How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs [Guide]
Bed bug infestations are the most commonly serviced infestation. Approximately one in five households in the United States has had a bed bug infestation in their home. In fact, almost a third of exterminator calls have to do with bed bugs.
Bed bugs are three times more common in urban areas versus rural. Because of larger populations, more mobility, and apartment living, larger cities and towns see a lot of bed bugs.
When it comes to a bed bug infestation, it’s essential to be prepared. Keep reading for a comprehensive guide on how to get rid of bed bugs the right way.
What are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small, wingless insects that feed on blood from humans and animals.
Interestingly, bed bugs are only interested in consuming blood from live hosts. These pests refuse to ingest spilled or cold blood.
Bed bugs typically infest an area quickly as they are moved from place to place by infested objects, such as on pets within a home.
They cannot fly, jump, or easily climb polished surfaces. However, bed bugs can crawl and move quickly throughout your home.
Adults bed bugs are only the size of an apple seed, or approximately one millimeter long. These insects have flat oval bodies. After feeding, bed bugs swell and turn a more reddish-brown color (pictured above).
These nasty pests are attracted to the carbon monoxide produced by humans and animals. This is how they can easily seek out where hosts are in the home.
Victims often notice bed bug bites first thing in the morning. Bed bugs typically feed at night, and since their saliva has mild traces of anesthetic, victims won’t wake up as they’re bitten.
Bed bugs prefer areas where they can easily hide and feed, such as beds and couches. Many homeowners might not notice a bed bug infestation right away, so it’s important to know all the signs of a bed bug infestation and how to get one.
How Do You Get Bed Bugs?
There is a common misconception that bed bugs are only in dirty, unkempt homes. However, a bed bug infestation can occur in any home no matter how clean it is.
Bed bugs are hitchhikers bugs who will attach themselves to any available host. You’re more likely to have a bed bug infestation in your home after a vacation.
Some of the most common places to find bedbugs are:
- Hotels, Air BnB’s, and motels
- Public transportation (subways, buses, trains, planes, cruises, cabs)
- Office buildings
- All levels of schools (daycare, elementary, middle school, high school, university, college)
- Police stations and fire stations
- Shared laundry facilities
- Movie theaters
So, how does a bed bug move from these public locations to inside your home?
Bed bugs attach themselves to clothing or other belongings. Most people unknowingly carry an infestation right into their own home.
To minimize the risk of this, we recommend you be aware of the situations when your likelihood of an infestation increases.
- Always inspect hotel and motel rooms for any signs of bed bugs. Even five-star hotels can have infestations.
- Look for signs of bed bugs any time you use public transportation.
- After a trip, leave luggage outside for a few days and wash all of the clothes from your trip in hot water.
- When hosting, wash all guests’ bedding in hot water as soon as they leave.
- Inspect second-hand items, such as furniture or clothing.
Bed bug infestations can happen almost anywhere, even in hospitals. In 2012 the National Pest Management Association reported that more than one-third of pest management companies in the United States dealt with bed bug infestations at hospitals.
How to Find Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are most active at night, making it more challenging to spot an infestation. Always keep an eye out for these common bedbug signs:
- Small itchy bites in a line or “pattern.”
- Rust-colored blood stains or smears in your bed.
- Excrement and waste on sheets, mattresses, pajamas, and walls.
- An unpleasant odor scent glands.
- Eggshells, skin casings, or unhatched eggs scattered around beds and seats.
Bed bug eggs look white or translucent and are smaller than a grain of rice. Eggs can attach to mattress seams and headboards. They will be sticky to the touch and usually are found in clusters together.
Common Places to Find Bed Bugs
Bed bugs enter homes by hiding on hosts. The easiest way to find signs of bed bugs is in bedding, headboards, and mattresses.
Other typical hiding areas include curtains, sofas, electrical outlets, cracks and crevices around the house, and under loose wallpaper. Check your pet’s sleeping area and your vacuum cleaner bag for signs of bed bugs.
How to Treat Bed Bugs
Once you know you have a bed bug problem, you need to address it immediately.
Female bed bugs need to feed before they lay eggs. After feeding, a bed bug can lay anywhere from one to seven eggs per day. In her entire lifetime, the average female bed bug produces 200-250 eggs.
