Where To Look First
Search the area where there are signs of bed bugs such as mattress stains or where you were bitten. This includes the bedroom or furniture in a family room. Start to look in all thin crevices that are about the width of a credit card. Start your search in typical areas where bed bugs hide include:
- Any furniture near the bed such as the nightstands, in objects on the stands such as magazines, in clock indentations and along headboard seams
- Inside any seams or crevices in furniture
- Check all luggage after traveling
Myth : Cayenne Pepper Or Diatomaceous Earth Can Kill Bed Bugs
Truth: In studies that Potter has conducted, natural oils or sprays, cayenne pepper, and diatomaceous earth werent effective at killing the pests. The same holds true for bug bombs, or sprays containing deet the concentration is usually not high enough to kill bed bugs or their eggs . Professional heat treatment by an exterminator is the surest way to kill bed bugs.
If youre waiting for treatment, you might be able to reduce the number of bed bugs by laying down Cimexas Insecticide Dust, which is made mostly of silicon dioxide. Sprinkle it in cracks and joints of a bed frame and in any contact points where bugs could hide . This insecticide absorbs the waxy exterior of a bed bugs shell, leaving it desiccated, but youll probably need multiple applications. You can also “bake” bedding, shoes, backpacks, and pillows in a clothes dryer set on high for 10 to 20 minutes.
Where Do Bed Bugs Like To Hide
Evidence of bed bugs are bloodstains on the bedding, bed bug eggs, casings, dark fecal stains, and live bed bugs. Another sign is the smell from bed bugs which is an unpleasant musty odor from their scent glands.
The remaining 15 30% of the infestation is found in cabinets, underneath wallpaper, in carpets and upholstered furniture, baseboards, and behind electrical switch plates, as well as many other places.
Bed bugs are literally the width of your credit card, so if a crack in a wall can hold your card then it can certainly be a hiding place and breeding area for them to lay eggs.
Image adult bed bug under the label
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How Do Bed Bugs Look Like To The Human Eye
Bed bugs look like tiny flat oval-shaped tan bugs. Their legs and tiny antennae can also be visible.
A fully matured adult bed bug is 5 mm in length. And on a casual look, they appear as an apple seed crawling or lying stationary on your bed.
But the nymphs or baby bed bugs can be hard to spot. Theyre extremely small and transparent.
Baby bed bugs are off-whitish. So, they mix up well with bed linen which makes it hard to spot them.
Baby Bed Bug Taking Blood Meal
When the baby bed bugs have their blood meals, they turn into like blood-red spot. Thats when you can detect them with the naked eye.
Early Signs Of Bed Bugs In Your Bed
Bed bugs in bed can be hard to spot. And when you start to notice adult bed bugs crawling on your bed, its a telltale sign that their numbers have increased.
So, to control them, its critical to look for early signs of bed bugs.
Here are three signs that bed bugs leave behind on the bed
If youre waking up with itchy bites on your body, and you cant see any bed bugs on your bed, itll be prudent to look for these signs.
However, the itchy bites can also be a sign of fleas in your bed too.
To protect yourself from bed bug bites, the first thing that you can do is to use mattress encasements.
Mattress encasements will deny bed bugs the access to your skin. Thatll help you a lot in reducing the bed bug bites.
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Advantages Of Mattress Covers For Bed Bug Control:
- Covering a mattress with an encasement provides preventive protection against bed bugs. When bed bugs newly enter a home they make their way to a mattress. Having a mattress cover in place restricts the movement of the bed bugs to the outside of the encasement. Thus covers foil the plan of bed bugs to infest mattress folds and box springs thereby making access to sleeping prey difficult. Therefore mattress encasements can be used to protect new mattresses, even newly bought ones in already infested homes.
- Mattress covers also allow the protection of already infested mattresses. Buying a mattress cover is cheaper than buying a new mattress. Therefore if a mattress has been infested by bed bugs theres no need to panic. Simply using a cover for at least a year can ensure all the bed bugs inside the mattress will die with starvation. After encasing an infested mattress a person can soundly sleep knowing they wont be bitten at night anymore.
