Bed Bugs: How To Spot Them, How To Get Rid Of Them, And How To Keep Them At Bay

Bedbugs are nasty little creatures that nobody wants to have in their home, but everyone should know how to spot them, how to get rid of them, and how to keep them at bay because infestations are on the rise. According to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control, bedbugs are a public health threat and being informed is the best way to prevent them from taking over your home.

What Do Bedbugs Look Like?

Knowing what bedbugs look like and their basic characteristics is a good place to start. First of all, bedbugs are nocturnal, so you will only be able to spot them at night. Secondly, they are a bloodsucking parasite, kind of like a tick (but much smaller). An adult bedbug is only about the size of an apple seed. They don’t have wings, and they are flat and reddish brown in color. In nature, they feed on birds and mammals, but if they get into your home, they will feed on you. According to Gene Miller, owner of an exterminator company in New York City, “If you have blood, the bedbugs are interested in you.”

How Do You Prevent Bedbugs From Infesting Your Home?

Preventing bedbugs from entering your home in the first place is the best way to prevent an infestation. Once they’ve entered the home, they can be incredibly difficult to get rid of. If you spend a lot of time in hotels, or you live in an apartment building, you’ll want to be especially diligent about keeping them out of your home by performing these three steps regularly.

  1. When you are doing your regular cleaning, watch for signs of bedbugs. Usually, they are found in your bed, but the also like to hide in dark places and crevices. Inspect your baseboards and underneath of your furniture, as well as your mattress and box spring seams regularly.
  2. Purchase protective, bedbug proof covers for your mattress, box spring, and pillows. They will keep these nasty little critters from being able to hide out in your bed.
  3. It is very common for people to bring bedbugs home with them after a hotel stay. When you check into a hotel, put your luggage in the bathroom and inspect your room and the bedding carefully for signs of pests. Never store your luggage on the floor; always put it on a hard surface or up on a luggage rack. Decontaminate your luggage the second you get home. Extreme cold and heat kills bedbugs, so wash all your clothes and dry them in a hot dryer. Your luggage can be placed on top of the hot dryer, or even in a large freezer, to kill any hidden pests.

How Do You Know If Bedbugs Are In Your Home?

Unfortunately, bedbug bites will probably be your first clue that these little nasties have entered your home. You should have an idea of what a bedbug bite looks like so that you can take action right away if you suspect their presence. A bedbug bite will look like a raised, red welt and it will itch and burn. Occasionally, a rash will develop in the area. The bights will usually appear in straight lines running across the skin.

If you suspect bedbugs, start by carefully inspecting the seams of your mattress and box spring. You probably won’t be able to spot the bugs themselves, because they’re so tiny, but they will leave behind clues that will give their presence away. Look for fecal spots on your bedding and shedded exoskeletons in crevices. If they’ve been biting you, look for blood spots on your pajamas and sheets.

How Do You Get Rid Of Bedbugs In Your Home?

Bedbugs are extremely hard to kill. If you have a full-blown infestation, several treatments may be necessary to get rid of them completely. You can try to get rid of them on your own, but if that’s not successful, never hesitate to call in a professional. The longer the bugs are in your home, the harder they will be to get rid of.

Treating The Infestation On Your Own

If you decide to try to get rid of the bedbugs on your own, you’ll need to start by thoroughly vacuuming any areas where the pests could be hiding. Pay special attention to your mattress and box spring, but don’t overlook your carpeting and underneath all of your furniture. Next, get a handheld steamer and use it to blast the bedbugs with heat. Heat up all of your furniture, as well as any cracks or crevices they could be hiding in. Lastly, wash all bedding, clothing, and fabrics they could be hiding in. Leave it in the dryer on high heat for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Calling In A Professional Exterminator

If you want to improve your chances of getting rid of the bugs completely, hire a professional. Getting rid of bedbugs can be a very time-consuming task. A professional will know just where to look for the bugs and they’ll treat every nook and cranny of your home. Exterminators have access to equipment, products, and procedures that would be very difficult to duplicate on your own. They may also provide a guarantee, so they’ll come back and retreat your home for free if you have bedbug issues again within a certain time period.

  • They’ll apply chemical treatments to all the cracks and crevices of your house. You can even request plant-based pesticides if you’re concerned about using harmful chemicals in your home.
  • They’ll freeze the bugs with cryonite freezing treatments in more sensitive areas like your box springs and mattresses.
  • They may also use some form of heat control in conjunction with the other methods. High energy heaters are used to safely bring your entire home up to a temperature that will kill the bugs and keep it there for a long period of time. Most experts say that heat treatments are the most effective way to get rid of the bedbugs completely. This method will kill the bugs no matter where they try to hide.

Whether you decide to treat them yourself or bring in a pro, be sure to act fast! The longer you wait the harder bedbugs are to get rid of.

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