Bed Bugs Bite How To Treat
Bed bugs: Six cheap and natural solutions to treat itchy bites at home
BED BUG bites can be extremely irritating, especially if you have a serious infestation and lots of bites, but there are ways to deal with them. David Cross, head of Technical Training at Rentokil Pest Control outlines six ways to treat the itch.
Bed bugs are small insects that live in the cracks and crevices in and around beds, and the recent heatwave has caused a reported increase in their numbers in the UK.
They crawl out at night and bite exposed skin, leaving small, red lumps. Bites can appear from a few minutes after being bitten up to a week or two later, according to the NHS.
Although bed bug bites are painless, they can be very itchy and irritating.
“Bedbugs aren’t dangerous and don’t spread any diseases, but some people experience a reaction to their bites and they can be stressful to live with,” the NHS said.
There are many natural remedies and ‘old wives tales’ on what you can use to help reduce the inflammation and itching associated with bed bug bites
David Cross, Rentokil Pest Control
So what’s the most effective method of treating bed bug bites?
“There are many natural remedies and ‘old wives tales’ on what you can use to help reduce the inflammation and itching associated with bed bug bites,” said Rentokil’s David Cross.
According to Cross, there are six treatments to try, which should be applied after washing the bites with soap and water, before drying them.
This relieves itching and also helps to dry rashes and protect the skin.
Baking soda and water
Make a paste with baking soda and water, and apply it directly to the skin. Let it dry before wiping away with a cotton pad.
Bed bug bites are painless but can be itchy and irritating (Image: Getty Images)
The menthol contained in toothpaste is said to be a good anti-itch remedy. Apply a generous amount to the bite to soothe the burning sensation and relieve the itching.
This provides a mild anaesthetic effect that helps to calm the itching caused by bites.
Both “fresh” Aloe Vera or gel works well against insect bites. The active substances and amino acids present in Aloe Vera help relieve itching and burning sensations.
This has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It is also a natural astringent. Lemon juice can help dry rashes and itchiness while reducing redness and swelling.
As bed bugs are small and only come out at night, they can be difficult to spot and it is therefore not always easy to identify if you have an infestation.
Bed bug bites usually fade in a few days, but there are ways to treat the itch (Image: Getty Images)
Bed bugs often bite in lines or clusters on the skin (Image: Getty Images)
Bed bugs: How to spot them and how to get rid of them
Bed bugs: What are bed bugs? How to spot an infestation and how to get rid of them.
Bed bugs: How to spot them and how to get rid of them
However, one thing which distinguishes them from other biting insects is the pattern in which they bite.
Because they are crawling insects, as opposed to flying insects such as mosquitoes, bed bugs often bite in lines or clusters across the skin.
Bed bug bites also usually occur on exposed areas such as the face, neck, hands or arms.
In more severe cases, bed bug bites may cause a rash or fluid-filled blisters. They can also become infected with bacteria if scratched.
According to the NHS: “The bites usually fade in a few days. If they’re very itchy, you can buy a mild steroid cream (such as hydrocortisone) or antihistamine tablets to relieve the itch.”
“See your GP if you develop signs of a skin infection, including pain, redness and swelling, as you may need antibiotics,” the NHS said.
How to Identify Bed Bug Bites—and How to Treat Them
Wake up with reddish welts or itchy skin? The culprit may be a bed bug hiding under your bed. These are the signs a dermatologist and entomologist look for.
Changlu Wang/Courtesy Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station
Unfortunately, a bed bug bite has no telltale sign, according to a review published in theAmerican Society for Microbiology. The reaction to bites varies tremendously from one person to the next. Some people will have no reaction or just minor itching and mosquito-like bumps in one area; others will get dramatic red raised welts all over. “It depends on the number of feeding bugs on the body, how long the person has been suffering bites, and also where the bites are located,” says Jody Green, PhD, an urban entomologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Five stages of post-bed bug bites
If you have evidence of bed bug bites on your skin, it’s due to your body’s allergic response, according to the U.S. Armed Forces’ 2019 Pest Management Board: Technical Guide #44. That response can take a few different forms: little to no reaction; an immediate reaction—often a red spot with minor discomfort; a delayed reaction in which red weals turn up within 14 days that trigger intense itching that can last two to five days; or, unfairly, a combination of immediate and delayed reactions. This makes it tough to know what’s gnawing on you without the help of an entomologist or dermatologist. Although this guide to bug bites may help.
