How Do H Get Bed Bugs

US EPA

Bed Bugs

Introduction to Bed Bugs

The common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) has long been a pest – feeding on blood, causing itchy bites and generally irritating their human hosts. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) all consider bed bugs a public health pest. However, unlike most public health pests, bed bugs are not known to transmit or spread disease.

They can, however, cause other public health issues , so it’s important to pay close attention to preventing and controlling bed bugs.

Experts believe the recent increase in bed bugs in the United States may be due to more travel, lack of knowledge about preventing infestations, increased resistance of bed bugs to pesticides, and ineffective pest control practices.

The good news is that there are ways to control bed bugs. Getting good, solid information is the first step in both prevention and control. While there is no chemical quick fix, there are effective strategies to control bed bugs involving both non-chemical and chemical methods.

Bed bugs can be hard to find and identify, given their small size and their habit of staying hidden. It helps to know what they look like, since the various life stages have different forms.

More Information

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How to get rid of bed bugs – the signs that say you have them, and how to prevent them

Bites, blood spots on the bed sheets, black spots on the mattress. these are all signs of a bed bug infestation

  • 14:15, 20 AUG 2018
  • Updated 16:15, 20 AUG 2018

Ugh, the slow-dawning and horrifying realisation that you have bed bugs.

The tiny bloodsucking creatures love to live in the crevices between bed frames and mattresses.

Bedbugs feed exclusively on blood, crawling out from their hiding places at night to bite you. They aren’t thought to transmit diseases, though.

Bedbugs tend to prefer fabric or wood over plastic and metal, and often hide near to where you sleep – for example, under the mattress or along the headboard.

They can surprise you though – by hanging out away from the bed in other furniture, along the edges of carpets and even behind mirrors – or inside smoke alarms.

Although difficult to get rid of, it’s not impossible. Here’s a guide to working out if you’ve got bed bugs, and how to treat the problem as soon as possible.

How can I tell if I have bed bugs?

The quicker you can act to treat the problem, the easier it will be, so look out for these seven signs:

What do bed bugs look like?

Bed bugs are nocturnal, but they prefer to feed on a deeply sleeping host, which for human beings is in the few hours before sunrise.

These appear as itchy, red welts that can be flat on the skin or raised.

The majority of bites will appear on the chest or back, neck, hands, feet or face. However, bed bugs can bite any area of exposed skin.

The bites tend to appear in clusters as they crawl around testing areas multiple times to find the best source of blood. So the bites can show up in groups, rows or zig-zag lines.

The bites may cause a rash or fluid-filled blisters. In more severe cases, they can become infected with bacteria if scratched – signs of infection include pain, increasing redness and swelling

How do I treat bed bug bites?

A mild steroid cream or antihistamine can help relieve itchy bites.

You might need antibiotics for worse reactions – see your GP if you experience pain, redness, swelling or other signs of infection.

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Signs and symptoms of bed bugs

1. Blood stains on bedding

You’re not going to like this, but you do need to know about it: when you move in your sleep and squash a blood-filled bed bug that’s just fed, it’ll leave little blood smears on your sheets, duvet covers an pilowcases.

Still, at least you’re getting closer to the truth.

2. Bed bug poo stains

These look like black felt tip marks on fabric. Usually found on the edges of mattresses, or on bedsheets.

These stains are digested blood – the bed bugs’ fecal matter.

Again, sorry. Rest assured, it sounds grim, but it isn’t dangerous.

Wipe the stains with a wet rag – if they smear, you’ve got a positive sighting for bed bug faeces.

3. Bed bug eggs and egg shells

Female bed bugs can deposit one to five eggs a day, and may lay 200 to 500 eggs in a bed bug’s lifetime.

Under normal room temperatures and with an adequate food supply, they can live for more than 300 days.

This is why taking quick action to treat the problem is best.

Bed bug eggs are translucent to pearly white in color and when first laid, are coated in a shiny film to help them stick to surfaces.

Bed bug eggs are shaped like a grain of rice and very, very tiny – around 1mm. Still visible to the naked eye, but a magnifying glass helps.

Empty shells will be less shiny and look flattened.

They’re more likely to be find where the bed bugs are hiding, especially on rough wood or fabric surfaces.

