Bed bug infestation is a nightmare for homeowners. You like to protect your home from the invasion of bed bugs, fleas, flies, roaches, and other small organisms that can spread illness or cause you severe health problems. But, at times, you can face the attack from small insects like bedbugs that can make your life hell. Bed bugs are parasitic insects with reddish-brown color appearance. Though small in size, it can bite your exposed skin surface and feed on your blood. It does not spread disease like flies or mosquitos. But, it can trigger public health problems along with economic issues in society. Therefore, you need to maintain caution to stop the infestation from affecting your home or surroundings. Read ahead to know the details about the problem. It will help you get a clear idea of the steps you can take while faced with the problem.
What Does It Mean By Bed Bug Infestation?
Bed bugs are small insects that can cause you physical, psychological, and allergic problems. The parasitic insects can hide well in the cracks as well as crevices and along the seams of the mattress. It mostly bites you in the dark as the insects like to spend most of their time in the darkness. In most cases, people are bitten by two species of the bedbugs:
- Common Bedbug (Cimex lectularius)
- Cimex Hemipterus
The size of the insects ranges from one millimeter to seven millimeters (roughly the size of apple seeds). They can crawl under your personal items and spread to other areas. Unlike the popular conception, bed bug infestation does not occur due to lack of hygiene. The risk of bedbugs increases when you spend more time in places with a high turnover of people. It occurs in highly populated areas and spread in your home. So, you are prone to bed bug bites when you visit areas like hospitals, hotels, or homeless shelters. It is important to find the bugs and eliminate them with the help of a professional exterminator.
Symptoms Of Bed Bug Infestation
You can carry the bedbugs from the source of infestation (hotel, hospitals or other areas) to your home. When you experience the bed bug infestation in your home, it becomes difficult to eliminate it completely. It is due to the fact that bed bugs can survive up to a whole year without feeding. So, finding the source of the problem can cause hurdles in eliminating them. When bedbugs bite your skin, you will not feel the sting or pain right away. The bedbugs excrete an anesthetic in tiny amounts before feeding on your blood. So, it takes some time for the symptoms to develop.
In some individuals, the problems appear weeks after the bite. Remember, the bed bugs may not feed on you every single night. The parasitic insects can go without feeding on your family members for multiple days. You may take some time to realize the pattern of the bites. So, you can come to the conclusion about bed bug infestation only after a few days. Scratching the bites can lead to bleeding or make you prone to infections.
Physical Signs Appearing With Bed Bug Bites
You can see some physical signs indicated towards bedbug bites. So, the common symptoms appearing due to the problem are:
- Red colored skin with a darker spot in the middle
- Bites arranged in a cluster or in a rough line
- Swelling and redness in the affected area of skin
- The bites can trigger itching sensation
- Bites appear on the hands, arms, neck, and face
- Bites can cause a burning sensation
Allergic Reaction Due To Bed Bug Bites
Some people can experience mild signs associated with the bites. But, others can experience a severe allergic reaction due to bites. So, the symptoms that point towards the problem are:
- Severe itching sensation
When you experience such a drastic problem, you need to seek a doctor’s appointment. You need to get professional treatment to overcome the adverse effects caused by the bites.
Psychological Due To Bed Bug Bites
Serious bed bug infestation can trigger severe psychological problems. The fear of bedbug attacks can cause the following issues in people:
Long-term exposure to bedbugs can lead to delusional parasitosis. It occurs when you develop an overwhelming obsession with the parasitic insects.
Differentiating Bed Bug Infestation With Other Bites
The signs of bed bug infestation may seem similar to other insect bites or rashes occurring due to an allergic reaction. Therefore, you need to distinguish between the bed bug bites and other insect bites. Read ahead to know about the bites due to other insects that look similar to bed bug bites and how to distinguish them.
Fleabites look quite similar in appearance to bed bug bites. Both the bite can trigger the development of red bumps on your skin. The bumps can cause a severe itching sensation. But, the region affected by the bites may differ. Flea usually bites on the lower half of your body or the warm as well as moist areas around your joints. So, the common places you can receive flea bites are:
- Inside your elbows or knees
While bedbugs mostly affect the upper parts of your body. So, you receive bites in areas like:
Another important difference is the area of infestation. You can find fleas on your family pets. Fleas stick to the fur coat of the animals. You can also find the insects in your upholstered furniture or in carpets. The hiding place of bedbugs differs from fleas. You can find the signs of bed bug infestation in the crack of bed frames, seams of mattresses, baseboards as well as headboards of your beds.
