Knowing how to tell if you have bed bugs can be tricky, especially since the signs aren’t clear. But imagine this!. You wake up every morning with itches all over the body, especially on the open and exposed areas (like your legs or your arms). You are sure that your room is free from mosquitoes yet you have itches.
And no matter how hard you try, every morning you get the same itchiness on different locations – while the old ones are still itchy and they require a long time to finally subside. Considering those facts, you need to find out what’s going on and confirm your suspicion that you may have bed bug infestation at home.
How to Tell if You Have Bed Bugs
The pesky pests are oval and small with a brownish color. The adults have a flat shape, similar to an apple seed. They feed on humans and also animals’ blood. They will swell with reddish color after they feed.
Although they aren’t fliers, bed bugs can move fast over the ceilings, walls, and floors. They don’t spread diseases or create harmful health problems through their bites. However, they are super annoying because of the itch they cause. One itch takes a very long time to subside – more than a week. And even after the itch is gone, you still have the unappealing reddish speck on the skin.
Nymphs or immature bed bugs will shed the skins around 5 times before they become adults. Before each shedding, they need to feed first. Can you see bed bugs? You can see the adults, but not the eggs. The eggs are similar to a dust speck – yes, that’s small. It is difficult to spot the eggs, but you should have no problem spotting the adults one, especially after they have drawn blood.
Bed bugs like to live in groups and they like places where they can get easy (and direct) access to people – it makes it easy for them to bite. They may be in your house through infested items. You see, unlike other insects that may be attracted to certain conditions at your house that are ideal for their living environment, bed bugs simply ‘travel’.
You may stay at a hotel where they originally reside. Or you may put your bag somewhere where they live. Or you may buy a new piece of furniture without knowing that some of them are in it. In short, the bugs may ‘hitchhike’ through your clothes, furniture, or luggage without you even know it. After all, it would be easy for them to do so, considering that they are quite small with a flattened body.
Bed Bug initial hiding spot is likely in bed frames, mattresses, headboards, or box springs as these places provide easy access to feed at night. However, if the infestation is getting worse and it has taken place for quite a while, they may scatter elsewhere. They may spread to other rooms or even nearby apartments.
They may inhabit crevices or furniture or other spots that enable them to hide. Does it mean that you have a dirty and filthy house with their existence? Not necessarily. Bed bugs only feed on blood. With them around, it doesn’t mean anything – you are just having bad luck.
Signs of Bed Bugs In Home
There are several bed bugs signs that you can investigate on your own about their existence. So, how to tell if you have bed bugs? Well, you should suspect it when you have the itchiness at night only, waking up with itchy welts here and there. Mosquitoes feed on blood all time; bed bugs only do it at night. They do it while people are sleeping. They may only need 10 minutes to feed and then go away unnoticed.
You don’t notice bed bugs bites because they are painless, but they are itchy. They take place on exposed skin. A bed bug will bite anywhere, unlike the fleas that may focus on the areas around your ankles only. Whereas flea bites have a red spot within the center, the bites from bed bugs don’t.
Besides the bites, you should also check other physical evidence. How to check for bed bugs? Look for any bloodstains on your pajamas or clothes, as well as the sheets. Since the bugs are small, the possibility of them being crushed during your turning and tossing is highly likely.
If you often see the see (dried) bloodstains on the sheet (scattered all over the place), on the pillowcase, or your clothes, you should suspect it.
While inspecting the bed, there are other signs on how to tell if you have bed bugs. You should see the shed skin or empty shells. As it was mentioned before, immature bugs need blood for their growth. Once they have ‘eaten’, they experience molting. It is a process where they will grow, shed their shells or exoskeletons so they can be bigger.
If you have keen eyes, you should be able to see tons of molted skins. They look like the bed bugs but with translucent appearance – they may come in different sizes.
Besides the molted skins, you should notice fecal spots too. Whenever they go, they may excrete liquid waste which comes in dark brown or black smears. Keep in mind that bloodstain is different from the fecal spots. Bloodstains may be red-brownish in color while fecal spots are darker – either black or dark brown.
