Looking to learn how to get rid of bed bugs...
Well then, you're in the right place!
In this guide you'll learn:
Bed bugs are quite possible one of the most psychologically disturbing insects on the planet, and should not be taken lightly if you see one crawling about.
From bed bug sprays, to bed bug steamers, and evenbed bug covers, there are many ways to prevent and remove them, but which actually work?
In this guide, we'll be covering bed bug prevention, identification, bed bug bite treatment, and then finally extermination.
There's a lot of information to cover, so let's get started!
For the introduction of this guide, I wanted to write a couple words on the emotional toll bed bugs will take on your mental state and providecomfort in the fact that these bugs can be beaten.
Like I mentioned, bed bugs are psychologically, one of the worst bugs that you might ever come across, causing anxiety, sleepless nights, and increased overall stress.
Female bed bugs reproduce at about 1 egg per day, which take 10 days to hatch and 5 more weeks to grow into an adult. Left unattended, bed bugs can quickly infest your bed or nearby fixtures. What's worse is that bed bugs can infest nearby apartments or floors, which may result in an infestation you never created!
Three Of The Biggest Reasons For Bed Bug Infestations:
Despite the inherent difficulty in removing these terrible insects, there are proven ways to kill bed bugs withoutan exterminator. At certain infestation levels you will need to call an exterminator, and we'll cover later in this guide how to vet your exterminator before having them come out.
That being said, below I've listed a bed bug removal success story to provide that glimmer of hope some of you might need.
DETAILS:This is a story of with a mother with an ex-husband who has bed bugs and her son who brought them over.
THE STORY: The son had come home one day from the ex-husband's house with bug bites around his midsection. At the time, the mother thought the bed bug bites were mosquito bites, perhaps fleas, but not bed bugs. The ex-husband had cats, so it could have also been just an allergic reaction to the the dander right?
Fast forward a couple weeks, and the son was still getting "allergic reactions", so things started to get suspicious. Eventually the mother spotted a mysterious bug on her own bed, killed it, and promptly searched Google for images.
Confirmed. Bed bugs.
The next morning, she called an exterminator out to evaluatethe situation. They had a team of 6 exterminators inspect the entire house, check every crack, crevice, and crawl space a bed bug might go.
The exterminators found that the couch in den where the son slept was the only point of infestation.
With This In Mind The Mom Had Two Options:
The couch was old so mom went with option #2 tossing both the infested couch,the love seat next to it, and the area rug (good decision).
Once the furniture was removed, the exterminators removed all the baseboards and sprayed Bedlam insecticideon all the cracks and crevices in the room. They then took off all the face plates in the room and used a duster to apply insecticidepowder.
After the room was treated, the exterminators instructedmom to leave the room bare untilthe follow-up appointment in2 weeks.
Duringthe follow-up, the exterminators re-checked the room for signs of bed bugs.
No bed bugs... victory...?
...Not so fast.
A couple weeks after the follow-up, mom noticed one bed bug crawling on the living room couch. The fight was not over.
Through her own research, she decided to go out and buy CimeXa (a "green"insecticide), a duster (extremely important), brushes for application, and mattress encasements for all the beds. Mom dustedthe entire houseand then had a relative assist with the encasements. During the encasement installation, mom noticed 3 dead nymphson the box spring desiccated(dried up) due to the use of the dusting. During an inspection of her living room, mom also noticed a dried up adult bed bug under the chair.
OVERALL: It took an initial extermination to remove the majority of the bed bugs, then the use of insecticide, dusters, and mattress encasements to finish the job about a month later.
In order to keep bed bugs out of your life, as the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Taking a few key steps to prevent bed bugs from ever coming into your life can potentially save you thousands of dollars and significant emotional stress.
If bed bugs are going to come into your life, the most likely of scenarios involves you traveling somewhere and bringing them back in your luggage.
Bed bugs don't typically hitchhike on your physical body due to their aversion to warmth, but will take refuge on your clothes or assorted belongings in your bags.
Entomologist Dr. Waldvogel recommends the following to safeguard your luggage from bed bugs when you travel:
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A lot of advice includes checking the mattress and box spring for bed bugs as soon as you arrive to the room, which is good advice. We even talked to Mike Fischer, owner of Fischer's Pest Control in Las Vegas who says bed bugs are very common in high tourist areas (like Las Vegas).
However, just because you spot something doesn't automatically mean it's bed bugs.
So be careful!
Further emphasizing the points from above, putting the clothes you used during travel directly into the washer and dryer could help eliminate any bed bugs you bought with you. The University Of Minnesota breaks this process into three main steps:
3. Avoidsecond-hand furniture/clothes
Using Craigslist for your second hand furniturepurchasing needs may sound like a great idea, but it also begs the question... bed bugs?
