The complete guide to bed bugs

Like it or not, bed bugs have become a common pest problem that individuals and communities around the world are facing in the past decades. This due to their extensive global distribution through global travel and trade, which are known to be associated with the ways these little critters end up spreading far and wide.

The most common bed bug species is Cimex lectularius. They can be found almost everywhere, from homes, hotels, apartments, public transports and movie theatres where they can find humans. Although they are not known to carry diseases, most bed bug bites can lead to similar reactions to those of mosquito bites.

If you are not so sure if you have a bed bug infestation in your home and not know it, rejoice because Rentokil Indonesia has provided you with the complete guide to bed bugs!

In this page, we will try to answer all the common questions about bed bugs that we frequently received all this time. Click one of the questions below to get the correct answers.

Bed bug general questions

  • What are bed bugs?
  • What do bed bugs look like?
  • How long do bed bugs live?
  • Do bed bugs fly?
  • Where do bed bugs come from?
  • How do I know if I have bed bugs?
  • What attracts bed bugs?
  • Where do bed bugs hide?

Bed bug bite questions

  • How do bed bugs bite?
  • When bed bugs bite you?
  • What do bed bugs bite look like?
  • Where do bed bug bites appear?
  • What are the symptoms of bed bug bites?

Bed bug prevention questions

  • How to prevent bringing bed bugs home when traveling?
  • How to prevent bed bugs at home?

Bed bug control questions

  • How do professionals get rid of bed bugs?

  • What is the most effective bed bug treatment?

  • How much does bed bugs treatment cost?

  • Can I still have bed bugs after treatment?

Bed bug general questions

What are bed bugs?

Bed bug belongs to the family Cimicidae. Bed bugs are known as ectoparasites or external parasites of humans, meaning they feed and live on the outside of their host's body.

The most common species of bed bug that bite humans in Indonesia is Cimex lectularius. Bed bugs undergo simple metamorphosis in seven distinct life stages, which all life-stages feed exclusively on humans and other mammals' blood to complete their life cycle.

What do bed bugs look like?

Picture of bed bugs
Picture of bed bugs

Bed bugs are approximately 5-6 mm in length before a blood meal, extending about 7mm when fully engorged with blood. Bed bugs are typically oval in shape, and flattened from back to underside with well-developed legs with no wings.

Early-stage bed bugs are translucent or whitish-yellow in colour. But as they get older, their body appears in a darker colour. Adult bed bugs will turn to rusty red-brown in colour after their blood meal.

How long do bed bugs live?

Typically, bed bugs complete their life cycle within 45 - 50 days from eggs to adult bed bugs. Under favourable conditions and access to available host blood, the average lifespan of a bed bug is about 6 months.

How long is the lifespan of a bed bug without a blood meal? Not a lot of people know bed bugs are known to survive for quite a long period without a host for weeks to months.

How long can bedbugs live without eating?

Although not many people know about this one bed bug fact, bed bugs can survive for quite a long time without sucking blood for weeks to months.

Do bed bugs fly?

Bed bugs do not have wings, and therefore they can’t fly. Bed bugs are also incapable to jump as fleas do. Therefore, what bed bugs do is crawl from the ground to climb your bed, and bite you while you’re sleeping at night.

Among many blood-sucking pests around us, many people are commonly confused to identify the difference between bed bugs and fleas. Learn more about the differences between bed bugs and fleas here

Where do bed bugs come from?

One of the most common questions that we most often receive is "where do bed bugs come from” at home.

Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers and love travel from place to place. Bed bugs can be carried to your home by being transported by humans through objects like suitcase, clothes, bags, and furniture - before finally ending up in your home.

There is, therefore, many ways you can bring bed bugs into your home, such as:

  • Second-hand furniture – Bed bugs can be introduced from the second hand-furniture you buy from flea market. Second hand furniture like sofas, dressers and bed frames are the perfect hiding place for bed bugs.

  • Overnight stay in accommodation – Spending a night in a hotel with an infestation is the most common way of spreading bed bugs. Bed bugs can easily spread and are transported through the hotel housekeeping carts, room, and concierge.

  • Public transport – As if no matter how convenient the public transportation you ride, bed bugs still can be found in public transport like city bus, trains and even airplanes!

  • Public places – Like theaters, hotel lobbies and airport lounges are some examples of perfect spots for bed bugs secretly found their way to be attached into human clothing or belongings.

