While the country had the bed bug epidemic mostly under control for many years, since 2004, it’s come back to cities across the United States with a vengeance.
If you suspect you have bed bugs in your home already, or if you just want to know what to look for when it comes to the signs of a potential infestation, you’ve come to the right place.
In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about bed bugs, from the steps you can take to prevent them to understanding what to expect when you hire professional pest control services to get rid of them.
Don’t spend another night being kept awake by itchy and uncomfortable bites from unwanted guests.
Instead, read on to learn more about how you can take control of the situation.
Signs You May Have Bed Bugs
First, let’s discuss some of the most common signs that you’re likely dealing with bed bugs.
Of course, the best way to determine if you have an infestation is to inspect your skin for bites.
These photos help you to clearly see what bed bugs look like. They are usually red in color, are slightly-raised welts, and come in either lines or clusters. Interestingly, unlike other insect bites, in many cases, bed bug bites will appear in straight lines. The bites most often appear on your shoulders and arms, and usually crop up in the middle of the night while you’re sleeping.
Usually, you’ll also experience constant itching, which can result in bleeding and potentially even scarring. Some people may also deal with a more severe allergic reaction to bed bugs, which, in rare cases, can result in hives and blisters. Especially if you’ve experienced a dramatic allergic reaction, it’s important to seek medical attention.
However, bed bug bites are far from the only sign that you’re dealing with bed bugs. Also, inspect your bedding and other furniture in your home. If you notice rust-colored stains, they’re likely leftover from the bed bugs’ snacking. Especially look on the corners of your bed for these tiny stains.
In some cases, you may even be able to spot shredded skin, usually brown in color, on bedding or furniture.
Bed bugs also have a distinct smell, usually caused by a release of pheromones from the pests. Many people describe it as musty, like a wet rag.
The Dangers of Bed Bugs
The good news is that, unlike lots of other household pests, bed bugs do not pose an immediate threat to your health by transmitting dangerous and potentially deadly diseases.
However, that doesn’t always mean they don’t carry them. We don’t yet know the potential serious health risks of bed bugs, but they’re rare.
In truth, the main danger is the discomfort of the bites themselves, as well as the risk of infection if bites are scratched too intensely. You may need up to one to two weeks to heal completely from bed bug bite.
You can use anti-itch creams and other medications to help you to keep the itching under control. You may even want to wear gloves at night to stop you from scratching your bed bug bites in your sleep.
Identifying Bed Bugs
We understand that it can sometimes be tough to properly identify bed bugs.
Let’s quickly go over what you should look for when trying to determine if what you’re dealing with is in fact bed bugs.
Usually, the bed bug will be reddish-brown in color. It will be about the size of a pumpkin seed, be round in shape, and will have a fairly flat body. If they’ve recently eaten, they may be slightly swollen.
They look a bit like miniscule beetles, and have tiny antennae on the front of their heads. Because they like to hide, you should look in the zippers, seams, and even mattress tags to spot them.
Preventing Bed Bugs
Sometimes, the reason you end up with a bed bug infestation on your hands is just because of bad luck. You can’t avoid taking the train, shopping at your favorite stores, or traveling.
In many cases, a bed bug problem is a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
That being said there are a few things you can do to prevent bed bugs from damaging your belongings.
First of all, there are several bed bug maps and reports of recent locations of infestations. If you’re near to any of these locations, make sure you inspect your bedding, clothing, and your skin for signs of bed bugs.
When you check into a hotel, make sure you quickly check out the room before you unpack your luggage. You may even want to bring a plastic bag to cover your suitcase in the hotel room if you’re going to a city that’s known for a high level of infestations. Check the closets, the edge of the mattress, and the bed frame if possible for bed bugs. Use a small flashlight to help you get a look at darker, smaller corners.
Once you get back from your vacation, it’s a smart idea to vacuum out your suitcases and wash the clothes you took with you as soon as you can.
You can and should, of course, follow these same tips when it comes to protecting your home.
If you’re furniture shopping, especially at a secondhand store, make sure you thoroughly inspect it for bed bugs before you decide to bring it home.
You can also invest in a mattress cover protector that helps prevent bed bugs from damaging your mattress.
The truth is that rapid response to a current infestation and frequent personal and professional inspections are the most effective ways to keep bed bugs at bay.
How Bed Bugs Can Spread
In the vast majority of cases, bed bugs spread from person-to-person contact.