I would recommend you entirely avoid second hand furniture or anything else second handunless you're heavily aware of the item'spast ownership. But if youcan't pass up a good deal (I know I can't) Dr. Peek from Oklahoma University put together a couple key ways to go aboutprevention:
What to lookout for with bed bugs?
This picture illustrates black fecal spots "feces" left behind by bed bugs on the corner of a mattress. If you're buying any furniture second hand, keep an eye out for these spots. Here are a bunch more pictures of bed bugs in case you need to see any more examples of what to look out for!
When buying second hand anything from anyone, you should always ask probing questions as far as item history and/or usage. If you're buying from a thrift shop, ask them if they do anything to clothes that come into the store. If any sort of heat treatment is involved when new goods arrive, that is good sign.
We'd also recommend checking out our bed bug steamer and vacuum guide to aid in your heat treatments.
Being able to spot the early signs of bed bugs could mean the difference from a full extermination and killing one bed bug to eliminate the threat. The key is knowing what those early signs look like and what to do about them when you see them. Some early bed bug warning signs include:
Bed Bug Bites
At the start of an infestation, you might get only one or two bed bug bites. But the problem is that they look like and feel almost exactly like mosquito bites, so in the beginning when you're only getting a few, it's easy to write them off and to not care. In my experience, bed bug bites, are WAY itchier than mosquito bites, take significantly longer to fully heal, and are prone to scaring.
Stains On Your Sheets
A second early sign that indicates bed bugs would be stains on your sheets. After bed bugs take a bit of your blood, they attempt to escape, occasionally, you might roll over them, or squish them as they make their exit.
Squishing a bed bug full of blood will of course result in blood on your sheets. This blood should be an early indicator to watch out for.
That's not to say every time there is blood on your sheet, it's bed bugs, but it's just another early sign to be aware of.
What about mattress encasements for bed bugs?
Encasements (box spring and mattress) we're originally created to help with dust mites, but have been re-purposed as a bed bug solution. As for usefulness, there's generally two schools of thought.
Overall, it's up to you whether you think investing in an encasement is a good idea. Personally, I have invested in one just to make it hard for those buggers to invade my life.
Generally speaking bed bugs are easy to identify, but they do have close relatives that look almost exactly like bed bugs, which may make it difficult to positively identify.
To give you an idea, bed bugs are in theCimicidae insect family with over 100 varying species. It's important you understand the difference because what's biting you might not actually be a bed bug.
Bird bugs (also known as "bird mites" or "bird lice") look very similar to bed bugs up close, but they are much smaller resembling "black pepper". An adult bird mite is about .5 mm whereas an adult bed bug is 5mm.
They tend to feed on birds but if the bird dies or leaves it nest, they may crawl into your house in search for a blood meal. According to a Swedish Study, bird bugs are capable of living up to 9 months without re-feeding, so eliminating them once an infestation has begun can be troubling.
What're the differences between bird bugs and bed bugs?
How To Find Them?: If you think you have bird bugs, check your pets first to see if they're living on them. Check also your attic, your gutters, and any adjacent tress which might be coming in contact with your house. They are parasites so the first step to eliminating bird bugs would be to find their source and/or their host and remove it.
Bat bugs a closecousin to the bed bug.
It's often stated that bed bugs are a descendant to the bat bug who fed on cave-dwelling humans years ago.
Bat bugs are the most common type of bugs that are mistaken for bed bugs.
Bat bugs heavily rely on bats for their main source of food and similar to bird bugs, can not reproduce on human blood.
What're the differences between bat bugs and bed bugs?
How To Find Them?: If you think you have bat bugs, immediately check your attic, basement, cellar and/or any other harboring location they might have gotten access too. Once the bats have been removed, your bat bug problem should begin to wane with the use of residual sprays and powders to any cracks and crevices in your home.
People often mistake fleas for being bed bugs, not because they look like bed bugs, but just because theyre in your bed and biting you leaving similar bite marks. Despite their similarities, fleas and bed bugs do have distinct differences.
What are the differences?
Fleas were partially responsible for killing thousands of people during the black plague. They would get infected through biting rats and transmit the disease to humans. Everyone reacts differently when bitten by fleas. Some people will break out into large rashes, where others just have some itchy red spots.
How to find them?:If youhave fleas you should first look to your pets and then any other animals that may have taken residencein your home.
