Signs That You Have a Bed Bug Infestation and What to do About it

Bed bug infestations are on the rise in Canada & the United States and nobody is immune to them. Regardless of how clean your home is, bed bugs can easily move in and wreak havoc on your peace of mind. Bed bugs are wingless, crawling creatures which can be found in the folds of mattresses and in the headboard of your bed. Bed bugs are becoming increasingly difficult to get rid of due to their resilience to pesticides. While they don’t transmit disease, bed bugs can cause an allergic reaction from the bites they inflict while you are sleeping. Bed bugs can be hard to spot since they generally lurk around in the middle of the night but there are a few signs that can let you know you may have an infestation.

Itchy welts

A bed bug bite can cause a red, itchy spot, similar to that of a mosquito bite. Unlike a single mosquito bite, bed bug bites usually come in groups of three or more. You can also spot a bed bug bite from the line of bites that mirror the edge of the bed. If the itching becomes unbearable, you can use a baking soda paste for some relief. Simply apply the paste on the bite and leave it for about an hour and then wipe dry. You can also use aloe vera gel as an anti-itch remedy.

Blood stains

When a bed bug bites you, it injects saliva to keep your blood from coagulating. Once a bug is done feeding, it often leaves a telltale spot of blood behind. This is an easy way to know if you are getting bitten by mosquitos or if you have a bed bug infestation. By using lighter coloured sheets and blankets, you’ll be able to see the blood left by the bed bugs.

Shells and feces

Bed bugs will shed their shells five times before reaching adulthood. These exoskeletons are clear and can be found in and around your bed frame, headboards, carpet, furniture, and any other items near your bed. Bed bug feces will also be found in the same areas that the bugs generally congregate. The excrement is dark in colour and you will find it grouped in areas where the bed bugs have been feeding and living.

Once you have determined that you are dealing with a bed bug infestation, you’ll want to begin dealing with the problem immediately. Bed bugs are notorious for their ability to reproduce quickly. In fact, female bed bugs can lay up twelve eggs in one day! The typical life cycle of a single bed bug is about forty days, which means that one female has the potential to produce about five hundred babies! Swift action on your part will ensure that the infestation does not grow into a costly nightmare. Before you call an exterminator, there are a few things you can do to ensure a successful treatment and avoid a re-infestation.

Bed bugs can’t survive high heat. If you are fortunate enough to live in a hot climate, you can bag most of your items and leave them in the hot sun for a few hours. Items that can’t be taken outside can be run through a dryer on high for about 30 minutes to kill the bugs. Any books, toys, or other items that cannot withstand high heat should be sealed in a bag until they can be further inspected.  All bedding, including sheets, blankets, and pillow cases should be placed in the dryer for 30 minutes. To avoid re-introducing bed bugs, place all laundered items in sealed bags. Basically, you want to clean and seal each item from the room as if you were moving out. Once the room is free from all personal belongings, it is time to begin cleaning the furniture and room. Begin by vacuuming the mattress, headboard, frame, and the insides of dresser drawers. You’ll want to make sure to use all of your vacuum attachments to get into each crack and crevice where the bed bugs might be hiding. In addition, walls and furniture surfaces can be washed with soapy water. An interesting fact about bed bugs is that they will die if they are sprayed directly with rubbing alcohol and tea tree essential oil, so you may want to mix some in with the soapy water.

Once your mattress and bed frame are clean, seal them with an encasing made specifically for bed bugs. The insects will be trapped inside the covering and will starve to death. Although it may be tempting to simply move to another room of the house to avoid bed bugs, you’ll actually want to stay put. Moving to another room will cause the bed bugs to eventually follow you and you will have infested another room of your house.

After you have prepped your house, it will be time to call in an experienced exterminator. You’ll want to choose an exterminator who has the knowledge and the tools necessary to deal with bed bugs. Another thing to consider is whether or not the company is licensed to apply pesticides. A good exterminator will be able to provide you with a detailed action plan as well as a follow up program to prevent re-infestation.

Remember that bed bugs will make a home anywhere they can. Once you are rid of bed bugs, it will be important to not bring them back into your home. When you travel, inspect your hotel room for signs of bed bugs and request another room if you need to. Be extra wary of any used item that you bring into your home and be sure to inspect and treat it beforehand. Bed bugs are a nuisance and can be extremely hard to get rid of. By following these steps and taking a proactive approach, you will soon be pest free.