For example, if someone who has bed bugs in their own home visits you at yours, and relaxes on your couch for a few hours? Chances are, they may spread the bed bugs to your home.
Remember that bed bugs, unlike other household pests, don’t have wings and therefore can’t fly. However, they can crawl and jump with ease.
Be aware that signs of a bed bug bite often don’t actually appear until one to two days after the initial bite. This means that, by the time you develop a reaction to a bed bug bite, chances are good that they’ve actually been in your home for a while.
Where Bed Bugs Live
Another common misconception about bed bugs is that they live only on sheets and mattresses.
The unfortunate truth is that they can live in many other places on your property or in your personal items. Bed bugs can also set up shop in your clothing, on your furniture, and in the box springs of your bed. They can even make a home in carpeting and rugs. You should also look behind your headboard.
If you’re travelling, you especially need to be on the lookout for bed bugs. They can easily get into your luggage, and end up coming home with you, infesting not your just hotel room, but your house.
You can pick them up on public transportation, in a clothing store, and even from a friend’s home.
Because they’re so small and flat, they can sneak into tiny crevices and cracks with ease. They also reproduce quickly and in large numbers. In fact, they can lay up to 5 eggs a day, and even 500 in a lifetime. This in particular is a huge part of why bed bug infestations can get out of control so quickly.
Now, let’s talk about what you can do to get a handle on the problem.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
There is all kinds of misinformation out there about how to get rid of bed bugs.
Unfortunately, the reality is that just tossing your sheets in the dryer and then immediately putting them back on the bed isn’t going to solve the problem. In some cases, taking the DIY route can actually end up causing even more damage to your furniture and bedding.
The best thing you can do for yourself — and your personal belongings — is to get professional bed bug control and extermination services.
There are options available for every budget and level of infestation, so don’t let a fear of unaffordability prevent you from taking the necessary steps. To keep your cost as low as you can — both when it comes to the treatment and replacing damaged or infested items — you need to get in touch with pest control services as soon as you notice there’s a problem.
First, the experts will asses and inspect your home, using specialized equipment when necessary to take a look at common places where bed bugs are found. Then, you’ll discuss a potential treatment plan, which will vary depending on the severity of the infestation.
The actual treatment process is done with your safety in mind, meaning that the only things at risk are the bed bugs themselves. In many cases, it’s even possible to avoid fumigation — especially if the infestation is caught early on.
Afterwards, a professional will talk with you about your options for maintenance treatment. They’ll also advise you on what you can do and the products you can invest in to prevent the bed bugs from coming back whenever possible.
In most cases, they’ll also suggest a follow-up appointment in a few weeks or months. This way, they can ensure that the bed bugs haven’t returned (which would be rare, but not 100% impossible.)
Saving Your Furniture
One of the most common questions we get asked when helping people to manage their bed bug problems is whether they’ll be forced to throw out all of their furniture after the treatment has been completed.
The good news?
In most cases, you won’t have to part with your furniture. This is a huge part of why finding qualified expert bed bug removal services is so important. The right treatments, whether heat or fumigation, can ensure that even upholstered furniture is completely safe.
These treatments likely won’t harm the furniture, either.
Many people do decide to throw out and replace their sheets and mattresses after a bed bug infestation. This is often because they simply don’t feel comfortable sleeping on it anymore, or because they’re worried about a future infestation.
If you choose to get rid of your mattress, study up on the proper disposal techniques. Your city may also have specific rules and regulations about proper mattress disposal. You’ll likely need to cover the mattress in a tight plastic wrap to prevent the bed bugs from spreading to anyone else.
You may face fines for not disposing of your mattress in the proper way. So, make sure you’re following the rules to the letter. You don’t want bed bugs to be responsible for making you pay yet another bill!
Do You Need Bed Bug Removal Services?
The most important thing to remember is to act as quickly as you can when you first spot or suspect bed bugs in your home or commercial property.
The damage bed bugs can cause, especially if the issue is left untreated for a long time, can be an enormous financial strain.
The good news, however, is that treatments and solutions don’t have to be.
That’s where we come in.
We can help to confirm whether or not you have bed bugs, and provide you with a safe and effective treatment plan to get rid of them once and for all. In addition to bed bug extermination, we also offer a variety of other pest control solutions.
These include things like rodent extermination, termite treatment, fleas and tick extermination, and much more. Reach out to us today to get your free estimate, and sleep tight without letting the bed bugs bite.