According to the National Pest Management Association, one in five Americans have had a bed bug infestation or know someone who has. While they are a major nuisance, they are not known to carry or spread any diseases. If you are worried you might have a bed bug infestation there are many ways to identify the problem and get rid of it!
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small, reddish-brown insects that feed on our blood while we sleep which is why they love to make camp in our beds. They are commonly confused for other common pests and knowing how to identify them is important to establish how to properly get rid of the infestation.
Adult bed bugs are brownish red with six legs, two antennae, and no wings. Their eggs are pearl white and about the size of a pinprick. Baby bed bugs are a whitish color that grow into flat, brown bugs. They are shaped like an oval, similar to the size of an apple seed. After they feed, they become redder and larger.
How They Bite
Bed bugs feed at night which makes the bed a perfect place for them to live because you are most likely asleep when they go to feed. You should not feel you are being bitten, but the process takes three to 10 minutes. The bites cause different types of reactions that can keep you up at night. Sometimes you do not even react, other times you will have itchy, red welts that affect your sleep schedule. Bite marks can appear on any part of your body within one day up to two weeks. Sometimes they even appear in lines. Because bed bug bites are hard to distinguish from other bug bites, like mosquitos, it is important to know what to look for.
Where They Come From
There is no specific place where bed bugs come from. If the room is a temperature between freezing and 120 degrees, bed bugs can survive. Bed bugs can be picked up from any place where people gather. This does not mean they come from an unsanitary place. Five-star hotels and luxury resorts have had bed bug infestations.
Bed bugs are like hitchhikers. They will attach to your belongings and travel from object to object. These can be pillows, blankets, and even teddy bears. They can even be transferred to different locations if attached to your luggage.
Checking for Bed Bugs
When checking for bed bugs you want to check any part of the bed they could be living in. This will include examining your bed, bed frame, bedding, and box spring. It is important to check nearby hiding places as well. Nearby hiding spaces include crevices in the headboard, nightstands, dressers, curtains, floorboards, and more. Bed bugs often are not able to be spotted during the day, but you can still examine your bedding and mattress for any signs.
What to look for:
- Dark spots: bed bug feces look like dark spots on your bedding or mattress. It may look like the tip of the pen bled in the bed.
- Reddish stains: crushed bed bugs or blood from bites
- Pale, yellow eggshells
- Musty odor
- Actual bed bugs
TreatmentBed bugs are difficult to treat, and it can take up to weeks or even months to completely get rid of them. Many people agree you should skip the do-it-yourself methods, and just contact pest control or purchase a new mattress.
Clean area: This means removing any clutter that bed bugs could be hiding in. Putting the clutter in a clear bag to stop the spread of the bed bugs and their eggs. Also, wash all bedding, curtains, clothing, and linens on high heat to kill any bugs.
Suck them up: Vacuum your mattress and essentially your entire room. This will include any crevices throughout your room. After vacuuming, tightly seal the bag and discard it outside.
Seal mattress: A zipper mattress protector can seal the mattress and box spring. This will keep bugs from moving in and out for a year. After a year, they should have died from starvation.
Removing the Mattress
Sometimes the easiest way to get rid of bed bugs is by removing the infested mattress and purchasing a new one. When discarding the infested mattress, make sure to seal it in a bag, so you are not spreading bed bugs across your house. When putting the mattress and/or any other infected furniture on the curb, mark it as “infected,” so you are not letting someone else bring bed bugs into their home.
How We Can Help!
At Auburn Mattress, we want to make sure you are finding the best mattress for your home. No matter what size or firmness, we can help you find your dream mattress. Whether you are getting rid of a bedbug-infested mattress or just looking for an upgrade, Auburn Mattress is here to help. Contact us today to replace your old mattress!