A bed bug infestation must be identified early, so it doesn’t spread all over your humble abode. They may be relatively small and harmless, but they are incredibly uncomfortable. Check out this comprehensive mini guide on bed bugs and how to eradicate them.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are parasitic insects that like to feed on the blood of animals. While the everyday bed bug feasts on the blood of humans, they also bite other warm-blooded animals, such as your pet dogs and cats. While they are generally harmless and do not pose any disease, they can be a discomfort and nuisance.
Where Do Bed Bugs Hide?
Bed bugs hide when they do not feed, but unlike other insects such as ants and bees, they don’t have their nests to go back to. Their initial and primary hiding place consists of the area where people rest and sleep, such as beds of sofas. But they can also be found all around the room, even in other parts of your home.
Bed bugs don’t look at whether it is clean or dirty. You can have the most sanitary home in the world, but still, find bed bugs in your room. They are not attracted by uncleanliness; they are focused on blood and want to find a warm host. That is why you often find them in beds or mattresses.
- Inspect your mattress, both top, and bottom part.
- Search the edges, seams, and folds.
- Check the framing by removing the gauze fabric or dust cover.
- Especially if your bed frame is made of wood, examine cracks and crevices. Wooden frames are more susceptible to holes than plastic or steel.
- Check all beddings, blankets, and pillows. Dismantle the whole bed if necessary.
After checking the bed, inspect the whole bedroom next. Places to look for may include
- Curtains and draperies
- Closets and clothing
- Loose wallpaper and wall hangings
- Corners where walls meet
- Clutter near the bed
How Do Bed Bugs Spread?
Bed bugs are akin to plant spores; they hitchhike. They move on from site to site by riding anything they can cling on and getting carried away by the wind. For instance, you went traveling for the weekend and stayed at a modest inn, unknowingly that the place has bed bugs. They could tag along with you, in clothes, luggage, bedding, anywhere they can cling on, and you may end up bringing them home with you.
Because of their small flat bodies, they can easily slip through very tiny spaces and spread all over your house.
Detecting Their Presence
You could have these nasty critters in your room when you or someone else with you complain of an insect bite or wakes up with an itchy rash, which at first glance, may resemble hives or mosquito bites. Most bites burn and become itchy after being painless for a while. But you can’t rely on bites as an indicator of bed bug presence in your room.
Look for physical signs. Adult bed bugs are small, brownish, and oval-shaped. When they finished feeding, they swell, look elongated, and turn reddish. They shed and molt, and the skin from the process can be usually found in the same places where they hide. Their excretions leave brownish spots. The scent glands of bed bugs tend to give off a different odor, like dried or rotten berries.
They are also fast and agile, are nocturnal, and feed for as long as 15 minutes.
These creatures won’t go away on their own; action is needed. Here are some of the recommended methods. If you have fleas AND bed bugs, check out this review of 2019’s top flea foggers.
Bed bugs die when exposed to a temperature higher than 45 degrees Celsius or 113 degrees Fahrenheit. When possible, you can opt to machine wash items in hot water. You can also wrap small things in plastic then leave it under the sun for a few days. Hire dry cleaning services if need be, To prevent their return, you can install individual heaters or buy portable ones to treat your items.
Steam can also kill bed bugs. You can even steam clean bedding, draperies, pillows, and mattresses.
Minimize Their Hiding Places
Filling in the holes and hiding places can help in eliminating bed bugs. For starters, you can fill in the crevices along with the wood, ceiling-wall meeting places, and cupboard bases. Also, get rid of the clutter and dirt around your resting places and separate items that were infected. It is your choice after to treat them or discard them.
At some point, cleaning won’t cut it. Chemical treatments are the way to go when this happens. Residential insecticides are readily available in the market, and they are highly effective when spraying crevices or cracks where these creatures might hide.
But before using them, check if the label indicates that they are safe to spray on bedding. If after the initial treatment bed bugs don’t go away, spray again after two weeks. Also, don’t haphazardly spray it on every crevice you find, the bugs will disperse, and it will be more challenging to get rid of them otherwise.
There are also other ways to incorporate chemicals. Grind up and apply crystal silica gel on your mattress and along walls. These easily stick to bed bugs and lead to their dehydration and eventual death.
There are natural home remedies, as well. Tea tree oil can be used to spell the end of bed bugs. Add a few drops of it to wash your items, or mix tea tree oil in water to make a pest control spray. Wintergreen alcohol is accessible and is known to burn bugs on contact.
Prevent Their Return
To round off your battle, make it a point to protect your place from being re-infested by bed bugs. Some pointers are:
- Carefully check for bed bugs before bringing second-hand furniture home.
- Wash clothing, bedding, pillows, curtains, and upholstery in hot water.
- Inspect for bed bugs in your luggage upon coming back from a trip.
As a final resort, call for the aid of professional assistance from pest-control firms. They have the needed tools, experience, and expertise to deal with the situation.
Bed bugs are a tricky problem but don’t fret. They can be beaten; it needs time, effort, and money, but all are worth it for a comfortable night’s sleep.