Have you ever heard the phrase “Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite”? That phrase came about in the 1940s due to the popularity of bed bugs in cities all around the globe. Parents would tuck their children into their beds tightly to prevent bed bugs from feeding off of them in their sleep.
Bed bugs are more of a nuisance than a danger, but they can be more difficult to handle (not to mention expensive) than you bargained for. These pesky pests multiply quickly and are resistant to many pesticides, so any hesitation in treatment can certainly lead to an infestation that can feel overwhelming to many.
Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation
Unsurprisingly, bed bugs are most commonly found in beds, primarily at the corners of box springs and mattresses. But this doesn’t mean that they don’t also find sofas, carpets, and any other soft surface just as hospitable!
Spotting bed bugs can also prove difficult if the infestation is only in its beginning stages, as fully-grown, adult bed bugs are only about the size of an apple seed. As nymphs (an earlier stage of development), bed bugs are even more difficult to see, as they are translucent to yellow-white in color and only roughly the size of a pin head.
Here are some other common signs of infestation:
- an unpleasant, musty odor similar to the scent of coriander
- bloodstains, fecal stains, skin sheds, and eggshells in bed bug hiding spaces
- bloodstains on the walls, bed sheets, pillowcases, and curtains
- waking up with small red bites in groups of 2-4 in a row
What Can You Can Do About Bed Bugs?
If you find yourself trying to manage a bed bug infestation, you will want to act quickly. Here are some of the most important actions you can take on your own:
- Bag up your belongings in trash bags and tie them closed
- Vacuum every soft/fabric surface (don’t miss the deep nooks, crannies, and crevices!)
- Check other bedrooms and well-traveled areas of the home for bed bug activity
- Get a bed bug mattress cover
- Wash any clothes and bed sheets/blankets in hot water, followed by a tumble in the dryer on high heat—bed bugs cannot survive temperatures over 120°F when confined over an extended period
What You Shouldn’t Do About Bed Bugs
While there are a few things that you can do to manage an active infestation, there is a lot of actions you may take that can exacerbate your situation:
- Do not remove or relocate anything from a room with an active infestation—this can spread difficult to see eggs and nymph bed bugs
- Do not rely on “bed bug bombs” or sprays that you can purchase from hardware or big box stores, as they are ineffective in reaching deep infestations within box springs, furniture padding, layers of fabric, dresser drawers, etc.
- Do not sleep in a different room. Bed bugs can spread quickly and are attracted to the carbon dioxide that we emit; wherever you sleep, the bedbugs are sure to follow
- Do not prolong reporting that you have a bedbug infestation. Prompt treatment is always the best treatment
Treating for Bed Bugs
The options for exterminating bedbugs are limited—due to their hearty anatomy and resistance to many pesticides—but the combination of a properly performed heat treatment in conjunction with a chemical follow-up is the best combination to eliminate these pests.
For most infestations, gaining control over bed bugs can prove to be a very difficult task without help. In the event of an infestation, or if the methods you have tried just aren’t cutting it, call your pest control provider ASAP!