This is the most comprehensive guide on bed bug infestation on the web.
In this guide, you’ll go deep into the reasons and signs of bed bug infestation.
Plus, you’ll also find out how to recognize bed bugs and not get fooled by the bugs that look like bed bugs.
The best part?
You’ll find the cold hard truth why DIY ways of getting rid of bed bugs always fail.
- What Are Bed Bugs?
- Anatomy Of Bed Bugs – What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
- Bed Bug Life Cycle
- Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?
- 6 Signs Of Bed Bug Infestation
- How To Check For Bed Bugs?
- Bed Bug Infestation In Hotel Rooms
- How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs In Your Home?
- How To Prevent Bed Bug Infestation And Re-infestation?
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are biting insects that inhabit human dwellings. To live, they feed solely on the blood of humans and mammals.
The domestic bed bug (Cimex Lectularius) belongs to the family of insects known as Cimicidae.
The bed bugs that infest homes today are the descendants of cave-dwelling bugs fed on bats’ blood.
When humans moved into caves, they started to feed on human blood. Later, humans moved out of caves and began to settle in colonies during the agricultural period,
And the bed bugs followed along.
Since then, the relationship between bed bugs and humans is more like a parasite and host, which is still intact.
Bed bugs bite you when you’re sleeping or stationary for long hours.
Bed bugs can also bite warm-blooded mammals that include pets like dogs and cats, birds, and rodents.
Anatomy Of Bed Bugs – What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Many bugs look like bed bugs. If you don’t know how to identify bed bugs, you will confuse them with other bugs.
The result would be that you’ll choose the wrong treatment processes that won’t eliminate bed bugs.
So, let’s find out what bed bugs look like so that you can identify them as the pro pest controllers do.
Bed bugs are flat and oval-shaped. Their flat shape enables them to hide in the thinnest of gaps. At a first look, a full-grown adult bed bug looks like an apple seed.
Bed bugs are reddish-brown. The adult bed bugs can grow up to 7 mm in length.
There’s not a remarkable difference between female and male bed bugs. However, the female bed bugs are a bit smaller than the males.
And the male’s abdomen has a slightly conical ending, whereas the female’s abdomen is curvy.
A bed bug’s body has three major parts – head, thorax, and abdomen.
The head is a small and easily noticeable feature, with two antennae mounted on the top.
On the head, there are two eyes. The eyes are unnoticeable. The unique feature of bed bug eyes is that it’s a compound eye.
Compound eyes have many-layered and repeating units, called ommatidia, that form each eye. According to the Center for Disease Control, this feature makes the bed bugs’ eyes sensitive to movements.
The mouth has a small tube that elongates when the bed bug is ready to suck blood. This tiny tube is under the mouth, and it’s known as a proboscis.
The proboscis injects anti-coagulating saliva before it withdraws the blood. It’s the anti-coagulating saliva that causes the itching after the bed bug bite.
On one single bite, a bed bug sucks 0.005 milliliters of blood.
The antenna is a sensory organ in the bed bug. Just like cockroaches, bed bugs use antennae to guide themselves to the host.
After the head, there’s a thorax. The thorax has two parts, the prothorax, and the main thorax.
The prothorax is a concave portion that runs laterally below the head. For the sake of convenience, many entomologists assume it’s the neck of the bed bug.
But it doesn’t perform any function of the neck.
Following the prothorax is the main thorax, which has a pair of legs attached to it. Together, the prothorax and the main thorax are called the pronotum.
Behind the pronotum, there’s a pair of wing pads. But the wing pads don’t have any developed wings. Hence, bed bugs cannot fly.
The abdomen, the most significant portion of the bed bug’s body, is divided into 11 sections or segments.
But the central belly, where the hosts’ blood goes, is in the second and the fifth segment from the top. This section swells when the bed bugs have large blood meals.
When you touch bed bugs, you’ll feel like you’re handling a piece of leather.
It’s because their bodies are sclerotized. It’s a process when a structural protein, known as sclerotin, present in insects, hardens their bodies.
The abdomen shape is the main distinguisher between male and female bed bugs. The male’s abdomen has a pointed ending, whereas the female’s abdomen is curved or rounded.
The genitalia of both the female and male bed bugs lies in the abdomen.
Bed bugs have six legs in three pairs. The first pair is attached to the thorax.
The abdomen has the other two pairs of legs attached to it.