How do I know if I have bed bugs?

Pictures of bed bug shed skins
Pictures of bed bug shed skins

Due to their tiny size and being able to hide in many areas, detecting bed bugs can be very challenging for everyone. Nevertheless, they leave signs of their presence around that can be used to help detect the presence of bed bugs.

The following signs may be an indication of a bed bug infestation

  • Bed bug bites – The clearest signs that you have bed bug problems are the appearance of itchy red bumps in a group or line which are close to your blood vessels, including neck, arm, hands, torso, and legs.

  • Faecal stains – Bed bugs leave their faeces everywhere. They often appear as black patches and have an unpleasant odour and may smear if you touch them. Bed bugs often leave behind faecal stains on surfaces like mattresses, sheets, and walls.

  • Blood stains – If you wake up and find a mysterious bloodstain on your bedsheets, pillowcases, and blankets, you might accidentally crush bed bugs that are sucking your blood while you are sleeping.

  • Shed skins – As part of the bed bug life cycle, they will shed their skins five times before reaching maturity. Bed bugs shed skins are amber in colour and resemble the shape of empty bed bug shells, which are often found alongside with bed bug's faecal stains.

  • Live adult bed bugs – Although bed bugs are mostly active at night, adult bed bugs can be seen with the naked eyes and can be detected by sight.

If you think you have spotted the signs of bed bugs around your property, or have seen the insects or bites, contact bed bug removal service today for effective bed bugs treatment.

What attracts bed bugs?

Unlike other crawling insects like cockroaches, bed bugs are not attracted to dirty or grime. Bed bugs are attracted exclusively to human beings and feed on our blood compared to all other potential vertebrates.

Why are bed bugs attracted to humans?

Bed bugs detect the presence of humans in the environment through multiple cues, including:

  • Body heat

  • Carbon dioxide

  • Human odors

Where do bed bugs hide?

Bed bugs are small nocturnal creatures that generally hide in secluded places close to where people sleep or rest, like bed or sofa.

Here are some common bed bug hiding places in a home:

  • Bed frames and headboard crevices

  • Mattress seams, box spring encasement

  • Carpets and underlay

  • Between floorboards

  • In cracked or broken plaster, behind peeling wallpaper

  • Drawers and cupboards and wardrobes

  • Skirting boards and baseboards

  • Bedside cabinets and other bedroom furniture

Bed bug bite questions

How do bed bugs bite?

Picture of bed bug bites on human skin
Picture of bed bug bites on human skin

Bed bugs have a long proboscis in the shape of a tube under their mouth to allow them to inject saliva into their host and collect blood. Bed bugs saliva consists of anticoagulant properties that enable them to make blood flow easily and less detectable by us.

Generally, bed bugs bite their host between 5 - 10 minutes, before they quietly crawl away back to their hiding places.

When bed bugs bite you?

As a nocturnal insect, bed bugs are mostly active at night and usually bite people while they are sleeping. However, it doesn't rule out the possibility for them to bite you during the day.

What do bed bugs bite look like?

Picture of bed bug bites
Picture of bed bug bites

Bed bug bites usually appear as red, itchy bumps on the skin, and it can appear anywhere on the body parts. Sometimes bites appear to cause reddish bumps and sometimes remain flat, looking like a rash. The bites tend to appear in a straight line or row because bed bugs can line up once a good feeding spot has been found.

In most cases, many people are often confused to differentiate between bed bugs and other blood-sucking insect bite, such as mosquitoes and fleas.

Learn more about how to differentiate bed bug bites and mosquito bites here

Where do bed bug bites appear?

Bed bugs usually bite on the exposed area on the upper body part that closes to blood vessels, including:

  • Neck
  • Hands
  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Torso

Worried about your bed bug bites? Contact the nearest bed bug removal services for a thorough bed bug inspection at your property today.

What are the symptoms of bed bug bites?

Each person reacts differently to bed bug bites. Some people may have no reaction at all to bed bug bites, but for some people can react very badly to their bites and develop a skin rash which can be very itchy over time.

Bed bug prevention questions

How to prevent bringing bed bugs home when traveling?

In order to prevent bringing bed bugs home after travelling, it’s important for you to eliminate the chances for bed bugs to hitchhike into your belongings and travel home with you.