Familiar signs of bed bug bites
While there is no exact way to tell what bug bit you, dermatologist A. Yasmine Kirkorian, MD, an assistant professor of Dermatology & Pediatrics, Children’s National Health System, says there are some patterns doctors look for: “Bed bugs typically bite several times in a row so people may notice several red itchy bumps grouped closely together, a pattern sometimes called ‘breakfast, lunch, and dinner,’” she explains. “They can occur anywhere on the body; bed bug bites on the face may cause intense swelling including of the eyelid.” A small study found that 72 percent of people who were bitten by bed bugs had itchy red welts, 50 percent had redness or discoloration, and 28 percent had itching with no welts. Call your doc or dermatologist and look for these signs of bed bugs in your house.
It can’t be bed bug bites
Let’s say you are sleeping in the same bed as your partner and your partner wakes up with bites but you don’t. Must not be bed bugs, right? Sadly, it still could be. “The most challenging thing about bed bug bites is that there is are people who do not react to bed bug bites, so they have no adverse skin responses and have no idea that they are being fed upon while they are sleeping,” says Green. One survey found that nearly one in three people had no reaction to bed bug bites. When the researchers broke out reactions by age, they found that 42 percent of people over 65 had no reaction. Bites or no bites, this is how bed bugs could get in your bedroom.
Bed bug bite treatment
People who do react to bed bugs often have intense itching. “Once a patient has been bitten, it is difficult to eradicate the itching. Over-the-counter anti-itch creams that contain one percent pramoxine can help,” says Dr. Kirkorian. Try Aveeno with pramoxine and calamine. Oral antihistamines such as Zyrtec and Benadryl may be effective too, says Dr. Kirkorian. But if your itching persists, your dermatologist or doctor might prescribe topical steroids such as triamcinolone and fluocinonide.
Just thinking about bed bugs can wreck your sleep, as well. Talk to your doctor if you start suffering from insomnia. “A sedating antihistamine such as Benadryl could be safe to use,” says Dr. Kirkorian.
Home remedies for bed bug bites
Before you commit to natural bed bug treatment, remember to practice good hygiene and caution, advises Larry Bishop, MD, a dermatologist with Health First Medical Group: Be sure to wash the area with soap and water first to reduce the risk of infection; if the area appears irritated or develops a rash, stop using the treatment and see a doctor. For remedies, Dr. Bishop suggests trying peppermint oil: “It works by two mechanisms—the peppermint oil is a vasoconstrictor (blood vessel constrictor), which lessens the pain and irritation from bed bug bites. Additionally, the peppermint works as a soothing agent by gently stimulating the nerves around the bite.” Try adding a few drops to a warm bath; if you want to apply it to the bites, dilute it first with an oil such as coconut, jojoba or olive.
Lemon balm is another favorite for bug bites. Crush or roll the leaves with your fingers to release the juice, apply it to the bites, and wrap with a bandage. “It works by having soothing properties and antibacterial properties,” Dr. Bishop says. Finally, there’s household ammonia—research suggests that it can help with itchy bites. It may not smell great, says Dr. Bishop, but if you put a little on a cotton ball and dab it on the area right away, it can help. “It works by neutralizing the proteins that are in the saliva of the bed bugs.” The saliva is what produces the allergic reaction in some people, and the quicker you neutralize it, the better.
When to see the doctor
Your bed bug bites will generally clear up on their own, but if you itch them the scratching can lead to secondary infections. “The initial bite may be a portal for bacteria to enter the skin. If a patient develops a worsening red bump, pus drainage, a fever, or other signs of systemic illness, they should seek urgent medical attention,” advises Dr. Kirkorian. Then, find out how to get rid of bed bugs.
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Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color.
Bedbugs do not fly, but they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. Female bedbugs may lay hundreds of eggs, each of which is about the size of a speck of dust, over a lifetime.
Immature bedbugs, called nymphs, shed their skins five times before reaching maturity and require a meal of blood before each shedding. Under favorable conditions the bugs can develop fully in as little as a month and produce three or more generations per year.
Although they are a nuisance, they are not thought to transmit diseases.
Where Bed Bugs Hide
Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bedbugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to people to bite in the night.