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Check For These Signs Of Bed Bugs
Use a flashlight and magnifying glass to spot bed bugs. If you dont find anything on the mattress surface, check the sides. If possible, remove your mattress from the bed base, standing it up on its side to check the bottom of the mattress. With the flashlight and magnifying glass, inspect the surface of your box spring, foundation, or platform as well. Look out for:
- Brownish or reddish live bed bugs, maybe between 1 mm to 6 mm long
- Tiny, speck-like pale yellow bed bug eggs, or eggshells
- Yellowish skin shed by nymphs
- Dark tiny spots from bed bug droppings
- Reddish stains on your mattress from bed bugs that you may have been crushed while you tossed and turned at night
How Long Can Bed Bugs Live In A Mattress
Bed bugs can live in a mattress for several months. While they usually feed every 3 to 7 days, bed bugs can go without food for up to 6 months at a time. They lay dormant and use very little energy, waiting for a human or animal to return. If you were to add a protective covering to your mattress, any bed bugs you trapped inside may survive for up to 6 months. It is best that you wait a full year before removing the covering.
The average bed bug lives for about 6 months and produces up to 250 eggs. This means that infestations only get worse with time. The bed bug population will continue to increase and remain active for an indefinite period. Even if you were to go away for some time, the bugs will linger. They will continue to live in the mattress and surrounding furniture until you have had them removed.
Contact a local pest control company for help and cover your mattress to eliminate any possible survivors. Coverings do not prevent infestations, but they will protect your mattress and starve any lingering bugs the treatment may have missed.
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How Can I Avoid Bringing Bed Bugs Into My Home
- When staying in a hotel, place your bag on a suitcase stand rather than on the bed or floor. Keep the rack away from walls or furniture. When returning home, wash the clothes from your trip and put them in a hot dryer.
- Inspect new and used furniture before bringing it inside. Look in seams, tufts and under cushions.
Bed Bug Inspection Tips
Tip: The common bed bug can not be seen with the naked eye. Since bed bugs are challenging to see, use a magnifying glass.
- Immature bed bugs can be difficult to see. A hand lens or magnifying glass will be very helpful.
- Inspect adjoining rooms where an infestation is found.
- Locate bed bug activity by looking for fecal material spots that they leave, even if you can see no visible bed bugs.
- Look for droppings or fecal material spots they may leave behind, even if you dont see any bed bugs.
- Use an Insecticide Aerosol, such asStryker 54 orPT 565, to flush the bed bugs out of suspected hiding places. These aerosols kill on contact, but the idea is to flush them out for inspection.
- Remember to declutter first. As you declutter, be careful not to spread bed bugs to other rooms.
- Inspect thoroughly. Bed bugs are small and remarkably good at hiding.
- Keep in mind that bed bugs are easy to kill but hard to find. So be thorough with both your inspection and your treatment.
When inspecting, remember the 95-5 rule:
95% of the bed bugs will usually be within 5 feet of the bed.
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Signs Of Bed Bugs On A Mattress
There are several indicators that bed bugs are living inside your mattress or bedding.
The most obvious sign is spotting an active insect scurrying across.
You might also notice rust-colored stains dotting your mattress. These stains are actually dried bloodstains.
This could be blood that was left behind after a feeding, or the remains from bed bugs that were likely crushed in your sleep.
Bed bugs arent fast travelers, so its quite easy for you to roll over them while you toss and turn.
There might also be darker stains present in the mattress, roughly the size of a bullet point. These spots are bed bug feces, which can bleed through the fabric & leave permanent stains if left unwashed.
Bed bugs commonly defecate during feeding sessions.
20% of the time, they will make excrement while feeding to make room for new food in their digestive system.
If you notice translucent, pearl-like objects or pale-yellow skins, then you have evidence of bed bugs reproducing. The former is a sign of bed bug eggs, which hatch roughly 1 week after theyre laid.
Meanwhile, the skins are actually shed from bed bug nymphs.
This shed skin indicates that the larvae are maturing.
A female bed bug lays an average of 1 to 3 eggs per day. Once a larva hatches, it will fully mature after 5 weeks.
What Bed Bugs Look Like On A Mattress
If you have a bed bug infestation, it is best to find it early, before the infestation becomes established or spreads. Treating a minor infestation, while an inconvenience, is far less costly and easier than treating the same infestation after it becomes more widespread.However, low-level infestations are also much more challenging to find and correctly identify. Other insects, such as carpet beetles, can be easily mistaken for bed bugs. If you misidentify a bed bug infestation, it gives the bugs more time to spread to other areas of the house or hitchhike a ride to someone else’s house to start a new infestation.Bites on the skin are a poor indicator of a bed bug infestation. Bed bug bites can look like bites from other insects , rashes , or even hives. Some people do not react to bed bug bites at all.
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Bed Bug Mattress Covers
Mattress covers serve a dual purpose: they trap any bed bugs already inside the mattress, while also preventing any new bed bugs from working their way in.
If you hire a professional bed bug exterminator, then mattress covers can make their job easier.
