How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Do you have bed bugs? If so, you’re not alone. Bed bugs are becoming more and more common and can be challenging to get rid of. This guide will discuss everything you need to know about bed bugs, what they are, how to identify them, and how to get rid of them. We’ll also provide some helpful tips on preventing bed bugs from coming back. So if you’re dealing with a bed bug infestation, read on for information and advice that will help you get rid of those pesky critters.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped insects that usually measure about one-quarter of an inch long. They have a reddish-brown color and are covered in tiny hairs. They live in the cracks and crevices of beds. Bed bugs feed on human blood, which they get by biting through clothing or skin while people sleep at night.
They hide during the day on beds (check: box spring or bed frame, mattress, bedding, pillows, headboard) and in cracks and crevices of walls, floors, and furniture. They come out at night. They leave behind tiny black spots of excrement as well.
You likely have a bed bug infestation if you see these signs around your bedding and mattress. They do not fly or jump, but they can crawl rapidly.
How to Identify Bed Bugs
Bed bugs can be a real nuisance, and a couple of them can quickly escalate to a full-blown infestation. Bed bugs can sometimes be mistaken for other insects, which is why it’s helpful to be able to accurately identify them, as this is the first step to getting rid of them.
If you think you might have bed bugs, there are some telltale signs to look for:
Bites on the skin
Bed bugs typically bite people on the arms, neck, and face. If bed bugs have bitten you, you may see red welts or bumps on your skin.
Blood spots on sheets
Bed bugs often leave bloodstains on sheets and pillowcases when they feed.
Small black dots
Bed bug droppings are tiny (about the size of a grain of sand) and black. If you see these droppings on your sheets, bedding, or furniture, it’s likely that you have a bed bug infestation.
Bed bugs are not poisonous and do not transmit disease, but their bites can be extremely itchy. If you find yourself itching after a night’s sleep, bed bug bites may be to blame.
If you notice red spots on your bedding, they may be bed bug eggs. Bed bugs lay their eggs in secluded places where they will be undisturbed.
It’s also possible that you’ll see white spots on your sheets and pillowcases if you have a bed bug infestation. These are likely to be nymphs, the earliest stage of a bed bug’s life cycle.
If you see any of these signs, it’s time to take action.
Insects Similar to Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are one-of-a-kind in terms of what they do, but if you see any other insect around your house that looks similar to them, there are many different species of insects that may be mistaken for them.
Here are some number of the most common:
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
If you think you have bed bugs, the best thing to do is call an exterminator. They will be able to inspect your home and give you a treatment plan that will get rid of the pests. There are many over-the-counter treatments and at-home remedies for bed bugs, but they are not as effective as professional intervention.
However, they can help mitigate bed bugs somewhat with the following methods:
Vacuum your entire home, paying special attention to cracks and crevices
Dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag after you’re done.
Wash all of your clothing and linens in hot water
You can also dry them on the highest heat setting for at least 30 minutes to kill any bugs or eggs that may still be hiding.
Reduce clutter around your home as much as possible, especially near where you sleep
This makes it harder for bed bugs to find places to hide during the day.
Use a bed bug spray
There are many on the market that can be effective if you’re trying to treat an infestation yourself. Check online for reviews and recommendations before buying one to make sure it will work for your needs.
Heat will kill all stages of a bed bug’s life cycle. If the item is too large to put in the dryer, you can use a clothes steamer or steam cleaner to get rid of them. This requires a much longer exposure time, but it does work.
How Do You Know if Bed Bugs Are Gone?
Once you’ve treated your home for bed bugs, it’s important to make sure they are gone for good. An exterminator can help you do this, but there are also some things you can do on your own.
It’s important to remember that it may take several treatments before they are gone for good, so don’t give up if you find them again after one treatment.
How Do Bed Bugs Get Into Your House?
Bed bugs can enter your house in a variety of ways, including:
From the clothing and possessions of visitors
This is especially true if they have also recently visited somewhere with bed bugs.
Bed bugs can squeeze through incredibly small spaces through cracks and crevices in floors, walls, and ceilings.
In used furniture
Bed bugs may be hiding in the crevices of furniture when you buy it secondhand.
Bed bugs can hitch a ride inside your TV, laptop, or other electronic devices.
Pets may bring bed bugs into your home if they’ve been in.
Picking them up while traveling
Bed bugs are particularly common in hotels and other places where people sleep.
Inside of your luggage
If you’ve been in an area with bed bugs, they may latch on inside your luggage and come home with you.
How Do Bed Bugs Get Into Your House?
Once a bed bug bites you, they secrete saliva into the wound. This saliva can cause an allergic reaction that leads to itching, welts, and even blisters on your skin. Bed bugs don’t transmit diseases as mosquitoes do, but their bites may lead to secondary bacterial infections if left unchecked.
The best way to stop this is with calamine lotion, but if you have any other symptoms such as hives, it may be necessary to visit a doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do bed bugs live?
Bed bugs can live for up to a year without food.
Can I get rid of bed bugs myself?
It is best to call a professional exterminator if you have a bed bug infestation. However, there are some things you can do yourself, such as washing your bedding in hot water and drying it on high heat.
How often should I wash my bedsheets?
You should wash your bed sheets every week. However, if you are unable to do so, at least aim to wash them once a month. This will help reduce the number of bed bugs that can be transferred from your sheets to your skin. Additionally, it is important to vacuum your mattress and box spring regularly.
Are there any natural ways to get rid of bed bugs?
There are some natural ways you can try to get rid of bed bugs, as listed above. However, it is best to call a professional exterminator if you have an infestation because they will know how to use chemical treatments safely and effectively.
How do I Prevent a Bed Bug Infestation?
To prevent a bed bug infestation, it is important to regularly keep your bedding clean and vacuum your mattress and box spring. Additionally, reduce the chances of them coming through entry points listed above in the ‘How Do Bed Bugs Get Into Your House’ section. If you do find an infestation, it is best to call a professional exterminator immediately.
Do bed bugs spread diseases?
Bed bugs do not spread disease, but their bites can cause a secondary infection. If bed bugs bite you, it is best to use calamine lotion or another anti-itch cream that helps stop itching and swelling. You should also wash the area with soap and water to prevent infection.
Do bed bugs run away from the light?
No, bed bugs are not scared of the light. They may hide when you turn on a light, but they will not run away.