So you want to learn more about bed bugs? The pesky invaders can turn your life upside down, but there are many ways you can handle the situation so it doesn’t affect your life as drastically as it could. Knowing where bed bugs come from, what the signs of bed bugs are, bite signs and symptoms (and the difference between bed bug bites and bites from other types of bugs), treatment options and how to prevent an infestation can really help you understand how bed bugs work. It’s important to keep in mind that you may not always be able to pinpoint exactly where the bed bugs in your home came from, but education can help you feel and be in control of the situation should it ever arise.
Below is a quick guide to help you understand the A-Z lifespan of a bed bug infestation:
Where Bed Bugs Come From
Bed bugs come from a number of places, such as hotels, other people’s homes, public transportation, items found at secondhand or antique stores and garage sales, old furniture, old mattresses and other similar types of things. When visiting another person’s home, keep an eye out for bed bug signs, such as tiny feces, dried blood, and shed skin casings. When visiting a hotel or apartment while traveling, keep the following tips in mind:
- Keep everything off of the floor
- If you think there may be bed bugs, undress in the bathroom so you can wipe anything falling from clothing
- Carry a flashlight for quick visual inspections
- Check the inside of bedside tables as well as the corners of the bed
You shouldn’t necessarily assume there will be bed bugs at your hotel or apartment, but they are very common places for bed bugs to spread. The same precautions you would have when visiting another person’s home, you should have when you travel. However, it’s important to read all reviews of a hotel or apartment before you visit.
Bed Bug Bite Signs
Bed bugs feed on human blood. They are most often active at night, biting exposed skin. The face, neck, hands, and arms are common sites for bites.
A bed bug bite is different than that of a mosquito or spider. It can be hard to tell if you’ve been bitten by a bed bug unless there are other bed bug signs within your home. When a bed bug bites your skin, it injects an anesthetic and an anticoagulant that stops someone from realizing he or she is being bitten. The bite marks, which are generally painless, tend to show up a day or a few days after the bite takes place. The bite marks are slightly swollen and red; they may be itching or irritating your skin, but unlike a mosquito bite, you won’t necessary itch immediately. Often, bite marks appear in a straight line or concentrated area.
Bed bug bites affect people differently. Some people have no reaction at all; others are allergic or show great irritation. Some people experience painful swelling at the bite site.
Bed bugs have not been proven to carry infectious diseases. Researchers have claimed that bed bugs are possible vectors of American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) in areas where the disease is endemic. Studies will continue to determine what diseases bed bugs may carry. However, most bed bug bites are not serious. Serious consequences can occur if someone is allergic or if the person itches the bite profusely and the bite area gets infected.
Typically, bed bug bites require no treatment. A person can always use a steroid cream or oral antihistamine if the itching is severe. If the bite gets engorged or severely red, it may mean an allergic reaction. It is important then to visit a doctor immediately.
How to Prevent a Bed Bug Infestation
Sure, you might not be able to prevent a bed bug infestation 100%, but you can be educated on how bed bugs function and taken time-tested precautionary measures. Bed bugs like to hide in cool dark places, such as mattresses, mattress corners, bed frames, wooden headboards, sheet or pillow labels or anything stored near walls. They might get behind baseboards or near outlets. Especially after moving in a place that was previously inhabited, it’s good to check all crevices where bed bugs may be hiding for signs of bed bugs. To help prevent bed bugs, the following is helpful:
- Place protective coverings around mattresses and box springs
- Move bed away from wall corners
- Fill or seal any open baseboards, crevices or holes
If you do find any bed bugs, put infested items that are not ruined (such as clothing in boxes) in sealed plastic bags and dry them for 30 minutes. However, the best thing to do if you find signs of bed bugs or bed bugs themselves is to call a Phoenix bed bug eradication professional. Bed bug removal specialists know exactly how to destroy bed bugs. At-home and DIY bed bug eradication processes can be dangerous and don’t promise complete removal. Heat treatment is the only bed bug removal process that is successful almost 100% of the time. Remember – you do not want any bed bugs left that can procreate or return and infest your home again.