Mosquito bites have a similar appearance to bed bug bites. You can see bumps that appear red and cause itching. But it does not appear in a rough line or cluster. Mosquito bites have no apparent pattern. Bed bug bites can appear on the small area of your body in clusters or have a line of bites. Mosquito bites may not cause any serious health complications. It can get better on its own without any treatment. Bedbug bites tend to get better after a week or two. In both cases, you can ease the symptoms by following some home remedies:
- Apply cold compress
- Adopt topical treatment
- Apply calamine lotion
For severe cases of mosquito bites, you can take an oral antihistamine to get better.
You can suffer from a severe allergic reaction, which can cause hives on your skin. Hives are red bumps that appear on a different part of your skin. The itchy bump looks similar to bed bug bites. Unlike bed bug infestation, hives can spread from one part of the body to another in a short duration of time. So, you can distinguish between hives and bed bug bites with the change in appearance or size of the bumps. Bedbug bites never change their shape or location. So, they appear on one part of the body. It helps you easily recognize the problem. The allergic reaction needs immediate care to avoid potential complications. Therefore, you need to identify and avoid the allergens triggering the problem. In some cases, you can develop serious signs like:
- Breathing Difficulties
The above-mentioned signs along with hives indicate towards anaphylaxis. It is the life-threatening allergic reaction that needs immediate medical attention. Failure to get treatment can result in death. Therefore, visit the emergency section in the hospital immediately.
Spider bites can cause severe allergy. So, you can observe red and itchy swelling in the affected area. But, unlike bed bug infestation, you cannot find more than one spider bite. It is due to the fact that spider rarely bites more than once. Therefore, if you see more than one bite on your body, then you can eliminate the possibility of a spider bite.
Spider bite takes a longer time to heal compared to bug bites. In some cases, people can suffer a severe allergic reaction due to the spider bite. It can damage your skin and lead to infection. So, you need to clean the affected area with soap and water to reduce the risk of infection. Poisonous spider bites can cause fatal complications. It is important to seek medical help immediately to avoid any adverse effects on your health.
Causes Of Bed Bug Infestation
You cannot link the infestation of bed bugs to poor hygiene. So, bedbugs never spread due to the unclean surroundings. The bed bugs never care for their environment. They require the best hiding places with a warm host to spread. Therefore, irrespective of the cleanliness of the surrounding areas, it can infest. You can experience a bed bug infestation during the following scenarios:
Increased International Travel
It can affect you when you travel to international locations affected by the problem.
Changes In Pest Control Practices
The changes in pest control practices adopted by the authorities can also cause an infestation.
After some time, the bed bugs can develop resistance towards the insecticide sprayed to eliminate them. So, it does not have the desired effect on the parasitic insects.
Bed bugs are considered as exceptional hitchhikers. So, they can move from one location to another on your clothing, furniture, luggage, beddings as well as boxes. The insects have the ability to crawl faster. So, they can switch places without getting noticed. The crawling speed equivalent to ladybug makes it easier for the insects to travel between rooms or places. Therefore, they can easily move from the infested areas like rooms in hotels or apartment complexes your stay in your own home. The bedbugs can hide in the following places:
- Bed frame
- Box springs
- Clutter or objects near your bed
- You can also find bed bug infestation in other areas of the room like:
- Under your carpeting near the baseboards
- In your upholstered furniture seams
- Under any loose wallpaper and/or peeling paint
- Under electrical outlets or switch plates
If you encounter bed bug infestation at our home, you need repeated treatments to eliminate the problem. It is difficult to find the source of the infestation. Therefore, you need to perform the treatment repeatedly to get relief.
Bed Bug Infestation Risk Factors
People who travel to international locations may fear about bed bugs. But, not everyone is affected by the problem. Bed bugs are common among in areas that have more people staying or high turnover in occupancy like the following areas:
- Dorm rooms
- Apartment complexes
- Homeless shelters
- Trains and buses
- Cruise ships
- Refugee camps
Diagnosing Bed Bug Infestation
If you see bedbug bites on your body, then you need to check your home for the parasitic insects. You need to examine the nook and corner of your home for bed bug infestation. So, examine the different hiding places of bed bugs. Pay close attention to areas like furniture, mattresses, crevices in walls, and other areas that can house bedbugs. Perform the inspection during night time as the insects become active in the dark. You need to look for certain signs that indicate the presence of bedbugs in your home. So, check for the following:
Closely examine your mattress seams to look for dark specks. The dark specs are bed bug excrement. So, its presence can indicate an infestation.
Bed bugs can shed their skin at least five times before they become adults. So, you can find the remains of the molt. The empty exoskeletons with pale yellow color indicate the presence of bed bugs. So, check for empty skins.