Over time, however, they may scatter through the bedroom, moving into any crevice or protected location. They may also spread to nearby rooms or apartments.
Because bedbugs live solely on blood, having them in your home is not a sign of dirtiness. You are as likely to find them in immaculate homes and hotel rooms as in filthy ones.
When Bedbugs Bite
Bedbugs are active mainly at night and usually bite people while they are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin and withdrawing blood through an elongated beak. The bugs feed from three to 10 minutes to become engorged and then crawl away unnoticed.
Most bedbug bites are painless at first, but later turn into itchy welts. Unlike flea bites that are mainly around the ankles, bedbug bites are on any area of skin exposed while sleeping. Also, the bites do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites do.
People who don’t realize they have a bedbug infestation may attribute the itching and welts to other causes, such as mosquitoes. To confirm bedbug bites, you must find and identify the bugs themselves.
Signs of Infestation
If you wake up with itchy areas you didn’t have when you went to sleep, you may have bedbugs, particularly if you got a used bed or other used furniture around the time the bites started. Other signs that you have bedbugs include:
- Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases
- Dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls
- Bedbug fecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in areas where bedbugs hide
- An offensive, musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands
If you suspect an infestation, remove all bedding and check it carefully for signs of the bugs or their excrement. Remove the dust cover over the bottom of the box springs and examine the seams in the wood framing. Peel back the fabric where it is stapled to the wood frame.
Also, check the area around the bed, including inside books, telephones or radios, the edge of the carpet, and even in electrical outlets. Check your closet, because bedbugs can attach to clothing. If you are uncertain about signs of bedbugs, call an exterminator, who will know what to look for.
If you find signs of infestation, begin steps to get rid of the bugs and prevent their return.
Getting rid of bedbugs begins with cleaning up the places where bedbugs live. This should include the following:
- Clean bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. Place stuffed animals, shoes, and other items that can’t be washed in the dryer and run on high for 30 minutes.
- Use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams to remove bedbugs and their eggs before vacuuming.
- Vacuum your bed and surrounding area frequently. After vacuuming, immediately place the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and place in garbage can outdoors.
- Encase mattress and box springs with a tightly woven, zippered cover to keep bedbugs from entering or escaping. Bedbugs may live up to a year without feeding, so keep the cover on your mattress for at least a year to make sure all bugs in the mattress are dead.
- Repair cracks in plaster and glue down peeling wallpaper to get rid of places bedbugs can hide.
- Get rid of clutter around the bed.
If your mattress is infested, you may want to get rid of it and get a new one, but take care to rid the rest of your home of bedbugs or they will infest your new mattress.
While cleaning up infested areas will be helpful in controlling bedbugs, getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments. Because treating your bed and bedroom with insecticides can be harmful, it is important to use products that can be used safely in bedrooms. Do not treat mattresses and bedding unless the label specifically says you can use them on bedding.
Generally it is safest and most effective to hire an experienced pest control professional for bedbug extermination.
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture: "Bed Bugs."
Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: "Bed Bugs."
The New York City Department of Heath and Mental Hygiene: "Stop Bed Bugs Safely."
University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Lancaster County: "Managing Bed Bugs."
How to Inspect and How to Treat Bed Bugs on Mattress
If you ever had to face a bed bug infestation in your home, you probably wonder how to save your mattress from the pesky bugs. And rightly so, mattresses can be crazy expensive even without having to change them every couple of years.
The solution, of course, is to treat the bed bugs on the mattress and salvage your investment. The bed is usually the first and most common place that gets attacked by the insects. This guide will give you a deep understanding on how bed bugs enter your home, what attracts them, how to treat a mattress that’s infested by the bed bugs and how to prevent any further bed bug problems.
How Do Bed Bugs Get on Your Mattress?
Bed bugs may infest your mattress by getting to your bed from many different places. They want to be as close to you while remaining hidden and safe, so that’s why they choose the mattress in the first place. The most common sources of bed bugs are related to travelling or bringing home items that have been previously owned by someone else, like second-hand furniture, for example.