The legs have tiny claws that they use to grip the surfaces and human skin to crawl. Bed bugs are decent fast crawlers, and they can crawl four feet per minute.
Bed bugs’ legs don’t have suction pads which makes them incapable of climbing smooth surfaces.
The ends of the abdomen have tiny, and unnoticeable to the naked eye, bristle-like hair. Like the antennae and the eye, these hairs, known as setae, are also sensory structures that help the bed bugs to detect vibrations on the ground.
Setae play the same role as cerci play in cockroaches.
Bed bugs, like all other insects, have their skeletons outside of their body. That’s why their skeletons are known as exoskeletons.
Bed bugs need to shed their exoskeleton to grow. This process is known as molting, which you’ll find out in the next section.
Bed Bug Life Cycle
Why is it essential for you to know the life cycle of bed bugs?
There are two reasons for it –
- You’ll know how bed bugs spread in your home. Each stage in the life cycle of bed bugs plays a crucial role in bed bug infestation.
- You’ll find out the ideal conditions that make the bed bugs breed. You can’t get rid of bed bugs without eliminating the sources that sustain them in your home.
In this section, you’ll find out the various stages that bed bugs go through. And what role your blood plays in the development of bed bugs.
Let’s get into it.
Below is the image of a bed bug life cycle.
After the blood meal, the adult male bed bugs are up and ready for mating. The bed bugs have a bizarre way of mating, which is known as traumatic insemination.
Instead of inserting the reproductive organ into the female bed bug’s genitalia, the male bed bug stabs the female bed bug with its reproductive organs into a different organ in the female.
That organ is known as the Organ of Berlese. In this organ, the male bed bug releases its sperm.
The sperm then travels to the female bed bug’s ovaries and fertilizes the female bed bug.
The stabbing creates a cavity-like wound on the female bed bug’s body. This wound needs to heal before the female can lay eggs.
The mating process is traumatic for the female bed bugs because several male bed bugs stab a single female bed bug.
To escape the abuse, the female bed bug leaves the gathering. She finds a new hiding place where she can and lay the eggs.
Studies have shown that unstabbed female bed bugs lay 25% more eggs than the females that mated repeatedly.
So, what significance does it have with a bed bug infestation in your home?
A single female mated bed bug brought into your home can cause a massive infestation by laying eggs without having a male presence. As long as she can suck your blood regularly, she’s capable of laying eggs multiple times.
The higher the number of times she sucks blood from your body, the greater is the number of eggs she’ll produce. In her entire life span of one year, a female bed bug can produce 113 eggs.
A female bed bug can produce up to 7 eggs after a blood meal on a single day. To produce more eggs, she needs to have more blood meals.
The baby bed bugs, also known as nymphs, hatch out of these eggs and undergo five molting stages before they turn into adults.
The nymphs, after each molt, are known as instars. So, the first nymph is known as the instar-1. The final instar, before it molts into an adult, is known as instar-5.
Sounds simple? It is, actually.
But, one critical element allows the nymphs to go from the instar stage to the other. And that’s your blood.
The nymphs need to feed on your blood before they can molt into the next instar stage and ultimately to adulthood. Without your blood, the nymphs can’t molt into the following stages, and they’ll die.
Here are the 8 facts on bed bug eggs –
- A female bed bug will produce 2-7 eggs per day for 10 days after each blood meal.
- If a female bed bug has multiple blood meals in a day, she can lay 20 eggs in a day.
- The number of female and male bed bugs that hatch out of the eggs are the same, more or less.
- A single adult female bed bug can produce 113 eggs in her entire life span of 1 year.
- Female bed bugs lay eggs singly or in groups anywhere in the room.
- At room temperature, the egg hatch rate is 97%.
- 60% of eggs hatch when they’re 6 days old. 90% of eggs hatch when they’re 9 or more days old.
- The optimal temperature for the female bed bugs to produce eggs is between 70° F and 90° F. This is the room temperature in many homes. The bed bug population doubles every 16 days in this temperature range, and of course, in the presence of a host.
Now, let’s have a look at the nymph development time. In other words, the instar stages that bed bugs go through before they reach adulthood.
There are two critical requirements for the nymphs to molt from one instar stage to the another. These are the perfect temperature, which is your room temperature (between 70° F and 90° F), and a host, which is you.
