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It is school time again: Time for bus rides, carpools, crowded classrooms, crowded bleachers, locker rooms, and sleepovers--all of which can expose your kids to bed bugs. If you're not already aware, bed bugs are hitchhiking bugs that can ride home on your children, and create a nightmare in your home. That is why it is a good idea to give your children a lesson on bed bug identification before they head back to school. Here's what you need to know.

What Does A Bed Bug Look Like?

Identifying a bed bug isn't as easy as going to the internet and looking for a picture of a bed bug. Most of the pictures you'll see are magnified images. It is important that your kids understand that baby bed bugs (immature nymphs) are only about 1 mm in size. Take out a ruler and show them just how small that is. And explain that the bed bug they are most likely to see in the day time is one of these tiny bugs.

Bed bugs look different depending on when you see them. If a bed bug has not fed, it will be flat and oval. If it has had a blood meal, its abdomen will be expanded and have a red coloring from the blood inside. This red coloration is particularly noticeable in baby bed bugs because their skin (cuticle) is pale to tan and thinner than the skin of an adult. It might even appear like a bright red bug clinging to their skin.

No matter where your kids are, whether it be on a bus, in a car with friends, at a sleepover, or in the classroom, it is important that they recognize a bed bug when they see one. Bed bugs are between 1 mm and 4.5 mm with six legs, two antennae, and transparent skin. They may appear oval or pill shaped, depending on whether or not they have fed.

If your child sees a bed bug, it is important that they report it and, if possible, capture it. A piece of tape works well to trap a bed bug in place.

Other Bed Bug Signs

When bed bugs infest, they leave black streaks, black patches, black stains on fabrics, blood stains, shed skins, and tiny white eggs. These signs may be visible on upholstered furniture, books, baseboards, outlet covers, clothing, and more.

What To Do If Bed Bugs Appear In Your Home

If bed bugs get into your home, it is extremely difficult to eradicate them without an education in modern pest control. At best, DIY methods will cause the infestation to go on for a much longer time. At worst, they can lead to a loss of property and a could multiply the original problem. Don't take chances with bed bugs; always call the bed bug specialist at All-American Pest Control to get rid of these bugs.