Some of the most common sources of bed bugs are:
- Clothing or luggage
- Motels and resorts
- Movie theaters
- Parks and other public places
- Boxes and packaging
- Bedding of any type
- Used Furniture
- Purses and backpacks
There are also other factors that lead to an increased chance of ending up with bed bugs on your mattress such as: poor hygiene; dirty sheets and dirty laundry. This, though, doesn’t mean the insects are attracted only to dirty clothing and covers, it’s absolutely possible to have an infestation even if your home is very clean and tidy. It just means that if your home is a mess it gives additional hiding grounds for the bug.
You should inspect your luggage after every trip or your rooms after guests.
By nature, bed bugs are nocturnal, so they are most active during the nights and are usually attracted by the warmth and carbon dioxide emitted from a person’s body. This is why usually furniture such as beds are infested.
How to Know You Have Bed Bugs in the Bed
It’s not that hard to notice that your mattress has been infested but sometimes there might be confusion if bed bugs are responsible for things such as itchy bite marks. To be sure that bed bugs are in fact the insects that are hiding under your bed, check for any of the following signs of a bed bug infestation:
- Red, itchy bite marks on the body (mind that 70% of the people do not react to the bed bug bites)
- Dark, brown faecal stainings on the mattress
- Coriander smell in the room
- Blood stains on the sheet or pillows
- Small white eggshells under the mattress and the box-spring
- Live bed bugs
How to Inspect a Bed for Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are a common problem in rented flats because many people rent and vacate them. It is such a common problem that landlords have started putting clauses in their leases to specify who is responsible for a bed bug treatment.
You can inspect your house for bed bugs on your own. See what are the sings of a bed bug infestation to look out for.
Some of the signs aredead or alive bed bugs, egg shells, brown or red spots on your bed sheets.
Where you have to inspect: your bed including the mattress, headboard, box springs; carpet and walls near the bed; nightstands, even power sockets near the bed.But also don’t forget to take a look around your upholstered furniture where you spend a lot of time on. Armchairs and sofas can be infested, too.
This is why if you know how to detect them, you will be able to prevent a potential infestation. This video will show you how to inspect your own bed or a bed at a hotel for bed bugs.
Inspect less common hiding places.
In order to be as thorough as possible, you should check as much of the room as you can. Yes, bed bugs have their favourite hiding spots, and that’s where their name comes from, however, they can be hiding in many more places. Some other places to check would be: curtains, wardrobe, dresser, around lamps, behind wallpaper, in the corners of the room, behind pictures or other decorative items in the room, especially if they are close to the bed.
* You can do this check your own home or at a hotel that you are staying at.
What Kills Bed Bugs in the Mattress Instantly
Home remedies for bed bugs have proven to be efficient only at the early stages of the infestation when their numbers are small. If the insects are already everywhere around the premises of your home, getting rid of the bugs requires a more professional approach to the situation. This means arranging either a heat treatment or comprehensive insecticide treatment for the bed bugs on the mattress and the rooms – both are good but vary in price, effectiveness, methodology and required time.
Heat treatment is a very effective and fast way to get rid of bed bugs on the mattress and in the entire room actually! It usually guarantees 100% eradication of the insects, if it’s done professionally. The good thing about this pest extermination process is that bed bugs, no matter their life stage, are very vulnerable to the temperature of 56°C – it kills them in a short time, usually a couple of hours.
Mind that in order to provide full safety, pets, electronics and soft synthetic fabrics should be removed from the room that is going to be heat treated.
The whole extermination process takes about 4-6 hours per room, based on the size of the property that needs to be treated.
Insecticides have been used for many years as a method of pest control against bed bugs. The substances that are used for bed bugs extermination now are very advanced and will have no impact on your health as long as you follow the instructions of the pest technicians.
Three types of insecticides are most popular and are still being used as the common method of bed bugs control:
Fast-acting, contact insecticide is used primarily for furniture that people touch rarely. Cypermethrin is a fast-acting insecticide.
Residual insecticide is applied deep into furniture that we usually have contact with, such as sofas. Most popular residual insecticides are aerosol sprays.
Dust insecticide is used on surfaces have cracks and crevices where bed bugs will tend to hide. Such surfaces are floors, ceilings, behind cabinets, refrigerators and sinks. The diatomaceous earth is a type of dust insecticide that is widely used but it requires a proper application.
You can read more on how we proceed with the bed bug treatment service we offer. How long it takes and what are all the steps from booking the service to getting rid of the bed bugs. The good thing about professional control is that you don’t have to do any research nor to get your hands “dirty” — everything’s up to the professional exterminator.
