Bed bugs are nasty little vampires that feed on your blood at night. Since these ugly insects are about the size of an apple seed, you can’t really see them, but your itchy skin knows for sure they’ve invited themselves to your bed. What should you do now, move your things to another room and pray that the monsters will leave you in peace?
You should not sleep in another room if you have bed bugs. The bed bugs will follow you, so you will only succeed in infecting another room. You may also spread the infestation everywhere else in your home.
There are better ways to get rid of bed bugs. In this article, I’ll describe how to tell if you have bed bugs in your mattress, how to kick them out of your house for good, and how to protect your home from future invasions. Let’s dive in.
What Is a Bed Bug?
Bed bugs are human parasites that can be seen with the naked eye. They are brown, the size of apple pips, and can’t fly. They are usually found in the seams of mattresses.
Bed bug bites are generally similar to mosquito bites when it comes to itchiness. This causes some people to have trouble sleeping and anxiety.
Also, the presence of adults often results in the presence of eggs. The eggs hatch after a few days, leaving your bed full of unborn monsters that are quite hard to get rid of. This insect is, without a doubt, a scourge that can affect your daily life unceremoniously!
How Do I Know That I Have Bed Bugs in My Bedroom?
The first red flag is if you notice red, itchy bumps on an exposed area of skin while you are sleeping.
Indeed, bed bugs feast on humans at night. Their bites are specific and easily recognizable. You can generally distinguish three bite points:
- The first is to inject an anesthetic. This ensures that the victim does not wake up when bitten.
- The second is to inject an anticoagulant. This prevents the wound from bleeding.
- The third is to pump the blood. This is when they gather their feast.
Maybe you notice the bites in the morning or even later in the day when the itching starts. In most people, bites do not have serious side effects. They still tend to swell and have a pungent effect. Most of the traces disappear after a few days.
If you observe these kinds of bites on you, you are likely the victim of a bed bug attack. You can also ask a pharmacist to make sure.
Bed bugs also leave other, more subtle traces, such as traces of blood on the sheets and tiny bits of transparent skin. You can inspect your mattress in the seams to try to spot them, but they are often difficult to see with an untrained eye.
What if I Discover Bed Bugs in My Bed? Dos and Don’ts
Here are some dos and don’ts when dealing with bed bugs:
Don’t Try To Get Rid of It Yourself
The insecticides and anti-parasites that you find on the market are mostly ineffective against these insects.
Don’t Change Rooms
The bed bugs will follow you, so you will manage to infest another room. Also, you certainly have it in your belongings, clothes, sheets, and furniture. Therefore, you will only spread the infestation elsewhere.
Notify Your Landlord
If you are a tenant, notify your landlord. It’s your duty as a tenant. It will also help contain the infestation from spreading everywhere else in your building. Your landlord would have to call the extermination company and pay for the costs.
Insulate Your Things
Insulate all your clothes and textiles, coats, and winter items included. Put everything in plastic bags and leave them outside the contaminated room (like the kitchen or bathroom). You can use large transparent trash bags; this will allow you to know where your clothes are daily.
Wash All Textiles in Boiling Water and Dry Hot
Bedbugs and eggs die at 135°F (60°C). Beware of laundromats, because often the temperature isn’t hot enough. Also, it’s not recommendable to carry potentially contaminated items to public places.
For delicate items that can’t stand the machine, you can soak them in boiling water and dry them in the sun (if you are lucky enough to be in summer).
Insulate washed clothes well from unwashed clothes and only carry decontaminated items with you.
It is also recommended to wash suitcases and transport bags with hot water and soap and isolate them from contaminated areas.
Let the Exterminator Do His Job
This is where the treatment phase begins. After inspection of the premises by the exterminator, the first treatment is applied throughout the apartment. You may be asked to remove all your furniture.
A second mandatory treatment phase is applied three weeks later because the eggs laid before the previous treatment have hatched.
You must leave your textiles isolated for the treatment duration and keep only the minimum in the room (sheets, for example), which must be rewashed before each treatment.
Pray That the First Treatment Worked
I don’t mean to sound depressing, but since bed bugs are pretty resilient little monsters, there’s a good chance you’ll need a second or even third treatment.
But usually, if you’ve acted quickly (as soon as you felt the bugs’ bites), your room should be bedbug-free after one or two treatments.
Note: This kind of chemical treatment isn’t the only alternative to get rid of bedbugs. There’s a much more radical heat treatment, which involves heating the apartment to 135°F. However, homeowners generally prefer chemical treatment since it’s less expensive than heat treatment.
How Do I Make Sure Bed Bugs Won’t Invade My Home Again?
While it’s not possible to eliminate future invasions, there are a few precautions you can take to prevent these unpleasant guests from reappearing:
- If you are going on vacation to large cities, wash your clothes and travel bags when you come back. Even if you didn’t notice anything on the spot, it’s not unlikely that you will have larvae or eggs in your suitcases when you get home.
- Inspect the used clothes you buy. Be careful when purchasing used clothing. Always take care to inspect them. Carry them in a hermetically sealed bag so that nothing can get out or get in. When you return home, treat the clothes following the recommendations for treating textiles and objects.
- Cut the clutter in your house. Avoid accumulating items and leaving them lying around your home. This will reduce the number of places where bed bugs can hide.
- If your home is contaminated, protect those around you. Don’t let your loved ones use your contaminated possessions like the bed or even the sofas. And, as I said earlier, only wear decontaminated clothing to avoid carrying eggs wherever you go.
However, keep in mind that bedbugs are not spread like germs. You don’t have to cut yourself off from all social life, but you have to take a few precautions.
Remember that the spread occurs through two main ways:
- Transporting contaminated things from one place to another.
- Contaminating our stuff in an infested area.
Bed bugs can be picked up anywhere, even in a department store or library. Be vigilant, and do not ignore the first signs of an infestation in your home.
And, most importantly… DON’T switch rooms if you notice bed bugs in your mattress!
- Web MD: Bed Bugs: How to Identify Bedbugs and How to Get Rid of Them
- CDC: Bed Bugs – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Wikipedia: Bed bug
- Lasclev: What to do if my apartment has bed bugs?
- Terminix: Bed Bug Control & Treatment | Exterminators For Bed Bugs
- Vdacs Virginia: Non-Chemical Bed Bug Management
Can You Wash Bed Bugs Off in the Shower?
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These unpleasant pests get into everything and everywhere, multiply quickly, and know just how to survive anywhere, but even as pesky and persistent as their block sucking cousins, bed bugs are, sprays are still effective against them.