How You Get Bed Bugs

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.

Department of Health

Bed Bugs – What They Are and How to Control Them

Bed bugs have been around for thousands of years. They feed on blood, but are not known to spread any diseases to humans. Some people can be allergic to their bites. Getting rid of a bed bug infestation is not easy, but there are steps you can take to control the problem. There are also steps you can take to avoid bringing bed bugs home.

What are bed bugs?

How can bed bugs get into my home?

  • They can come from other infested areas or from used furniture. They can hitch a ride in luggage, purses, backpacks, or other items placed on soft or upholstered surfaces.
  • They can travel between rooms in multi-unit buildings, such as apartment complexes and hotels.

How can I avoid bringing bed bugs into my home?

  • When staying in a hotel, place your bag on a suitcase stand rather than on the bed or floor. Keep the rack away from walls or furniture. When returning home, wash the clothes from your trip and put them in a hot dryer.
  • Inspect new and used furniture before bringing it inside. Look in seams, tufts and under cushions.

How do I know if I have a bed bug problem?

  • You can see the bed bugs themselves, their shed skins, or their droppings in mattress seams and other items in the bedroom.
  • There may also be blood stains on sheets.

How do I control a bed bug problem in my home?

It can be done, but it usually requires what is called an "integrated pest management" (IPM) approach. This combines techniques that pose the lowest risk to your health and the environment. Try these strategies:

  • Clean and get rid of clutter, especially in your bedroom.
  • Move your bed away from walls or furniture.
  • Vacuum molding, windows and floors every day. Vacuum sides and seams of mattresses, box springs and furniture. Empty the vacuum or the bag immediately and dispose of outside in a sealed container or bag.
  • Wash sheets, pillow cases, blankets and bed skirts and put them in a hot dryer for at least 30 minutes. Consider using mattress and box spring covers –the kind used for dust mite control–and put duct tape over the zippers.
  • Seal cracks and crevices and any openings where pipes or wires come into the home.

Should I also try pesticides?

Pesticides may not be effective and can be dangerous if used improperly. If you decide to use pesticides, follow these rules:

  • Only use pesticides that are registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (look for the U.S. EPA Registration Number on the label) and make sure they are labeled to control bed bugs.
  • Do not apply pesticides directly to your body (there are no repellents registered to control bed bugs that can be used on the human body).
  • Do not use outdoor pesticides indoors.
  • If you decide to hire a pest control company, make sure they have experience with bed bugs. They should follow the steps of IPM, along with any pesticide application. Use a company that is registered and employs licensed applicators. The Department of Environmental Conservation has a list of registered companies.

It takes time and persistence to get rid of bed bugs, and in some cases, the cooperation of landlords, neighbors and others. It can be physically and emotionally exhausting. It can also be expensive when pest control companies are called in. Just remember – bed bugs are more of a nuisance than a health concern and, with vigilance, you can avoid or deal with infestations.

See the following for more information on bed bug biology and control measures:

Photo courtesy of Dr. Harold Harlan, Armed Forces Pest Management Board Image Library

How Do You Get Bed Bugs?

Often are the times you find bites on your arms, hands, neck or face and start wondering what happened to you. It is hard to notice that your living space has been infested by bed bugs as they’re small tiny insects which hideaway during the day and only come out at night when feeding. Bed bugs are a common household problem in several places around the world. Bed bug infestation in your residences can cause a great deal of discomfort and you would be willing to do anything to get rid of them.See,How to get rid of Bed Bugs.

How Do You Get Bed Bugs

There is so many ways to get bed bugs infesting your home. As they are too small to see, you can barely notice them before suffering. So it is wise to know the common ways of bringing bed bugs in you home. There are various situations that tend to entertain the presence of bed bugs in households. This may include;

Disorganized Homes

Areas around your home which are often in a mess areprone to attract bed bugs. This is because they provide a favorable environment toreproduceand continue doing so until they’re all over the house. However, it is important to note that for a bed bug to reproduce, it needs a blood meal. So if they have access to all this factors, they’ll definitely infest your living space. Bed bugs are attracted to warm conditions hencecluttered clothes provide them with the necessary warmth they needfor breeding.

Transportation From One PlaceToAnother

This may just be the most common way that bed bugs come to dwell in your home. Bed bugs live among people and thus it is very difficult to leave them behind, at least not all of them. When moving furniture such as beds or clothing where the bed bugs initially lurked, thenthe chances of transporting them to your new residence is very high.

Traveling ToInfested Areas

Well, you cannot transport bed bugs from one place to another if you haven’t been to an infested area. Bed bugs are small in size and thustend to hide among luggage you have traveled withto a new place where they lurk. Due to their small size, it may be difficult to spot them earlier and by the time you do, it might be already late. This can be even months later after having going back home and settled in.

SharedHabitats

Places where people from different places tend to live once in a whilesuch as hostels, motels and hotels.They can act as a source of bed bugs. Despite these common places. It’s possible to collect bed bugs from a friend’s house that might also have collected from elsewhere. We can therefore conclude that spread of bed bugs is a continuous process that starts from nowhere and has no end.

