We should accept it that the bed bugs are back and spreading again throughout the world, leaving people struggling and scrambling as to how to figure out a way to get rid of them. Sometimes many people feel that if they accidentally get bed bugs, there’s a stigma attached to them.
There’s a precise level of embarrassment as some feel that bed bugs are related to groups, such as the poor, less lucky, or by those who don’t substantially maintain a high commonplace of household cleanliness and hygiene. However, this can be the furthest from reality. The truth is that bed bugs are often inherited by “transference.”
What they do is hitch a ride to the destination of their next victim(s). Yes, that is correct. They hitch a ride with those that they will soon terrorize. It does not make a difference if you live in a two-bedroom apartment or a $4,000,000 mansion; you can still get bed bugs. They can invade and become a severe nuisance to anyone regardless of an individual’s sex, gender, and race, social or financial status in life.
The reason why this happens is that these “pests” may crawl into a purse, luggage, clothing, or even a coat pocket. Then they travel from one place to another wherever you go.
As a result, they then end up in: hotels, motels, airplanes, automobiles, buses, trains, cruise liners, lobbies, restaurants, movie theaters, schools (with your children), and many other unsuspecting locations. They then disembark from their ‘”transport carrier” and embed themselves in the furniture and other hiding places.
When another victim comes along, they ride again to wherever that destination may happen to take them. In this case, they travel to your home or domicile.
Unfortunately, once it becomes known that you have a bed bug problem or infestation, individuals will many times avoid your home, office, or business so as not to come in contact with them. There is a general air of disgust and revulsion associated with the territory.
Understandably, many potential tenants won’t even consider living in a building with a history of bed bugs. Yes, even your best friend may not want to hug you, as they usually do, for fear of getting one of these little stowaways. At times a dinner invitation may be rescinded. The stigma can even go as far as affecting or placing in jeopardy a person’s livelihood.
Different Types of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs most likely have a specific purpose in nature. One of the most common types of bed bugs is known by the Latin entomological term “Cimex Lectularius.“
Other types of bed bugs
The Tropical bed bug
(Cimex hemipterus) feeds on human hosts as well but prefers more tropical regions such as Florida.
(Cimex adjunctus) are also found in tropical areas. The primary feed of these bugs is mostly bats, but sometimes they even make humans as their host.
The Mexican Chicken Bug
(Haematosiphon inodora) can be found in North America. It resembles the bed bugs. However, they are ordinarily found on poultry farms and choose domesticated fowl and bird species as hosts.
A word of caution: It is of utmost importance to accurately identify bed bugs before beginning infestation treatment. Incorrect control techniques will prove ineffective and may even, at times, prove to make matters worse.
It is important that you get in touch with your local pest control experts to arrange for a private inspection and consultation session. Bed bug infestations increased and were common in the 1940s, 1950s, and even 1960s. It was only by use of the pesticide DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) that led to their relative extermination.
But since the ban of the harmful chemical, the bugs have been making a forceful rebound. In the past decade, they have begun making a comeback in the United States and a host of other countries. This is the result of various reasons, including an increase in international travel.
DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) is an organochlorine pesticide that’s a colorless, tasteless, and nearly odorless substance. It had been first synthesized in 1874. However, its insecticidal properties weren’t discovered until around 1939.
A Swiss chemist, Paul Hermann Muller, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medication in 1948 for his discovery of the high potency of DDT as a contact poison against many forms of arthropods. It conjointly worked effectively; as a result, it had a residual impact that killed bed bugs long when it’s initial application.
After the war ended, DDT was made available as an agricultural insecticide. In 1962, a literary work “Silent Spring” by American biologist Rachel Carson was published. This publication highlighted the effects that were happening in the environment due to the spray of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane.
The book recommended that dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane and different pesticides might cause cancer, which their general agricultural usage was a threat to life.
DDT was formally banned in the United States in 1972. Later, it was banned for agricultural usage globally under the Stockholm Convention.
Dealing with a bed bug invasion may be costly and take its toll on you showing emotion, mentally, and even physically attributable to sleep deprivation, and severe stress.
Some sorts of bed bugs have become pesticide-resistant; therefore, a pesticide might or might not help.
The Lifespan of a Bed Bug
A bed bug’s lifespan is approximately 12 to 20 months under normal circumstances. A female can lay nearly up to 500 eggs within her life and can lay between one to twelve eggs per day. The eggs usually hatch within 7 to 20 days. Once hatched into the nymph (baby) stage, they begin to feed almost instantaneously. Bed bugs reach full maturity after five molts (shedding).