4. Bed bugs’ shed skin (or shells)

Don’t let this spoil the classic cinema snack for you, but bed bug shells look like tiny, translucent popcorn kernels.

After hatching, the bed bug starts life as a nymph. They look like adult bed bugs, except they’re smaller and lighter in colour.

As they mature, they’ll shed their skin 5 times, once at each new stage of development.

Look for the evidence in the usual bed bug hangout joints – box springs, mattresses, wooden furniture and framing, and so on.

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5. What do bed bugs look like?

Spotting an adult bed bug going about its business in your home is one of the last ways you’ll become aware of an infestation, but it’s worth knowing what to look out for.

They’re brown, oval and flat, ranging in size from 4.5mm to as long as 7 or 8 mm when fed – approximately the size of an apple seed. They turn a reddish color after feeding – because they’re then swollen with blood.

6. The musty smell

You’ll know it if you ever sniff it – and your instincts will tell you it’s not good.

Bed bugs have glands that release pheromones when they’re disturbed, to warn the rest of the group.

The odour is musty and repellent.

Bad news: if you can smell them, you’ve got a severe infestation on your hands.

Slightly better news: if only a trained bed bug sniffing dog can find it, might be catching the problem early. Hopefully.

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How to get rid of bugs

How to treat or kill bed bugs?

David Cross, Head of Technical Training at Rentokil Pest Control, has the following tips for 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. Below are just a few of these you may want to try after washing your bites with soap and water, and then drying"

  1. Calamine lotion:This relieves itching and also helps to dry rashes and protect the skin
  2. 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
  3. Toothpaste: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
  4. Witch Hazel:This provides a mild anaesthetic effect that helps to calm the itching caused by bites
  5. Aloe Vera: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
  6. Lemon juice: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”

Prevention and steps

1. Strip your bed

Apart from possibly leading to unpleasant skin reactions, the bed bug bites are also keeping the pests alive, as they feed on your blood.

If they can’t feed, they can’t breed, keeping the infestation alive.

Strip your bed of all sheets, pillowcases, and other bedding, and seal them in plastic garbage bags to keep bed bugs from escaping and infesting other parts of your home.

Take the bags straight to the washing machine, and wash them using the hot water setting.

Then, dry the bedding on high heat if their tags allow it. This heat treatment will kill any bed bugs or eggs hiding in your bedding.

Use a vacuum cleaner to remove any bed bugs, shells, fecal droppings, or eggs that might be along the seams of your mattress, pillows, box spring, and along the cracks and crevices in the bed frame, headboard, and footboard.

Follow up the vacuuming with a high-pressure steamer to kill bed bugs and eggs hidden deep within furniture.

While the mattress and box spring are left to dry, spray down the joints of the bed frame, headboard, and footboard with a contact spray and residual spray.

Once the mattress and box spring are dry, encase them in sealed bed bug encasements.

2. Prevention

Move your bed away from any other points of contact, like walls, nightstands, and other furniture.

Tuck in or remove any hanging skirts or sheets, and remove any storage under the bed that is touching any part of the frame.

The only thing your bed should be touching is the floor via its legs. Place bed bug interceptors under each leg – they look like cups that the bed bugs fall into when trying to climb up the legs of the bed.

The cups will help you monitor how quickly the bed bug population in your home is dwindling as they lose access to feeding on your blood.

If your bed has a solid base rather than legs, you’re best off throwing it out.

3. Hunt and destroy all bed bugs in your home

Clothes, books, and other personal belongings shouldn’t be left on the floor, as they make treatment more difficult and add hiding places for bed bugs.

Seal them in garbage bags and store them in another room.

Any clothing that was picked up from the floor or removed from dresser drawers should be dried on high heat for at least 45 minutes.

Once treated, clothing that you don’t normally wear should be stored inside garbage bags outside of the infested room.

Then, vacuum and steam along baseboards, window sills, and the edge of the carpet.

Make sure you clean the vacuum and steam cleaners afterwards.

A portable bed bug heater can be used to clean items that can’t be washed or vacuumed, such as books, shoes or luggage.

You can also use bed bug sprays and powders to kill the pests in hard-to-reach areas.

