Bed bugs can live anywhere! From small homes in the countryside to 5-star hotels in the biggest cities, no abode is immune to these creepy crawlies.
Although we wish it were as easy as keeping your home clean, preventing bed bugs requires additional care and consideration. Learn about bed bugs, their preferred conditions, what you can do to prevent them from taking up residence in your home, and how to stop them if they do.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are insects that infest homes, primarily located in bedding and furniture. Like mosquitos, they draw blood and cause itchy bumps and small rash sites. Even though they feed off blood, it’s warmth and carbon dioxide that attracts them to our beds.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Bed bugs are small (about the size of an apple seed), reddish-brown in color, and have flat oval-shaped bodies. On average, adults are just 3/16 to ¼ of an inch – small, but still visible to the naked eye. Juvenile bed bugs are much smaller, yellow in color, and more difficult to see.
Why Are Bed Bugs Bad?
In most cases, a bed bug bite will lead to itchy skin, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they are not known to spread disease like a mosquito or tick can. Some people are more predisposed to an allergic reaction to bites and might need medication to alleviate the itch. Even though they present little health risk, their bites can be irritating.
It should be noted that in addition to bites, bed bugs may stain your bedding. The staining is caused by a combination of eggs and crushed bodies of bed bugs, which is why the staining is usually the same reddish brown as their bodies.
Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?
Bed bugs can come from just about anywhere. A common myth associated with these pests is that they’re attracted to dirty bedding but aren’t attracted to your bed. In fact, they crave warmth, blood, and carbon dioxide, and easily obtain all from sleeping humans.
Bed bugs travel from property to property in luggage and on clothing. If someone else in your shared building has bed bugs, they will most likely spread. If you live in an apartment, regular cleaning can help prevent bed bugs from becoming unwanted roomies.
If you’re staying in a hotel, keep your luggage zipped up and up off the floor on a luggage rack that many hotels have. This will make it harder for stowaway pests to get into your bags and clothing.
Early Signs of Bed Bugs
The two earliest signs that your home has bed bugs are reddish-brown staining (caused by crushed bugs) and itchy skin. You may also see small black dotting on your mattress or sheets, like from a fine-tip permanent marker. This is bed bug excrement. The other tell-tale sign, not including seeing the bugs themselves, is the presence of eggs (about the size of a pinhead) or skins that get shed by young bed bugs as they move through their life cycle.
How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs
If you identify bed bugs, or even just suspect them, you’ll obviously want to take immediate steps to eliminate the pests. Bed bugs don’t do well with extreme temperatures, hot or cold.
- If you notice bed bugs in your sheets, make sure to wash and dry them in the hottest settings on your washer and dryer. You can also use a home steamer tool, like the one you’d use on clothing, to put steam into hard-to-reach areas of bedding, or into your mattress that can’t be put into the washing machine.
- Extreme cold can also be used, provided your home’s freezer is at zero degrees. Put your bedding in a garbage bag and put it in your freezer for a minimum of three days to properly freeze the bed bugs. If your freezer isn’t kept at zero degrees, this method won’t be as effective as heating would.
- Your vacuum is also a highly effective tool against bed bugs. Regularly vacuuming your house is a great way to remove bed bugs. Although any vacuum can work, vacuums with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters are best.
What Repels Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs like settling into your warm spaces: furniture, laundry, and more. To repel bed bugs, once you’ve gotten rid of any initial infestation, keep your home clean and clutter-free, giving bed bugs fewer safe havens to hide. Laundry should be done weekly anyways, and keeping to this schedule should help keep your bed free of these pests.
It’s also a very good idea to clean luggage (outdoors) once you’ve returned home and before you bring it into the house to stop any bed bugs before they invade your home.
Repel Bed Bugs with Regular Cleaning Services
Sleep tight without the fear of bed bugs biting by helping repel them with regular cleaning services. We’ll take care of the cleaning and vacuuming so you can focus on the important things – like getting a good night of sleep. Request a free estimate online or call (888) 658-0659 today!