Bedbugs are small parasitic insects that are reddish-brown and about the size of apple seeds. They survive by biting exposed human skin and feeding on the blood. They do not spread any diseases, but cause other related public health and economic issues. These insects love to hide in cracks and gaps of beds, headboards, box springs, bed frames, and any items or objects found around a bed. They also set up camp in mattresses and hems of clothes and bedding.
What causes bedbugs? They love dark spaces that are not too warm or too cold, and as long as there is a good supply of human blood, they will thrive and infest the space. Bedbugs get into your home mostly by hitching rides on pets, luggage, or on your clothes or the clothes of people who come into your home.
If you have a bedbug infestation in your home and are at a loss on what to do, then this article is for you. It will cover everything you need to know to help you understand why bedbugs are in your home in the first place. This way, you will be in a better position to look at the various ways of dealing with the bedbug problem in your home.
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Causes of bed bug infestations
You need to know that bed bugs are pros at staying hidden from human beings. Bed bugs are not only small and English wingless, but their bodies also flattened, making it easy for them to hide in tight spaces that are out of sight, Lake inside furniture or behind headboards. Their flat bodies also prevent them from being smashed when someone rolls over at night.
Even the bed bugs love to remain hidden, they will still move out of their hiding spaces to look for food even when the host is nearby. To avoid being detected, these pests usually carry out their missions in the middle of the night when their hosts’ guard is down. They bite their victim snd inject them with a mild anesthetic that keeps them from feeling pain, which helps bedbugs to remain unnoticed.
The two most common causes of bed bugs are traveling and second-hand furniture. Bed bugs often hitchhike on people, their clothing, or any other personal belongings, and that is how they will find their way to other places. Let us now go into details about these causes:
Among the top concerns for travelers, such as loss of luggage and food poisoning, are bedbugs. Some of the factors that greatly contribute to this are lack of awareness and attitude of travelers. More often than not, travelers think that they can never truly be affected by bedbugs, and hence they are not cautious enough.
Private homes are not only the ones affected by bedbugs, because some businesses are also in the mix. Bedbugs were once a major concern for hotels, but now, even businesses like universities and colleges, retail stores, hospitals, libraries, and movie theatres, all experience bedbugs problems.
In the United States, increased global travel has been cited as one of the largest causative factors leading to increased bed bug problems in the last two decades. Have a look at the following tips to avoid tagging along bedbugs while traveling:
- Inspect beds: when you arrive in the hotel, you need to carefully inspect the beds in which you will be sleeping. Pull back the sheets and examine closely the mattress and this seams of box s+prings any signs of bed bugs. Some of the signs include the sighting of bugs, whether living or dead. As mentioned earlier, bed bugs are the size of Apple seeds. Their waste looks a lot like black smears which resemble a permanent marker trail or stain.
- Keep luggage far away from the bed: you can reduce the chance of bed bugs hitching onto your luggage by placing the luggage as far away as possible from the bed. Keep the luggage in other places that are far away from the bed like the bathroom.
- Inspect your luggage before both packing and unpacking: make sure you carefully pack your luggage will you pack up to return home. When you finally get home, check your luggage again before you unpack to avoid introducing any bed bugs to your home.
- Wash clothes: you need to put all the clothes that are in your luggage into the dryer when you return comma, just to kiss big bucks have hitched on your clothes. These insects me survive washing, so you should place the clothes in the dryer for at least 20 minutes to kill the bugs in any life stage. Bed bugs cannot survive in very high temperatures so after drying, you need to wash the clothes in hot soapy water and then dry them again.
Second-hand furniture is very popular, and this is another common cause of infestations by bedbugs. When you bring infested pieces of furniture into a home or a business, you can introduced bedbugs. The blame can also be on rented furniture. For example, you can rent furniture to a property filled with bedbugs, then have it returned to you without enough inspection. You should know that bedbugs can survive for some months without feeding on blood and, therefore, you might not get rid of them just by simply isolating pieces of infested furniture.
Many renters and homeowners often bring bed bugs unintentionally into their homes when they pick up discarded furniture and bring them into their homes. This is because not all infested items thrown out are marked as being infested with bugs.
Have a look at the following tips to use to avoid bringing bed bugs with second-hand furniture.
- Use common sense: bed bugs like to hide in natural gaps and cracks. It is tough to support them and it can get even tougher to get rid of them once you bring them into your home. Checking for these bed bugs in items that look very clean and safe is even harder, so avoid scavenging for free furniture dumpsters or alleys.
