I enjoy writing about home improvement and household pest control.
Eliminate Bed Bugs From Your Home!
In order to get rid of these pests, you need to understand how they work. Getting rid of bed bugs can be a tricky task because they are expert hitchhikers. The best thing you can do is to entrust the task with an experienced pest control professional. However, if you are planning to do it yourself, I've provided you with great tips and information about these critters to help you in your battle. That way, you can use your knowledge to eliminate them and keep them away.
- How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
- What Are Bed Bugs?
- What Attracts Bed Bugs?
- How Can You Know If You're Infected?
- Bed Bug FAQ's
- How to Avoid Bed Bugs When Traveling
- How to Treat Bed Bug Bites
- How DDT Affects Bed Bugs
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
- Bedding and garments need to be washed in boiled water, preferably at 120°F.
- Dry clean all your clothes.
- For items that cannot be washed, wrap them in a transparent plastic bag and place the bag outdoors where the temperature can reach 120°F.
- Use well-known insecticides to kill bed bugs.
- Kill the bugs by freezing them. Although it’s a bit difficult and time-consuming, you can save this trick for the wintertime.
- Steam your carpets above 120°F.
- Vacuuming the house may not eliminate each and every egg and bug, but it can help get rid of them to a degree.
- Rubbing alcohol can kill bugs that come in contact with it, but you cannot rely solely on this method.
- Buy a bed bug spray that contains IGR (Insect Growth Regulator), which is very effective if the infestation is small.
- Reduce clutter in your home. With less clutter, they have fewer places to hide and reproduce.
- Non-toxic and pet-friendly, diatomaceous earth is an environmentally friendly way to kill all kinds of insects, including bed bugs. You can find it in powdered and spray forms.
- Some oils like tea tree and neem oil can't kill bed bugs, but they work well to repel them. Tea tree oil is an extract from the Melaleuca alternifolia plant—it can cause various health problems with pet birds, cats, and small dogs. If there are pets in the house, look for other safer choices. If you use the oil, apply it in small quantities to the skin to repel bed bugs. Since they are active at night, apply it before bedtime.
What Are Bed Bugs?
A bed bug (Cimex lectularius) is a small, blood-sucking parasite that feeds on the blood of warm-blooded animals and humans. A bed bug begins its life as a white egg about 1mm long. It takes 10 days to hatch, and they grow into an adult in six weeks. An adult may grow up to eight millimeters in size.
- They belong to the insect family Cimicidae.
- There are different types of bed bugs in existence.
Bed bugs are mainly found in the bedroom—hotels, inns, and private homes alike. These insects, with their flat bodies, can hide in tiny chinks in and around the bed. They wait for their prey (us) to sleep. Then, they come out poking their snout into our skin to suck our blood. They are most active about an hour before dawn.
Their bite causes itchy red bumps similar to mosquito bites. The color of a bed bug can be reddish-brown to brown. The more they eat, the darker they become. Immature bed bugs (nymphs) can be translucent or light tan in color. They are often red in color after feeding and are attracted to heat.
- A bed bug bite is typically a red spot with a small central bulge around the sting site. The slot-opening is still visible. Usually, you can find several bumps together.
What Attracts Them?
Contrary to popular belief, dirty places are not a source of bed bugs. They need warm blood, and they spread wherever it is available. It doesn't matter if the area is tidy or dirty.
They spread very quickly and can hide very well. You can catch bed bugs from public places like the theatre or hotel rooms. They usually travel via clothes, luggage, coats, or whatever they can get. Whenever you come in contact with anything that carries bed bugs, you are attacked and become the new carriers.
- Bed bugs can hide anywhere in your home: closets, behind baseboards, inside beds, etc.
- The more cluttered your home is, the more hiding places exist for bed bugs.
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Bed Bug Symptoms
You know when the itching starts and looking at the bites (possibly several of them) that bed bugs are a problem in your life. If they look similar to the pictures above, you’ve been attacked by bed bugs.
- You can see rusty-colored blood spots on your sheets and furniture where bed bugs concentrate.
- If the insects are in great numbers, you can smell a sweet, musty odor.
It is hard to tell if you’ve been bitten by a bed bug because they inject an anesthetic and coagulant which prevents a person from realizing they are bitten.
Other symptoms of bed bug bites include the following:
- Skin problems
Common Questions About Bed Bugs
- Can you see them? Yes. They can be seen, but it is difficult as they are experts at hiding. You may need to thoroughly check the whole bed, bed sheets, clothes, and luggage.
