You might have heard of the words “bed bugs” from a childhood rhyme, “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Of course, none of us wanted to get bitten by bed bugs!
According to data, 20% of Americans either personally experiences bed bug infestations or know someone who has. In other words, outbreaks of bed bugs are widespread, but they are also very bothersome and stressful. Having all your information in order is crucial to correctly handle a bed bug spread, as with everything else.
You may be an expert on bed bugs. But they are difficult to eliminate; they feed on people as they sleep and leave behind itchy, red bumps. You might be surprised to learn that these unpleasant insects hold a lot of hidden secrets.
Here are eight things every family should know about bed bugs:
1. Learn how to identify bed bugs.
Bedbugs are tiny, oval, brown insects that feed on human or animal blood. The flat bodies of adult bedbugs are roughly the size of an apple seed. However, their bodies enlarge and take on a reddish hue after consumption.
Although they cannot fly, bedbugs can move fast around floors, walls, and ceilings. Throughout their lifetime, female bedbugs can produce hundreds of eggs, each approximately the size of a dust speck.
Bedbug nymphs, or immature bedbugs, must consume blood before their five skin-shedding cycles to grow. The bugs may produce three or more generations yearly and reach full development in as little as a month under optimal conditions.
Although annoying, it is not believed that they spread illnesses.
2. Know where they hide.
Bedbugs may infiltrate your house unnoticed through objects like old mattresses and sofas, clothing, luggage, and other furnishings. They are approximately the width of a credit card and can squeeze into confined areas thanks to their flattened bodies.
In contrast to ants and bees, bedbugs do not build nests; instead, they prefer to reside in colonies in concealed locations. Mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards typically serve as their initial hiding spots since they provide them with easy access to potential prey throughout the night.
Over time, they could disperse across the bedroom and hide in every nook and cranny. Additionally, they could spread to neighboring homes or apartments.
Having bedbugs in your house is not an indication of cleanliness because they are creatures living solely on blood. They can be found in both clean and unclean residences and hotel rooms.
3. Know when they bite.
Bedbugs bite victims when asleep and are most active at night. They take blood through an extended beak after piercing the skin to feed. The bed bugs feed for three to ten minutes, becoming obscenely full before crawling away undetected.
Even though they are typically nocturnal, bedbugs are like us in that they will wake up if they are hungry. Therefore, you are mistaken if you assume you won’t get bitten during the day. Even in the daytime, bedbugs will seek you if you spend a week at a friend’s house and then return and sit down on the sofa.
4. Know where they bite.
Most bedbug bites are initially harmless but later develop into unpleasant welts. Bedbug bites can occur anywhere on the exposed skin while you sleep, unlike flea bites which often occur around the ankles. The bites also lack the red mark that flea bites have in the middle.
People who don’t know they have bedbugs may blame other pests, such as mosquitoes, for the welts and itching. You need to discover and recognize the actual bedbugs to confirm bedbug bites.
5. Know how to treat bed bug bites.
The bites should be cleaned with soap and water if you believe a bedbug has bitten a family member. The itching can be relieved with calamine lotion, an anti-itch cream, or cold compresses. An oral antihistamine may help reduce itching in some situations. Bite healing takes 1-2 weeks.
Children should be taught that scratching a bedbug bite can result in skin infections like impetigo and, very rarely, cellulitis. A doctor will recommend medications to treat any illnesses that may arise.
6. Know the signs of bed bug infestation.
You may have bedbugs if you wake up itching in places that weren’t itchy when you went to sleep, especially if you recently purchased a used bed or other used furniture around the time the bites first appeared. Additional indications that you have bedbugs include:
- Your linens or pillowcases have blood stains.
- Bedbug feces can leave behind dark or reddish stains on bed linens, mattresses, and walls.
- In locations where bedbugs conceal themselves, look for bedbug feces, eggshells, or shed skins.
- A repulsive musty smell emanates from the bugs’ scent glands.
Remove all bedding from the room if you think there could be an infestation, and thoroughly inspect it for bugs or waste. Take off the dust cover covering the box springs’ bottoms and check the wood framing’s seams. The cloth should be ripped open from the wood frame where it is fastened.
Check the area surrounding the bed, including any books, radios, or phones, the carpet’s edge, and even electrical outlets. Check your closet since clothes might contain bedbugs.
Start taking action to eliminate the bugs and stop them from returning if you see infestation indications. Call Hybrid Pest Control if you’re unsure of the apparent signs of these pests.
7. Know your bed bug treatments.
Cleaning up the areas where bedbugs reside is the first step in getting rid of them. The following are also suggested:
- Dry all clothing, curtains, bedding, and linens on the highest dryer after washing them in hot water. Stuffed animals, shoes, and other objects that can’t be washed should be placed in the dryer and dried for 30 minutes on high.
- Before cleaning, scrape the mattress seams to get rid of bedbugs and their eggs.
- Regularly vacuum your bed and the space around it. After cleaning, immediately put the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and throw it in an outside trash can.
- A tightly woven, zipped cover should be placed over the mattress and box springs to prevent bedbugs from entering or leaving. Keep the cover on your mattress for at least a year to ensure that any bedbugs in the bed are dead. Bedbugs may survive for up to a year without eating.
- Patch up plaster cracks and glue down flaking wallpaper to eliminate hiding spots for bedbugs.
- De-clutter the area surrounding the bed.
If your mattress is infested, you can replace it with a new one. Just be sure to get rid of the bedbugs in the rest of your house first, or they’ll spread to your new mattress.
8. Know who to call for bed bug extermination.
While clearing up contaminated areas will help reduce bedbugs, chemical treatments are typically necessary to get rid of them. Use items that can be used safely in bedrooms since treating your bed and bedroom with pesticides can be dangerous. If the label needs to state that it can be used on bedding clearly, do not treat mattresses or bedding.
Hiring a skilled pest control specialist for bedbug removal is typically the safest and most efficient option.