How Can Bed Bugs Occur
How can bed bugs occur
Understand how bed bug infestations occur and learn what are the possible methods to prevent bed bugs infestations in the house.
How Does a Bed Bug Infestation Occur
There are many ways a dwelling can become infested with bed bugs. In most common cases, bed bugs are unknowingly picked up from infested areas such as hotels, hostel or motels and transported to non-infested areas when they cling onto someone’s luggage, or clothing that is then brought into homes.
Bed bug infestations can also occur in homes because contaminated furniture, especially used bedframes, mattresses, wardrobes or couches are introduced to the home. Toys such as stuffed dolls can also be infested as well.
Since bed bugs are able to live for several months without feeding it is possible for them to be hiding in vacant apartments and homes that appear to be clean. It also possible for bed bugs to migrate from apartment to apartment through small crevices and cracks in walls and floors.
Bed bugs can also live on birds, rodents and household pets and that can be easily carry into a home, allowing the bugs to spread in this manner.
How to Detect the Seriousness of a Bed Bug Infestation
Here are some simple signs that will let you identify infestation and whether the area is heavily infested or if it is a mild bed bug infestation.
- Bed bug bites are usually the first clue in identifying an infestation. The bites will leave red bumps on the back, legs and arms. Since they feed while you are sleeping it is hard to catch them in the act. They can look like other insects bites except they will appear in groups or rows of bites and usually are accompanied by a rash. You will also notice that you are getting bitten just about every night and you are going to see the bumps regularly.
Bed bugs leave behind a great deal of waste in infested areas and it is another method of identifying an infestation. You will notice small bloodstains on your bed sheets from crushed insects, or dark spots from their droppings around your mattresses. Also you will find the skin that is shed during molting, empty egg shells and dead bed bugs in the seams and tufts of your mattress or inside the box spring. The more waste that is found the more heavily infested the area is.
A great way to go about identifying infestation is to use double sided tape. You should line the edges of your mattress and box spring with the tape as well as place it on the floor around the bed. The more heavily infested the room is, the more bugs will be on the tape.
Methods to Prevent Bed Bug Infestations
Some of the things you can do yourself to stop bed bug infestations in your home include:
- You should regularly inspect all possible hiding places of your home for evidence of bed bugs, especially the mattresses and your bedframe.
Repair and seal any cracks that may be present in you the interior and exterior of you home to prevent bed bugs from entering and escaping.
Be sure that windows have screens and repair existing screens to keep birds and other rodents from entering.
Regularly remove excess clutter and clothing because they can be additional hiding spots for bed bugs.
Vacuum the mattresses, bed frames, carpets and upholstered furniture regularly to remove any possible bed bugs and their eggs. Immediately after vacuuming, dispose of the vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag in an outdoor trash bin.
Use a bed bug spray to treat any suspected infested areas or furnitures. A spray is also a handy tool to help kill off any bed bugs on sight.
Bed Bugs Travel Prevention Tips– Checklists and tips on how to avoid bed bugs while you travel.
Bed Bug Traps– Monitors and traps for the detection and trapping of bed bugs in the house.
Bed Bug Repellent– Get the truth about the effectiveness of bed bug repellent for skin.
U.S. EPA on Bed Bug Control
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on controlling and treating bed bugs.
Cornell University Bed Bug Guide
Guidelines for prevention and managment of bed bugs in shelters and group living facilities.
Bed Bugs FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions on bed bugs from the National Pest Management Association.
This website’s mission is to provide comprehensive information about bed bugs .
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Bed Bugs FAQs
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color, wingless, range from 1mm to 7mm (roughly the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny), and can live several months without a blood meal.
Where are bed bugs found?
Bed bugs are found across the globe from North and South America, to Africa, Asia and Europe. Although the presence of bed bugs has traditionally been seen as a problem in developing countries, it has recently been spreading rapidly in parts of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other parts of Europe. Bed bugs have been found in five-star hotels and resorts and their presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are found.
Bed bug infestations usually occur around or near the areas where people sleep. These areas include apartments, shelters, rooming houses, hotels, cruise ships, buses, trains, and dorm rooms. They hide during the day in places such as seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, inside cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, or any other clutter or objects around a bed. Bed bugs have been shown to be able to travel over 100 feet in a night but tend to live within 8 feet of where people sleep.
Do bed bugs spread disease?
Bed bugs are not known to spread disease. Bed bugs can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that can sometimes increase the chance of a secondary skin infection.
What health risks do bed bugs pose?
A bed bug bite affects each person differently. Bite responses can range from an absence of any physical signs of the bite, to a small bite mark, to a serious allergic reaction. Bed bugs are not considered to be dangerous; however, an allergic reaction to several bites may need medical attention.
What are the signs and symptoms of a bed bug infestation?
One of the easiest ways to identify a bed bug infestation is by the tell-tale bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body parts while sleeping. However, these bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area. These signs include:
- the bed bugs’ exoskeletons after molting,
- bed bugs in the fold of mattresses and sheets,
- rusty–colored blood spots due to their blood-filled fecal material that they excrete on the mattress or nearby furniture, and
- a sweet musty odor.
