Don't Let The Bedbugs Bite

If you’ve ever been creeped out by the idea of bed bugs, you’re not alone. These tiny, blood-sucking parasites are making a comeback—in fact, they’re currently the biggest problem facing the exterminating industry right now.

What are bed bugs?

Cimex lectularius, a.k.a. the common bed bug, is a small, flat, oval-shaped insect that is reddish-brown in color. Adults look somewhat like apple seeds. After eating, they become swollen and more red.

Bed bugs like to live in warm houses, especially in the dark, safe cracks of furniture and mattresses, where they also have easy access to their preferred meal, human blood. They typically bite people as they sleep, but the insects are so tiny that the bites often go unnoticed. Though bites are uncomfortable, the bugs usually do not carry or spread disease.

How do I know if I have bed bugs?

A person who has been bitten by bed bugs will wake up with itchy bites all around the body—not just at the ankles or lower arms, as might happen from fleas or being outdoors. The bites occasionally turn into rashes or cause allergy-like symptoms. Bed bug bites do not have a red spot in the middle like some other insect bites.

If you find welts or bites on skin, it’s important to look for other signs to confirm you have bed bugs. Other signs of bed bugs in your home include:


  • A musty smell from the bed or on furniture, sometimes likened to rotting raspberries (this is emitted from the bugs’ scent glands).

  • Brown stains on the sheets or mattress, which can come from the bugs defecating or from blood.

  • Finding skins on the sheets, since the bugs shed their case skins several times in a life cycle.


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How can bed bugs get in my home?

Bed bugs were almost entirely eradicated in developed world by the 1940s, but changes in pesticides and how people travel have re-introduced them to countries around the world.

Bed bugs are known to travel in luggage, so you may get them after taking a trip, or may get them while traveling and sleeping on hotel beds. Bed bugs can even hitch a ride home in your gym bag or purse. They may be present on used furniture. Pets can occasionally carry bed bugs, though they prefer human hosts.

Since bed bugs eat by sucking on blood, they are not a sign of a dirty house. That said, removing clutter can help deter the bugs from finding places to live and help you find and remove them.

How do I get rid of bed bugs?

Bed bugs are a real problem: they reproduce quickly and exponentially, they can live almost a year (even without regular meals), and they’re great at hiding. If you suspect bed bugs in your house, you must call a professional exterminator to find and eliminate the infestation.

An exterminator can help you determine if you do, in fact, have bed bugs, and then will start treatment. You’ll also be advised to:

 

 


  • Wash all layers of bedding, pillow covers, curtains and bed clothes in hot water and dry on the hot cycle. Place items that can’t be washed in the dryer and run a hot cycle for at least 30 minutes.

  • Put the box springs and mattress inside sealed, zippered bags. Keep the bags on for at least one year to kill all bugs that may still be in the mattresses. (See some bag options here. Some people who travel often prefer to bag their mattresses before getting bed bugs). If your mattress is clearly infested, throw it out and get a new one.

  • Vacuum all areas around the bed and all furniture, and remove clutter around the bedroom. Continue to vacuum regularly.


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A professional, trained exterminator like the staff at Thompson Brothers will be able to advise you on the steps to take to rid your home of a bed bug infestation and prevent future ones from occurring. Contact us today if you live in Western North Carolina or South Carolina and suspect bed bugs are in your home.

 

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Thompson Brothers helps businesses and families with a wide array of services, from basement leaks, to invasive bugs, to termite services for new home sales.

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