Don’t let bed bugs bite you. Instead, use the guidelines below to solve all your bed bug problems.
Identify bed bugs and watch out for their tell tale signs
Bed bugs are tiny insects that are smaller than an apple seed. They are reddish brown in color with flattened oval bodies. Adult bugs measure up to 0.2 inches in length. Nymphs are even smaller and are comparable to the size of a pinhead.
What are the signs of bed bug bites?
The key to not letting bed bugs get the better of you is to identify their bites and nip the infestation in its bud. Here are key signs that show if what is biting you is indeed a bed bug:
- Bed bug bites are reddish, itchy and inflamed wheals on the skin.
- The bites can occur anywhere on the body but are usually concentrated on arms, lower legs, upper torso and other exposed body parts.
- They can be extremely itchy and, if scratched, can lead to pus filled blisters.
Bed bug bites usually do not cause any diseases, however; they are annoying enough to disturb a good night’s rest. Sometimes, excessive scratching of the bites can lead to secondary skin infections which might require antibiotics for treatment.
Signs of bed bug activity
You might sometimes see signs of bed bug activity around your sleeping areas: dark fecal matter and discarded exoskeleton and shells around mattresses, bed linen, corners of bed, behind the furniture, and in cracks and crevices near the sleeping areas.
Don’t let bed bugs bite you by preventing them from spreading
Bed bugs easily spread from one place to another. Thus, if you are living in an apartment complex and your neighbor happens to have them, then chances are that they can very easily spread to your home. Bed bugs also hitch a ride in our luggage, on our clothing and our bodies to move from one place to another. If you have recently been to a motel with a bed bug infestation, chances of your bringing back bed bugs to your home also increase.
To prevent bringing bed bugs to your home follow the precautions below:
- After returning home from a journey, open the luggage outdoors or in the garage. Wash all clothing on highest setting before placing them in the cupboards. Vacuum the luggage thoroughly and discard the vacuum bags outside.
- Always place your luggage in the bathroom area of hotels/motels where bed bugs are less likely to dwell. If you suspect bed bug infestation in your room, change the hotel room, or, better still, go to another hotel as far as possible.
- Avoid picking up discarded furniture, beds, mattresses etc from roadside as they could be infested.
- If buying second hand clothing from flea markets, garage sales etc, enclose them in plastic bags and wash them in the laundry on the highest heat settings before opening and using them.
What to do in case of an infestation?
Don’t let the bed bugs bite by stopping the bed bugs in their tracks. Use the following steps:
- If you are living in a rented apartment, bring the situation to the notice of your landlord or property manager. It is the landlord’s responsibility to take care of such infestations. In case it is your private residence, do call in the integrated pest management services to do the job. Never try to use foggers or bed bug bombs as these can sometimes be harmful to your kids or pets
- Discard heavily infested items in plastic bags and label the items as ‘infested’. This will stop unsuspecting people from picking up these items.
- Vacuum the house thoroughly, including all sofas, rugs, areas behind the furniture etc. Dispose the vacuum bags outdoors.
- Place all bedding, comforters, linen, mattresses etc in extremely hot water to kill eggs and larvae of bed bugs. Dry these items on highest heat settings.
- Empty the contents of dresser drawers and cupboards into sealed plastic bags.
- Wash all clothing in highest setting.
- Do not purchase new furniture until the infestation has been taken care of.
- Remove and repair old and torn wallpaper.
- Seal all crevices and cracks with caulking material.
- Eliminate clutter to reduce the hiding places for bed bugs.
- Contact the local health department in case you see bed bugs in hospitals, nursing homes, correctional facilities or public transportation etc.
So don’t let bed bugs bite you! Follow these precautions to ensure a good night’s rest in a bug free home.