After hatching out from the egg, the instar-1 stage nymph’s first job is to look for a blood meal. Once the nymph has its blood meal, it’ll remain in the same instar stage for 5-7 days before it molts into the next stage.
Typically, a newly hatched nymph looks for a blood meal within the first 24 hours from its hatching.
At lower or higher temperatures, the nymph will take two or three more days to molt into the next instar stage.
But here’s the catch.
If the nymph doesn’t get access to a host for a blood meal, it’ll remain in that nymph stage until it finds a host. If it doesn’t have its blood meal, the nymph will die in that particular instar stage.
Many bed bug exterminators recommend vacating the home if the bed bug infestation has gone out of control.
A bed bug nymph takes 37 days to hatch from an egg and go through all the five nymph stages before turning into a reproductive adult.
The death rate among nymphs is the most in the instar-1 stage. In the instar-1 stage, the nymphs are tiny, and they don’t have developed legs to crawl long distances to reach a host.
If the adult bed bugs laid eggs far from the hosts’ main resting location, like a bed or couch, the newly hatched nymphs die because of starvation. It’s because they can’t reach the host for their first blood meal.
However, the survival rate of bed bug nymphs under appropriate temperature and host availability is 80%.
That’s why when it comes to getting rid of bed bugs, it’s essential to get rid of bed bugs’ eggs, and nymphs too. Killing only adult bed bugs with DIY methods or sprays doesn’t keep the bed bugs away forever.
Hence, people even experience bed bug re-infestation or bed bugs coming back after the first or even second treatment.
But how long can bed bugs survive without blood meals? Recent studies have shown that bed bugs can go without blood meals for not more than 70 days in the US.
No matter what stage of the life cycle a bed bug is, it cannot survive for more than 70 days without feeding.
Point to note here, that bed bugs die because of dehydration, not from starvation.
It’s because bed bugs have no source of hydration other than a blood meal. Dehydration is the greatest natural threat to bed bugs’ survival in houses and apartments.
Scientists have observed that one of the reasons bed bugs pack themselves closely into tight spaces is to maintain a microhabitat of liveable temperature and humidity.
That helps them to increase their chances of survival during periods of starvation or unavailability of hosts.
So, given appropriate temperatures and easy access to hosts, bed bugs breed, and the infestation grows.
But the question is, where do bed bugs come from? How did they even get inside your home?
The following section has all the answers.
Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?
At the beginning of the post, you have read that there can be bed bugs wherever humans are.
The main reason for bed bugs coming into your home is human activity.
But you’re not intentionally responsible for bed bug infestation. Bed bug infestation is one thing in life that you may call it as sh*t happens.
So, what causes bed bugs? There’s a straightforward answer to it, and that’s human activity.
Let us explain.
Bed bugs aren’t like ants or termites who will use underground pathways or exploit the little cracks and gaps in your home to get inside. It seems like bed bugs arise from nowhere.
But bed bugs are efficient hitchhikers. They can latch on to any stuff that you bring home and begin an infestation.
So anything you bring into your home, suitcases, luggage, clothing, furniture, cardboard boxes, can have bed bugs latched on to them.
Even visitors to your home can introduce bed bugs, especially when their homes have an active bed bug infestation. Bed bugs hide in the drawers can latch onto their clothes, and they can transfer them to your home.
Make your friends, wearing clothes with bed bugs on them, and there you go, you’ll have bed bugs in your car. From your car, bed bugs can not only latch onto your clothes, but also bed bugs can infest baby car seats.
If you rent your place out, and there’s a frequent movement of tenants coming in and moving out, they can also introduce bed bugs.
Your office chair can have bed bugs too. Those bed bugs will attach themselves to your clothes and move into your home.
Suppose a fertilized female bed bug enters your home. In that case, it’s only a matter of time that bed bug infestation will go over the roof without any male bed bug.
Buying second-hand beds, furniture, clothing, antiques, and staying in a hotel are also common reasons for bed bugs entering your home.
If a hotel room has bed bugs, then they can quickly latch onto a backpack or a piece of luggage and hitchhike to your home. That’s the main reason for being vigilant about bed bugs’ presence in the hotel room that you’re about to stay in. Inspecting the bed and wardrobe in the hotel room for bed bugs is the best way to alert yourself for any hiding bed bugs.
Once bed bugs are inside your home, they can crawl from room to room till they find an appropriate place to hide.
