Learn How To Spot Bed Bugs And Combat The Infestation
Bed bugs have entered the public consciousness in a big way, with infestations cropping up in news headlines nationwide. These pests have become common enough that there is a national registry set up for the public to check whether there have been sightings in apartments or hotels. Bed bugs are such a menace because they bite and feed on human blood.
How To Check For Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are often described as cryptic and mysterious since they hide deep in fabrics and furniture and only come out at night. One of the most reliable (and painful) ways to detect their presence is by bite marks on your body. If you go to bed and wake up with mysterious bite marks, you should check for other signs of infestation immediately.
Signs Of A Bed Bug Infestation
Due to their miniscule size, bed bugs are notoriously hard to see, and can often be found indirectly. A sure sign of an infestation is to find bed bug fecal spotting in beds and on furniture. These appear as dark or black stains or smears from the digested blood that they excrete. Seek signs in these places:
- On top of, on the bottom of, and inside of the box spring
- The back of the headboard
- Underneath cushions
- On and underneath furniture frames
If you find these dark smears, round eggs, or living bed bugs, these are absolute signs of an infestation.
How Infestations Spread
If you suspect an infestation in your home, it is natural to ask where these bugs came from. The most common sources of bed bug transmission and infestation are:
- Buying used furniture with an established bed bug infestation
- Staying at a hotel with bed bugs, which then nest in your luggage and ride home with you
- Vacating the clothing of guests staying in your home
Stopping Bed Bug Infestations Before They Start
Since bed bugs often hitchhike into your home, one of the best ways to combat bed bugs is to prevent them from ever getting into your home in the first place. Before staying at any hotel, check your destination on the national bed bug registry. When you get to a hotel, check the mattress, headboard, linens, and light fixtures for evidence of bed bugs. Immediately request a new room (or even go to a new hotel) if you find any signs of an infestation.
When possible, avoid the temptation of bringing used furniture into your home from yard sales, estate sales, or even from the side of the road. No matter what kind of deal you might get, it is not worth the added bonus of bed bugs.
Remember that bed bugs can travel in clothing, anything fabric-covered, or even cracks in wooden furniture. Don’t make the costly mistake of thinking they only come in mattresses or sofas.
Fighting An Existing Infestation
There are do-it-yourself methods available to homeowners to combat bed bug infestations. Bed bugs are killed by temperatures over 113 degrees, so washing all of your bedding, clothes, and luggage in very hot water can work. Rigorous vacuum may also help, but homeowners should dispose of the vacuum bag immediately, sealed in a plastic bag. Due to the bed bug’s elusive nature, the most comprehensive bed bug treatment can be performed by a professional.
In the end, prevention is still the best cure for bed bug infestations.