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May 15th, 2019 Comments

How to Know If You Have Bed Bugs and How to Get Rid of Them

According to a 2018 National Pest Management Study, 91% of bed bugs are found in single-family homes. One could only imagine that these numbers are on the rise, considering the small world we live in. All it takes is one bed bug to start an infestation.

Bed bugs can be a confusing topic because of the wealth of information available online. Questions like "should I call pest control?" or "can I handle the bed bug infestation myself?" are just a couple of the questions that one may have. How to know if you have bed bugs and how to get rid of them are two things that are always in the back of a homeowner's mind.

However, bed bugs don't have to be a headache. As long as you have a sense of the tell-tale signs and know when to get professional help, then you will be well on your way to getting rid of those pesky bloodsuckers.

In this article, you'll learn everything you need to know about bed bugs and how to deal with them.

Let's get to it.

The Bed Bugs of Old

But first, it's time for a little bit of history.

These critters have been around for at least 3500 years. Later, the Greeks (in 400 B.C.) mentioned them as well. Even the colonists in the late 1700's brought along bed bugs. As you can see, history is replete with their presence.

While their reputation has changed drastically from medicinal bug to gross bloodsucker, bed bugs have remained on the scene. And every once in a while, a bed bug epidemic arises.

But how exactly do they manage to infest such a large number of people across the world? More specifically, what's their secret? To find out, it's important to learn how to prevent bed bugs.

How to Prevent Bed Bugs

There isn't a magical formula for preventing bed bug contamination, but following some simple tips can reduce your risk of contamination.

1. Post-Travel Measures

After traveling, make sure to inspect your luggage for any bed bugs. Small blood marks that resemble rust may be present in light-colored clothing. If you're not sure, then washing and drying any fabric on the warmest setting will increase your odds of getting rid of them.

2. Cleanliness

General cleanliness and organization around your living space is yet another effective strategy. Hanging your clothes up, washing bed sheets regularly, and de-cluttering reduce the risk of bed bugs. Soft, upholstered furniture is prime bed-bug living space so make sure to clean these every once in a while.

3. Used Furniture

Avoid used furniture at all costs, as this kind of furniture is usually not wanted because of bed bug infestations. Getting the furniture inspected by a pest control specialist is also an option. A quick Google search should reveal the pest control companies available in your area.

Yet another option is a bed bug heater. As the name suggests, the goal with this strategy is to heat the bed bugs to death. These large, insulated compartments trap heat well and can help kill bed bugs as long as the internal temperature is around the 120° Fahrenheit mark.

4. The Mattress Matters

As we've seen, bed bugs thrive in soft, cloth-like hiding spots. Thus, it only makes sense for bed bugs to live in mattresses. Mattress covers are an excellent way to combat this, as any bed bugs present within your mattress will become trapped and will eventually die.

5. Take a Look at Fido

While bed bugs prefer to feast on humans, they are prone to feasting on just about any animal. After all, bed bugs thrive on blood. Taking a look at your pets is just one way to look for bed bugs and to prevent further infestation in your home.

Scratching, biting, and licking are just a few pointers that your pet may have bed bugs. Taking a look at your pet's bed could also reveal blood spots or bed bug feces, which usually look like dark spots.

How to Know If You Have Bed Bugs

Now that we've looked at some preventative measures, it's time to look at what you should if you've already fallen victim to a bed bug infestation. It's important to remember that a combination of the following strategies may be necessary to eradicate your bed bugs.

1. The Bites

Bed bug bites are harder to distinguish from your typical mosquito bite. Bites usually form a pattern, since bed bugs choose to bite the same spot repeatedly. Zig-zag patterns and straight patterns are a couple of things to look for.

If you've been bitten, don't worry too much. Bed bugs are not known to pose any serious health risks. However, washing the affected skin area with soap and water is a good place to start.

2. Do-It-Yourself...

Taking on a bed bug infestation by yourself is wholly dependent on the extent of the infestation. If the bed bugs are only in your couch, for example, then simply throwing the couch away can solve the problem.

Bed bug infestations are often much more complex, however. Going to a pest control specialist will often yield much better results. Pest control companies can not only help you find the contaminated areas but can almost always remove the bed bugs effectively.

Pest control companies are often successful because of the various tools available to them. One such tool is dogs. In fact, trained dogs have a 97% success rate in finding live bed bug infestations.

It's Worth It

There you have it! There's not much more to it than that.

How to know if you have bed bugs and how to get rid of them should no longer be a confusing topic. Following the tips above should put you well on your way to handling bed bugs.

While knowing how to prevent bed bugs can reduce the risk of contamination, your best bet will often be in resorting to a pest control company. When it comes to knowing if you have bed bugs, the tell-tale signs of bites, blood marks, and night itches are what look for.

Make sure to check out our website for other useful tips and general knowledge. If you'd like to learn more about who we are and what we do, then start here.

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