Buying Second Hand Clothes

This is another common cause of bed bug infestation. Second hand clothes are often kept in clutters which bed bugs tend to love since they’re not often disturbed. It is therefore important when you buy used clothes or any other itemyoushould clean them thoroughly before using.

Densely Populated Areas

Areas where people are always relocating to are very prone to bed bug infestation. This is especially in urban areas with people coming from different rural areas and other parts of a country. With this kind of migration, it puts urban areas at a high risk of most places inclusive of offices and theaters of being infested with bed bugs. The spread then continues into homes and other residential areas leaving almost a whole urban town suffering from bed bugs.Over population in small areas tend to attract bedbugssince there’s adequate food and places where they can hide.

Identifying bed bugs can be a difficult and strenuous experience as you often don’t know where they might be hiding. However, there are traces they live behind which can help you determine whether your home is infested or not. The mentioned instances above are just a few of the ways that bed bugs get into your home. There are several myths that are associated with being of bed bugs. It should be noted that bed bugs not only infest areas where poor people live. They can also be found in mansions where the rich live.Also Read , DIY Pest Control

Another myth is that bed bugs lurk in areas which are filthy and dirty. This is not the case. On the contrary, theycan also infest areas which are clean. What defines their being isn’t cleanliness or dirt but whether you haveloads and loads of clustered clothesor your home isdisorganized. Infestation may just be the beginning of your problems which intensify with time as you find solution tocontrolling and preventing their spread.

Bedbugs

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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.

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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."

How Do You Get Bed Bugs

“Learning about how easily bed bugs are acquired is very concerning for most people, but fear not; there are several things you can do to prevent bed bugs. It is far easier to prevent the bed bug problem than it is to correct it.”

How do you get bed bugs?

There are many ways you can get bed bugs. Bed bugs are commonly found in hotels, rental homes, apartments, and dorm rooms, however an infestation can occur almost anywhere. Bed bug infestations can occur in a/an office, school, library, movie theater, restaurant, care facility, shelter and many other places.

If you visit a place that is infested with bed bugs you can easily bring them home with you. Frequent travelers are quite likely to encounter them at some point and should learn all about bed bugs. These bugs are the ultimate hitchhikers, they can attach themselves to fabric like clothing and suitcases. Bed bugs can not fly or jump, they can either climb onto you while you are resting or drop on top of you from the ceiling. Once they are on your clothes, in your purse, or in your suitcase, bed bugs will find a place to hide until you get home.

Another common way to get bed bugs is by bringing used furniture into the home. Someone with bed bugs is selling their dresser, couch, coffee table, night stand, lamp etc. to you – the unsuspecting victim.

If your home has shared walls (like a apartment or condo) you can get bed bugs from your neighbors. The bed bugs can travel between the units through the wall voids Or between the floor and ceiling of stacked units.

Bed bug infestations can be found in houses, hotels, apartments, and dorm rooms, however an infestation can occur almost anywhere. They can also occur in a/an office, school, library, movie theater, restaurant, care facility, shelter and many other public places. It is very common to get bed bugs from the homes of friends or family, or when people come to visit your home or facility.

Bed Bugs are an indoor only pest, so how can you get bed bugs so easily?

The introduction of one pregnant female is the beginning of the infestation nightmare. Bed bugs are brought into the home by people. They can hitch hike on clothing, backpacks, luggage and purses. They can be on or within used furniture, beds, or couches. They can even be brought in by the maid’s vacuum.

Soon after you get bed bugs in your home, they will immediately find the areas near where they can get a blood meal. This is usually on or near your bed or couch. Once a suitable nesting location is found she will start laying eggs and feeding whenever possible. The army will grow quickly after the first hatch out.

When you get bed bugs in your bed or couch, the bed bug plague has begun and will spread quickly through the home. Once a female bed bug is impregnated by a male, she will run away from the nest and start laying eggs elsewhere in order to avoid the males. The female bed bug will remain pregnant her entire life and will avoid the painful courtship at all costs. This is the development of bed bug nests in various places throughout the home that often becomes a severe infestation in weeks.

Each pregnant female can lay five eggs a day and up to 500 her lifetime. Bed bug eggs start to hatch after about ten days. In just one month, the number of bed bugs could reach over 200 hungry individuals. If improperly treated, a small bed bug infestation could become a bed bug mega nest in a few short months.

Bed bug eggs will hatch ten days after being laid. The newly hatched bed bugs will begin to seek a blood meal immediately. Every time the bed bug feeds, it will grow to the next stage until it is an adult. This family will live in a nest that is made of bed bugs, feces and eggs.

Often times bed bugs will go unnoticed for several weeks or months. Our customers often think the skin irritation is caused by allergies or other sources and will seek medical attention. By the time the customer finds out it is bed bugs, the infestation can be detected in all rooms of the home.

Learning about how easily bed bugs are acquired is very concerning for most people, but fear not; there are several things you can do to prevent bed bugs. It is far easier to prevent the bed bug problem than it is to correct it.

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