If you’ve recently seen a small bug in the bedroom, your mind immediately goes to bed bugs. They’re becoming more of a nuisance in recent years. Though you don’t want to think you have them, it’s important to identify them and figure out how to get rid of bed bugs. That way, you don’t get bitten or have a bad infestation. Bed bug bites can be alarming!
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Most people actually identify bed bugs from the bites they receive. They’re often found on the legs, but they can be on the back, arms, and anywhere else on the body, including the face. These bites are often bright red, and there are three or more in a rough line. However, they could also be clustered.
If you have found a bug in your bedroom, look at it closely. Bed bugs are quite small, and adults are brown. However, as they fill up with blood, the color can change to very dark brown or red. Their bodies are oval-shaped, and they look like a flat apple seed. Typically, they range between 4 and 7mm long.
Another way to identify bed bugs is by looking at the bed itself. These bugs love to hide in the mattress seams and nooks and crannies. Most people actually see the stains on the mattress, which are reddish or rust-colored. You may also notice dark spots in areas, which are the excrement of the bed bugs.
Those who have an infestation are likely to see light yellow skins, which are shed as the bed bugs grow. Often, they are found near the bed or at the place of entry (such as a window sill).
Regardless of what you’ve noticed, you want to get rid of bed bugs as quickly as possible.
Where Do Bed Bugs Hide?
As you might guess by the name, bed bugs are most often found in the mattress or between the mattress and box springs. You should search the bed thoroughly. Check around the tags, seams, and piping of your box spring and mattress. It is helpful to use a bright flashlight since they are so tiny, and those areas may be darker in color.
You should also check between the headboard and the frame. If the infestation is severe, you might also consider looking at the wall behind the bed. Here, you are sure to find bed bug husks indicating that they’re there.
In homes where the infestation is severe, bed bugs may travel to other areas. Check the couch and chair seams of your home, the folds of the curtains, and in drawer joints.
Bed Bug Treatments
Now that you know you have them, you need to get rid of bed bugs. Unfortunately, this isn’t an easy task. Though it is possible to kill them yourself, it’s often better to hire a professional exterminator.
If you choose this route, make sure that they offer a guarantee. It’s easy for professionals to miss a few and have to return for another treatment. This is often included in the original price.
However, if you want to try and get rid of bed bugs yourself, there are certain things you can do, as well. You can’t just buy some bug spray and go, and there are specific reasons why they’re so hard to eradicate:
- Pyrethroid Resistant – Pyrethroids are chemicals used in many pest-management products. They’ve got a low toxicity for people, pets, and birds, and they work quickly. However, bed bugs have been around for so long that they’ve developed a resistance to these chemicals.
- They Multiply Quickly – Bed bugs multiply very fast. One female bed bug can lay 113 eggs during her lifetime (and they live roughly one year). Plus, bed bugs feed every three days to one week when food is available. With a host present and a comfortable indoor temperature, bed bugs can double every 16 days.
- Their Behavior – Bed bugs have habits, activities, and behaviors that make them very hard to remove. They’re secretive and active at night so that they can feed while you sleep. Since their bodies are flat, they can get into tiny spaces (about the size of a toothpick). Also, bed bugs don’t have a nest like ants do. They wander around and can go anywhere in the house. If even one pregnant female bed bug remains after treatment, the process can start all over.
It’s a process, and you might have to use various bed bug treatments. Most people use a traditional insecticide treatment first. Once you’ve done that (follow the instructions carefully), you should watch intensely for the next two weeks to make sure there aren’t more bed bugs. The insecticides do not kill the eggs, and they can hatch up to nine days after being laid. Therefore, expect to have multiple treatments.
The Steps To Get Rid of Bed Bugs
1. Decide whether you want to use insecticides or heat treatment.
2. Do not remove any clothing or furniture from the home. Sleep in your bed to prevent the bed bugs from moving to other areas for a food source.
3. If you choose insecticides, follow the directions on the can. You can also use bed bug bombs and should stay out of the house for the time recommended in the instructions.
4. For the next two weeks, watch carefully for bed bugs. If they return, apply the treatments again.
5. You can also use heat treatment to get rid of bed bugs. If you do it yourself, you must rent special equipment. It heats the house to 135 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. This is hot enough to kill the bugs without causing damage. Bugs and their eggs die immediately when temperatures are over 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. The process takes up to eight hours to complete. You must monitor everything carefully and prepare the home for such heat.
Though it’s hard to get rid of bed bugs, it isn’t impossible. The DIY route is sure to take longer, but it can be done. Most people choose to hire a bed bug professional. Heat treatments are usually the best option, but they take special equipment, and you have to be careful.
It’s important to get rid of bed bugs as soon as you can. If you find that you can’t do it yourself, there’s no shame in calling a professional bed bug exterminator for help.
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