Bed bugs are a growing epidemic in cities and towns across the United States including Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. My Pest Pros routinely receives calls from home and condo owners as well as renters desperately seeking help to eradicate these pests. These ancient pests have become modern problem due to our transient and mobile culture. Many clients are embarrassed to report they have a bed bug problem.

But Bed bug infestations are increasingly common in big homes in McLean and Potomac as well as condos and apartments in the District. We are finding them everywhere fro Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Northern Virginia to Montgomery County. Bed bugs are reddish-brown, flat and typically measure up to 5 mm long. They are only commonly found in hotels, condos and apartments, where they can easily travel between rooms or units, but increasingly travel to homes in luggage, briefcases and purses, or they catch a ride on visitors' clothing. Common locations to find bed bugs include mattress seams, sheets and other bedding, cracks and crevices, on furniture including chair cushions or couches, behind electrical outlet plates, baseboards and picture frames. These sneaky pests can even hide behind loose wallpaper.
Bed bugs are so pervasive that they are found in offices, hotels, daycare centers, nursing homes, stores, prisons, schools and colleges, gyms and many other places.

Signs of a bed bug problem include red bites or welts on the body because bed bugs feed on blood, and reddish speckles on sheets. While it's sometimes possible to see live bed bugs, they are more active at night. The red, black or brown splotches where they defecate on sheets is the most common evidence of a problem. Others signs of a bed bug problem include evidence of their case skins as young bed bugs outgrow and shed their skins.

It is important to treat bed bug problems early to eradicate adult bed bugs and interrupt the breeding cycle. Female bed bugs can lay up to five eggs a day and up to 500 eggs over their live. Bed bugs have been known to survive up to a year without food.

Bed Bug Elimination

It is difficult to eliminate bed bugs without the help of a trained and experienced pest control expert, who has treated for bed bugs and knows the best strategies to get rid of them. Early detection and treatment can reduce treatment costs and their spread.

While bed bugs are not a sign of a cleanliness problem - they are often found in some of the nicest hotels, offices and properties - but cleaning is an important part of bed bug eradication regimens.

1. Wash and dry bedding in hot temperatures. You may also wish to wash clothes in the same manner to be sure no bed bugs or eggs are transported.

2. Vacuum rugs and carpets. Be sure to dispose of the vacuum bag after cleaning.

3. Eliminate clutter, including boxes that can provide harborage.

4. Be sure you don't help them move between rooms by moving potentially infested clothes, furniture or luggage until you are positive they are clean.
5. Examine second-hand furniture, especially mattresses, for signs of bed bugs.

It's fun to bring home souvenirs from a trip, but you can also take proactive steps to prevent bringing bed bugs home. When traveling:

1. Inspect bedding for signs of bed bugs including redish-brown fecal smears.

2. Inspect common bed bug hiding spots including the bed frame, headboard, picture frames and other furniture.

3. Use available luggage stands and racks to elevate luggage and belongings while keeping them away from furniture, beds, electric outlets and picture frames.

4. When packing to leave hotels and again upon your return home, promptly inspect your luggage and clothing.

5. Do not store luggage in bedrooms, where bed bugs can easily move from your luggage to bed for a nighttime meal.

If you suspect you have a bed bug infestation in Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., contact the specialists at My Pest Pros immediately at 866-590-PEST  (7378).