Do not underestimate the value and importance of laundering all sheets and beddings when you’re dealing with bed bugs.
How to Prevent Further Bed Bug Infestations of Your Mattress
How to prevent bed bugs from getting into your mattress:
Thankfully, you can get bed bug covers or “encasements”, as they are more commonly referred to. Use them to completely cover a mattress and its box-spring and prevent bed bugs from getting into the seams and folds of the fabric. Buying a bed bug cover when you first grab your mattress can potentially save you a lot of money. Why you may ask? Because in case of an infestation you won’t have to replace your expensive mattress.
When buying a mattress encasement, make sure to look for a couple of key features:
- Strong Stitching:The mattress should be able to withstand wear and tear without ripping over time. If the stitching rips off, that will allow easy access for the bed bugs!
- Tight Zippers:The zipper teeth should be tight and not allow for any potential penetration by a bed bug.
- Waterproof:On top of preventing bed bug infestations, a good cover can also protect your mattress from liquid spills. Keep an eye out for this feature!
- Cotton Material:Having cotton as your top layer can help reduce that “crinkle” noise and keep you a bit cooler at night as an alternative to cheaper polyester fabrics that heat up very quickly.
For more information about picking out a bed bug mattress cover check out this in-depth guide.
Here are a few simple precautions that can help prevent bed bug infestation in your home:
- Don’t leave luggage on the bed. Inspect it outside first;
- Get a protective mattress cover for bed bugs. Encase your mattress and box spring with it to minimize the possible hiding places;
- Don’t bring home used furniture or bedding;
- What cannot be washed on high temperature, vacuum it;
- Declutter your home – this reduces the number of hiding spots for bed bugs;
- Keep pets out of bed bug-infested-rooms. The insects will feed on them when they don’t use humans for sustenance.
Bed bugs hide close to their food source – you.
How to get rid of bed bug bites
Finding a bed bug bite can be unsettling, but you need to treat them immediately. In this article, we talk aboutHow to get rid of bed bug bites. Bed bugs are nonflying parasites and difficult to get out of the home. These tiny insects feed by sucking blood from warm-blooded animals and humans. They can live anywhere in the home, as long as they have access to their hosts. Therefore, they are more commonly found around beds, although they also favor cracks and upholstered furniture.
Signs to identify bed bug bites
- Bites might look like a rash in some people but usually have small, flat, or raised bumps with circles around them.
- Bites may appear in clusters or straight rows
- Bed bug bites can also cause intense itching.
- Bites might be angrily red and may even swell
- Bed bug bites usually occur around exposed skin in the neck, hands, arms, and face
- Look for rust-colored dark spots, shed skins, egg cases, or fecal stains in cracks or crevices around the bed and other areas in the home.
“Should I worry about the bites?”
The first source of worry would be whether these bites are life-threatening. However, bed bug bites are not exactly life-threatening. Bed bugs are not carriers of diseases, although there are claims that they might carry the Chagas disease.
Nevertheless, some people might have allergic reactions to bed bug bites. On its own, the bites might heal in a few weeks, but some people have also been known to develop a secondary infection from the bug bite.
How to get rid of bed bug bites
The safest route when you find a bed bug bite is to treat them as soon as possible. Here are a few medications and remedies you can use:
- Apply a generous amount oftoothpastearound the bite marks to relieve itching. However, if you have sensitive skin, do not use toothpaste on your skin because it can also make the bites worse
- Make a paste withbaking sodaand water and apply it to the marks. Leave on for about 1 hour before washing the surface. Make sure the paste dries off before you wash off.
- You can also relieve itching by using applyWitch Hazelaround the bite marks. If you do not have any, substitute with lemon juice or Aloe Vera.
- You can also usesteroidsororal antihistaminesto soothe the skin especially when itching is severe.
Bed bugs do not spread diseases, but it is important to get rid of the bug bites as soon as possible. Avoid scratching the bites to prevent breaks in the skin that might be infected easily. Look out for signs of an allergic reaction. Lastly, contact the professionals to deal with the bed bug infestations. Repeated events of bed bug bites can ultimately lead to an allergic reaction, which is life threatening. Calling professionals is the most effective way to get rid of bed bugs from the home.
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