The most common hiding places of bed bugs are –
- Small cracks and gaps in the furniture, walls, and floor.
- In the inseams and gaps of upholstery like accent chair and sofa.
- In the inseams of mattresses.
- Box Springs.
- Dresser drawers.
- Baby cribs.
- Carpets and rugs.
The above eight places are the most common places where you can find bed bugs hiding in your home.
Unlike other common home pests like cockroaches and ants, bed bugs don’t make nests. Bed bugs don’t even feed on filth and waste like these pests.
There’s no relationship between cleanliness and bed bug infestation because bed bugs have nothing to do if the home is expensive, clean, or dirty. Bed bugs rely on human blood, and that’s what they need to live and breed.
So, even a home with a five-star hotel level of cleanliness can have bed bugs.
However, poor neighborhoods are often associated with bed bug infestation because of the inability of their dwellers to afford a bed bug treatment for their homes.
Bed bug treatment is expensive. Only heat treatment guarantees the complete riddance of bed bugs from home.
But if you’re aware and eagle-eyed during the initial stages of bed bug infestation, then you can get rid of bed bugs even if you can’t afford it.
Some bug species that look like bed bugs are parasites of bats or birds. Swallow bugs and bat bugs are two of them.
These bugs are mainly dependent on the blood from their primary hosts. But if their hosts are not around, they can bite and feed on human blood too.
Swallow birds have a habit of making nests in commercial buildings and places like apartment garages. From there, they can quickly transfer into human dwellings and can cause an infestation.
Another class of bugs that you’d find in your bed are bed worms. Bed worms are not bed bugs.
They’re larvae of pests like carpet beetles and moths.
6 Signs Of Bed Bug Infestation
Now we’re getting into the meat of the matter.
Till this point, you know what bed bugs look like, how do they spread, and what keeps them alive in your home.
It’s time to find out the vital signs of bed bug infestation. Remember, during the initial stages of bed bug infestation, the signs are subtle.
But if you’re alert enough to notice those signs, you’d be able to nip the problem in the bud. You may even be able to get rid of bed bugs without spending a fortune.
In this section, you’ll also find out how to look for signs of bed bug infestation.
Before that, let’s have a look at the 6 signs of bed bug infestation.
#1 Physical Sightings Of Live Bed Bugs
There’s no bigger sign of bed bug infestation like physical sightings of live bed bugs.
But here’s a kicker.
Physical sightings of bed bugs are evident when bed bug infestation has gone over the roof.
Bed bugs are sneaky creatures, and they don’t like to wander around. They prefer to remain hidden unless they’re looking for a host for their blood meal.
Wandering bed bugs are a clear sign that bed bugs have multiplied a lot, and there’s a shortage of hiding places inside your home. Hence, they’re looking for other places to hide.
So, if you consistently see live bed bugs in your home, instead of trying anything, hire a bed bug exterminator asap.
#2 Bed Bug Bite Marks On Your Body
Bed bug bite marks are a string of itchy, irritating, and painful red lumps.
Before having its blood meal, a bed bug will probe your skin by crawling and biting at multiple places. This probing makes the bed bug bite in multiple places in your body, which leads to a string of bed bug bite marks.
It stops when it finds a capillary space on your body that allows it to suck your blood fast. Once the bed bug finds the right place, it settles down and sucks your blood for 5-10 minutes till it’s full.
That’s why the string of bite marks always ends with the biggest red lump.
When it’s full, it’ll leave you and go back to its hiding place near your bed.
The feeding habits of bed bugs are that they feed once every 3-7 days. After feeding, most of the time, they’re hiding and remaining idle to digest the blood meal they had. It’s also one of the reasons that bed bugs are so hard to spot.
The most common places where bed bugs bite is the face, at the back of your knees, waist, and neck. If you’re living in a bed bug infested home, then always wear comfortable clothes that don’t leave any portion of your body exposed while you’re asleep.
It’s because bed bugs can’t bite through clothing. But, if they’re already inside your clothes, then they will bite you for sure.
When it comes to bed bug bite marks, there’s one catch. If you’re not allergic to bed bug bites or if your body doesn’t react to the saliva that bed bugs inject while biting, then you may not have bed bug bite marks at all.
In that case, you’ll observe that someone else in your home has bed bug bite marks, but you don’t. So, no bed bug bite marks on you shouldn’t be the reason for not getting rid of bed bugs or letting the bed bug infestation grow.