How do I know if I’ve been bitten by a bed bug?
It is hard to tell if you’ve been bitten by a bed bug unless you find bed bugs or signs of infestation. When bed bugs bite, they inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant that prevents a person from realizing they are being bitten. Most people do not realize they have been bitten until bite marks appear anywhere from one to several days after the initial bite. The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea — a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. The bite marks may be random or appear in a straight line. Other symptoms of bed bug bites include insomnia, anxiety, and skin problems that arise from profuse scratching of the bites.
Because bed bug bites affect everyone differently, some people may have no reaction and will not develop bite marks or any other visible signs of being bitten. Other people may be allergic to the bed bugs and can react adversely to the bites. These allergic symptoms can include enlarged bite marks, painful swellings at the bite site, and, on rare occasions, anaphylaxis.
How did I get bed bugs?
Bed bugs are experts at hiding. Their slim flat bodies allow them to fit into the smallest of spaces and stay there for long periods of time, even without a blood meal. Bed bugs are usually transported from place to place as people travel. The bed bugs travel in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else where they can hide. Most people do not realize they are transporting stow-away bed bugs as they travel from location to location, infecting areas as they travel.
Who is at risk for getting bed bugs?
Everyone is at risk for getting bed bugs when visiting an infected area. However, anyone who travels frequently and shares living and sleeping quarters where other people have previously slept has a higher risk of being bitten and or spreading a bed bug infestation.
How are bed bugs treated and prevented?
Bed bug bites usually do not pose a serious medical threat. The best way to treat a bite is to avoid scratching the area and apply antiseptic creams or lotions and take an antihistamine. Bed bug infestations are commonly treated by insecticide spraying. If you suspect that you have an infestation, contact your landlord or professional pest control company that is experienced with treating bed bugs. The best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspection for the signs of an infestation.
This information is not meant to be used for self-diagnosis or as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider. If you have any questions about the parasites described above or think that you may have a parasitic infection, consult a health care provider.
Bedbugs are small insects that often live on furniture or bedding. Their bites can be itchy, but do not usually cause other health problems.
Check if it’s bedbugs
Jeff March / Alamy Stock Photo
Bedbugs can hide in many places, including on bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind pictures and under loose wallpaper.
Signs of bedbugs include:
- bites – often on areas exposed while sleeping, like the face, neck and arms
- spots of blood on your bedding – from the bites or from squashing a bedbug
- small brown spots on bedding or furniture (bedbug poo)
Bedbug bites can be red and itchy. They’re often in a line or cluster.
Otto Pleska / Alamy Stock Photo
Some people have a reaction to the bites. They can be very itchy and there may be painful swelling.
How you can treat bedbug bites
Bedbug bites usually clear up on their own in a week or so.
Things you can do include:
- putting something cool, like a clean, damp cloth, on the affected area to help with the itching and any swelling
- keeping the affected area clean
- not scratching the bites to avoid getting an infection
You can ask a pharmacist about:
- using a mild steroid cream like hydrocortisone cream to ease bedbug bites (children under 10 and pregnant women should get advice from a doctor before using hydrocortisone cream)
- antihistamines – these may help if the bites are very itchy and you’re unable to sleep
Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:
- the bites are still very painful, swollen or itchy after trying treatments from a pharmacist
- the redness around the bites is spreading
You may have an infection and need treatment with antibiotics.
Coronavirus update: how to contact a GP
It’s still important to get help from a GP if you need it. To contact your GP surgery:
- visit their website
- use the NHS App
- call them
How to get rid of bedbugs
contact your local council or pest control service – it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get rid of bedbugs yourself because they can be resistant to some insecticides
wash affected bedding and clothing – use a hot wash (60C) or tumble dry on a hot setting for at least 30 minutes
put affected clothing and bedding in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer (-16C) for 4 days (alternative to hot washing)
clean and vacuum regularly – bedbugs are found in both clean and dirty places, but regular cleaning will help you spot them early
do not keep clutter around your bed
do not bring secondhand furniture indoors without carefully checking it first
do not take luggage or clothing indoors without checking it carefully if you have come from somewhere where you know there were bedbugs
Page last reviewed: 21 January 2019
Next review due: 21 January 2022
Bed bugs: How to identify if your bites are from bed bugs
BED BUGS feed off human blood by biting the skin of their victims while they’re sleeping. But how do you know if your bites are from bed bugs or from other insects? Here’s how to tell.
Bed bugs are small insects that live in and around beds and furniture. They crawl out at night and bite exposed skin to feed of blood. Bed bugs are not dangerous and don’t carry diseases, but their bites can be itchy and irritating to live with. If you are getting bitten at night and don’t know why, how can you tell if your bites are from bed bugs or from other insects? Bed bug bites look similar to bites from other insects, in that they appear as itchy, red bumps on the skin.
Some people have a reaction to the bites. They can be very itchy and there may be painful swelling
While this may make it seem difficult to distinguish between the potential culprits, there are a number of ways to detect where your bites are coming from.
Firstly, you may be able to tell if your bites are from bed bugs by looking at the pattern in which the bites appear on your skin.
