You’ve heard the horror stories about the itchy bites of bed bugs…but are they really as big of a concern as they seem? The fast-breeding pest is difficult to control, which makes hotel and household outbreaks an unwelcome disaster. More and more people are becoming affected with bed bugs, so it’s important to brush up on bed bug basics.
What is the “hitchhiker” pest?
Many people don’t know what bed bugs look like because only the adults are large enough to be visible to the naked eye. Their reddish-brown bodies are shaped similarly to apple seeds, and have two antennae and six legs. Ironically, bed bugs can’t fly or jump, which means that they are transported predominantly by clinging to moving surfaces–much like a hitchhiker.
How can I tell if I have bed bugs?
The most common way to tell if you have bed bugs is itchy, red welts on the skin, but since not all humans produce a reaction to bed bug bites, it’s important to know other signs of infestation. Fecal matter of bed bugs leave behind reddish-brown marks, so check your upholstery, furniture crevices, and behind walls or baseboards for these unsightly spots.
Help! I saw a bed bug, what do I do?
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was some form of preventative treatment for bed bugs? While you can’t buy a magic spray that will prevent bed bugs from ever entering your home, you can take a few precautionary measures to reduce the chance that you bring home an unwanted visitor. Be cautious of what clothing or furniture is brought into your home, as it may be infested. Use plastic bags and containers as opposed to plastic and make sure that clothing and bags are kept off the floor and separate from others’ belongings. A little spring cleaning is also never a bad idea; a more tidy space means that bed bugs have less places to hide.
What do I do if I get bed bugs?
The only way to entirely control and eliminate an infestation is to call in a professional. Treatment might not be as simple as a one-time visit, and some infestations require a combination of eradication strategies as well as multiple visits. In preparation for a successful treatment, wash and dry all clothes and linens prior to the professional’s visit.