Discovering that you have bed bugs can be both shocking and embarrassing as people often think that they are caused by poor hygiene, but this is not the case.
Bed bugs will quite happily live in any environment, clean or dirty, as long as they have easy access to their food source: us
. The only benefit to them of living in an untidy environment is that they can go longer without being detected as they can hide amongst the clutter.
Once you have identified that you have a bed bug infestation (see below on how you can identify a bed bug problem), you then need to undergo the task of ridding your home of these pesky insects.
As well as investing in a bed bug treatment plan, there are other steps that you can undertake yourself to help deter bed bugs and to stop them from returning time and time again.
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are a small, brown, oval insect that survives on the blood of both humans and animals. They tend to live on furniture or in your bedding, and although they cannot fly, they can move very quickly from one surface to another.
Bed bugs hide during the daytime in places such as bed frames and headboards and then come out at night while you are sleeping to bite you.
Many people think that bed bugs only reside in houses, but these hitchhiking bugs will live anywhere as long as there are people or animals that they can bite; they can be found on public transport, in daycare centers, in libraries, in nursing homes and even on airplanes – yes these crafty creatures can go international!
How do I know if I have bed bugs?
There are several ways that you can identify whether or not you have a bed bug problem. Firstly, you may actually see the bugs themselves; they are about the size of an apple seed (one-quarter inch long) before feeding and are flat in their appearance. Secondly, you may find some of their skin that they have shed in your bedding, or even more disgustingly, you could find some of their droppings.
You may also notice bloodstains on your sheets from when the bed bugs have bitten you and drawn blood, as well as the bites themselves on your body. Bed bug bites are recognizable from other insect bites as they are usually in a line or cluster and are often surrounded by a red rash.
What causes bed bug infestations?
A common misconception is that bed bugs are caused by a lack of hygiene and that only dirty and cluttered homes can become invested. However, this is not how bed bug infestations occur.
Bed bugs are clever little insects, and they have the ability to travel from one infected area to another by jumping into your belongings such as a handbag or suitcase that is often left on other soft furnishings when you visit a new place.
Used furniture is a haven for bed bugs, so if you are buying a second-hand sofa or chair, then be sure to check the upholstery and cushions for signs of infestation thoroughly.
How can I get rid of bed bugs?
If, as a homeowner in Visalia, CA, you find out that you have a bed bug problem, you need to make sure that you take the correct course of action to eliminate the bugs from your home as quickly as possible and this includes using an appropriate bed bug treatment from a pest control company.
While you are waiting for the professionals to arrive, there are several steps that you can take yourself to help deal with the problem:
- Strip your bed of all sheets, covers, and pillowcases and then place them in a hot dryer for a minimum time of half an hour.
- Move your bed away from any other furniture or walls so that no further bed bugs can crawl into your bedding.
- Clean the infested areas of any unnecessary clutter that could enable the bed bugs to move more freely.
- Ensure that there are no openings, cracks or crevices in the walls of your bedroom which could be used as an entry for bed bugs.
How can I prevent bed bugs from coming back?
Understandably, once you have rid your home of bed bugs, you will want to do all that you can to prevent those nasty bloodsuckers from returning ever again.
Firstly, you should consider setting up a preventative treatment plan with a professional pest control specialist who can assess your individual needs and create a personalized strategy to stop bed bugs from re-entering your home.
Making sure that you are bed bug aware is arguably one of the most effective ways of preventing another infestation in your home, and luckily there are certain places where you should be more vigilant.
- On public transport
- In hotels, motels or any other vacation accommodation
- In used/second-hand furniture shops (especially mattresses and box springs)
You also need to be aware of other people bringing bed bugs into your home. Obviously, you do not want to have to thoroughly search any guests and their belongings before you allow then to enter your home, but it is a good idea to wash any bedding they used on the hottest temperature available after they have left. This should kill bed bugs immediately.
The same goes for when you or your children stay in someone else’s house, you could easily bring bed bugs home with you, so it is worthwhile to thoroughly check your luggage and other personal belongings before you return into your home.
The only positive experience from having previously had a bed bug problem is that you now know how to recognize the signs of a possible infestation; therefore, you can be even more vigilant when out and about. Looking out for bed bugs themselves as well as other signs that bed bugs are present including spotting their black droppings, their shells and the tell-tale bloodstains on fabrics and soft furnishings.
If you follow the above tips, you may just be able to control bed bugs for good!