A bed bug infestation can impact your life negatively, making you almost afraid to turn off the lights and get some rest. Bed bug infestations can quickly spiral out of control, and the longer you wait to get rid of them, the more there will be. Bed bug bites are also unsightly and can be painful. If you see lots of small, red, itchy bumps in a zigzag pattern, you might just have a bed bug infestation.
If you notice bed bug bites, you should check your bedding, mattress, and bed frame for signs of an infestation. Although the bites tend to heal relatively quickly, in between one to two weeks, they can be very annoying and are a sign of a big problem. Some people have allergic reactions to bed bug bites, so if you feel ill after getting bitten, or if the area swells up, you can take an antihistamine or apply hydrocortisone cream to the bite site. However, you should always consult your doctor before taking anything.
How To Find Bed Bugs
Bed bugs can hide just about anywhere, including your clothing, bedding, carpet, curtains, and furniture. Always make sure you look everywhere the bed bugs could be hiding. The most likely places that you’ll find bed bugs include the seams of your mattress, floorboards, piles of clothes, bed frames, and any soft, cushiony furniture that you might have around your bed.
Look for signs of blood droplets on sheets. If you see patterns of rusty or tarry-looking substances, you probably have found the infestation spot. Other telltale signs are eggs, bed bug skin, bed bug excrement, or even spotting a live bed bug in your home. Bed bugs are far less likely to hide near your dresser, windows, door frames, and ceilings.
To properly search for them, you need a flashlight and an object that will allow you to press down on cushiony surfaces and straighten them out so that you can fully see what you’re dealing with. Good items for this include rulers, paint scrapers, or credit cards.
How Do We Get Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are experts at hiding and usually only come out at night, making them one of the worst infestations you can get. They’re also easy to bring in accidentally.
Bed bugs can travel with you from hotels on your suitcase or clothes, and they can even come into your house on used furniture. If you live in an apartment complex and your neighbor has bed bugs, there’s a good chance that you will get them as well.
Read our full post about how you get bed bugs here.
Signs of Bed Bugs
Because of their tiny size, bed bugs can be challenging to spot, but there are some telltale signs that you should look out for. The first and most obvious is spotting an actual adult bed bug in your home. Where there’s one, there’s more. Red spots on your mattress, bedding, or pillows are another sign, as is a sweet, musty smell.
Check your skin for signs of bed bug bites. If you wake up with lines of red spots on your body, you may have an infestation. Other signs of bed bugs include dark spots on the walls and finding pale yellow skins and bed bug excrement in your home.
Find Where They Hide
Bed bugs can hide virtually anywhere, but their favorite spots are creases and cracks in softer material. They love to hide in your bed, preferring pillows, mattresses, cushions, covers, and sheets. They can also camp out in your drapes or curtains, as well as chairs, couches, or other plushy furniture items. If you purchase your furniture second-hand, make sure that you check it for bed bugs before bringing it back into your home.
Occasionally, but not often, bed bugs will hide beneath loose wallpaper or near electrical boxes. Since bed bugs are tiny, they can hide anywhere.
Bed Bugs 101: Habits and Behavior
If you want to get rid of bed bugs properly, you need to understand their behavioral patterns.
Bed Bug Feeding
Bed bugs feed at night and love to curl up with you in your bed because they love CO2 and heat. They feed on your blood and expel old blood as they do it, which is why you often see rusty or tarry-looking patches on your bedding. Bed bug harborages are areas where they shed their skins and care for bed bug nymphs. These are the most notable places where you can find signs of an infestation.
Bed Bug Life Cycle
All bed bugs start off as eggs and then go into their nymph stage before becoming full adults. Most bed bugs only live for six months, but they can live for up to a year if the conditions are ideal and they have enough food. Bed bugs lay anywhere from one to five eggs per day and produce as many as 500 eggs in a single lifetime. They generally lay eggs in cracks or seams, and they put them in tiny clusters. Although bed bugs produce fewer eggs than other insects, like houseflies, their rapid life cycle allows them to replenish their populations rapidly.
Bed Bug Habitat and Living Conditions
Bed bugs are relatively hearty creatures and can live with a body temperature of between 46 and 113 degrees Farenheight, so steaming them can quickly kill them. They adapt easily to virtually any situation, thriving wherever there is a viable host. There are two types of bed bugs; traditional bed bugs and tropical bed bugs that thrive in subtropical and tropical climates.
Bed Bug Prevention Tips
Keep your home safe from a bed bug infestation with these tips.
- Keep an eye out for signs of infestation
- Wash your clothes and suitcases after travel
- Think twice about buying second-hand furniture
- If you see signs, call a professional right away to stop it from turning into an infestation
Getting Rid of Bed Bugs
You can get rid of bed bugs in a few different ways. The easiest and most effective way is to call a professional. Because bed bug eggs are so resilient, it’s very common to get secondary infestations if you don’t treat them properly. However, if it’s a minimal infestation, you can try DIY methods like steam, washing everything in hot water and drying on high heat, and purchasing over-the-counter pesticides.