The bulk of bed bugs will be concentrated in one place.
And any that arent trapped will be exposed out in the open.
Its important to note that certain brands of cover are designed specifically to counter bed bugs. These brands are labeled as bed bug proof or escape-proof, since bed bugs can crawl through the zippers or seams of other types of cover.
Make sure that when you buy a mattress cover, it covers both the mattress and the box spring. In order to work properly, a mattress cover needs to be properly installed: otherwise, bed bugs will continue to pose a threat to you while youre asleep.
Bed bug mattress covers are commercially available in most stores, though choosing which one to buy can be stressful. If youre looking for a recommendation, you can check out our advice on the top bed bug mattress covers.
S To Prevent Bedbug Infestations
Number on the list of means to prevent a bedbug infestation is to avoid traveling to undeveloped countries, and to avoid staying in hotels. Studies claim that bedbugs are more prevalent in cheap hotels and motels) a fact that may make even Clark Howard consider upgrading to better hotels. According to ABC news, University of Arizona microbiologist Charles Gerba, PhD, aka “Dr. Germ,” says”I did a study about seven years that found if you paid more than $50 a night, there was a much greater chance that the room was regularly disinfected. Rooms under $50 weren’t.”
In any hotel:
- Remove the bedspread ,
- Keep your suitcases tightly closed except for the moment you need to get something out.
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Tools For Finding Bed Bugs
While you can see bed bugs with the naked eye, it helps to have a few tools:
- Flashlight to see in the dark crevices where bed bugs hide. We suggest a blight white LED flashlight. Bed bug eggs are more easily seen with an ultraviolet flashlight .
- Magnifying glass
- Collection container to hold any insect you find for identification. To preserve the insect fill the container with either rubbing alcohol or a alcohol based hand sanitizer.
- Tweezers or forceps to collect insects
- Crevice tool to inspect tight places such as a credit card, spatula or putty knife. You can also use compressed air in crevices to flush out the insects.
You can also purchase a bed bug home inspection kit for under $20 for most of the items listed above.
How You Can Treat A Bedbug Infestation
Should you awaken with itchy areas you did not have when you went to sleep, you might have bedbugs, specifically, if you had a used bed or any other used furniture at about the time the bites began.
Other signs you have bedbugs include:
- Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases, mattresses, bed clothes, and walls
- Bed bug fecal spots, eggshells, or shed skins in places that bed bugs hide
- Offensive, musty odor in the bugs’ scent glands
If you think you’re infested, remove all bedding and handle it carefully not to spread the bed bugs even further. Look at the seams within the wood framing. Peel back the material where it’s stapled towards the wood frame. You wouldn’t want the inspection itself to result in bedbugs to spread. Here’s how to locate bedbugs without making them scatter: Go gradually, and âtread lightlyâ. Be gentle while you move products. Bear in mind that if your bed is infested, your bed bugs will probably scatter should you upset their hiding places too quickly. Just do a small area at a time and go about it slowly!
Also, look into the area surrounding your bed, including the inside of books, telephones or radios, as well as electrical outlets. Look inside your closet, because bedbugs can affix to clothing.
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Where To Find Them
Sometimes, you may not see the bugs themselves, but instead the remains they leave behind. This includes:
- red or rust-colored stains on bedsheets or mattress due to the bedbugs being crushed
- bedbug poop, which looks like dark dots that may appear blurry
- small eggs or shells of eggs
You may spot these remains when cleaning or changing bedding. Bedbugs can hide virtually anywhere thats large enough to fit a credit card. Therefore, you can find them not only in a bed, but also:
- in curtain folds
Bedbugs prefer to feed off humans . They usually feed at night while youre sleeping, so youre less likely to be aware of them. However, some bedbugs will feed during the day.
Some ways you can recognize a bedbug bite include:
- a curved-shape pattern to the bedbug bites of usually three to four bites
- intense itching, usually in the morning
- bites that are usually about 2 to 4 millimeters in size
- bites that occur mostly on the arms and legs
- bites that have small blisters on top of them
Bedbug bites may also cause allergic reactions. This can include itching, redness, and swelling at the bug bite site.
Check If It’s Bedbugs
Bedbugs can hide in many places, including on bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind pictures and under loose wallpaper.
Signs of bedbugs include:
- bites often on areas exposed while sleeping, like the face, neck and arms
- spots of blood on your bedding from the bites or from squashing a bedbug
- small brown spots on bedding or furniture
Some people have a reaction to the bites. They can be very itchy and there may be painful swelling.
A severe allergic reaction is also possible but rare.
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