The developmental phase time (from egg to adult) is affected primarily by temperature and takes about three weeks at 86 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 days at 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The nymph stage is significantly prolonged when there is no food source. Nymphs and adults alike can survive for several months without food.
Your Body Attracts Beg Bugs
Although you may think of bed bugs as strictly nocturnal (only coming out at night), you may want to rethink that notion.
Depending on their numbers and other factors, bed bugs can be spotted during the daytime hours, as well. However, there may be an increased frequency of detecting them during the nighttime hours. Why may you ask? The reason is your ‘body.’ Your body card, in this case, is your warm temperature and your breath.
Yes, you heard that right, your breath! As soon as you lie down for the night, and are tucked in comfortably, they are attracted to the carbon dioxide that your body expels each time you exhale.
Each time you exhale, it is simply irresistible to them. This applies to your warm-blooded pets, as well. Yes, it is your calling card. But don’t try to hold your breath while you sleep!
Where Do Bed Bugs Hide?
While the title bed bugs may suggest to you that this is the only location that you will find them, this is not true. They can sleep in nearly any crevice or recessed protected site. Bed box springs will afford several places for bed bugs to cover, mainly wherever the fabric is fastened to the wooden frame.
If there is dust covering on the underside of your box spring or sofa (typically black, sheer material), this must be removed for adequate inspection and treatment.
Bed bugs are attracted to wood and fabric more so than metal or plastic framings. These tenacious critters can be found in your bed (most likely in the head-boards, box springs, in the creases of your mattress), under rugs, carpets, behind light switches, in your sofas, chairs and any other soft hangouts.
If you have a multi-floor home or apartment complex, they will travel from floor to floor through the walls. Since their bodies are paper-thin, they crawl behind light switch plates and move through your home one floor at a time.
Some additional locations that you may want to check periodically are baseboards, electrical boxes, door frames, bed frames, window seals, wall hangings, drapery seams, cracks in your wall plaster, mirrors, switch plates, loose wallpaper, chest of drawers, nightstands, clocks, phones, televisions, and smoke detectors.
How Can You Know Whether You Have Bed Bugs Or Not?
Now that you know some of the places that these vermin can be found, it’s now time to find evidence that you have them. The color of the bed bugs are usually reddish-brown, they don’t have wings, and their size starts from 1mm and scale up to 7 mm. Their bodies are flat. Contrary to the popular belief of many, they have no wings and cannot fly.
Outside of bites that you may have received during the nighttime hours, finding them is crucial. All bites that you may have received do not necessarily bed bugs bites. Sometimes bites may come from spiders or other buggy intruders. So you need to look for places that bed bugs may rest or hide during the daytime hours. You may even want to consider calling in a professional.
Pest control services use well-trained canines to sniff out and track down bed bugs. These dogs are trained primarily to hone in on the scent just as a bloodhound would do when tracking a rabbit or other prey. If you have an actual infestation that has not been located, look for small bloodstains and exoskeletons (carcasses) from mashed or crushed bugs.
You also may find brownish or rust-colored spots of excrement on your sheets, mattress, or box springs. Small eggs and skin that has been shed may not be far behind.
Bed Bug Bites
Bed bugs feed on blood. They prefer human blood sources. But, if a human is not readily available, they will then feed on pets, or whatever warm-blooded victim is nearby.
A sleeping body is indeed a prime target and a veritable smorgasbord to this tenacious bug. The bite of the bed bug in itself is virtually painless. Many times you won’t even feel the bugs bite you because they excrete and inject a small amount of anesthesia in your body before they bite. The bites may cause itching hours later.
Many do not realize that they have been bitten until a bite mark usually appears one to several days after the initial bite. It should also be understood that bed bugs don’t come out to feed every single night.
They can sometimes go for several days before they come out to attack again. Typically, they are nocturnal feeders and wait for their victims to fall asleep, and then they begin their feeding frenzy.
They can also feed in the daytime. These bed bugs can inject a fluid to your body that can make your skin inflamed and irritated. Usually, there will be rows of two or three welts or bumps. Even though several bites may be present, this does ‘not’ necessarily mean that several bugs have bitten you during the night.
