What are Bed Bugs and are They Common in El Paso?


If you’ve ever had bed bugs, you know how much of a pain they can be. Bed bugs can take hold of your furniture even if you clean regularly. In fact, they’re more of a common pest now than they were just a few years ago. Bed bugs live in surfaces like box springs and headboards, and other hard surfaces where they have direct access to humans.

Bed bugs live off blood. They prefer human blood over animal blood, though they’re willing to take what they can get to survive. Bed bugs will eat any time of day as long as they have direct access to a blood source. While they’re commonly thought to only bite you while you’re sleeping, they can also snack on you while you’re watching a movie at the movie theater, sitting on your couch, or relaxing in a recliner. So it happens more often than many people think.

As part of the insect family, bed bugs are considered parasitic, since they live by finding a host to live off. They’re a hematophagous species, meaning they survive by sucking blood. They go through six total life stages; five immature nymph cycles and one final mature adult cycle. They shed their exoskeleton, usually a clear casing over their body, and molt, the process where the bugs change through their lifecycles, six times.

Typically, they’re reddish brown in color and only about 4.5 millimeters when they’re full grown, which is smaller than a centimeter. Their small size and dark color can sometimes make them hard to find. If you think you may have an infestation, keep an eye out for eggs, fecal matter, and clear exoskeleton casings. Sometimes, when beds and other pieces of furniture have an infestation, you can smell something similar to rotten raspberries.


How do You Get Bed Bugs?

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t get bed bugs because you’re dirty–though washing your bedding on high heat can help prevent them from spreading once you do have them. Bed bugs spread by “hitchhiking” on their hosts, humans and animals. In El Paso, this means you can get bed bugs from staying at a hotel with an infestation, sitting on a friend’s couch, or by going to a public movie theater. This doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to get an infestation simply by visiting any of these places, but if you visit a place with bed bugs, chances are high that you will.

Once you have a few bed bugs, the infestation can grow and spread quickly. If disturbed, bed bugs will disperse, finding more obscure places to hide that are harder to treat. If you live in El Paso and think you have an infestation, you should call a professional pest control company right away.

What Kind of Bed Bug Treatment Do We Use?

Regardless of whether you’ve confirmed the infestation or not, you don’t want to let the problem fester. At Brants Pest Control in El Paso, we can help you determine if you have an infestation and treat it if you do. Many companies use chemical treatments to rid your home of bed bugs. This requires you to wash and bag items in your home, inspect books, toys, and electronics for bugs, vacuum and wash the floors, and throw away many of your possessions. All of this can be a huge pain. Chemical treatments use pesticides like pyrethrins, desiccants, and neonicotinoids. While these are all relatively safe, heat treatment will guarantee there are no leftover chemicals, so it’s safer for pets and young children.

With a heat bed bug treatment, you only have to remove aerosol cans. Heat is effective for killing bedbugs without the harsh effects of chemicals. Bed bugs can’t withstand high temperatures, so the heat will kill them and their eggs. You can place bedding, luggage, sheets, and clothing in a “hot box,” which keeps these items at a heat higher than the lethal temperature for bed bugs for a sustained amount of time.