If you have a bed bug infestation, then you can accidentally crush bed bugs in your mattress. So, you can find small smears of blood on the bedsheets. The rusty stains or blood smears indicate the presence of bed bugs.
Treatment For Bed Bug Infestation
The treatment mainly focuses on alleviating the itching and discomfort associated with bed bug bites. You also need to find the ideal treatment for bed bug infestation. So, the treatment options available are:
Treatment For Bites
The itchy red spots appearing on your skin due to bed bug bites cause no serious health problem. It can go away on its own within seven or fourteen days (1-2 weeks). But, you can opt for the following treatment options to speed up your recovery:
- Use a skin cream containing hydrocortisone on affected areas to get relief
- Take an oral antihistamine like diphenhydramine to overcome itching sensation
- Severe bedbug bites can lead to scratching. So, you can develop a skin infection due to excessive scratching. You need to see your dermatologist to get antibiotics to treat the infection.
Treating Your Home
You need to tackle the underlying bed bug infestation of your home. Since bed bugs can hide well and live without eating for several months can make it difficult to find them. Therefore, you need to hire a professional exterminator. A professional can detect the hiding place of the bedbugs easily. They can also use a combination of chemical and non-chemical treatment to eliminate the bed bugs completely from your home.
The nonchemical treatments to overcome the infestation include:
You need to vacuum the crevices and cracks to remove the parasitic insects from the area. Remove the vacuum after each use to get rid of bed bugs.
You need to kill the bedbugs in your clothing and linens by washing the items and drying it at high temperature.
It is possible to eliminate the bed bugs by freezing the infested items. Leave the suspected items outside or in the freezer for several days to kill the bedbugs.
Professional exterminators can kill the bed bugs by raising the temperature of a room. The lethal temperature (50F or 122F) can kill the bedbugs.
As bed bugs can grow in the cracks and gaps, you need to fill gaps around the basement or furniture with caulking.
You cannot salvage the items heavily infested with bed bugs. Therefore, you need to throw it away.
You need to call a pest control company to get your home chemically treated to eliminate bed bugs. So, the professional company has the chemicals (pesticides) and equipment necessary to kill the bedbugs.
Preventing Bed Bug Infestation
The preventive measure to stop the attack of bed bug has two important points. One is to prevent the bite from bed bugs while the other focuses on the infestation of the parasitic insects in your home. Read ahead to know about it more.
Preventing Bed Bug Bites
If you suspect bed bug infestation in your home, then you need to take some steps to avoid the bites. Till you remove the bed bugs completely from your home, you need to maintain caution. So, follow the pointers suggested below to avoid the distress associated with the bites of bed bugs.
When you go to sleep, try to cover yourself as much as possible. It will prevent the bedbugs from attacking you at night. Bed bugs are not capable to burrow themselves under your clothing. So, it helps you avoid the bites by covering as much skin as possible. Wear pajamas that cover your legs and arms.
You have no magic sprays available to kill the parasitic insects. But, you can opt for commercial pesticides to kill them. It works effectively when you apply it carefully as well as directly to the bed bugs. You can even apply it in their hiding places to see results.
It is another possible method to prevent bed bug bites. You can use bed nets permeated with pesticide. In most cases, permethrin (pesticide) is used for the purpose. It can help you sleep without any worry of bed bug bites. But, using it for a long time can develop resistance to the specific pesticide. So, it may not offer relief in the long run.
The next important steps focus on preventing bed bug infestations in your home. Therefore, follow the suggested tips carefully to avoid the problem from troubling you:
Careful Use Of Secondhand Items
When you opt to use secondhand items, inspect them carefully. You need to scan the bedding items as well as upholstered furniture carefully to eliminate the presence bedbugs. It is essential to perform the checking before you bring the items into your home.
Hotel Stay Precautions
When you stay at the hotels, you need to check your bed for signs of bed bugs. Check the seams of your mattress to detect the presence of bed bug excrement. Place your luggage on dressers or tables as placing it on the floor. It can prevent the risk of bedbugs transferring to your luggage.
Eliminate Birds And Bats Habitat
You need to eliminate the habitats of birds and bats near surrounding your house. It eliminates the possibility of the place serving as a refuge for bedbugs.
Bed bug infestation can put you in a lot of stress. Making your home free from the pests and insects can make you frustrated. So, you need to get assistance from professional exterminators to deal with the problem effectively. The problem does not reflect the manner you clean your home or the precautions you take while traveling abroad. So, never beat yourself with the notion that you could have avoided it with better hygiene. Never lose sleep over the infestation as it can put severe stress on you. Identify the problem without wasting time and get the necessary help to overcome the trouble and distress caused due to it.
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