Bed bugs don’t transmit any diseases when they bite you. Although bed bugs contain pathogens, it’s unlikely that they’d transmit those pathogens to humans.
Scientists and researchers have found at least 27 pathogens in bed bugs, including viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and parasitic worms.
None of these agents reproduce or multiply within bed bugs, and very few survive for any length of time inside a bed bug. There is no evidence that bed bugs are involved in the transmission (via a bite or infected feces) of any disease, including hepatitis B and HIV.
Bed bugs can reduce the quality of life by causing discomfort, sleeplessness, anxiety, and embarrassment. According to some health experts, the added stress from living with bed bugs can significantly impact the emotional health and well-being of certain individuals.
The discomfort of bed bug bites is only limited to itching and inflammation. To ease the itching and pain from bed bug bites, many doctors prescribe antibiotic ointments and antiseptics.
Pain and discomfort from bed bug bites can last for a week.
#3 Blood Stains On Your Bed
Some bed bugs, who have fed on your blood, will be so full that they won’t be able to crawl off your bed.
In that case, you’ll crush those bed bugs with your body weight while twisting and turning in your sleep. That will leave rusty red bloodstain marks in the form of dots.
You may even find a crushed dead bed bug on your bed.
#4 Bed Bug Feces Marks On Your Bed
Feces marks, known as fecal spots, on your clothes in drawers (where bed bugs can hide), bed sheets, mattresses, and pillow covers, are also signs of bed bug infestation.
These marks are of bed bug poop. Bed bug feces are always liquid because they don’t feed on anything but blood.
The fecal spots are darker than the bed bug stains, and the size is smaller. These fecal spots are hard to remove from the fabric.
#5 Bed Bug Egg Cases And Shells
Bed bug egg cases and shells are one of the signs of infestation that you’d need to look for rather than them showing up on their own.
Most of the time, you’ll find both of them in the hiding places of bed bugs. If there’s a heavy bed bug infestation in your home, you’d also find them in small cracks and crevices on the floor and the walls.
To find them in these cracks, all you’ve to do is insert a thin piece of paper or your credit card inside the cracks. After a while, slowly pull it out.
You’d find both the egg cases, unhatched eggs, molted bed bug shells, and even nymphs or adult bed bugs stuck on the paper or the card.
#6 Musty Bed Bug Odor
Bed bugs, like cockroaches, emit a musty odor. This odor is quite detectable in homes with a heavy bed bug infestation.
The smell is from the pheromones that insects and bugs secrete from their glands to communicate.
You cannot detect this smell if the infestation is minor or even at moderate levels.
That’s why relying solely on the bed bug smell to find out bed bug infestation isn’t a good idea.
But if you can smell it, then it’s a telltale sign that bed bug infestation in your home has gone out of control. It’d be best if you contact a bed bug exterminator to treat your home for bed bugs.
How To Check For Bed Bugs?
Now that you know where bed bugs hide and the signs of bed bug infestation, checking for bed bugs is a piece of cake.
But given the small size of bed bugs, you need to have the right tools to check for bed bugs.
All you’d need is a flashlight, a credit card, and a magnifying glass.
To begin with, start checking the seams of your bed mattress. Remove the bedsheets, comforters, and pillow covers before you start inspecting.
You may prefer to look for bed bugs during the evening, but you can also check for bed bugs during the day.
If you’re checking for bed bugs after sunset, then make sure to turn the lights off. As bed bugs are nocturnal creatures, darkness can prompt them to move around, making it easier for you to spot them.
Use the credit card, or a toothpick, to gently scrub on the edges of the mattresses’ seams. Doing that will make the live bed bugs, bed bug nymphs, eggs, and shells stick on the card or the toothpick.
Another important place that you shouldn’t miss while checking for bed bugs. It’s box springs.
Box springs are one of the favorite places for bed bugs to hide. Bed bugs hide along the upper seams and underneath, where the bottom edge of the box rests on the frame.
If an underlying dust cover is present, remove it to look for hidden bed bugs.
You should also examine the crevices and gaps on the bed frames, especially if the frame is wood. Bed bugs prefer to hide in wood and fabric than on metal and plastic.
If there’s any wooden support board, remove it and check for bed bugs. Bed bugs gather where the ends of the bed rest on the frame.
