If you or someone in your home wakes up with insect bites, you could have a bedbug problem. At night, bed bugs sneak out of their hiding places to feed on blood; unlike mosquitoes, bed bug bites are often left in straight lines.
Bedbugs are rusty brown, with flat bodies the size and shape of an apple seed. They hide during the day in very narrow places, such as between the cracks and crevices of your mattress and bed frame, behind baseboards, under the carpet and many other places near the bed. A bedbug infestation can be hard to detect, until it’s out of control.
Adult bedbugs can survive for more than a year without feeding, and females lay many eggs, which hatch in one to two weeks.
Waking up covered in bites is the number one sign of a bedbug infestation. But there are other signs, such as after feeding, bedbugs leave reddish-black flyspecks on your bed. You may also find dead bedbugs, shed skin, eggs, or even live bedbugs hiding throughout the bedroom.
Bed bugs generally hide close to the bed, so get out a flashlight, and examine the boards under the bed, and between the seams of the mattress. Also, inspect anything close to the bed, such as books on a nightstand. Bedbugs can also hide in things like stuffed chairs or clothing.
Before you do anything, call a professional pest control service. They can advise you on what to do before they arrive. The best thing to do is close off the infested room until it can be treated. Unfortunately, removing the bedding or any other items may simply spread the bedbugs to other rooms.
Before the resident of the bedroom moves somewhere else to sleep, their clothing must be washed in hot water. Bag the clothing and move it to the washer carefully. Bedbugs can also hide in backpacks, purses and shoes; any shoes or other items that can’t be washed should be spun in a hot dryer to kill any bed bugs.
Once the bedroom has been professionally treated, the mattress must be sealed in a tightly woven or plastic cover, just in case there are any surviving bed bugs. You’ll also need to wash all of the bedding and any remaining clothing in very hot water.
Finally, understand that it could take more than one treatment to get rid of all of the bed bugs.
Traveling, especially overseas, is a common way to pick up bedbugs; they could have crawled into your luggage at the hotel. When traveling, never leave an open suitcase on the bed or on the floor. Instead, place your luggage in the shower or bathtub.
An overnight guest could have also brought the pests into your home. Finally, bedbugs could have come in with items you bought at a yard sale or thrift store.
The good news is, bedbugs are not known to carry and spread disease. However, some people are allergic to the bites.
A pest control professional can use a wide variety of insecticides approved to treat bedbugs. Among the most common pesticides used to kill bedbugs are pyrethroids and pyrethrins; these are derived from chrysanthemum flowers.
Desiccants such as diatomaceous earth or boric acid powder can also be used. Also, heat treatments are a safe option. Be sure to discuss all of the options with your pest control company to decide the best for you and your home.