Powders can be left undisturbed to do their work, but sprays will need to be reapplied every two weeks for a few months.

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How do you get bed bugs?

Bed bugs can be transported easily in luggage, clothing and furniture.

Once in your home, they can quickly spread from room to room. They don’t jump or fly, but can crawl long distances.

Top tips to prevent bed bug infestations:

inspect your mattress and bed regularly for signs of an infestation, and get professional advice if you think you have bedbugs

avoid buying second-hand mattresses and carefully inspect second-hand furniture before bringing it into your home

keep your bedroom tidy and remove clutter

Bedbugs aren’t attracted to dirt, so they’re not a sign of an unclean home, but clearing up any clutter will reduce the number of places they can hide.

Once treated, they should be dead within a few weeks, depending on the severity of the infestation.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Fast – 8 Home Remedies That Work

Are you having bed bugs infestation at home or maybe bed bugs have even started biting you and sucking your blood? No problem, in this article I’m going to tell you effective home remedies on how to get rid of bed bugs fast and permanently. And will youSay Bye Bugs!

To begin with …So what are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are flat, small and wingless insects that mostly feed on blood.

You can find them in homes and you can easilytransport them to different places through luggage, clothing, and furniture.

These tiny insects hide easily from view during the day when they are not active.

Their preferred habitat is usually our homes.

They hide in mattresses, bed frames and bedding, furniture, carpets, clothing and other household furniture.

Bed bugs are parasites that operate very efficiently in the dark and when seen close up, they may appear in different colors.

A large population of bedbugs may produce a coriander-like odor (1).

Characteristics of Bed Bugs

The following are characteristics of bed bugs

Nocturnal

As stated earlier on, bed bugs are nocturnal,which means they are most active during the night.

They feed on your blood when you are sleeping comfortably in your bed at night.

Furniture-dwelling

Understand that bed bugs infest all kinds of furniture within your home. Cribs, sofas, and beds included.

Bed bugs may be hiding at themovie theatre, hospital waiting room, on the train or the bus, even at your own workplace.

In short, they are almost everywhere, even maybe they are on your seat right now ..lol

Health Hazard

Most bedbugs feed on their hosts while they sleep and draw blood in a painless way.

They feed on their hosts by injecting a small amount of saliva into the host’s skin.

An individual becomes sensitive to theirsaliva and chemicalsafter weeks of feeding and may eventually develop an allergic reaction.

Some allergic reactionsmay prove fatal if you don’t give them proper medical attention.

However, this situation may bevery unlikely.

Usually, most people that bed bugs bite don’t show any symptoms and often have no idea about the bites.

This makes it more difficult to prevent or identify potential infestations that may pose a threat to one’s health.

However, some may becomeill and nauseous.

Also, you can contact scars and skin infections from scratching the bites from bed bugs(2).

Hard to See and Kill

It is almost difficult for the normal human eye to see bed bugs.

Bed bugs are able to withstand and recover quickly from a difficult condition which includes temperature.

Without the right tools, these vicious tiny creatures can survive for many years within your furniture or bed.

In fact, these pests are able to stay alive for up to 1 year without feeding.

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What are the Main Causes of Bed Bugs?

Note that there is no association with bed bugs and filth.

Why did I say that? … It is because

These tiny creatures donot care if one is clean or dirty.

Even vacant and occupied clean homes may have bedbugs in them.

They can survive for over two months without any food since they are adaptable to different conditions.

The riskof having bed bug infestation increases each time you invite people into your home.

Also, they hide in your luggage and can stick to your clothing when you go topublic or common places.

A careful visual inspection should allow a person to detect bedbugs or their droppings.

How to Get Rid Of Bed Bugs Fast at Home

This section will show you how to get rid of bed bugs.

However, there is a certain thing you must do before carrying out the major operations.

First of all:

Identify the Infested Areas

The first step you need to take is to find bed bugs infested areas in your home(3).

Be sure to double check your bedroom or anywhere in the home where people sleep and keep pets.

Take a closer look at the spaces between the mattresses, cushions and other possible hiding places.

Do not leave other furnishings and electrical appliances out.

In addition,inspect your surroundings because bed bugs can be hiding everywhere.

All these are important to determine the extent of the infestation.

