Bed bugs are incredibly tiny insects. They can be found in any place, and can survive anywhere. These little bugs commonly stay in our homes and can be usually found in our mattress seams and headboards, sofa or couches, curtains, and even in our bags as well as the cracks in our walls. They manage to hide in dark locations with easy access to their blood source, just quietly waiting for the right time to come out and feed.
And since bed bugs are hitch-hikers, they can go anywhere at any time, with just hitching a ride from you or other peoples’ luggage, apparel, and other items. They can’t fly but they sure move fast! As annoying as they sound, you’d want to get rid of them right away. Unfortunately, eliminating them is not an easy job to do because bed bugs are a type of insect that can survive a whole year without access to their food source.
Still, you can’t just let them bite you, especially while you are sleeping, so getting rid of them is the main answer to your uncomfortable problem. But how do we spot bed bugs? How do we recognize them? And how do we get rid of them?
Common Characteristics of a Bed Bug
One way to prevent possible infestation of bed bugs is to know what they look like and identify them from other insects. Their common characteristics are:
adult bed bugs have the size of an apple seed,
brown, flat, oval-shaped body,
has an antenna with four parts,
balloon-like body especially if fed recently,
produce a smelly, musty but sweet odor,
and although bed bugs don’t fly, they have wings.
It is best to prevent bed bug infestation while it is minor rather than treating it after it has spread. But be careful about identifying them, as other insects can be easily mistaken for bed bugs. If you misidentify your bed bugs as something else, it will give them time to reach other places in your house or hitch a ride to someone else’s house and start another infestation.
How to Spot Bed Bugs
Here are some of the possible signs that might give you an idea if your house has bed bugs:
If you have itchy, red spots on your body. Bed bugs bite your body because they feed on your blood. Their bites are not immediately noticeable, not until some parts of your body have visible, red spots that are itchy and sometimes cause inflammation. So if you woke up with small, itchy, red bumps or welts, then you might want to check your bed for bed bugs.
Black or dark fecal spots and bloodstains. You get small spots of bloodstains when you accidentally squash bed bugs while you are sleeping, but some bloodstains are not caused by this. If you noticed that there are felt-tip-pen marks, smears of blood and dark rusty fecal spots on your sheets, then bed bugs are the common reason for that. They leave fecal spots from digesting blood and are usually visible in their hideout place.
Musty odor. Bed bugs release pheromones that can be quite strong when they are in large numbers and produce a mild smell during the early periods of infestations. It can be hard to detect or smell at first, but if you noticed an unpleasant and unfamiliar scent, don’t ignore it.
Bed bug shells. These bugs shed their skin, or molt as they grow. And sometimes, those abandoned white, empty shells can be found in places that have fabric or wood. Although the shed skin and the live bed bug look the same, the exoskeleton will appear transparent and dry.
Issues Bed Bugs Can Cause and Why You Should Get Rid of Them
Their bites can cause you health issues that are not good for you. These include skin rashes or skin irritation, allergic reaction, reports also included that bed bugs can affect your mental health and cause you anxiety and insomnia.
They can cause a lot of stress, leading to plenty of long, sleepless nights because of the itchiness and discomfort. All this will pile up and result in exhaustion and immunodeficiency. And if symptoms become more serious, you may require medical attention!
So if you think that you shouldn’t worry as they are just tiny bugs crawling or creeping under your sheets or beds and they can’t do you any harm, then you are wrong. But how do we get rid of them? Or rather, can we get rid of them?
Getting Rid of Bed Bugs
If you ever find the location or hideout of those bed bugs in some places of your house, don’t clean them up immediately. If you do, the bed bugs might run and transfer to another place. Instead, call or hire a professional pest control company or exterminator. If the bed bugs are already in large numbers, it would be difficult for you to get rid of them on your own.
But it is still possible to control the infestation while you’re waiting for your pest control expert. Though it is not recommended, some home tips can help prevent, control and clear bed bug infestation. Here are some suggestions:
Do not let any items stay in the room. It would be best to remove items in the room that already got infested. But be careful of moving anything from the infested area to another location, bed bugs can easily transfer to different areas.
Clean your area. Clean your bed by washing your beddings in hot water. If steaming is available, use special vacuums for your mattress and not just your mattress, but also your headboards, bed linen, chairs, cushions, carpets, everything. It is not only the adult bed bugs that you want to get rid of, but you also need to take their eggs to stop them from multiplying.
Seal cracks, holes, crevices with caulk. Areas with holes, cracks, and crevices are the best spot for bed bugs to hide. So sealing might work. Just be sure to use the right sealant.
I recommend you to hire a professional if you want to get rid of bed bugs immediately. Wrong use of insecticide on your mattress might cause a further infestation. So be sure to do treatments thoroughly, not unless you want bed bugs to keep coming back. And if you do hire a bed bugs exterminator who has finished treating the affected areas, make sure to check your furniture and clean the whole thing thoroughly.