- How big are they? Adult bed bugs are usually 4-5 mm in length. They are completely flat, which makes it difficult to spot them. Young bed bugs are much smaller as 1.6 mm long. You can easily see a bed bug by putting little effort into looking.
- Are bed bugs dangerous? Unlike other insects, bed bugs are not very dangerous. They are simply irritating. In rare cases, they can transmit the hepatitis B virus. Also, the saliva they inject can cause allergic reactions in some people.
- Do they fly? No, they do not fly. Bed bugs do not have wings.
- Does alcohol kill them? Alcohol can kill bed bugs, but you cannot rely on alcohol to eliminate them entirely. Rubbing or spraying alcohol kills bed bugs that come in contact with it. It will not continue to kill them unless you spray alcohol periodically, which is not a good option. Also, alcohol does not kill bed bug eggs.
- How do they spread? Bed bugs can spread easily. The most common vehicles are clothes and luggage. They also travel via purses, suitcases, laptop bags, etc. That's how they make their way to hotel rooms, offices, hospitals, and any other building.
- Where do bed bugs hide? Because their bodies are flat, they can hide under the smallest spots like the border of beds, under the mattress, edges of carpets, couches, cracks in the walls and ceilings, in your pillows, under your bed sheets, behind electrical plugs and wall sockets, in your cupboards and dressers, or under furniture. In fact, bed bugs prefer any fabric materials. They can travel pretty good distances, too. Expect them to be able to be found anywhere in the room.
How to Treat Bed Bug Bites
Here is a simple method to get rid of bed bug bites quickly and easily.
What You'll Need
- Antibacterial soap
- Anti-itch cream
- Wash the affected area with warm water. Apply soap to the area. Hand wash it gently but thoroughly. Rinse the area with warm water until all the soap is removed.
- Pat the area dry with a towel. Do not rub or scrub your skin. Apply the anti-itch cream to the area, following the instructions on the package. Gently apply the cream, but do not scratch or rub the area with a lot of pressure.
- Place the ice pack on the affected area. Leave it on for about 15 minutes to reduce the swelling.
How to Avoid Bed Bugs When Traveling
Before you book hotels, read the reviews online. Most travelers will not post fake reviews about bed bugs attack because they don’t have time for this.
When you're at the hotel, do the following steps:
- Look for the signs of bed bugs in the room. The easy way to do this is to check the mattresses and bed sheets thoroughly for any dark spots: They may be dried bed bug feces. Other things to look for are blood stains, discarded bed bug skins, a sweet almond smell, and white bed bug eggs.
- Check the rooms before you pay.
- Always use cabinets and drawers to keep your clothes and luggage.
What Happens When a Bed Bug Bites You?
How DDT Affects Bed Bugs
Before World War II, bed bug infestations were common. After the introduction of DDT in the mid-20th century, however, bed bug infestations became less and less frequent.
- DDT is a synthetic pesticide mass-produced in the 1940s. It was found to be useful against mosquitoes, bed bugs, and other insects. However, it was also found to harm people and was eventually banned in many countries, including the United States.
- DDT reduced the presence of bed bugs in the 1940s and 1950s. The pesticide was continued to use until the 1970s. By this time, DDT was not able to kill bed bugs because they developed immunity.
Bed bugs developed immunity to DDT in the 1950s. Now, the pesticide serves only as an anesthesia for the insect, causing it to fall rather than killing it. The recent upsurge in infections worldwide is associated with several factors, including the increase in international travel and resistance to insecticides.
Bed Bug Traps
DIY Bed Bug Monitor
"The Missouri Method" Bed Bug Trap
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2014 Akhil Dev
Share Your Bed Bug Horror Stories!
George Wainaina on August 24, 2020:
How do I get rid of them in my room completely pls
Whitehouse on August 16, 2020:
How do i get rid of bed bugs
David Mmari on August 08, 2020:
I hate bugs because they lose my conciousness
Hillary on July 06, 2020:
Thanks for the tips
Anders on July 06, 2020:
I have lots and lots of bed bugs,,thinking sprayed chemic,it's not effective!can't they be killed by heating up my rooms?60"Celsius with big fan's and if so,,I get sure all of them are dead after not working with powderpuff? Sincearly Andy
Samuel on June 03, 2019:
Thanks for the tips I hate dose f**k
Jummie on January 15, 2019:
How I hate bed bugs! Thanks for the tips.
kill em all on June 10, 2015:
Nasty little f***ers
Dianna Mendez on June 19, 2014:
Oh my, I hate to hear of this bug and its damages to others. Thanks for the tips on dealing with them.