After efficiently marking out the infested areas,you can go ahead to get rid bugs.

So What Kills Bed Bugs Home?

The following are safe, effective and legal methods will put you through.

1. Use a Vacuum Cleaner for Bed Bug

Vacuum cleaning involves the use of an electrical apparatus to collect dust from the floors and other surfaces.

You can use the vacuum cleaner to suck up and eradicate bedbugs from your bedroom.

Use a Vacuum Cleaner for Bed Bug

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Follow thesteps below to ensure that you completely do away with the bugs.

  • Concentrate on the infested areas
  • Avoid pressing hard against your bed cover of fabric to prevent the bed bugs from moving away from the surface.
  • Remove the vacuum bag and seal it properly. A tape will suffice.
  • Place the vacuum bag into a plastic container.
  • Seal it and dispose of it in the trash.

If your vacuum cleaner does not have a bag, empty it and dispose of away in a sealed plastic bag.

Vacuum cleaners do not necessarily kill bedbugs.

However,they greatly reduce the armies of bedbugs in your home.

2. Freezing Bed Bug

You can get rid of bed bugs using freezing conditions.

This method is particularly useful in killing bedbugs in smaller items.

Freezing makes ice to form inside the bedbug which causes injury or death to them.

Although,bed bugs can live for a long period before they finally die.

Vacuum Cleaner for Bed Bug

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However, you should take certain precautions when freezing household materials.

Household items that you can freeze include cloth items, shoes, pieces of jewelry and toys.

Do not freeze electronics with LCD screens or panels.

The temperature of your freezer is quite important because bed bugs die quickly under very low temperature.

Place infested items in a freezer that is at or below 0 o F (-18 o C) and leave it for at least 4-6 days.

Ensure that you do not set your freezer above 0 o F as the eggs and little bed bugs may survive.

3. High Heat Bed Bugs Treatment

Another way on how to get rid of bed bugs is the use of high heat.

This method is applicable if you cannot see all of the bugs or all of their eggs.

It will discover the bugs and kill them irrespective of their hiding place.

You will need to get aheater and have it installed in your home.

You need to heat your home up to 140 o F for about two hours.

This kind of treatment will kill the majority of the begs and their eggs as they cannot survive such high heat for a long time

However, you need to take certain precautions.

Ensure that you follow the precautions listed below.

  • Do not stay at home during this treatment.
  • Staying in a place with high heat can pose health hazards.
  • Make sure your home is suitable for the treatment.
  • Get a professional to double check your walls and windows to prevent the heat from escaping the building.

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4. Hot Steam for Bed Bug Treatment

Hot steam is a very effective method on how to get rid of bed bugs once you apply it correctly.

It kills bed bugs in their different stages of development without posing a threat to the environment.

The steam can find its waythrough tiny cracks or spaces on household furniture.

It also eradicates bed bugs infestations inside mattresses.

A steam cleaner is very necessary for this method.

Although steam cleaners are quite expensive, it is possible to rent one.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs With Hot Seam

To get rid of bed bugs fast, follow the steps below carefully.

  • Mark out the infested areas.
  • Thoroughly vacuum all the areas you plan to steam.
  • Apply the steamer on all surfaces of the infested area or where you think the bed bugs may be hiding.
  • Ensure that the fabric you are applying the steam on is not wet.
  • Just in the case the fabric is wet, reduce the amount of steam generated by the steamer.
  • Turn on or use a fan in the infested area. This will ensure proper circulation of air to dry the area of materials you have steamed.
  • Repeat these steps until you are almost sure that the bed bugs are dead or eradicated.
  • Note that bed bugs that do not come in contact with the steam will survive.

But first a warning:

Take the following precautions before and while steaming for your safety.

  • Make sure that you always read and understand the directions in the manual that came with the steamer.
  • The steam produced from a steamer is very high so, do not let children near the steamer.
  • In addition, always direct the steam away from yourself.

5. How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs with Baking Soda

Baking soda is an effective home remedy for bed bug. It helps eliminate moisture from the body of bed bugs due to its drying properties.

It loaded with antimicrobial properties which kills bed bugs.

Just sprinkle some baking soda around the crevices and cracks or wherever you find bugs.

