Bed bugs are reddish-brown, small, oval-shaped parasitic insects that bite the uncovered skin of sleeping people and animals to suck their blood. These non-flying insects are the members of “Cimicidae” insect family and there are three species of biting insects in this family. Bed bugs are scientifically famous as “Cimex lectularius”. They are unable to fly due to the vestigial wings, but they crawl faster.
What do bed bugs look like? This is one of the most common questions people ask about bed bugs, so here is the answer- adult bed bugs are 5mm to 7mm long while nymphs or juveniles are just 1.5mm. Having flat bodies, they are often mistaken for small cockroaches or ticks. Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown and appear more reddish post sucking the blood while nymphs are light in color and look bright red after bloodsucking.
Nymphs develop into adult bed bugs most rapidly between 70°F to 80°F. Every year they can produce three generations.
Hiding Spots of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are good crawlers and love to travel. Where do bed bugs live? These night-time creatures find the best place to hide behind baseboards and in crevices, cracks, and folded areas of your bed, bedding, and close furniture, specifically box springs and mattresses. Electrical switch plates, photo frames, wallpaper, and almost anywhere inside your home, car, or other shelter make the perfect hiding spot for bed bugs.
Bed Bug Bites
Usually, a bed bug bite is painless and is unnoticed. Therefore, sometimes it may be mistaken for skin rash. Some of the most common signs of bed bug biting are small, raised, or flat bumps on the skin that are itchy, red, and swollen.
They generally come out at night for feeding on the blood. However, these insects know well how to take advantage of an opportunity and can have a blood meal at the day time, particularly in heavily-infested spaces. Usually, only 5-10 minutes are enough for them to engorge with blood. Post feeding, they return to private areas and hide for 5-10 days. They take rest during this time, let their meal to digest, and mate to produce future generations.
How to Identify Bed Bugs in Your Home
In order to identify the infestation of bed bugs in your home or hotel room, you need to check the fecal stains in rust color, egg cases and shed skins or exuviae in cracks and crevices around or on beds. Sometimes, there is a sweet and musty odor present in the room. You should check other areas like under wallpaper, behind photo frames, inside couches and other furniture, under mattresses, in bedsprings and even in clothing.
While fecal stains only indicate that bedbugs have been there in your space, these don’t confirm the activeness of infestation. Spotting the bedbugs yourselves is an absolute confirmation that space is infested.
What are the signs and symptoms of bedbug bites?
Your neck, face, arms, and hands are common parts where bedbug bites. At first, the bite won’t cause any pain and is not noticed but later on, you’ll notice small, raised or flat bumps that become red, itchy, or even swollen. Doctors advise not to scratch these bumps on the skin as this will cause a serious infection and extreme pain.
Bedbug bites are peculiar as a number of bites are seen lined up in a row that may look as itchy welts post scratching. These bedbug biting signs are referred to as the “breakfast, lunch, and dinner” series, indicating the sequential feeding, which happens from area to area. In some cases, the development of bedbug bites can take several days. The signs may be visible up to 14 days post bug biting.
Bed Bugs bites may be overlooked, be mistaken for mosquito or flea bites or considered as other skin conditions such as rash. This happens because the signs of bedbug bites are hard to differentiate from other insect bites or skin conditions. You may experience musty odor in your space and fecal stains on bed sheets and other bedbug hiding spots due to the secretions from bedbug glands.
There is no scientific proof that bedbugs transmit diseases. However, they are likely to be vectors of Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis) in regions where this disease is prevalent.
What is the right bed bug bite treatment?
Usually, there is no need for treatment for bedbug bites. However, you must consult your doctor if you experience severe itching or allergic reaction. They typically prescribe oral antihistamines or topical steroid creams that are effective for symptom relief. Extremely scratched bites can lead to secondary bacterial infections that may need antibiotics.
Which home remedies are effective for bedbug bites?
Anything that relieves pain and minimizes itching makes the effective home remedies for bedbug bites. These include oatmeal baths, ice packs, or a baking soda paste.
How to get rid of bedbugs in your home?
Getting rid of bedbugs is not a simple procedure, and most cases of infestation will need a pest control expert or exterminator. Bedbugs can live for up to a year without sucking, so they may be present even in vacant rooms.
Other bedbug control treatment includes various low-odor sprays, powders, and aerosol insecticides. It is advisable to use these insecticides to each area where the bugs are seen as well as their hiding places. The pest control companies can help you know if you’ve to disinfect or discard an infested mattress. As beds cannot be instantly treated with insecticides, it’s often recommended to discard infested beds and mattresses
A pest control expert may suggest certain types of deep-cleaning like:
- Scrubbing infested areas with the help of a stiff brush to eliminate eggs
- Heat or steaming treatment
- Pressurized carbon dioxide snow
- Diatomaceous earth treatments
- Dismantling furniture and bed frames
- Filling cracks in walls, floors, and moldings
- Enclosing mattresses inside protective zippered covers
- Using a high-suction vacuum on cracks and crevices
Long-term bedbug infestation control needs expertise and a combination of chemical and non-chemical methods.
So, if you find bedbugs in your space, get rid of these parasitic insects with the above methods. If you’ve bedbug bites, follow these home remedies.