At this rate, it only takes a couple of bed bugs to spread into a massive infestation.
If you find bed bugs, immediately wash all clothing, bed sheets, and curtains in very hot water. Bed bugs die at a temperature of 132°F, which is also why heat treatments are quite popular.
After washing your sheets, follow these tips to get rid of bed bugs yourself.
Also Read: How To Avoid Hotel Bed Bugs In 7 Steps
With a stiff brush, thoroughly scrub your entire mattress.
Bed bug eggs are very sticky and can attach firmly to mattresses. Scrub hard, paying close attention to the seams, to get rid of of bed bug eggs.
For extra protection, seal your mattress in a plastic lining for one year. Bed bugs can live up to a year without feeding. The plastic lining catches any remaining bugs and unhatched eggs. After one year, take off the plastic and remove any dead bugs with a scrub brush and vaccum.
Vacuum affected mattresses, chairs, bedrooms, and curtains.
When you’re done cleaning, place the leftover vacuum bag in a garbage bag and take it outside. If your mattress is too deeply infested, you may have to get rid of the entire bed.
If multiple rooms are infested, throw out the vacuum bag after each room. This ensures you aren’t spreading the bed bugs from one impacted area to another.
Keep rooms clutter-free and give books, clothes, and toys a good shake to see if they’re infested. Do not move these items into unaffected rooms.
Remove drawers from dressers to vacuum and scrub them as well.
Next, seal up any openings and cracks. Use a durable caulk to fill cracks in furniture and baseboards. Glue down loose wallpaper, and seal up other imperfections in your walls.
Protect your home with the right products
Spraying for bed bugs is challenging for an average homeowner. It’s not suggested you use harsh chemicals yourself since bed bugs gather in your home’s most sensitive areas, such as beds.
There are products you can use to help minimize bed bug activity but to fully irradicate a problem, you’ll need the help of an exterminator.
Even with the most in-depth clean, it’s always suggested you consult an exterminator to ensure the problem is fully gone. Consultations are normally free, and with Pest Brigade, all our partners offer a 100% satisfaction guarateneed.
A professional exterminator can identify all impacted areas, do a thorough clean up, and offer tips to prevent bed bug infestations. If you try to rid your home of bed bugs and find they come back, hire a professional pest control expert immediately.
Bed bugs can build a resistance to household pesticides. Only a professional can safely use heavy-duty products to get rid of bed bugs.
What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?
Bed bug bites typically occur on exposed skin, such as the arms, legs, neck, hands, shoulders, and face. Their bites can easily be mistaken for other common pests like ticks and mosquitos.
Typically, the bedbug bites appear as itchy, red bumps. Some of the bumps will have a clear or dark center like a pimple. Swelling, blisters, or hives may surround the bite depending on the person’s reaction.
The bites also may appear in a line “pattern” on the body. Bites can cause raised or flat patches when inflamed.
Avoid scratching the bed bug bite, as it can cause it to become infected or cause scarring.
Identifying the Bite
Bed bugs are hard to identify as they look similar to tick, flea, and mosquito bites. You can have a medical professional examine the bite to determine if it’s from a bed bug or check out some Pest Brigade’s free resources.
To treat a bed bug bite, clean the affected area with soap and water. Apply an anti-inflammatory, anti-itch, or antihistamine cream to the bites.
Most bites will heal after a week but if it persists or seems to worsen, seek medical attention.
The Consequences of a Bed Bug Infestation
If left alone, a bed bug infestation will continue to grow. The good news is they don’t cause or spread diseases. However, they do pose other risks.
- In one instance, a 60-year old man had to be hospitalized from blood loss due to a bed bug infestation. This is because they can ingest almost seven times their weight in blood.
- Some people are also prone to having more severe reactions to bed bug bites, such as allergic reactions.
- If you live in a multi-dwelling area, your infestation might spread to other homes. In some states, if it’s proven you’re the source of the problem, you may be liable to pay for all of the pest control services for everyone.
- The issue will only become more and more expensive to deal with later as it multiplies.
Bed bugs can happen to anyone. As our world becomes more connected, the risk of spreading bed bugs rises.
To get quotes on exterminator costs to treat bed bugs, call Pest Brigade or read our article below.
Also Read: Exterminator Costs To Treat Bed Bugs