And remember:

Vacuum the baking soda after few days and you can repeat the process again.

6. Tea Tree Oil for Bed Bug

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This is one of the best essential oils with high antimicrobial effects.

In fact,the antibacterial properties help you kill any unwanted microbes like bacteria, viruses, and fungi (4).

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs With Tea Tree Oil
  • Add some tea tree oil drops on the infested area.
  • Prepare a solution with warm water and tea tree oil.
  • Put the diluted solution of tea tree in a spray bottle and spray it on the walls, furniture, carpets, clothes linens, beds, drapes, cupboards, and mattresses
  • Do this once a week to kill the bed bug

7. Lavender homemade Bed Bug Killer

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Use lavender essential oil, soap or powder to treat bed bugs.

You can also put lavender leaves on the infested area to keep bed bugs away.

This is one of the effective homemade bed bug killers that nauseates them.

8. Bed Bug Spray

Using bug sprays and other chemicals can help get rid of bed bugs. Bug sprays are quite effective.

These chemicals kill the bugs on contact.

Bug sprays are easily affordable but one may need to purchase multiple bottles for effective treatment.

Bug spray can prevent further infestation when applied correctly but you may need to search for bed bugs in hidden places.

Make sure you read and understand the instructions of the bug spray before application.

Read Next:

Finally,

Ensure that you keep the infestation from expanding even after applying any of the methods(5).

Bed bugs like to hide in inaccessible locations, so they produce more eggs and multiply.

Continue checking for the presence of bed bugs, at least every 1 week, just in case any eggs remained or you missed a spot.

In addition,ensure that you seal anything you remove from your home properly in a plastic bag and also dispose of it properly.

Do not discardusable furniture if you can eliminate the bed bugs from it.

If you cannot completely get rid of bed bugs from a particular, discard it responsibly.

Also, you should place interceptors under the legs of the furniture in your home to catch bed bugs and prevent them from climbing.

Now, are you ready to get rid of bed bugs permanently at home? Try one of these home remedies on how to get rid of bed bugs at home, give us feedback the comment box below.

What Causes Bed Bugs, And How Do They Spread?

What causes bed bugs? How might they spread? Learn more about how you might be able to stop a bed bug infestation before it starts.

In recent years,bed bugs(Cimex lectularius) have gone from relative obscurity to center stage in America.

WHERE DO BED BUGS COME FROM?

As the name indicates, bed bugs are often found in close proximity to beds. They are attracted to and feed on warm-blooded animals to survive. This can be humans or animals, but little is known about what causes bed bugs to have a preference for humans.

BED BUGS IN THE BEDROOM

To feed on humans, bed bugs want close proximity to the host. Box springs, headboards and bed framing are favorite harborage sites for these pests. They may also settle into furniture and fixtures that are close to a bed.

Bedrooms are not the only place where bed bugs can be a concern though.

BED BUGS OUTSIDE THE BEDROOM

Bed bugs are looking for human hosts who are inactive long enough to provide a meal. The feeding doesn’t have to be at night. They will feed opportunistically, even in the daytime.

Where else might bed bugs find and feed on you?

Sitting for two hours in a movie theater while being distracted by adventure and popcorn? You could become an extra large drink for a bed bug.

Maybe the movie is enjoyed (or possibly slept through) in that favorite recliner in the living room. You could be a target.

Have a long cab ride into the office?

You get the idea. Any place that humans sit, rest or sleep can be a place that bed bugs are introduced or feed.

HOW DO BED BUGS SPREAD?

Bed bugs are consummate hitchhikers. In fact, they are primarily transported by humans and human belongings like suitcases.

If bed bugs or evidence of bed bugs are discovered, leave the area and call a qualified pest management professional to assist.

Bed bugs will move to other areas when they are disturbed. This may cause other areas to be infested that may be much more difficult to inspect or treat.

If you spot signs of bed bugs,click hereto schedule your inspection.

Do Earwigs Bite?

If you shudder a little when you think about earwigs, you’re probably not alone. They’ve developed quite a nasty reputation, thanks to urban legends (mostly false) that have been circulating for years. But are they harmful?