- Avoid buying stuffed furniture: padded furniture like sofas can be very good breeding places for bed bugs because once they get in, it is almost impossible to detect them. Moreover, if the seller vacuumed the furniture without knowing that there were bedbugs, he may have destroyed the evidence of the pests. If you want to remove bed bugs from upholstered furniture, steam cleaning will not do the job. The extreme heat that is needed to kill the bugs and eggs usually does not penetrate the padding deep enough.
- Do not believe everything you hear: most sellers of second-hand furniture are indeed completely honest, but then you should not believe everything they tell you especially when they claim to have bed-bug free. It can be difficult to know if furniture items are free from bed bugs, so just be on the safe side.
- Inspect agents that you buy: it can be hard to identify bed bugs, but they are not invisible. If you’re observant and careful enough you can be able to detect the signs that they leave behind. Look at the following signs of bed bug activity:
- The bed bugs sometimes deposit some small black sports after feeding. Deaconed be visible in groups of spots on both hard and soft surfaces. You may also observe some reddish streaks or smears on fabrics.
- Bed bugs are always hanging so you should check the backs and undersides of furniture like shelves, tables, and headboards for live bed bugs or molted skins.
- They like to hide inside furniture cracks, creases, seams, voids and crevices. These pests can even be found in nail holes, screw holes, and louvered vents. Get a flashlight and shine it into these narrow openings to inspect them.
- Buy hard and uncomplicated items: if indeed you at willing to take the risk of buying used furniture, at least choose the ones that are hard which surfaces like solid wood or plastic. Sometimes, bed bugs can hide inside books, and the seams and pleats on lampshades. they also take refuge inside fans, lamps, and electronics such as clocks. Therefore, you could get hard cleanable surfaces with very few seams or crevices for less risk of infestation.
When you do decide to invest in a second-hand piece of furniture, you should consider did using heat to treat it in a dark plastic bag, just to be sure that it does not keep either bed bugs or their eggs. Please remember to use 110 degrees Fahrenheit for not less than 3 hours. If the size of the item does not allow you to do this, you can place it in quarantine in an empty tub. Bed bugs cannot escape the sides of bathtubs due to their slipperiness, so they will be easily contained.
Facts to keep in mind when dealing with bedbugs
- Heat will kill them – The temperature has to be not less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, for at least three hours nonstop, and this sounds like a tall order. On hot days, you can sanitize small items inside dark sealed paper bags.
- Cold will kill them – As recommended by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, you should expose bedbugs to temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit for not less than a week.
- You cannot starve them out – An adult bed bug could go for more than a year, even 18 months, without feeding on blood. It is, therefore, possible for pieces of furniture to say in storage areas for a long time and still harbor the bugs.
- They are masters of concealment – Bedbugs are small in size, with a length of not more than a quarter of an inch, which makes it easy for them to squeeze themselves and their eggs into the tiniest of furniture joints and cracks.
How to get rid of bedbugs
If you are troubled by a bedbug infestation, you should gather all of your bedding and clothing that has bedbugs and wash them in hot water. Next, dry them for not less than 30 minutes. Also, cover an infested mattress and box spring inside a zippered cover that has been labeled “bed-bug proof”, then leave the covers on for not less than a year. Don’t forget to vacuum the bedrooms regularly.
Steam cleaning will also do the job, because bed bugs cannot survive in high temperatures. Steam clean infested areas at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use a hairdryer if a steam cleaner is not available.
Yet another option for dealing with bed bugs is baking soda, which absorbs moisture on the bugs and kills them. For this method to work, sprinkle baking soda on infested areas as well as the surrounding areas. After letting the soda sit for an hour or so, vacuum these areas. You need to repeat this procedure for a few days until you are sure you are free from bedbugs.
If the worst happens, and you are rendered unable to deal with the bedbugs on your own, the next course of action to take is to contact pest control services, who will then deal with the bugs professionally.
Bedbugs can travel at a speed of 3-4 feet per minute on most surfaces. Because of their size, this speed is like that of an adult human being sprinting. Therefore, this is why it is so easy for them to travel between floors and rooms, not mentioning finding new hiding spots.
Isopropyl alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol, is a proven way of killing both bedbugs and their eggs. However, it is not an effective method because the alcohol needs to be applied directly to the bedbugs, which can be very tricky because bedbugs are really good at hiding.
It is possible to kill these bugs with sprays. However, if played improperly, sprays can be toxic. You should avoid using pesticides if you are untrained. Moreover, bedbugs can survive even the vilest methods used against them. Some even grow to be immune to these pesticides if they are wrongly used. Therefore, the best option is to call a professional exterminator for help.