What sometimes happens is that after the first bite, you may physically move in your sleep. When this happens, they may move to another location on your body, as you have now temporarily disturbed their feeding cycle. Since they hone in on your breath (carbon dioxide), you may have bites near your head, such as around your neck, chest, or facial areas.
‘Nymphs’ (babies) regularly feed and become full within 3 to 5 minutes. Adults tend to feed longer for 10 to 20 minutes. They reproduce rapidly, and after one feeding, bed bugs can survive 200 to nearly 500 days without a second feeding. Contrary to popular belief, they have not as yet been proven to transmit infectious diseases.
If you do have actual bed bug bites, refrain from scratching them as they can sometimes become infected by outside bacteria if the skin is broken. Keep the bites clean and douse them periodically with isopropyl rubbing alcohol or calamine lotion to dry them out. Eventually, they will dry up and heal.
How to Eliminate Bed Bugs?
As we’ve now identified the fact that you’ve got a legitimate bed bugs issue, it’s time to understand how you can eliminate them. Please do not minimize the importance or usage of the below-mentioned steps for combating these annoying pests.
If your house has been affected by beg bugs or is going through a challenging infestation, realize that it’s an ongoing, constant battle that won’t be won in a single day.
When dealing with a bed bug problem or a full-blown infestation, you must realize that it is a constant and ongoing battle.
Vacuum your Carpeting and Furniture Regularly
When you finish vacuuming, please ensure that you dispose of the bag immediately. Seal it inside another and proceed to discard the bag outside your house. Any failure to execute this step properly can result in the bugs escaping back into your home and causing a resurgence. It will be a big waste of time if you don’t adhere to this step.
Crank Up The Heat Levels
Bed bugs are not capable of surviving in the face of extreme and sustained heat. Steam heat levels are excellent for eliminating bed bugs. You can use steam cleaners, like clothes steamers, to solve your problem.
Ensure that your steam cleaner has a range between 150˚F – 200˚F near its tip. Start by spraying on furniture seams since this is a notorious hideout for bed bugs. Ensure you flip all your recliners, chairs, sofas, etc., over & spray the steam everywhere to ensure that the bugs don’t escape.
Pay special attention to receded crevices and the arms and any other location where you feel that they’re hiding out in. Thanks to this prolonged blast session, any active nymphs and adults, and eggs that haven’t yet been hatched can be wiped out effectively.
Most bed bugs are unable to survive when temperatures fall below 32 ˚F. However, you must ensure that these temperatures are sustained for at least 4-5 days without any interruptions.
Launder All Your Clothing Thoroughly
Should you come across bed bugs in your place, it isn’t necessary that you discard your clothing completely, like some people choose to do. It is enough to wash your clothes regularly and dry them properly on high heat settings for around 30-45 minutes. Heat plays an instrumental role in wiping out the bed bugs.
The laundry machine’s lint trap will trap the carcasses. In case you are unable to launder your clothes immediately, place them in the lawn or trash and leaf bags. Proceed to seal these bags entirely and put them in the presence of direct, strong sunlight for at least 5 – 6 hours.
The high heat levels within the bags will wipe out the bed bugs effectively. Ensure your launder & dry them out promptly on the first chance you get.
Whenever you remove your clothing, ensure that no stragglers have survived the process. Also, ensure that you subject your boots, shoes, stuffed animals, and toys to the same treatment when you try to eliminate bed bugs.
Wrap And Encase Your Box Springs and Mattress
This is a beneficial step since it eliminates bed bugs in the place where you rest all night. Since you cannot do with enough sleep or getting insomnia, doing this will be a tremendous help to you. Simply encase the box springs and mattress to enjoy immediate benefits.
In case you discover bed bugs scurrying around on your bed, try encasing the box springs and mattress in a bed bug resistant slipcover. These have been designed explicitly along with zippers for encasing your mattress & making them completely bed bug-free.
Based on your location, it is possible to find them at a department or retail store. You can also purchase them from online retailers. After doing this, leave the covers on for around a year or so. Make sure that the encasing material has no punctures in it whatsoever.
You must also ensure that your box springs and mattress have no remaining bugs in them since bed bugs are capable of surviving years without needing to feed even once.
Use Cedar Oil and Cedar Wood
Bed bugs cannot stand cedarwood. Cedar oil is a potent by-product that comes from cedarwood. You can always spray cedar oil on affected areas. Unless the bed bug infestation has been a particularly devastating one, beg bugs will stay away from this area. In case you’re able to view them clearly, proceed to spray cedar oil upon them directly since the oil will ensure their suffocation.