Pets: If you have pets, its likely that they fleas are fromoutside, at the vet, or from another pet or animal. Once your petcatches them, theyll likely start spreadingin their bedding or other areas where they sleep. Most of you reading this probably let your pets sleep with you at night, which willresult in you also catching fleas. If this is the case, I recommend shampooing your pet with approved insecticide,cleaning their sleeping area, and investing in a flea collar.Consider also placing flea traps around the sleeping area, which would catch the fleas to confirm there is in fact a problem.
Other Animals: If you dont have pets, you canstill catch fleas throughsquirrels or other rodents that may live in your attic or crawl spaces. This is why it's vitally important for homeowners to seal up access points to their homes!
Check out our complete guide to fleas if you want to learn more!
Mosquitoes are another common insect to confused bed bugs for. For most people, they might want to convince themselves that they are being bit by mosquitoes rather than face the reality that bed bugs have invaded their lives.
The thing is, there arent a lot of major differences between mosquito bites and bed bug bites, which makes it difficult to assess based simply on the bite. That being said, you need to look more at circumstantial evidence to make a determination if its a bed bug thats ailing you.
For example, do you live in Florida without any windows screens? Chances are that mosquitoes are feasting on you.
Whatre The Differences?
How to find them?Mosquitoes can be a real nuisance if you have them. Some common mosquito removal tips include removing standing water sources around your house. These water sources provide a habitat for mosquitoes to thrive and reproduce. Removing these water sources in conjunction with other methods to getting rid of mosquitoes will alleviate your mosquito troubles.
Bed bugs are nocturnal creatures, rarely seenduring the day. To correctly confirm if you have bed bugs you should preferably catch one so that you can show a professional, but if you cant, the key signs of bed bugs are as follows:
In my experience, the bite marks left from bed bugs are much more itchy that mosquito bites and stay for a longer period of time. Also, the bed bug bites typically left miniature scars in the areas where I was bitten.
Also consider using bed bug traps that can be placed underneath your bed at night. These traps have a powder like substance that make it difficult for bed bugs to climb up your bed and instead capture them in a bowl. Once they're captured you can easily show an exterminator to correctly identify your problem.
Below is a video that goes into depth on finding bed bugs so you can get rid of them.
How To Identify Bed Bug Bites?
So youve gotten through the first two sections and feel mostly comfortable that you have bed bugs. So what does it all mean?
Now you have determined that bed bugs are your problem, this section will talk all about what it means to be bitten by a bed bug, what bites from bed bugs look like, and how to treat bites when bitten.
When a bed bug bites you, it will leave a similar mark to that of a mosquito or flea, which is why it is hard to ascertain the nature of the bug infestation you have simply from a bite.
Youll likely develop a swollen red lump area, which will itch and remind you that you have a pest problem.
Bed bug bites (and mosquito bites) itch because you are allergic to the anticoagulant the bugs use to prevent you from feeling the bite itself.
Whats interesting about bed bug bites is that not everyone will react to them, and some people will never get a red bump to indicate that there is a problem.
The range of your allergic reaction will depend on many genetic factors. Entomologist Michael Potter notes that over 30% of people will never react to a bed bug bite. What's really bad is that if you arent allergic to bed bugs, youll never notice you have them until you start actually seeing them, and if you start seeing them, you can bet that there is a full blown infestation somewhere.
Generally, you should not worry about that actual bite of a bed bug. It has been said that bed bugs contain certain neutralizing factors, which reduce the chance they'll transmit diseases. That being said, bed bugs are not known carriers of many diseases but there are a few exceptions.
For example,a study published by Oxford University Press found that bed bugs were the likely cause of sickness associated with a 67 year old man, where he developed rashes and skin irritations after being bit by many bed bugs.
Another study published by Austral Entomology cited two researchers who purposely let bed bugs bite them and developed skin rashes, hives, and itching. They began to feel lethargic and had bouts of profuse sweating. Whats strange is that these researchers have been bitten before with minimalreaction.
Assuming you dont have a significant allergic reaction to bed bugs, youll probably be okay if you have a number of bed bites. Aside from scratching and a little emotional distress, youll healwithout the need fromspecial medicine.
For more information about the dangers of bed bugs, checkout this article where we break down the topic even more!
Bed Bug Warning
Going through this guide, I'm sure some of you are itching to take things into your own hands. You just want this problem to go away as soon as possible, thus you go out and buy some sprays and start fumigating your house. I get it, we are human and we like instant results. But DIY bed bug removal is not recommended. It is highly likely you'll end up making the problem worse.
If you have bed bug bites, the best way to treat them is to avoid scratching the area and apply antiseptic creams or lotions and take an antihistamine.
How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs (COMPLETE GUIDE)