It’s been a couple of years since bedbugs made the national news, but the problem with these pests is far from solved. Bedbugs are still problematic for apartment dwellers, hotel stayers and even homeowners.
What Are Bedbugs?
Bedbugs are tiny, flat, parasitic bugs. They burrow into bedding and upholstered furniture (hence their name) and come out only at night to feed. They will target the exposed skin of any other living creature, though humans are the most common targets because of where the bugs live and lay their eggs.
Do You Have Bedbugs? How to Tell?
The most obvious way to tell if you have bedbugs is to wake up and find one crawling around. You might also wake up and find that you’ve got insect bites. Your face, neck, arms and legs are the most common places to find them, but they can be on any part of your body.
Unfortunately, according to the CDC, it can take a couple of weeks for a bite to actually show up. Bedbugs can also go a few weeks without eating. This is why it is important to regularly inspect your home to see if you can find traces of these insects.
How to Find Bedbugs
Look through your sheets and bedding for exoskeletons that have been shed as the bedbugs grew. These exoskeleton shells are typically light brown.
- After a bedbug feeds, it will typically leave bloodstains behind on your bedding.
- You might also find dark colored fecal stains (these often get mistaken for the fecal stains of other pets).
The best places to look for these things include (but aren’t limited to):
- Your own bedding. Look at your sheets and blankets.
- Inspect your mattresses for signs of infestation: run your finger along all of the seams and check for breaks or holes.
- Check out your dresser and table drawers. Make sure you pull these pieces out from the wall and inspect their backs.
- Go over all of your upholstered furniture carefully, checking seams, cracks, and tufts.
Keeping Bedbugs from Infesting in the First Place
Over the summer, we have published an article called “How to Check for Bedbugs” that teaches readers how to do exactly that while they are traveling. One of the things mentioned in this article is the importance of working to keep from tracking the bedbugs in. After you get back from taking a trip, inspect your luggage thoroughly outside before you take it into your house.
It’s good to do this even if your trip is to a friend or family member’s house. Remember: bedbugs can happen anywhere! You might also like this video that goes into more depth on the subject.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs—Hire a Professional!
Unfortunately, simply keeping your home clean isn’t enough to keep bedbugs from invading. Remember, these bugs have been found even in pristine, almost sterile five star resorts. To make matters worse, bedbugs are typically billed as the “non-DIY” pest.
Basically, if you find one bedbug you are likely already infested and sadly, there isn’t anything that you can do yourself to get rid of them. Unlike fleas or lice there aren’t any “at-home” products you can buy to rid your home of these creatures. Laundering all of your clothing and bedding might help you feel better but it won’t keep the bugs from furthering their infestation.
The only way to truly eradicate bedbugs once they’ve set up shop is to hire a professional exterminator to get rid of the pests for you. The good news is that since the banning of DDT, most of the products that exterminators use to rid your home of bedbugs are environmentally responsible.
Don’t waste time – if you find one, get to work inspecting and contact us to keep these pests from taking over completely!
Note: Although DIY tips can be useful, they can also be ineffective and potentially very dangerous! It’s always advised that, when in doubt, you seek out the help of a certified professional such as Hulett Environmental Services to take care of any pest issues you may have.