Bed Bugs Bites
These are the most obvious signs of their presence since the bites are different from other insects’ bites, such as fleas or mosquitoes. The bed bugs bites have red and raised welts with super itchiness and a bit of burning sensation. You may even find multiple bites within straight lines and localized areas.
For instance, you may wake up and find your left arm has several bites – but only on the left arm. The next morning, you find several bites only on your right thighs. The bites are generally localized and not scattered or random.
If you have the bites, you need to wash them with soap and water, not only to reduce the itchiness but also to prevent further skin irritation and infection. If it itches, use a corticosteroid cream on the affected site. The weak type is available as over the counter product, but you will need a prescription to get the stronger type.
If you develop allergic reactions or even skin infection, go to the doctor right away. If you experience pus, oozing, blisters, and tons of multiple bites all over the body, then you need to go to the dermatologist.
Most Effective Bed Bug Treatments
If you want to get rid of the bed bugs, you need to decide whether you want to use the non-chemical treatments or the ones with chemicals. If you choose the non-chemical treatments, there are several possible options that you can choose.
Isolate and Containment
You don’t want the bugs from spreading further. Once you have checked the perimeter and found out their living spot, remove the already infested stuff. If your spring box is full of them, then it is better to remove everything. Put the sheet, pillowcase, etc in a plastic bag and seal them. If you want to treat them further, you can keep the bag. But if you don’t, just make sure that you remove them as far as you can at the outdoor trash container.
If you are about to throw away items, such as furniture pieces, discard and destroy them responsibly so other people won’t carry those pieces into their house. You can spray it with paint and write ‘Bed Bugs’ or you can rip the covers and then remove the stuffing. Nobody would be interested in picking up broken items or trash.
Your sealed plastic bag can be put into a freezer that has been set to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. However, you need to remember several things. Make sure to leave the bag for at least 4 days. And be very-very sure that it has been sealed tightly with zero chances that the bugs will escape. And then make sure that you always check the temperature so it will stay in 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
The idea is similar to the cold treatment where you put the sealed bag into a certain environment – in this case, it is the hot environment. Put it in a clothes dryer and set it on high heat. If you don’t it, placing the infected items in a black sealed plastic bag and put it inside a closed and hot car right under the sun may help. But if you want to do this, it depends on the weather, the climate, and also other elements. If you consider having a full heat treatment around the house, you may need to hire a professional service.
Whether it is dry or wet, you can effectively use this type of cleaner to fight the bugs. You can use it for bed frames, baseboards, carpets, and other pieces of furniture. But make sure that you have some things in mind. For a starter, the temperature must be 130 degrees Fahrenheit, minimum. Don’t have any forceful airflow or the bed bugs may scatter away. Use the diffuser to prevent it from happening.
Not only they smell great, but they can also help deal with the bugs. Choose eucalyptus, tea tree, peppermint, thyme, or lavender and put them in a spray bottle. You can spray the suspicious areas, including hidden spots, to kill the bugs. This method, however, doesn’t work fast. It takes a while to succeed. But the bonus point is that your bed will smell great!
Alcohol Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Does alcohol get rid of bed bugs? You can use 70% alcohol or higher (90% is recommended) to get rid of bed bugs. This is one effective way to prevent lice eggs develop. Because alcohol is a chemical substance that will kill bedbugs, babies and their eggs. How do you do it? You only need to spray alcohol on the spot where it is infected with bedbugs.
Borax for Bed Bugs
Does Borax Kill Bed Bugs? Ya, You can sprinkle them on the furniture, the bed, and even wall crevices and holes to stop the infestation. If you want to increase its efficiency, you can even add it to the washing machine, making sure that your laundry is thoroughly cleaned and washed.
This is a potent and effective home remedy to kill the bugs, targeting the bugs’ nervous system. However, it won’t be able to kill the eggs. Simply put the white distilled vinegar in a spray bottle and spray generously on the bugs.
Which one would you choose? You have found out how to tell if you have bed bugs and also the possible solutions – now it’s time to act!