Check out this awesome guest post article from Luqman Butter at Pestend Pest Control!
Bed bugs are expert hitchhikers. They can easily move from one point to another and it takes only one of them to create a full-blown infestation. This is why you need to be very careful when bed bugs are involved. Not only do you need to prevent them from appearing, but you should also learn how to deal with them once they are there. This guide should be able to help you in that matter.
How Do You Know You Have Bed Bugs?
There are two ways for you to determine whether you have bed bugs or not: you either see the bug, or you notice the signs of it. Bed bugs are generally no larger than an apple seed, with a long, oval, and flat body, brown in colour, six legs, and two antennae. They also produce a musty smell that most people associate with mould.
If you don’t see the bugs themselves, here are some other signs that you might notice:
- Small bloodstains on the pillowcases and sheets
- Bedbug eggshells, fecal spots, and shed skin in the places where they hide
- A musty, offensive odour caused by the scent gland of the bed bug
- Bed bug bites on the person and the pets
- Dark spots on your wall or your mattress
- Tiny white spots at the furniture joints (i.e., bed bug eggs)
If you checked “yes” for most or all of these signs, then it has been confirmed that you have a bed bug problem.
The Health Dangers of Bed Bug Bites
Bed bugs may be small, but they are a pest to public health. They can have a negative impact on you, both physically and psychically, which is why you need to remove them as quickly as you can. Depending on the circumstances, here are the health issues that might be caused by the apparition of bed bugs.
Allergic Reactions to the Bite
Depending on the person, allergic reactions to the bed bug bites might occur. Some people may only experience a small bite mark or a rash around the bite, which often goes away on its own. However, in more severe cases, these bites may lead to a life-threatening whole-body reaction called anaphylaxis. It’s rare, but it can happen.
Secondary Skin Infections
Bed bug bites may also lead to secondary skin infections such as ecthyma, impetigo, or lymphangitis. For some people, the effects may not be severe, and it might even look similar to pimples. However, in most cases, these sores will eventually fill with puss and become crusty. They are also typically very itchy, which can cause people to scratch and break the skin even more.
Bed bugs do not typically carry diseases – and aside from the irritation and infection caused by them, the chances are that a bite will not infect you with human disease, per se. however, they transmit parasites – particularly the Trypanosoma cruzi (T.cruzi) parasite. If not dealt with on time, these parasites can lead to Chagas disease – one that can be deadly if not treated.
Bed bugs don’t usually harm you physically as much as they harm you mentally. Many of the people encountering bed bugs often begin experiencing mental issues such as anxiety or depression – particularly for those that already have a standing mental illness. Plus, bed bugs may lead to insomnia – because let’s face it, who would sleep knowing that those creepy crawlers are walking all over them? The less you sleep, the more your psyche will have to suffer.
Preventing a Bed Bug Infestation from Occurring
Inspect Second-hand Furniture
While bed bugs usually feed about once a week, they can easily survive one year without eating anything. This means that that pretty bed you’ve seen at the thrift store might have a bed bug or two just waiting to be “revived.” Make a habit of checking the furniture for signs of bed bugs before you purchase it in the end.
Inspect Your Bed for Bed Bugs Regularly
You may not have had bed bugs before, but that doesn’t mean you’re completely safe from getting them ever again. This is why you may need to regularly check your bed for signs of bed bugs. You don’t have to do it on a daily basis; whenever you change your bedding should be sufficient.
Check the Room for Bed Bugs when Travelling
Bed bugs travel. They can stick to you, your clothes, your suitcase, and then come home with you. This is why you should regularly check the bed and overall room that you are sleeping in when you are traveling. Do these check-ups before you unpack, and while you may check the walls as well, focus on the bed, curtains, and furniture. If you did find signs of bed bugs, ask them to change your room. Even if you did not see clear signs of bed bugs, it is recommended that you change out of your clothes immediately and place everything in the washing machine at the highest temperature.
Encase Mattresses and Box Springs
By encasing the mattress and box springs, you will be removing any potential hiding spots where bed bugs may be making their nests. There are countless places where you can purchase a bedbug-proof case, and it will also be easier to inspect it. You may also wrap the mattress in plastic and seal off the seams. Still, this is not only uncomfortable, but the plastic may also break. Go for an actual bed casing instead.
Precautions to Take When Dealing with an Infested Bed
When you are dealing with an infested bed, you might want to take some precautions to get rid of the bedbugs. Bear in mind that this is a time-spread effort, and regardless of the measures that you use, it may take more than one or two rounds of treatment. Here is what you may do in order to get rid of ongoing bedbug infestations.
The first thing you should do is to vacuum the bed or mattress. Get rid of the “bulk” of bed bugs so that they are no longer crawling across your bed. Plus, if the infestation just started, vacuuming might get you rid of bed bugs before they get to lay eggs. Keep in mind that you should use paper vacuum bags or at least plastic. This way, you may discard the content right away. If you use a fabric bag, they may stick to the interior of the bag.
Clean Everything in Hot Water
Bed bug heat treatment is generally one of the most efficient ways to get rid of bed bugs because as much as they may love warm places, they hate high heat. When you are washing your sheets, curtains, and every fabric from the infested area, make sure that you use hot water – even the boiling kind. The hotter it is, the better. Doing this several times should help you kill the bed bugs along with their eggs.
Get Rid of Bed Bug Hiding Places
If there are any cracks in the plaster, walls, mattress, or anywhere else in the room, you may want to have them fixed. These cracks serve as great hiding spots for bed bugs, so you may want to ensure they won’t have where to go.
Get Rid of Clutter
Clutter can also create a lot of hiding places for bed bugs, which is why you should ensure there are very few things around the bed or furniture. Stuffed animals, stashes of papers, wooden boxes, everything that has a seam, or a crack may prove a great hiding spot for bed bugs.
Use Essential Oils
Bead bugs don’t like essential oils, particularly the strong-scented kinds. For this reason, you might try to run an aromatherapy diffuser in your room on a regular basis. Essential oils such as tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, and many more will suffocate the bed bugs, slowly preventing them from multiplying. Mixing this technique with regular vacuuming and washing at high temperatures should eventually help you get rid of bed bugs.
Contact an Exterminator
When nothing else works and you are completely overwhelmed by the bed bugs, it might be time to call the bed bug busters. Look for bed bug exterminators in your area and have them solve this problem professionally. They will typically have the necessary tools for it. So, this will save your furniture and should be able to get rid of the problem much faster.
The Bottom Line
Bed bugs are a problem that can go from slight annoyance to a nightmare very fast. This is why you need to address this issue as quickly as possible. Try to prevent it from appearing beforehand – and if it does change into a full-blown infestation, learn how to get rid of it. In the end, do not forget – “good night, sleep tight, and don’t let the bed bugs bite.”
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About the author
Author Name: Luqman Butter
Description: Luqman has been a pest control technician for over 20 years. He is passionate about solving peoples pest and wildlife control problems through innovative, eco friendly and humane methods. Luqman currently works for Pestend Pest Control. He believes that pest control is a science and feels that his function in his community is very important since he helps people live in peace without causing unnecessary harm to animals.