How To Identify Bed Bugs
First you need to know what Bed Bugs are, their habits and life cycle to recognize them and control them. Bed bugs are blood sucking insects that hide in cracks and crevices during the day and come out to feed at night. They are small, only up to 1/4 inch long, flattened like a pancake, generally reddish to amber in color, and nearly round disc-like in shape. Easily mistaken for young roaches, they never develop wings. With sucking mouth parts, as they feed they inject saliva to increase blood flow. This saliva causes a skin reaction leading to swelling and intense itching. They are not known to spread any diseases but the wounds can become infected due to scratching. They don’t burrow into the skin or stay attached to the host after feeding. Females can lay up to 500 eggs in groups of 2 to 50 that are glued to rough surfaces. Eggs hatch after about 10 days into young nymphs looking like the adults except for their yellowish color and smaller size. Taking from 1 to 5 months to mature and shedding their skin several times as they grow, they can live for over a year. Bedbugs breed new generations up to 4 times a year and how fast they mature and breed depends on the temperature and food supply available.
Look for the signs of bed bugs. Learn where to look for them and how treat their bites. Signs of bed bug infestations, besides being bitten and having the red, swollen, itchy welts include; dark colored fecal stains left on mattresses, curtains, and walls, the dried skins they shed, and blood stains on the bedding. The bugs themselves can be found by checking bed frames, mattress seams, inside box springs, underneath furniture and window sills, behind picture frames and loose wall trim, and any cracks and crevices in walls and wall papers. In severe infestations the musty odor they produce will be noticeable. They can also hide inside mattresses and stuffed furniture, in folds of curtains and clothing, and in carpeting. Bedbugs are often carried from place to place in infested clothing and suitcases left lying in an infected room. Treatments for the bites include, antihistamines, anti-itch creams, and anti-biotic ointments to reduce swelling and infections. Insect repellents do not work with bed bugs and neither will sleeping with a light on.
Treat your house and infected belongings to rid them of bed bugs. Bedbugs can be hard to irradiate due to all their hiding places. Often infested mattresses and couches must be disposed of. Diatomaceous earth is a good treatment for carpeting and box springs but will irritate the skin with prolonged contact and can be bad for the lungs if inhaled. Be sure you only use food grade DE. as the type for swimming pools is a dangerous carcinogen. Boric acid (Roach Powder) will kill bedbugs but again it can be harmful to the lungs. Pyrethrin sprays and fumigants are good methods of bedbug control but often professional exterminators offer the best control methods. All infected sheets, pads, clothing, and curtains should be washed and placed in a medium hot drier to destroy all the bugs and their eggs. To destroy their eggs, all the furniture and bed frames need to be scrubbed down, and steam cleaned, paying attention to the corners and cracks. Use a good vacuum, fitted with a narrow nozzle to go over baseboards, window frames, and carpets to dislodge eggs and suck up bugs. Seal up and throw away the vacuum bag immediately. Steam will also kill bedbugs and their eggs. Use a good steam cleaner to thoroughly go over any surfaces that can safely take the steam.
To prevent re-infestation, furniture and beds legs can be placed in containers of soapy water, coated with petroleum jelly, or have double-side tape placed around them and they need to be kept away from the walls. Bedbugs have to crawl up onto a surface as they have no wings and don’t hop. You need to repeat extermination treatments again in two weeks and it may be necessary to do it several times. All items in the room, books, shoes, paper goods, and nick knacks should be thoroughly inspected and cleaned. Bedbugs cannot take temperatures above 100 degrees or below freezing for a prolonged period of time, so running clothes and bedding through a hot drier will disinfect them as will dry cleaning.
Use the correct products to kill bed bugs. At Truly Green Pest Control we use natural products to kill bed bugs and their eggs.
Prevention of bedbugs involves being sure the pests are not brought into your house by hitchhiking in or on anything. Carefully inspect all used bedding and furniture that you might buy before bringing it into the house. Use sealable vinyl or plastic mattress coverings to keep the bugs out and to trap and starve any already inside. Bedbugs can live up a year without feeding, so be persistent and patient. Be sure there are no wild birds or animals nesting in or around your house as bedbugs will feed on other animals as well as humans. If you or anyone else coming into the house, travel a lot check all the suitcases, clothes, shoes, and belongings for infestations and keep an eye on any of your guest rooms to catch the pests before they spread. When traveling, check the room carefully for bedbug infestations before bringing your things into it. Inspect items coming out of storage as well. The bedbug problem is growing in this country as they are being found in more and more establishments such as, theaters, hotels, planes, and schools. Knowing how to identify, treat for, and prevent bedbugs will go a long way towards the goal of getting rid of bedbugs.