Here are 6 ways you can do to prevent bringing bed bugs home when traveling:

  1. Pack all your clothing and items into sealable plastic bags.

  2. When you arrive at the hotel room, inspect the mattress, blankets, bedsheets and headboards thoroughly for signs of possible bed bug infestation such as faecal and dried bloodstains.

  3. Don’t leave your suitcase on the floor, especially directly on the bed. Keep your suitcase on the luggage rack or in the bathroom.

  4. Do not hang up the clothing in the drawers or piled up on the floor.

  5. Once at home, unpack your suitcase outside the house or in the garage, and use a vacuum cleaner to clean the inside and outside suitcase thoroughly. Bed bugs are tiny enough to be able to hide in the corner and inside the suitcase pockets.

  6. Wash and dry your dirty clothes from travelling with hot water 60 - 80 degrees celsius.

How to prevent bed bugs at home?

Although bed bugs have a minimal health risk to humans - but bed bugs can be very annoying and stressful to live with. Once bed bugs populate your house, they can spread easily and very quickly from room to room and make them even harder to get rid of.

Here is 4 ways to prevent bed bugs from spreading your home:

  1. While it's not completely will get rid of bed bugs, using vacuum cleaners can reduce the number of any visible bed bugs and their eggs at home

  2. Wash and dry clothes at the highest possible temperatures. Stop leaving your dirty clothes neglected on the bathroom floor, because your dirty clothes might become bed bug hiding places.

  3. Seal every cracks and crevices, as well as tears in the wallpaper that commonly provides hiding places for bed bugs.

  4. If you buy second hand furniture, thoroughly check for any signs of bed bug infestation before you take it home.

Nevertheless, we strongly do not recommend you to treat bed bugs on your own, either by using DIY products or natural remedies. The best way to completely resolve your bed bug problem can only be achieved by enlisting the help of pest control professionals, as treating bed bugs is a complex process and if not done thoroughly may lead to an infestation returning.

Bed bug control questions

How do professionals get rid of bed bugs?

The best bed bug pest control company should work together with the customer to discuss and determine which treatment method will work best for your current bed bug problem.

An expert in bed bug removal has to conduct inspections to examine the areas of suspected bed bug activity that could be present at the property before can decide the most suitable treatment method.

Once the inspection is complete, you will receive a report which describes the findings - whether or not bed bug activity was discovered at the property. Recommendations and an estimated treatment cost will also be explained in detail in the report for you to decide the best course of action.

An appointment for treatment to take place on a separate date. The bed bug treatment services include both conventional treatment and heat treatment, which will begin at the focal point of where the bed bugs infestation commonly found infested, such as mattress and box springs.

This will be followed by careful treatment in the other potential bed bug common hiding spaces, including baseboards, floor or wall junctions, behind the electrical and switches, cracks in walls and floors and curtains.

What is the most effective bed bug treatment?

technician holding torch

There are a variety of bed bug treatments that can be used to remediate a bed bug infestation. As the expert in bed bug removal, Rentokil pest control service have extensive knowledge of bed bug habits and are supported by over 50 years of local experience and expertise.

Our innovative range of treatment options aims to quickly and safely eliminate bed bug infestation, which is suitable for an infested room in a residential property as well as commercial premises.

The following bed bug treatment methods are available from Rentokil’s pest control services:

  • Residual spray – using hand sprayer to target at points that have been identified with bed bugs infestation.

  • Cold fogging – complete spraying methods to reach places that are not covered by the residual spraying process.

  • Steamer – the high temperatures produced by portable steam units are more than sufficient to kill bed bugs and their eggs upon contact.

How much does bed bugs treatment cost?

Bed bugs treatment cost can vary depending on the circumstances of your specific situation, so it’s best to reach out to us to set up an appointment and learn more about the benefits of our bed bug treatment service.

Contact us for more information about Rentokil bed bug treatment solutions for your home or business premises.

Can I still have bed bugs after treatment?

Rentokil bed bug experts will try to provide the best possible bed bugs treatment at your home and business.

While you might be able to eradicate a bed bug infestation, there is no way to prevent future infestations. This is due to the nature of how bed bugs can be easily brought from other places or by humans to humans (through clothes, bags or luggage).

On the other hand, bed bugs can easily be missed during the treatment. They are very good at hiding, and even with a thorough inspection and treatment, they can be often missed or overlooked.

Rentokil bed bug treatment

Find out more about our tailored bed bug treatment program for your home

Get in touch

Preventing bed bugs

Practical advice to prevent bed bugs from taking over