Screw holes and other recesses are also common hiding places, so don’t skip them.
Remove the headboard and inspect for bed bugs thoroughly on it. The gap between the headboard and the wall is one of the favorite places for the bed bugs to hide.
Bed bugs also frequently hide within items stored under beds. So, if your bed has storage, remove them and inspect each item and the storage area.
Bed bugs don’t hide more than 6 feet away from the main place where the hosts rest. So, you should check for bed bugs in all the furniture and decor like carpet or rugs within a 6 feet distance from your room.
Do not skip the gaps and cracks on the floor and the walls. Bed bugs can survive in the gaps on hard surfaces if they have to.
Also, inspect the junctions of the floor and the wall, especially when you’ve wooden floors. Bed bugs prefer to hide in these junctions.
There are some unlikely places where bed bugs can hide. Bed bugs exploit these places when the infestation is heavy, and the conventional hiding places are mostly full.
These places are curtains and drapes, behind picture frames, gaps in window and door frames, inside alarm clocks, underneath lamps, and portable electronic items.
Check drawers of the wardrobe and closet. Bed bugs are experts in hiding in fabrics that you keep in these places.
While inspection, make sure that you spot the flashlight at the right spot. And be slow and observant while inspecting. If you hurry, then you may skip the bed bugs.
Bed Bug Infestation In Hotel Rooms
It’s not only your home where you’d find bed bugs.
Bed bugs are common in other establishments like offices, hospitals, schools and daycares, and hotels.
It’s quite common that you may introduce bed bugs from these places into your home.
For example, if you’ve been traveling and stayed in a hotel room with bed bugs, then bed bugs can easily latch on to your clothing or luggage. You’d bring them to your home without you even being aware of it.
So, it’s always a best practice to remain vigilant about their presence and check for them before you settle into your hotel room.
Once you check-in, look for the bed bugs in the most common hiding places that you’ve found out in the post.
As a precautionary measure, do not keep your luggage on the floor or the bed the moment you get inside the room. Instead, keep it on any elevated hard surface like on a stand or a table.
The majority of bed bug infestations in hotels are limited, often to just a few rooms.
If you discover bed bugs, you can request another room, preferably in a different hotel area. It’s because bed bug infestation can extend to nearby units.
If there isn’t any other room available, then you can ask for a refund.
If you’re experiencing itching on your skin, then it would be best that, after returning home, you put all the clothing directly into the washer/dryer.
Inspecting or vacuuming suitcases is time-consuming and overwhelming since it is difficult to spot bed bugs in luggage.
The best thing you can do to get rid of bed bugs in your suitcases or luggage is steam cleaning.
Use a steam cleaner on the infested luggage. The heat from the steam cleaner will kill the bed bugs hidden in your luggage.
How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs In Your Home?
Bed bug treatment is an expensive affair. But in most cases, it’s better to hire a bed bug controller to do the job than taking matters into your own hands.
There are several reasons for it.
First, bed bugs are tough bugs to kill. They’ve evolved with time.
Bed bugs have developed immunity against many pesticides and aerosol sprays. Those things simply don’t work against bed bugs as they used to.
Bug bombs are ineffective too on bed bugs. It’s because bug bombs have limited killing capacity. It causes bugs like bed bugs and fleas to hide in different places once you use them.
Also, bug bombs and sprays don’t have the residual toxicity that can spread from one-bed bug to another. That makes them highly ineffective.
The only bed bug treatment that guarantees a 100% kill rate of bed bugs is heat treatment. And heat treatment can be expensive depending on the level of infestation.
If you’re planning to hire a bed bug exterminator to do the job, then ensure that you ask the right questions before hiring him.
So, what to do if you’re under budget or don’t have the money to afford a bed bug treatment.
Well, there are a few steps that you can apply.
First is vacuum or steam cleaning your home, preferably steam cleaning. Vacuum cleaning your house will remove adult bed bugs, nymphs, and bed bug eggs.
But steam cleaning will not remove them but also kill them because bed bugs can’t withstand heat.
The second is encasing your mattresses. If bed bugs are hiding in the mattresses, the encasement will choke them and stop them from biting you.
The third is removing the clutter from your home. Nothing provides more hiding places to bed bugs than a cluttered home.
Keep your home clutter-free, and your home will have fewer bed bugs and pests that hide in clutter.
