BED BUGS. The name alone can make you start to itch! But do you really know what they are, what they do or how to protect yourself from them? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, bed bugs aren’t known to transmit any diseases but that still doesn’t mean you want to bring them home in your suitcase anytime soon! They are extremely resilient little pests and can be both time-consuming and expensive to get rid of once they take up residence, so let’s take some time to get to know ABOUT them so you don’t ever have to KNOW them on a more personal level.
What do they look like?
First of all, it’s important to know what bed bugs look like so you can identify them and differentiate them from other bugs, like carpet beetles. Bed bugs are typically the size of an apple seed (less than ¼” long) and can range from brown, flat and oval-shaped to reddish-brown and elongated, depending on when they last fed. Bed bug eggs may not even be noticeable at all as they are the size of a pinhead and white in color.
Where do they live?
Bed bugs generally move around the most at night, so during the daytime hours you’ll be most likely to find them near the piping and seams of mattresses and box springs, along with cracks in the bed frame and headboard. Rusty red stains (from bed bugs being crushed) and dark spots (from excrement) are also sometimes signs that the bugs may be lurking nearby. It’s also important to note that the absence of bites doesn’t mean the absence of bed bugs; many people never react to bites or develop eczema-like rashes instead.
How do you prevent them?
Before staying at any hotel or location outside your home, inspect the sheets, mattress and box springs to look for signs of bed bugs. If you find anything, contact the person in charge immediately and stay somewhere else. In your own home, avoid secondhand furniture or thoroughly inspect it before bringing it into your house. After traveling, wash the entire contents of your suitcase in hot water and dry in a hot dryer for twenty minutes to kill anything that may have tried to hitchhike home. Sealing items in a plastic bag and placing in the freezer for at least four days should also do the trick.
How do you treat them?
If you have taken all of the above precautions but you still suspect them in your home, contact beg bug professionals immediately. A professional can confirm their existence and lay out a plan and timeline to treat your home for the best results. Pesticide foggers strong enough to kill bed bugs shouldn’t be in the hands of amateur bed bug hunters! Many companies even offer warranties for a number of months in case the first treatment didn’t eradicate them.
In short, bed bugs are no reason to panic, but knowing how to identify them, prevent them and treat them can provide peace of mind both at home and on the road!