Bed Bugs Appearance and Physical Characteristics
Bed bugs are easy to identify. They are oval-shaped insects that look like flattened beetles. They are usually reddish-brown and no more than 3/16th of an inch long. If they've been feasting for a while, you'll find them red and swollen after consuming all that blood. Bed bugs are wingless and their habits are nocturnal. They also possess a distinctly unpleasant sickly sweet smell.
Bed Bugs Habits
Bed bugs possess the remarkable ability to cling on to clothing of unsuspecting victims and travel from place to place. Bed bugs are nature's ultimate nomads, often entering a home or a hotel room stowed in one person's clothing, and exiting a day, a week, or even a month later with another visitor.
Bed bugs can thrive in most homes and hotel rooms. They can hide in the inseam of mattresses, in-between pillow covers and blankets, behind electric boards and pictures, and make their homes in furniture. Their size and thin body makes them especially difficult to detect.
Bed bugs have a long life span compared with most insects. Under ideal conditions, bed bugs can thrive for up to 300 days. Females lay up to 300 to 500 eggs in their entire lifetime. A small batch of bed bugs, thus, can easily breed into a huge colony unless they are exterminated quickly.
Bed Bugs Bites and Effects
Since bed bugs are nocturnal, they get into action late at night, usually in the early hours before dawn. Bed bugs feed on blood and are attracted by the heat of the human body. The bite of a bed bug is usually not strong enough to be detected, but can be easily identified visually. Bed bug bites are usually red, thin and found in a line. They also tend to itch uncontrollably. Doctors however can sometimes presume they are scabies or other likely skin conditions.
While a bed bug does not carry any infections by itself, the bite of a bed bug may become amiable to infections due to the intense itching it causes.
If you detect any bed bug bites, you should look under the mattresses, between blankets and pillow covers, behind electric cover plates and furniture to find their hiding spot. Once you find their hiding spot, you should take the measures listed below to control their spread.
Treating Your House for Bed Bugs
As bed bugs usually make their home in between mattresses and bedding the first order of the day should be to strip the bed of all the bedding. Dump this bedding immediately into the washing machine and set the water temperature to the highest possible setting. Hot water is anathema to bed bugs (though they thoroughly enjoy warm water) and most bugs will die from exposure to the heat.
Next use a spray such as Protector C Bed Bug Killer Insecticide Spray and apply to the affected areas, then fumigate the site of the bed bug infestation thoroughly using a fumigator.
Clean and vacuum the room thoroughly, making sure that you seal the vacuum bag in a garbage bag, tied and the placed outside to prevent re-infestation. Next, you would want to apply a high grade insecticide to the bed or the site of the infestation. You should also apply the insecticide to the underside of the bed for a more thorough solution.
The next step should be to seal the mattress against any further infestations and prevent the existing bed bugs from coming out. Buy a high quality encasement for the mattress and the pillows. This will not just cover against future infestations, but suffocate the existing bed bugs.
Safeguarding Against Future Bed Bug Infestations
Bed bugs thrive in not only dirty environments but clean environments with clutter. De-clutter your house and remove any trash or unused furniture where bed bugs may hide, especially in living areas. Clean your bed sheets regularly at the highest possible temperature. The same applies to your clothes.
The key to preventing a bed bug infestation is to keep your house clean, invest in hygiene, and use a quality insecticide to stop bed bugs before they can start breeding.