If you ask someone what their biggest fear is, some might say ghosts, thunder, sharks, or even aliens. But others might be afraid of something entirely different — bed bugs.
For many, even the words “bed bugs” give them the creeps, and for good reason. Bed bugs are some of the most difficult insects to get rid of and once you’ve got a full-blown infestation, you’ve got a major problem on your hands.
So you may be asking yourself “what is the main cause of bed bugs and how can I prevent them?”
Causes of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are most easily spread throughout travel. They may attach themselves to you or your luggage without you knowing one day, only to find that they’ve spread the next. Now anywhere you go, you will be taking the bed bugs with you. Its one of the reasons Bed Bugs have spread throughout the USA over recent years.
Public transportation and hotel beds are some of the easiest places to catch bed bugs. It doesn’t matter how dirty or how clean it is where you are; a bed bug may be hiding in plain sight. Because they are so small, they aren’t easy to spot, meaning that you could be unknowingly placing yourself in a line of fire. Bed bugs are attracted to areas inhabited by a lot of people. If you live in a large city or share a home with a handful of people, you are more at risk for getting bed bugs.
It goes without saying that beds are the most common areas where bed bugs are found. However, they can also be found in all types of furniture, especially secondhand furniture. If you’re bringing something home that’s been used in the past, you may want to inspect it closely before taking it inside.
Preventing Bed Bugs
Now that you know what causes bed bugs and where they can be found, it’s important to know how to prevent yourself from getting them.
When traveling, the best thing you can do to prevent getting bed bugs is to keep your luggage and anything else you may be travelling with safe. If you are checking in to a hotel, keep your luggage as far away from the bed as possible. That way, if your bed ends up having bed bugs, they can’t spread to your belongings.
While it may be hard to do this, try to avoid places such as movie theaters, public transportation, hostels, dorms, and campsites. These are prime targets for bed bugs because people are always coming in and out of these areas.
If you do end up going somewhere where you risk exposure to bed bugs, be sure to check your clothing and personal belongings before going inside your home. Another good way to prevent bed bugs from crawling into your mattress is to purchase a high-quality mattress protector. These are meant to keep bed bugs from burrowing into the crevices of your pillows and sheets and will keep you safe.
Try not to leave areas in your home piled high with clothing or sheets because they could become a breeding ground for bed bugs.
Symptoms of Bed Bugs
Because bed bugs are so undetectable, you may not even know that you have an infestation right under your nose. However, there are some telltale signs you can look out for that may tell you that a bed bug is nearby.
Red, itchy spots on your body are the main sign that you have a bed bug problem. Bed bugs typically bite in a triangle so if you notice any itchy red spots on your body in that shape, you may want to call an exterminator.
A bed bug bite goes unnoticed until the red spots show up because when a bed bug bites, it emits an anesthetic that keeps you from feeling the bite. When you go to do laundry, check your sheets for any signs of blood or fecal material. The blood on your sheet may be caused from a bite while the fecal matter is from the bed bug. You should also check for bed bug eggs as these insects tend to reproduce quickly.
Identifying a Bed Bug
Many people are unaware of what a bed bug actually looks like. They are often confused by other insects that may be similar. However, a bed bug has certain distinguishing features.
When it comes to their physical description, bed bugs are round in shape and are very flat. Unlike other insects, they are not black but more of a red or brown color. Bed bugs also molt, so you can look for signs of molting in or around your bed.
How to Get Rid of Them
Now comes the hard part. Getting rid of bed bugs is a huge pain and seemingly never-ending. While your best bet would be to call an exterminator in most cases, you can also do things on your own to prevent them from spreading any further in the meantime.
First, you will want to wash all of your clothes in a machine using the hottest water setting. This is a sure-fire way to get rid of bed bugs as they won’t survive the washer and dryer. Secondly, you will want to strip your bed of any sheets and inspect your mattress. If bed bugs are present, you are better off getting rid of the contaminated mattress and buying a new one.
You are also going to want to vacuum as much as possible in order to get rid of any eggs that may be around. Clean up any areas of your home that may be full of clutter as clutter makes it easier for bed bugs to hide.
Lastly, even after an exterminator is gone, you may want to consider purchasing a pesticide made specifically to kill bed bugs. Continuously spray it all over your home, focusing on areas around your bed and any corners you may have.
At the end of the day, you can prevent getting bed bugs by being careful of where you sit when you’re in public and making sure that you keep your belongings safe when staying at a hotel or hostel. Once you’ve got an infestation, bed bugs are difficult to kill so make sure that you’re doing everything you can to prevent them.