After being nearly eradicated 40 years ago, bed bugs are back and thriving more than ever. No matter where you go throughout your day, there’s a small chance you might unknowingly bring one home with you.
This could lead to many problems. Even though you may have heard of them, you might not know what causes bed bugs or how they spread. Without this information, you’ll be more at risk to have a bed bug infestation.
And once you have bed bugs in your home, they can be a nightmare to remove. Keep your family safe and read this infestation guide to keep bed bugs at bay.
1. What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are insects that feast on blood, like mosquitoes and ticks. They’re about the size of an apple seed and can vary in color. Although bed bugs are normally brown, they’ll swell up and turn red after feeding.
What makes bed bugs different from these other blood-sucking parasites? They don’t have wings like mosquitoes, and unlike ticks, they can’t stay on a host for an extended period. This means they scurry out from hiding for a quick meal and run off once they’re satisfied.
These bed bugs do not feast every night. Once they have the blood they need, they’ll remain in hiding for about a week’s time to lay eggs. Since these eggs are no larger than a speck of dust, they can be almost impossible to spot.
2. What Causes Bed Bugs?
Many people assume bed bugs thrive in dirty places. The reality is they’re happy nearly anywhere. You can pick them up at hotels and in borrowed furniture, but also at libraries, public transportation, and more.
Since bed bugs love to hide, they’re fond of clutter. But even a well-kept home can house an infestation. Beds are one of their favorite hiding places because there are plenty of layers to conceal them and it keeps them close to a source of food.
So how do you prevent bed bugs? There’s no easy answer.
At home, you can reduce as much clutter as possible. You should also vacuum and be on the lookout for signs of bed bugs. If you’re really worried, you can use a large mattress encasement to keep bed bugs out of the most common hiding spots.
But none of these practices can keep bed bugs from coming home with you. However, these travel tips will reduce the odds that a straggler hitches a ride into your bedroom.
3. How Do You Know You Have Bed Bugs?
Although bed bugs are small, they are easy to detect. You don’t have to look hard to find traces of an infestation. In fact, often your body will tell you that something is wrong.
If you ever wake up covered in small red dots, that’s a good sign that your bed is contaminated. You’ll get these itchy, clustered bumps during the night while you’re asleep.
However, some people don’t react to bed bug bites, so it’s best to look for more telltale signs.
Bloodstains are the most common sign of bed bugs. These might appear on your sheets or pillowcase. You’ll also find dark patches of excrement on your sheets or around the bed.
If you experience any of these three signs, examine the area for bed bugs. Remove all the sheets from your bed. Then, remove the box springs and look around the wooden frame and headboard.
Although they’re called bed bugs, they may live around the bed, rather than in it. It’s a good idea to search nearby clutter, such as anything under the bed, or an adjoining closet or hamper.
4. Bed Bug Health Concerns
Thankfully, bed bugs do not transmit diseases. But that doesn’t mean they’re free of complications. Their bites pose several health risks.
Some people may not react to bed bug bites. For others, they can cause serious allergic reactions. This can vary from severe itching to anaphylaxis.
Since these bites leave wounds, there is a possibility of infection. This risk is increased for allergic individuals because of their desire to scratch.
Last, the Environmental Protection Agency claims that a bed bug infestation can cause anxiety and insomnia. They consider bed bugs to be a public health issue.
5. How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Yourself
Do you think your home is infested? Although bed bug removal is best done by professionals, you have several options. Once you’ve located the source of the bed bug infestation, you’ll know where to get started.
Start by washing any infested textiles. This should be done on the hottest settings for both the washer and dryer. Whether curtains, bedding, clothes, or even plush animals, these need to be decontaminated.
Vacuum the entire room and the bedframe. You want to be sure you pick up anything that resembles dust, as these could be bed bug eggs. Be sure to clean between the box spring and mattress.
Keep in mind that in rare cases these bugs can live for an entire year without eating. If you miss an egg or a bed bug, they will infest your bed once again. You can’t simply stop using it for a few days to starve them out.
Try Professional Bed Bug Removal
Now that you know what causes bed bugs, you’ll be in a better position to detect and prevent them later on. If you ever experience a bed bug infestation, you can try to take care of them on your own. However, this is rarely successful.
You might have to get rid of the entire mattress to take care of the problem. Or, instead, you could rely on a professional bed bug removal service.
We use thermal remediation to eradicate the infestation. Unlike other removal methods, thermal remediation removes bed bugs without damaging your belongings. Contact us and our bed bug experts for a free service estimate.