Bed bugs are costly pests that can quickly turn your living environment upside down if they aren't addressed properly. Thankfully, we're going to explain everything you need to know about these pesky bugs and how you should address such a problem in the event they try to overrun your home.

Bed Bug Facts

Here's some helpful information regarding bed bugs:

  • If you have bed bugs, it's likely you (or someone you know) brought them in. They enjoy hitchhiking, so they unwittingly made themselves a guest in your home.
  • Do you have kids coming in from college? If so, there's a higher likelihood you could have bed bugs.
  • Bed bugs love blood, which is why they tend to occupy beds. They cannot survive or breed without it, which explains why they enjoy residing in the place you enjoy spending hours sleeping every day. Also, they can survive up to one year without a drop of blood.
  • If you plan on vacationing, you're at a higher risk for bed bugs. The bugs can hide in your luggage, bags, and clothes. Also, don't assume that a visiting a 5 star hotel or resort will keep you in the clear, as bed bugs can infest such places as well.
  • If you happen to find rows or clumps of bites that look a lot like mosquito bites, you likely have bed bugs. This should be a thing to look out for, since some individuals have no reaction to the itchy bed bug anticoagulant that comes with their bites. For the rest of us, we have immediate or severe reactions and witness large rashes on our bodies. The longer the exposure to their anticoagulant, the worse the rash is going to be.
  • Although they're known for residing in beds, bed bugs can also occupy portable computer, back boards, wall voids, electrical boxes, couches, and chairs.
  • As for the bed bugs themselves, they look like little brown seeds in their youth. When fully grown, they can become 1/4 of an inch and are usually filled with blood (which is likely yours.)
  • As far as your bed, they can leave behind blood on your pillowcases and sheets after feeding. They also leave feces in your mattress. Their feces looks like little black residue that rests in the corners or seams of your bedding.
  • Bed bugs do not carry disease themselves, but they will spread illness in your home.
  • A temperature of 120 F will kill bed bugs. If you believe they're living in your clothing, you can put your clothes through the dryer and washer on the hottest setting. Such temperatures will kill bed bugs at any stage of development.

Ways to Prevent Bed Bug Infestation

If you're looking to prevent bed bugs from making your life a living nightmare, you've come to the right place. Here's a few quick tips to prevent bed bugs from entering (and surviving) in your home.

  • If you're leaving an area that has been infested with bed bugs, you'll want to check your clothes and shoes before you enter your home. If possible, put your clothes in the dryer as soon as possible.
  • In the event you aren't staying at your home and sleeping somewhere else, check the bed before you unpack your belongings. Even if the coast is clear, put your baggage or suitcase on a raised stand. Why? Well, doing so makes it harder for bed bugs to make a home in your luggage. If you're feeling very paranoid about bed bugs entering your luggage, consider putting your stuff into a bathtub. Make sure that when you're unpacking that your property never touches the floor and it is always hung up.
  • When traveling, try to avoid sitting down on any public transportation. If you can't avoid sitting down, make sure you check where you're sitting. Hotel mattress, plane seats, and office chairs all need a quick glance before you decide to rest your legs.
  • Vacuum and monitor your bed at home at least once a month.

Treating Bed Bug Bites

Bed bug bites can be incredibly itchy, annoying, and unsightly. Thankfully, there's a few ways one can alleviate the pain or allergic reactions. Cortisone or other topical ointments/antihistamines  help reduce the itching, which is suggested in the event you're suffering from bed bug bites. The discomfort shouldn't last long, as many bites heal in 1 to 2 weeks post-bite. In order to completely stop bed bug bites, you're going to put in a little effort to prevent them from happening.

Removing Bed Bugs

Removing bed bugs can be quite a bit of work. As they can occupy a wide range of places in the home, they are not easy to completely wipe out. In most instances, people hire professionals to eradicate the bed bug problem. However, there's a few things you can do to eliminate spots for them to hide in.

  • When it comes to your home, remove as much clutter as possible. The bed bugs will have fewer places to hide and an inspection can be conducted with ease.
  • If you hire pest patrol, some request that you pull the furniture from the walls and the mattresses/box springs are stood before they enter your home. Other companies prefer that you leave the property as is before they begin moving things themselves.
  • If you plan on eradicating the bed bug problem yourself, there's a few things you can do to kill these unexpected guests. Many have utilized insect control agents to kill bed bugs with chemicals. However, regular use of such pesticides can be harmful to your health. Some have used vacuums to suck up the insects or heat-treating/wrapping their mattresses to catch and kill their bed bugs.
  • If heat treating your mattress, an hour at 113 degrees will kill them. This can include a commercial steamer or a domestic dryer for clothing. When bed bugs (or their eggs) are exposed to temperatures such as 180 degrees and up, they die on contact. However, you don't want to spend too much time burning them off of everything you own, as leaving this process unattended can cause house fires.
  • As far as your clothing, you're going to want to wear something that bed bugs can't latch onto. Disposable Coveralls along with rubber gloves, so that they can't bite or harm you while you're working. 

In consideration of the information above, hiring a professional to exterminate your bed bug problem might be your best option. Since the problem can escalate quickly and cause long term damage, it's important to squash a bed bug problem as soon as trouble arises.