Use Isopropyl Alcohol
Maintain 91% isopropyl rubbing alcohol in a small spray bottle. Proceed to spray it on the bed bugs whenever you get a chance. The bugs will run immediately, dehydrate & eventually die due to the alcohol.
Spray Bombs and Fumigation
Spray bombs and fumigation happen to be other effective methods for eradicating pests from both your office or home locations. However, they are an expensive affair.
Most of the time, this procedure involves encasing or covering the entire structure or facility in a massive tarp before injecting gases that are capable of wiping out your bed bug infestation. However, ensure that there aren’t any open flames nearby when you use aerosol products or specific gases.
Precautions To Be Taken While Traveling
It is always ideal for exercising thorough vigilance and caution while traveling. Concerned travelers can check the beds provided to them in their hotel rooms or their B&B facilities for bed bug infestations. You can do this by merely examining the sheets, the lower and higher seams of this mattress, the headboard, and the box springs.
We recommend keeping a powerful travel flashlight with you at all times. You can also elevate your luggage and suitcases of the facility’s floors to prevent bed bugs from latching on. You can keep them on countertops, tables, or luggage stands.
Use Handmade Trapping Mechanisms
Unless you’re able to eliminate them, you can also use these effective and quick handmade bed bug trapping mechanisms.
One particularly effective method is to coat your furniture’s legs with petroleum jelly or any other similar substances. This way, you can trap many bed bugs effectively since their bodies are likely to get stuck to the petroleum, which will prevent them from climbing into your bed as you sleep. Thus, you can enjoy your sleep without any annoying interruptions.
In case you don’t own petroleum jelly, you can also visit the local hardware store and purchase double-sided tape, like carpet tape, which can be wrapped around your furniture’s legs. It is also possible to place them inside the bed frame, which cradles the box spring. Ensure that it is sticky enough, which will trap their bodies adequately.
You may also design traps for them by pouring some mineral oil into a container & placing the bed’s feet inside each box. You can also make a petroleum jelly coating for all four small containers instead of using mineral oil, which is highly effective as well.
Retailers often stock glue boards as well, which can be obtained in their pest control product section. Glue boards are small wrapped boards that have sticky glue on them, which can be utilized for trapping small rodents like mice and bed bugs.
Before you peel some wax paper off this board, cut them into four equal-sized sections. Once you’ve removed it, you can place them underneath the legs of your love-seats, sofas, or chairs as well.
There are also several DIY homemade traps which can be made using improvised materials. These mimic the effects of carbon dioxide on attracting and trapping bed bugs. (See video below).
When In Doubt, Throw The Thing Out
If you’ve got any furniture pieces that contain eggs or you suspect them to contain eggs, we strongly recommend discarding them. However, the ultimate decision regarding this is your responsibility. It is up to you to determine what you need.
However, remember that eggs are also a new bed bug generation that is waiting for the right time to hatch & start eating you alive. While this may seem like a line from a terrifying horror movie, it is also the truth. If you locate a severe bed bug infestation, do not refrain from seeking professional help. While you may attempt to treat them yourself to save cash, remember that you don’t know how you can locate, contain & eliminate the bugs effectively. Skimping out here can cause you to fork over a lot of money down the road.
Professional bed bug treatment specialists will take more than one treatment to wipe out the existing bed bugs & the eggs in an effective manner.
Would You Prefer To Move Away Instead?
If you decide to shift to another location, ensure that you aren’t bringing a bed bugs with you. Take precautions to filter everything that you own and search comprehensively for bed bugs, unhatched eggs, and nymphs.
Wash every piece of cloth that you own in warm or hot water. Dry them under direct sunlight. Bag and seal them immediately and securely.
Steam your furniture as well as you can and ensure that you treat each seam and crevice thoroughly. Ensure that you’re able to steam the furniture’s underside as well. Once this is over, do not, under any circumstances, take them back into the infested home zone.
If you do not comply with these instructions could result in your blood-sucking, squatting, bug friends traveling with you to your new place.
If you have tried all of the above methods and still find an occasional bed bug, don’t give up! Sometimes you’re nearly at the brink of being bedbug-free, then you give up.
The trick is to continue the above processes and to be thorough and open-eyed in your efforts to battle these vermin.