How do you know if you have bed bugs?
A source of anguish for victims who cross their path, bed bugs are active at night and tend to be found in people’s bedrooms, on the edge of the mattress or on the headboard. About the size of an apple seed, these insects can have significant consequences on people's health and quality of life. However, once the infestation is detected, it can be treated.
What is a bed bug?
A bedbug is a nocturnal insect that belongs to the cimicidae family of the suborder Heteroptera. It has an oval shape and can measure up to 5 mm in adulthood. They are crawling insects so they don't have wings and cannot jump or fly. Bed bugs move by walking quickly at the speed of an ant. They usually make their appearance in the bedroom and then spread to other rooms in the house.
A bedbug bite is usually painless, but it can cause a skin reaction in some people. Indeed, people who are allergic to bedbug saliva will see several small red pimples (skin lesions) appear all over their body (legs, arms, back, etc.). If you are not allergic, you may not notice anything on your skin.
Here are some characteristics of bed bugs:
- It is visible to the naked eye.?
- The adult bug is reddish brown in color.?
- It has an oval shape and is about the size of a flattened apple seed, 4 to 7 mm in length.?
- It has a lifespan of about 5 to 6 months. However, it can live without feeding for more than a year when certain conditions are met.?
Signs of a bed bug infestation
Bed bugs are usually more active at night. They shy away from light and take shelter in tight, hard-to-reach places, which is why it can be difficult to find them. Fortunately, there are some clues and symptoms that can help detect the presence of bed bugs.
Red bumps on your body ?
Many people have allergic reactions to bedbug bites. If this is your case, you will notice small red bumps on your hands, legs or back. They look like mosquito bites and are usually in a row or clustered together. Some people have no skin reaction, while others have strong or even severe reactions.
Fecal spots ?
If you notice small black spots on your bed or on your bedroom wall, they could be bed bug droppings, which are made up of digested and dried blood. On non-absorbent structures, they form a small cluster of pasty black dots similar to an ink stain. Fecal stains are 1 mm to 3 mm in size and they permeate fabric.
Bed bugs can leave traces of blood on the sheets of your bed which may be the result of you crushing a bedbug in your sleep or scratching your red bump. They can also leave a trail of blood behind them when they eat a lot.
Bed bug eggs?
Their eggs are about 1 mm (the size of a pinhead) and are whitish in color. They can be found laid singly or in small clusters of 5 to 15 units. They are difficult to remove, particularly on textiles. You can find them everywhere (on your clothes, suitcases, bed sheets, in the corners of the room, etc.).
Adult bed bugs?
Due to their very small size, it is rare but not impossible to see bed bugs moving around in broad daylight. However, when they can be seen with the naked eye it usually means that the infestation has already reached an advanced stage. Young or immature bed bugs are light in color which makes them a bit more difficult to detect while adult bed bugs are generally brown and therefore easier to spot.
Places to check in the house when you have a bed bug problem
Even though they are called bed bugs, these insects can actually hide in many different places. At the onset of an infestation, bed bugs tend to hide near the person they will bite while they sleep. Once they start to reproduce, they disperse and move to other rooms. Here are some possible places where you can find bed bugs:
- Mattress seams, mattress and box springs, hems of bedding items, etc.?
- Headboard, bed frames and bedroom furniture?
- Clothing, suitcases and backpacks?
- Chairs, sofas, wheelchairs, slipcovers and upholstered furniture?
- Carpets and curtains?
- Behind paintings and tapestry?
- Wood, floor or cracks in plaster walls?
- Documents and books?
- Phones, radios and clocks?
- Door or window frames?
- Electrical outlets?
How do bedbugs spread?
The more advanced the infestation, the greater the invasion of bedbugs. They can appear in your bedroom and move to other rooms on your property, or even to other accommodations.
Bed bugs can get in and spread anywhere, even in the cleanest homes and hotels. These small brown insects move quickly, so you have to be careful because their modes of propagation are multiple.
- Through close contact with everyday items that are already infected such as clothes, bags, wheelchairs, sofas, etc.?
- When moving to another property ?
- During travel, in luggage, suitcases or sleeping bags?
- By infested used items or clothing purchased in thrift stores or used furniture stores?
- From laundry rooms ?
How to get rid of bed bugs?
The important thing is to act quickly. The sooner you detect the presence of bedbugs, the better off you will be. If you've already found clues that these insects are in your home, here's what you can do to get rid of them:
- Start with a visual inspection. Look for any bed bugs visible to the naked eye and vacuum them up. A handy trick to protecting your vacuum is to remove the nozzle and place a stocking to prevent bedbugs from accumulating inside your vacuum. Once the bedbugs have been vacuumed, remove the stocking and tie a knot at the end before throwing it in the trash (outside).?
- Call a pest management expert. A certified exterminator will be able to get rid of your infestation quickly and efficiently.?
- Disinfect your mattress with an iron (through a clean sheet) at a heat of 70 ° C and iron several times in the same place to make sure you kill all the bedbugs that are in your bed .?
- Wash your infested clothes and your bed linen at over 60 ° C (pillows, cushions, duvet, sheets, etc.)?
How do you prevent a bedbug infestation?
If you take the necessary precautions, you are likely to avoid future bed bug infestations. Here are some tips:
Be careful when you move to a new home?
When you move, place your items (clothes, furniture, mattresses, etc.) in airtight plastic bags. Remember to inspect the moving truck before loading your furniture and other belongings to make sure it is clean.
Once in your new home, use a flashlight to inspect all of the rooms in your property. Pay special attention to the bedrooms. If you find any bed bugs or signs of their presence (see above), immediately notify the owner so that he can call in a certified exterminator.
Inspect used clothing and items?
If you are used to picking up used clothing or items, always be sure to inspect them before you bring them into your home. Also, avoid bringing home any object or furniture in poor condition or abandoned on the sidewalks (mattresses, box springs, wooden furniture, etc.). If you still decide to bring one of these used items home with you, be sure to steam and disinfect them.
Avoid the accumulation of objects in your home?
Try to avoid the accumulation of objects in your home as much as possible. Do not leave anything lying around to reduce the number of places where bed bugs can hide.
Take precautions when traveling?
When you go on a trip, be sure to inspect your hotel room, especially the bed. Place your suitcases on luggage racks or in the bathtub and avoid storing your clothes and personal effects in drawers or on the floor. When you return home, the first thing you should do is put your suitcases on a hard surface and inspect them carefully.
Why call in an exterminator?
Do you have persistent itchy bites, but still can't find the bed bugs in your home? Act quickly and call an exterminator. Vextermination has been specializing in eco-responsible pest management for several years and has branches across Quebec to meet your needs and help you regain your peace of mind.
Our certified technicians will assess your situation as well as the level of infestation in order to offer you personalized solutions. Our team can help you get rid of a variety of pests or insects. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like more information on our pest management services.