How to Identify and Get Rid of Bed Bugs
A bed bug infestation can happen to anyone—these pests don’t care if you live in an apartment or a house, are tidy or cluttered. While bed bug infestations are certainly stressful, they are manageable, especially if you realize there’s a problem early on.
What do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Bed bugs are small insects with two antennae, six legs, and no wings that can be seen with the naked eye. They’re flat, oval-shaped, and brown, making it easier to spot them on light-colored bedding and furniture. After feeding, their bodies swell and become a reddish-brown color.
Where Do Bed Bugs Hide?
Bed bugs can hide anywhere in your home, which is part of why they’re so difficult to treat. Their initial hiding places are usually in mattresses, bed frames, box springs, and nightstands where they have easy access to people to bite during the night. As the infestation grows, bed bugs scatter throughout your home and make their home in couches and armchairs. In extreme cases, bed bugs can also hide behind picture frames, in light fixtures, and inside electrical outlets.
Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?
Their small size makes it easy to accidentally pick up bed bugs. They can fit into spaces the width of a credit card, making it easy for them to slip into your luggage or backpack. Bed bugs also hitchhike on clothes and secondhand furniture, as well as travel between apartment units.
Early Signs of Bed Bugs
There are several common signs of a bed bug infestation. These include:
- Small dark brown stains: Bed bug fecal matter is dark brown or black and looks like a small dot on your bedding. It usually bleeds into the fabric and looks like smeared ink.
- Itchy red welts: Bed bugs bite exposed skin, leaving behind red bites that can be swollen and very itchy.
- Shed skins and shells: Bed bugs emerge from shells and molt five times before they’re totally mature, leaving behind eggshells and skins. The skins look like bed bugs, except they’re translucent instead of brown.
- Bed bug eggs: Eggs are difficult to see, as they’re only 1 millimeter and a pearly white. It’s easier to see clusters of eggs which are often found on mattress seams and behind headboards.
What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?
Bed bug bites are small, red, and itchy, and usually located on your arms or legs. The key difference between bed bug bites and other insect bites is the distribution—while most pests bite at random, bed bugs will leave straight rows of bites.
How to Treat Bed Bug Bites
The most important thing is not to scratch bed bug bites, no matter how tempting it may be. Excessive scratching can lead to scabs and infection, prolonging your healing time. Instead, apply an over-the-counter steroid cream or take an oral antihistamine to reduce inflammation and itching. The bites should get better within 1-2 weeks, but if you have any concerns, talk to your doctor.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Known for disrupting your sleep and rapidly reproducing, bed bugs can be a headache for anyone that encounters them. Here are a few ways to get rid of a bed bug infestation.
DIY Bed Bug Removal Methods
Treating a bed bug problem in its early stages is much easier than treating a full-blown infestation. If you are looking to get rid of bed bugs fast, get started by:
- Determining what spaces and areas are affected.
- Laundering items like bedding, clothing, and curtains on the highest heat setting possible, at minimum 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Treating mattresses and larger pieces of furniture by steaming them, allowing them to dry, then applying silica gel according to the product instructions.
Professional Bed Bug Treatments
While DIY treatments are an option, they’re nowhere near as effective as professional bed bug control is. Companies like Sound Pest Control are able to customize treatment to your home’s unique situation to get rid of bed bugs permanently and offer you options such as:
- Heat treatment, which can yield complete elimination in as little as one treatment.
- Chemical treatments that are tried and true, wiping out bed bugs on contact.
- Bed bug traps that continue to work even after exterminators are gone for the day.
If you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to contact our team of local experts today by giving us a quick call at [phone-number]!