The Lifespans of Insects With Short Lives

Many insects, such as butterflies, have a lifespan that occurs in four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Other insects, such as grasshoppers, do not have a pupal stage and instead go through three stages: egg, nymph, and adult. The length of each stage can vary based on many things, from the insect species to the temperature outside—but what some insects share in common is a very short adult stage. Keep reading to learn about five insects with some of the shortest adult stages in their lifespan.

The Return of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The change of seasons from summer to fall means many things: leaves changing colors, dropping temperatures, and—depending on where you live—stink bugs sneaking into your home. Stink bugs were named for their distinct ability to emit an unpleasant odor when they are threatened or disturbed by predators like lizards or birds. This also means that if stink bugs enter your home and feel threatened, you’ll be faced with dealing with their strong smell in your house. As we head into fall, you might find yourself with more active stink bugs than usual, so it’s important to know the basics about these smelly insects.

What are Earwigs?

Most people have probably heard of earwigs at some point or another. These creepy-looking insects are associated with some urban myths. Learn the truth about earwigs, including what attracts them and how to help get rid of them.

ARE TICKS DANGEROUS?

The majority of ticks will deliver painless bites without any noticeable symptoms. However, some ticks can carry a variety of bacteria and pathogens for disease. Although not all ticks are dangerous, you don’t want to risk coming into contact with these blood-sucking insects.

ARE TICKS DANGEROUS?

The majority of ticks will deliver painless bites without any noticeable symptoms. However, some ticks can carry a variety of bacteria and pathogens for disease. Although not all ticks are dangerous, you don’t want to risk coming into contact with these blood-sucking insects.

Are Bed Bugs Contagious?

Bed bugs are not too picky about where and when they catch a ride and don’t necessarily have a preferred mode of transportation, so it’s no surprise how many people wonder, are bed bugs contagious?

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Do Earwigs Bite?

If you shudder a little when you think about earwigs, you’re probably not alone. They’ve developed quite a nasty reputation, thanks to urban legends (mostly false) that have been circulating for years. But are they harmful?

Cluster Flies In Your Home

If you’re like many homeowners, you’ve dealt with annoying flies ruining your summer barbecues and outdoor dinner parties. You may have even become accustomed to whipping out the flypaper and heavy-duty bug zappers the minute you hear the familiar buzz of a fly. These annoying pests are likely house flies, which can pose significant health risks to you and your family. But have you ever seen large, sluggish flies loitering inside your home in the autumn and winter? They may be cluster flies.

Tips to Get Rid of Stink Bugs in Your House

Now that it’s fall, it’s officially indoor stink bug season. Before it becomes winter, brown marmorated stink bugs are looking for comfortable overwintering sites to spend the cold months—and that can often mean that they may find a way to sneak into your house. While the odor that a stink bug releases is not dangerous, they are definitely a nuisance. Luckily, there are steps you can take to get rid of stink bugs in your house—without having to deal with the unpleasant smell.

What are Sand Fleas?

Many people love going to the beach to spend time in the sun, sand, and water. But they might not love some of the nuisances that live at the beach or in the ocean, such as gnats or jellyfish. But, what about the sand flea, a small critter that can be found in moist areas such as under rocks or debris. Keep reading to learn exactly what sand fleas are and if you need to worry about them.

The Lifespans of Insects With Short Lives

Many insects, such as butterflies, have a lifespan that occurs in four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Other insects, such as grasshoppers, do not have a pupal stage and instead go through three stages: egg, nymph, and adult. The length of each stage can vary based on many things, from the insect species to the temperature outside—but what some insects share in common is a very short adult stage. Keep reading to learn about five insects with some of the shortest adult stages in their lifespan.

The Return of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The change of seasons from summer to fall means many things: leaves changing colors, dropping temperatures, and—depending on where you live—stink bugs sneaking into your home. Stink bugs were named for their distinct ability to emit an unpleasant odor when they are threatened or disturbed by predators like lizards or birds. This also means that if stink bugs enter your home and feel threatened, you’ll be faced with dealing with their strong smell in your house. As we head into fall, you might find yourself with more active stink bugs than usual, so it’s important to know the basics about these smelly insects.

Bedbugs

In this Article

In this Article

In this Article

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.

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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.

Bedbug Treatments

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.

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Bedbug Extermination

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.

Sources

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."

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