Bites usually occur on exposed areas like the face, neck, hands or arms, and are less likely to occur under clothing.
As bed bugs are crawling insects, they typically bite in lines or clusters along the skin while they are crawling.
Flying insects like mosquitoes are more likely to bite in random places on the body while they are flying.
Bed bugs are crawling insects that bite exposed skin during the night (Image: Getty Images)
Secondly, you may be able to detect the source of the bites by checking for evidence of bed bugs in your bedroom.
Bed bugs are small, but are still visible to the human eye. Adults can grow up to 5mm long.
They usually hide away in cracks in the bed and surrounding furniture so you could try to find them by searching the mattress and bed frame, and shining a torch into the crevices of the furniture.
You may also be able to spot evidence of bed bugs by checking for markings on the bed sheets and mattress.
In homes with bed bugs infestations, the bed sheets and mattresses will often be covered in brown or black or red spots.
Bed bugs live in beds and surrounding furniture (Image: Getty Images)
Bed bugs bite in clusters or lines along 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
The brown or black spots are dried poo from the bed bugs, while the red spots are blood stains which occur if you squash a bug while sleeping after it has fed.
Bed bugs shed their skin as they grow, so you might also notice mottled bed bug shells on and around the bed.
In addition, you may be able to detect the presence of bed bugs by the tiny white eggs they lay.
“Bedbugs can hide in many places, including on bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind pictures and under loose wallpaper,” said the NHS.
“Some people have a reaction to the bites. They can be very itchy and there may be painful swelling.”
If you think you have a bed bug infestation in your home, you may need to call in pest control to get rid of them.
What Causes Bed Bugs? 6 Ways They Find A Way Into Your Home
The first step in knowing how to get rid of bed bugs is to figure out what causes bed bugs. By knowing the ways in which bed bugs come into your home and lay eggs, you can take steps to prevent a bed bug infestation in your home.
Contrary to popular belief bed bugs are not caused by filth or poverty. Bed bugs do not care that you’re rich or poor, clean or messy. They are concerned with blood of humans and animals and nothing more. Every home is susceptible to bed bugs so your best bet is knowing what caused them so you can prevent and treat them.
Bed bugs can be brought into your home by household pets like cats and dogs. They are warm and have blood, making them the ideal ride into your home. Since bed bugs are not necessarily ‘inside’ creatures, they often hop on animals to feed and simply end up in a new location as the animal moves around.
Pets are just one cause of bed bugs, but regular bathing can minimize a bed bug infestation.
Cramped living quarters such as hotels, college dorms, hostels and apartment buildings are a big cause of bed bug infestations. While it is not the fact that much of the world lives in apartments or other forms of cramped living, living close to your neighbors provides a good way for bed bugs to spread.
For example, living in an apartment building or dormitory where one unit has bed bugs can quickly cause others to have bed bugs as well. They travel on the carpet from one unit to the next, in the air ducts and power outlets. When one person gets bed bugs in cramped living quarters—particularly without alerting their neighbors—they cause others to get bed bugs.
If you notice bed bugs in your apartment, quickly alert your neighbors so they may prevent or treat their own infestation.
International travel has certainly increased our awareness of bed bugs because placed like hotels that have a high turnover rate of human activity. Even a five star hotel can cause bed bugs in your home if that is where the bed bugs latched onto your luggage or clothing.
Places like hotels and airplanes where there thousands of people sharing the same small spaces are a breeding ground for bed bugs. Any place where people are sitting or sleeping for long periods of time is a place that can cause bed bugs to hitch a ride home with you.
City dwellers often rely on city services to dispose of used furniture, generally by placing old furniture on the curb for a pick-up service. Many times the furniture is picked up to be used by someone else before the pick-up service arrives, and this is one of the causes of bed bugs in your home.
Even if the previous owner had no signs of bed bugs in their home, they can be transferred to the used furniture just from a few minutes on the street.
If you love free furniture, be sure to clean it thoroughly or risk a bed bug infestation.
It isn’t just used furniture found on the street. Used furniture found at flea markets, outdoor sales or second hand furniture shops can also bring bed bugs into your home.
Cracks & Crevices
If you have noticeable cracks or crevices on the walls, floors or ceilings in your home, this is a simple way for bed bugs to crawl into your home. Since bed bugs are quite small they can enter through even the smallest crack in a wall.
They seek warmth and those cracks and crevices provide them an easy way into the warmth.
Your best bet is to seal these cracks as soon as you spot them. Don’t wait until you need to do one big job to buy caulk. The sooner you seal those cracks the greater your chances of avoiding a bed bug infestation.
The clothes on your body can easily answer the question,what causes bed bugs?Anywhere you go that has bed bugs—knowingly or unknowingly—is a place where you can bring them home with you.
If you suspect that you may have come in contact with bed bugs immediately run your clothes through a wash cycle on hot water. This will kill the bed bugs before they can lay eggs and infest your home.
Keep in mind that these are just a few of the causes of bed bugs. Regularly check your clothes, pets and furniture for signs of bed bugs. Seal up the cracks and crevices you notice and keep the bed bugs at bay.