pattern
  • Unpleasant odors: bed bugs release pheromones that smell musty
  • Dark or rust-colored spots of excrement: they may look splotchy or smeared
  • Bloody sheets: you may bleed after being bitten by a bed bug, staining your sheets
  • Bed bug exoskeletons, shells, or casings: many pests, including bed bugs, have exoskeletons that they shed when growing into their next stage

It’s also important that we mention, bed bugs are not only limited to your bed. They can be found nearly anywhere. They’re known to conceal themselves in electrical outlets, picture frames, sofas, nightstands, and more.

Bed Bug Prevention Tips

The scary thing about bed bugs is that no one is immune. But you can take some preventive measures to reduce your chances of getting a bed bug infestation.

  • Vacuum regularly
  • Eliminate clutter
  • Seal cracks in your home
  • Install door sweeps
  • Be wary of secondhand items
    • If you frequently travel:
    • Consider hard-shelled luggage or wrap it in plastic when traveling
    • Vacuum your luggage upon returning
    • Clean your laundry, stuffed animals, towels, and blankets in hot water
    • Examine your hotel room before getting comfortable

Professional Bed Bug Exterminators

Although bed bugs aren’t dangerous to your health, their presence can affect your emotional and mental state. If you have a bed bug problem in your home or business, you’ll want to contact your local bed bug exterminator immediately. Bed bugs are difficult to control, even for skilled pest control technicians! These tiny pests can survive in the most extreme temperatures and they’re great hiders.

Professional bed bug exterminators like ourselves at United Pest Solutions, have commercial steam machines that can kill bed bugs at every life stage, in addition to pesticides for more severe infestations. To learn more about bed bugs, take a look at our Bed Bug Extermination page. It has everything you need to know about bed bugs, from how to identify them to when you need a professional.

How to Check for Bed Bugs on Holiday Travels

Bed bug check. United Pest Solutions in Seattle WA offers tips to help prevent bringing bed bugs home with you this Thanksgiving travel season.

Bed Bug. United Pest Solutions in Seattle WA offers tips to help prevent bringing bed bugs home with you this Thanksgiving travel season.

‘Tis the season to visit family and friends! We all want to  avoid bed bugs on holiday travels, but how do you check for bed bugs in hotels and living quarters? They hide in trains, planes, and hotel rooms. These tiny blood-sucking pests will hang out anywhere people sit for long periods of time. And unfortunately, they don’t stay put. Bed bugs will latch onto you, your luggage, purse, or backpack and hitch a ride with you to infest your next location.

Bed bugs are known for being resilient, so staying vigilant is a surefire way to help prevent an infestation. Take these precautions to keep bed bugs from ruining your travel plans this Thanksgiving.

Cover Your Luggage

It’s not uncommon to see bed bugs on planes, trains, and other modes of transportation. So before you head out on your travels, consider protecting your luggage. Use a garbage bag or other sealed cover and place your luggage inside to help keep out any potential hitchhiking bed bugs.

Inspect & Check for Bed Bugs

Regardless of where you’re staying, you’ll want to inspect and check for bed bugs. Bed bugs don’t discriminate when it comes to living quarters. Pull back the bedsheets, paying particular attention to the mattress seams as you look for bed bugs, spots, and stains. Bed bugs are small, about the size of an apple seed and their eggs look similar to a grain of white rice. Additionally, don’t forget to check chairs, headboards, nightstands, and other furniture. Bed bugs will hide out anywhere people sit for long periods of time.

If you do notice bed bugs or eggs, contact management right away and ask for a room that’s not adjacent to the infested room. Bed bugs have been known to travel by way of housekeeping carts, wall sockets, and suitcases.

Check For Bed Bugs in Luggage Upon Returning Home

Upon returning home from your travels, carefully inspect your luggage. Place suitcases and travel bags on a smooth surface, like your garage floor, as it is difficult for bed bugs to climb out of a smooth surface. Next, vacuum and hand steam your suitcases or bags before storing them.

Dry Your Fabric Items

To stay extra vigilant, before storing away your clothes, put them in the dryer on high heat for 30 minutes, even if you didn’t wear them. This also includes blankets, towels, and any stuffed animals.
If you do check for bed bugs, and find them, you can attempt DIY methods, however, professional intervention is almost always required for complete bed bug control and eradication.  It is best to contact a professional pest control company like United Pest Solutions, as bed bugs not only multiply quickly, but they are also very resilient.

DIY Bed Bug Removal

Should I use heat and chemicals to get rid of bed bugs?

So you’ve got a bed bug problem, and now you are looking for the best solution.  Many people my try to address their bed bug issues themselves, but does DIY bed bug removal work? There is no one size fits all approach for addressing bed bug infestations, as there are many factors that influence the best bed bug treatment option for each individual situation. When it comes to bed bug infestation treatment, folks generally want to know if heat, chemicals, or both are the ideal solution. The answer is simple- it depends on the circumstances surrounding the infestation. Bed bug treatments, specifically heat treatment versus pesticide treatment will be briefly discussed.

Heat is a fantastic treatment method for dealing with a bed bug control problem. Bed bugs die quickly once they encounter heat of 120 degrees or hotter, and their eggs perish as well, even in those hard to reach places like bed frames, wallpaper, and floor crevices. If you have a small bed bug infestation, chances are that one or two thorough professional heat treatments can rid you of the problem. Do-it-yourself heat treatment methods will not see the same results. In order for heat treatment for bed bug infestations to be effective, professional equipment used by a trained pest control specialist is the only way. DIY bed bug removal is difficult on your own. Pest control specialists have the education and experience to properly use heat treatment to defeat bed bugs. Trying to use heat equipment on your own poses risk and could result in injury, and as such this is highly discouraged.

Chemicals and pesticides are also a successful bed bug infestation treatment too. Those with extensive bed bug infestations will likely need to use chemicals during the treatment process because large infestations are extremely challenging to combat and can take months to completely eradicate. Pesticides are great at preventing re-infestations once a bed bug problem has become manageable. Chemical treatments are also appealing in environments where heat treatment may damage furniture, electronics, and other sensitive items.

So which bed bug infestation treatment is the right fit for your situation? Call a reputable pest control professional to help you discern the answer. One thing is certain, your best bet of fighting and winning a bed bug infestation is with the help of a certified pest specialist using comprehensive Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Should you choose to enter into battle alone, be forewarned, the decline in signs of an infestation does not mean it has been the problem has been eradicated. Bed bug infestations can last indefinitely if you don’t get the proper help from trusted professionals.