Smart, tough, and quick to reproduce, bed bugs are not to be taken lightly. The ones that typically plague humans are the common bed bug – Cimex lectularius – and the ability to hide is one of their best skills.
Whether you are struggling with a bed bug infestation, looking for signs that indicate bed bug problems, or you want to learn more about these insects, this article will be helpful to you.
Bed bug removal can take some time and effort, so be patient. There is a possibility that you will have to try a few different chemical and non-chemical methods, especially if you are dealing with a large infestation.
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What do Bed Bugs Look Like?
A bed bug is an oval, brownish insect that feeds on the blood of humans and occasionally animals. The bodies of adult bedbugs are flat and about the size of an apple seed, measuring just 5 millimetres across. However, after eating, their bodies swell up and appear reddish in colour.
What do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?
The bugs themselves must be identified before you can conclude whether there have been bed bug bites. The majority of bites occur at night while people are sleeping.
Bed bugs feed for 3 to 10 minutes before becoming engorged and crawling away unnoticed. Initially, their bites are painless. However, they will soon become itchy welts.
You can find a bed bug bite on any area of skin exposed while sleeping, unlike flea bites, which occur mainly around the ankles. Furthermore, the bite does not have a red spot in the middle like flea bites do.
How to Treat Bed Bug Bites
It usually takes a week or two for bed bug bites to disappear. In the meantime, you can do the following:
- A cool, damp cloth on the affected area can help relieve itching and swelling.
- Keep the spot clean. Wash the bitten areas of your skin with soap and water, and apply non-prescription corticosteroid lotion to relieve the itching.
- Avoid scratching, itchy bites to prevent infections.
Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation
Itchy areas that weren’t there when you went to sleep may indicate bed bugs, especially if you recently got a used bed or other used furniture. Other signs of bed bugs include:
- Bloodstains on the sheets or pillowcases;
- Dark brown or rusty excrement spots on sheets and mattresses, bedclothes, or walls;
- A strong, musty odour emanating from the scent glands of the bugs;
- The most obvious sign, but not always your first indicator, is finding small brown insects within or around your bed.
Whenever you suspect an infestation, you should remove all bedding and inspect it carefully for signs of insects or their excrement. Remove the dust cover from the bottom of the box springs and inspect the seams in the wood framing. Peel back the fabric where it is attached to the frame.
Examine the area around the bed, including inside books, telephones, radios, electrical outlets, and carpet edges.
Check your closet for bed bugs, as they can cling to clothing, as well. An exterminator can help you identify bed bugs if you are not sure about the signs.
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How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Getting rid of bed bugs requires cleaning the places where they reside. Here are some steps you can take:
- Wash bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing in hot water, and dry them on the highest setting. The items that cannot be washed, such as stuffed animals and shoes, should go in the dryer on high for 30 minutes;
- Bed bugs can be killed at all life stages through dry cleaning, which is the best treatment for delicate fabrics and temperature-sensitive materials;
- To get rid of bed bugs and their eggs, use a stiff brush to scrub the mattress seams;
- Regularly vacuum your bed and surrounding area. As soon as you have finished cleaning, place the vacuum cleaner bag into a plastic bag and dispose of it in the outdoor rubbish bin;
- A tightly woven, zippered cover for mattresses and box springs effectively prevents bed bugs from entering or escaping. They can live for up to a year without feeding, so prevent them from returning by keeping them covered for at least one year;
- Ensure any cracks in plaster are repaired and peeling wallpaper is glued down to prevent bed bugs from hiding there;
- Clear any clutter around your bed to give the bugs fewer spots to hide;
It may make sense to get rid of an infested mattress and get a new one, but you should still make sure to get rid of bed bugs everywhere in your home, or your new bed will also become infested. Bed bugs can be controlled by cleaning infested areas, but for more severe issues, you can typically eliminate them with chemical treatments such as fogging and fumigation service.
How to Prevent Bed Bugs
The chances of getting an infestation can be reduced if you take these steps.
- Make sure you check for signs of bed bugs before renting an apartment or staying at a hotel;
- Keep an eye out for any signs of wear and tear around the bed, paying particular attention to the edges of the mattress and the headboard;
- You should avoid placing luggage directly on the bed or furniture since this allows bed bugs easy access to your items;
- When you buy second-hand furniture, make sure you inspect it thoroughly before bringing it into your home;
- Additionally, keep up with good housekeeping, such as vacuuming your house and washing your bedding regularly;
Check also: Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?
Professional Bed Bug Treatment
Dealing with bed bugs is a time-consuming and troublesome process, as you can see for yourself. Whether vermin are infesting one mattress or your entire property, hiring a professional bed bugs pest control specialist is the best choice.
If you have taken all of the necessary bed bug prevention steps and have not been successful with DIY treatments, you need to seek help. Finding bed bug bites can still be upsetting, especially if your children are involved.
Standard treatment for any infested area is the application of residual insecticide, which can either be sprayed or applied as a powder. All floor surfaces are treated with insecticide, as well. Pest control experts should be the ones to handle bed bugs, due to the proven safety and effectiveness of the treatment they offer.
Bed bugs are most effectively eliminated with heat treatment. Heat (above 56C) destroys bed bugs at all stages of life, even their eggs. Moreover, it is more time-efficient than chemical treatments.