What Causes A Bed Bug Infestation
Have you been waking up with red bumps on your skin? Do you suspect that you may have a bed bug infestation? Even though you may not see anything crawling around, you can still have bed bugs hiding in the darker crevices of your bedding. Here we will talk about what bed bugs are, what causes them, how you can identify them and most importantly-how you can get rid of them!
What Are Bed Bugs
When we think of bugs we often think about the insects that we see outside or maybe even the occasional house spider. What we don’t think about are the bugs that sleep in bed with us at night! Bed bugs happen to be these types of bugs. They are small, oval and brownish in color with flat bodies that swell after feeding; sometimes turning a reddish brown. They typically feed at night on humans and animals, potentially resulting in skin rashes, allergic reactions, areas of redness, blisters and/or anxiety and stress. These bugs can’t fly but they can move rather quickly on floors, walls and ceilings. Female bed bugs can lay up to hundreds of eggs in a lifetime that are practically invisible to the human eye. Young bed bugs or nymphs will shed up to five times before they become adults which can happen in a matter of a month if the conditions are right. Once they become adults they can produce multiple generations within a year. These bugs are not known to transmit diseases like some other insects but they are definitely a nuisance.
What Causes A Bed Bug Infestation
It’s often believed that bed bugs are caused when homes are left uncleaned or not tidied up. The truth of the matter is, even though clutter can be a great place for them to hide and breed, even clean homes can be victims of bed bug infestations. So where do they come from? Well, simply put, they travel from one infestation to another. This means if you come across an infestation in a hotel or someone else’s home, you may bring home one or more of these little stowaways, to which they then set up camp in your home. They have been discovered to travel via luggage, purses, backpacks, furniture and even moving between apartments. Buying used furniture can be risky as they can go without feeding for 20 to 400 days depending on temperature, humidity and development maturity. That means they can live on old pieces of furniture for lengthy periods of time without having to eat! That’s a bit concerning. If a neighbor within your apartment complex has an infestation, it’s not uncommon for the infestation to spread amongst other tenants which is why once you discover a bed bug infestation you’ll want to deal with it as soon as possible.
How Can I Identify Bed Bugs
In order to identify bed bugs you must first identify the bugs themselves. Since they are active at night it’s not always easy to spot them during the daytime but there are places you can look that they may be hiding. Start by removing all your bedding and checking along the seams of your mattress, including your box spring. Pull back the fabric on your box spring where it’s stapled to the wood frame. Any crevice provides these bugs a place to hide so you’ll need to be very thorough in your investigation. Check places that surround the bed and frame as well. Things such as books, clocks, the edges of the carpet and even electrical outlets as these can be places bed bugs will hide. Checking your clothing closet or drawers where the bugs may have clinged to laundry is another great checkpoint. Keep in mind during your search that you may come across the byproduct of what bed bugs leave behind before you actually see a live bug. Signs of their excrement which resemble dark, rusty spots on bedding, clothes, walls or mattresses along with bloodstains on sheets and pillowcases are telling of whether or not you have bed bugs. A musty, offensive odor caused by the bugs scent glands and even small piles of their shedded skin can be seen around areas of infestation as well.
If you have been bitten by bed bugs you will notice what resembles flea bites on any area of skin that is exposed while you’re sleeping. Though they are red in color, they do not have a center like flea bites do and after time they will turn into itchy welts or even blisters. Because of this, people often mistake them for mosquito bites but one way to tell the difference between the two is looking for a stretch of red dots as if the bug was biting you as it was crawling along your skin. A line of red bites or a zig zag pattern can be a sign that you have been bitten by bed bugs versus a mosquito. If you know that you have recently traveled or brought in used furniture this will also be added confirmation in your assumption of bed bugs.
If you do happen to come across the bugs themselves you will notice they resemble a brown, flat, apple seed like shape. They will be brown to a reddish brown in color and will either be flat or round if they have recently had a feeding. Nymph stage bed bugs will be lighter in color, taking on a more golden brown coloring and much smaller as they go through five stages of growth. Collecting specimens of any bugs you find will help a pest professional in determining if you have an infestation and if so, how best to treat it.
How Can I Get Rid Of Them
Let’s be honest. We’ve all heard of those nightmare stories where people have experienced bed bug infestations and had an extremely hard time getting rid of them. That’s because these pesky bugs can go unseen or unnoticed for just enough time to reproduce in larger numbers. Once new generations start populating it can be very difficult to get rid of every last bug as they can clearly hide almost anywhere and travel from room to room quickly. Having a pest control company who has experience with getting rid of bed bugs is your best bet in getting rid of your infestation and getting rid of it for good!
Along with treatment plans that a pest control company can offer, you will need to think about getting rid of your mattress as larvae and small bugs can easily go unnoticed, only to start the infestation all over again. If you suspect any furniture as the culprit of your infestation it’s best to just replace it if you can. You’ll also want to take off and clean all bedding and linens that have been exposed. Vacuum multiple times in the process of cleaning the infected area and it’s always a good idea to place a tight fitted plastic mattress protector over your mattress, even if you end up getting a new one. In the case that you don’t get rid of your mattress, this will be a preventative measure to ensure any bugs left behind will die off and never return. Remember, these bugs can live up to 400 days so leaving a mattress protector on is a warranted precaution. Constant cleaning along with having a pest control professional come in is a sure way in dealing with any infestation you may have.
Just the idea of possibly having a bed bug infestation is enough to cause anyone stress. Bed bugs are no joke! Nobody wants to be exposed to these pesky bugs. Acting quickly, even if you find out that you don’t have an infestation, is a sure way to stay on top of the problem and relieve any stresses bed bugs can cause. If you do have an infestation, acting quickly will only aid in preventing the problem from becoming worse which is necessary in being able to deal with these bugs quickly and efficiently. Call your local pest control company to see how they can help you deal with your bed bug situation.