Bed bugs are one of the most annoying pests. They are so small, making them difficult to detect, yet their presence can inflict their victims with many sleepless nights, itchy skin, and unsightly rashes. Adding on to that, bed bugs do not care if a home is spotlessly clean or dreadfully unkempt. If they can find their way in and find a food source, they are likely to stay even in the cleanest-looking homes.
That is why it is so challenging to keep a home bed bug free. The only way is to be careful about what you bring home – especially on your clothes, bags, and second-hand items.
If you think you might have a bed bug problem at home, here are some ways you can identify them and manage the problem.
Appearance of bites
Waking up with itchy, red spots on your skin may be a sign that bed bugs are residing in your home. You can rule out other insects like mosquitoes if the bites are concentrated at skin areas which come into contact with the bed, and typically in a linear or zigzag formation.
Check every nook and cranny
Just looking at your bed may not be enough to find the bed bugs. Remember, they are very stealthy at hiding! Examine your mattress, including tricky spots like the seams and underside. Check your bed frame as well, and don’t forget to look inside your pillowcases, bolster covers, and duvet.
What you should be looking out for are tiny, brown bugs that are oval-shaped and about 5-7mm in length. If bed bugs have been present, you might also find rusty-brown blood spots, droppings which appear as tiny dots, or shedded skin.
Vacuum the house
For localised cases of a bed bug infestation, you can attempt to eliminate the bugs by vacuuming the affected areas. Make sure to get to all the nooks and crannies like every fold and seam of your mattress or sofa. Once you have vacuumed up all the bugs and their waste matter, clear out your vacuum cleaner bag immediately so that the bugs don’t have a chance of escaping back into your home.
Wash with high heat
Affected fabrics that can be washed should be laundered at high heat. Use hot water, a high-temperature setting on your washing machine, or send it to the dry cleaner. The heat usually kills off any bed bugs that are in the fabrics.
Infested items that are not suitable for washing at high heat can be treated by freezing instead. Bed bugs have quite a high cold tolerance, so the freezing needs to take place at below 0 °C for a few days. Before using this technique, however, do assess the suitability of your items for freezing, as the cold temperature (or the subsequent condensation) could damage some items.
Engage professional pest control
While you might be able to eliminate infestations that are contained to one piece of furniture, sometimes the problem is more extensive than you think. If vacuuming and washing aren’t enough to get rid of the bed bugs, you’ll need the help of pest control experts.
A professional pest removal company can do a thorough inspection and recommend the best bed bug control measures to eradicate the pests from your premises. If you want to have a home free of bed bugs again, you know what to do!