We’ve got a dedicated post for you to get rid of bed bugs on a tight budget. You’ll find all the steps you can take if you cannot afford a professional bed bug exterminator.
But there’s one catch.
Bed bugs can come back after treatment. Research showed that nearly a quarter of homes treated for bed bugs had faced bed bug resurgence after a year.
Why do bed bugs come back?
We’ve found three common reasons for it.
First, homeowners don’t take the necessary steps to prevent re-infestation. They continue with their old habits that bring back the bed bugs.
Second, homeowners used DIY methods to get rid of bed bugs. DIY methods work, but only when the infestation is low.
Methods like luring the bed bugs out of hiding using a bed bug interceptor and using bleach or boric acid have their limitations.
These methods don’t go deep into the hiding places of bed bugs and eliminate the nymphs and the eggs. And if you eliminate the adult bed bugs and not the eggs and nymphs, bed bug infestation will grip your home again.
Third, homeowners hired a wrong bed bug exterminator who lacked experience.
Many unscrupulous and inexperienced bed bug controllers go from home to home and lure homeowners into availing their services at a lower price.
Unfortunately, they do nothing.
Bed bug extermination needs extensive experience and expertise, which only reliable and licensed pest controllers have.
So, always hire an established and reliable bed bug extermination company. Or, if you’re hiring any local exterminator, please do your due diligence to find their track record before hiring.
How To Prevent Bed Bug Infestation And Re-infestation?
This guide won’t have been over if you don’t find out how to prevent bed bug infestation.
Precaution is always better than cure. If you follow the steps that you’re about to find out, you’ll eliminate the chances of bed bug infestation.
The first and indispensable step to avoid bed bug infestation and re-infestation after treatment is a quarterly pest check-up.
Quarterly pest control will keep a tab on the pest situation in your home. And it’s not only for bed bugs but also for other invasive pests like termites, roaches, fleas, etc.
Savvy homeowners know the value of quarterly pest control. It nips the infestation at the bud before it becomes uncontrollable.
And when it comes to cost, it’ll save you a lot of money in the long run because it’s way cheaper than the actual pest treatment.
Reputable pest control companies offer quarterly pest control that entitles you to a full-fledged treatment if they find any pest in your home during the contract period.
The second step is to avoid bringing discarded mattresses, sofas, and furniture into your home.
Closely examine for fecal spots and bed bug odor on any items that you buy second-hand or from yard sales.
If you buy any clothing or fabric from a second-hand shop, then the first thing that you must do is to wash them in hot water. Do that before you keep those fabrics in your drawers.
Third, apartment dwellers need to beware of any units in the building with a bed bug infestation.
Entire multi-home units are more prone to bed bug infestation if only one home has bed bugs. Bed bugs will spread from home to home.
If there’s any apartment in your unit with bed bugs, then convince the dwellers to treat their home for bed bugs.
Fourth, use bed bug interceptors. This step is more relevant for you if you’ve already treated your home for bed bugs.
Bed bug interceptors help you to find out if there’s any bed bug left after treatment. It acts as a monitor on bed bugs because visual inspections after treatment might not be enough to ascertain that your home is free from bed bugs.
Bed bug interceptors are small plastic plates that you keep underneath the legs of your bed or any other furniture. The wandering bed bugs crawl or fall into these plates, but they cannot escape due to the slippery inner surface.
You can take these bed bugs and put them into a freezer, where they’ll freeze to death. Or you can also burn them alive or crush them with a pencil.
Many bed bug interceptors come with pheromones that attract the bed bugs, and they’re the best to use.
If you haven’t treated your home for bed bugs and you’re waking with bed bug bites, then you can use the bed bug interceptors to confirm if there are bed bugs in your home.
But remember, bed bug interceptors don’t kill bed bugs. Nor do they tell you how many bed bugs are there in your home.
Bed bug interceptors are a tool to be sure that your home has bed bugs.
Bed bug infestation is painful, expensive, and stressful. In this guide, you’ve found out the ins and outs of bed bug infestation.
You’ve also found out how bed bugs look like, why they infest your homes, and what you can do to stop bed bugs from reappearing in your home.
Most importantly, there’s a detailed explanation on why DIY methods of getting rid of bed bugs fail and what’s the best treatment for bed bugs.
Ensure to follow the steps laid out on the pest and share it with your friends and family who are going through the menace of bed bugs.