Remember the old saying “goodnight, don’t let the bed bugs bite”? Bed bugs are small, flat bugs that live off of both human and animal blood. Although their bites aren’t enough to cause a major disease, having bed bugs in the home is a nuisance. From skin irritation to social issues, a bed bug infestation compromises one's quality of life.
Female bed bugs can produce hundreds of eggs in one year, making them difficult to get rid of. Their offspring are smaller than specks of dusts. Because they're so small, they’re often undetected. While the first signs of these pests may be overwhelming, there are ways to get rid of them. Here’s a guide on where they come from, common signs one has them, and how to get rid of them once and for all.
Even though they can’t fly, bed bugs are able to get around by latching onto people’s clothing, luggage, and furniture. Since they’re so small, they’re able to often go undetected until they bite their victim. Their flat bodies are the width of a credit card, making it easy to fit into tight spaces.
Bed bugs often travel in packs. They hide during the day in groups until their victim falls asleep. Then, they feed on your blood for up to ten minutes. Starting as the size of an apple seed, bed bugs’ bodies become engorged after a feeding. Bed bugs that haven’t reached maturation are called nymphs. Nymphs require about five feedings before they fully grow and shed their skin. This process can take up to a month.
Usually, bed bugs start off in bedding to make it easier to feed on their victim. Over time, they scatter throughout the rooms and connected living spaces like hotel rooms and apartments. Unlike other bug infestations, a bed bug infestation is not an indication of poor hygiene.
Since they’re hard to see, most people become aware of a bed bug infestation once they’ve been bitten. For the most part, bed bug bites are painless. During their feeding, they inject a numbing agent into their victim so they won’t feel them attack. However, they eventually become red and itchy welts.
Many people mistake these bumps for mosquito or flea bites, especially in warmer months. Unlike mosquito bites, bed bug bites are typically red or purplish bumps with a punctum in the middle. Punctums are indicators of where the bite occurred. Bed bug bites also have a linear formation opposed to random bites.
In addition to bite marks, people can tell there’s an infestation by seeing physical bugs, as well as blood and fecal residue on sheets. According to the CDC, their bodies are visually the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny. Bed bugs are commonly found on mattresses, box springs, couches, and even in the walls. Checking closets, electronics, and books are also places these pests will hide.
To prevent a bed bug infestation, there are a number of precautions to take including:
Once someone realizes they have an infestation, there are things they can do, including:
Having bed bugs can be inconvenient. However, they don't have to be the end of the world. By watching for signs and routinely making it difficult for them to live, anyone can prevent and eliminate infestations.
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