How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Introduction to bed bugs and bed bug bites

Isn’t it very frustrating when we don’t get good sleep when we need it the most? Having a good night sleep is very important to the human body, especially when we get home from a tiring day at school or work.

One of the main factors of ruining a good night sleep is the creepy critters living in our comfy bed—bed bugs.

Nothing is more irritating than waking up in the middle of the night feeling itchy, where you did not have any scratchy regions before sleeping. No one is to blame but these bed bugs which keep on bugging people.

What are bed bugs?

Some people, most especially children thought bed bugs are just fictional creepy crawlies. Some think these bugs are invisible because they are very hard to get rid of. Well let me tell you, bed bugs are real and they feed themselves as you sleep soundly at night.

Cimex lectularius or commonly known as bed bugs (habitually misspelled as bedbugs). This kind of insect belongs to the Cimicidae family. They feed themselves on human and/or warm-blooded animals. Bed bug bites causes irritating skin itchiness on the infected areas.

Bed bugs are also called as:

Pregnancy week by week
  • Red coats
  • Chinches
  • Mahogany flats

What does bed bugs look like?

If you do not know what bed bugs exactly look like, you will have a hard time identifying which is which. Bugs in general look very much alike; they have the same characteristic of having numerous feet. That is why you need to know the distinctive characteristics of a bed bug to get rid of them.

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Have you ever caught a bed bug crawling under your bedsheets? If not, let me tell you what bed bugs look like.

Bed bugs in general are:

  • Tiny
  • Elliptical in shape
  • Body swelling, more stretched, and reddish in color when they ate recently.
  • Flattened body and brownish in color when not suckled or when they are hungry.
  • They are about 4-5 millimeters long when fully matured. Like that of a size of an apple seed.

Adult bed bugs:

  • Have no wings

There is also what they call “true bugs”, their characteristics are:

  • With a beak which consists of three sections
  • With antenna which consists of four parts
  • They have wings but they cannot fly
  • With golden-colored tiny hair strands

bed-bugs-picture02
There is also what you call an “immature bed bug”, referring to the young bed bugs which are also known as a nymph.

These baby bed bugs are:

  • Tinier
  • Yellowish-white in color
  • Have skin shedding for five times before they fully mature.
  • They appear almost invisible to the eye when hungry because of their size and appearance.

 

Bed-bugs-picture01

Bet you did not know, bed bugs lay eggs too! This means that they multiply fast. Despite of their tiny sizes, the bed bug eggs are:

  • Very tiny, like that of the size of a pinhead.
  • Sheeny white in color.
  • Noticeable eye spots when the egg is five days old.

Where do bed bugs come from?

Now that you know what the bedroom bugs’ looks like, furthermore, let us tackle about how long bed bugs live, their pesky behaviors and habits.

How the bed bugs reproduce

Lady bed bugs reproduce by laying approximately five eggs per day. They reach 200 up to 500 hatchlings in a lifespan, with the size of a scrap of dirt. Bed bugs can reproduce for three or more generations annually, making their population uncontrollable.

Life series of a bed bug

Nymphs or baby bed bugs, which are yellowish-white in color, undergo five molt shedding. Each shedding series needs to be fed by blood for full development. Younger bed bugs are not yet able to reproduce hatchlings until they reach full maturity.

Below is the following life series of a bed bug.

  • Egg (1mm in size equal to a two particles of salt)
  • After two weeks, the eggs are hatched
  • Series 1 nymph size- 1.5 millimeter
  • Series 2 nymph size- 2 millimeter
  • Series 3 nymph size- 2.5 millimeter
  • Series 4 nymph size- 3 millimeter
  • Last series of nymph size- 4.5 millimeter
  • Fully matured female/male bed bug

When bed bugs are living in an environment with a temperature of 7 degree Celsius, they can fully mature in a span of five weeks.

In general, the approximate life span of a typical bed bug ranges from four to six months only when living in a temperate area.

However, bed bugs die when the room or body temperature reaches 45 degree Celsius.

A bed bug’s behavior

Bed bugs crawl very swiftly on surfaces, walls, and even ceilings!

Even though they cause their targeted victims some skin itchiness, they may be irritating but fortunately… bed bugs do not spread any diseases whatsoever.

This kind of insect fed by blood alone, bet you did not know… bed bugs are nocturnes—they stay awake at night like that of an owl. That is why they are called bed bugs because they attack their victims when sleeping. The bed is their favorite place because that is where their food is—human blood fresh from the flesh!

However, when hunger strikes they also seek their targeted hosts during daytime. Bed bugs feed for approximately 3-12 minutes.

Adult bed bugs feed themselves weekly. Also, bed bugs who live in a cool environment can live a year without feeding themselves at all!

Bed bug bites

Bed bugs feed themselves by sticking their beaks to suck blood like that of a mosquito. When their bodies started to swell, they will crawl away from the targeted host unnoticed.

Bed bug bites pictures

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Image source : Wikipedia by author James Heilman, MD. shared under CC BY-SA 3.0

 

Indications of the bed bug bite

Even when the bed bugs finally attacked, the bites are unnoticed for a few days…

Bed bugs may be known as non-transmitters of diseases to mankind, but have you ever wondered how severe can it get to be bitten by these insects?

Below are the following indications of being bitten by a bed bug.

  • Some victims experience skin rashes also known as papules and wheals.
  • Skin itchiness and slight tingling sensation.
  • There are also cases where the victims experience severe swelling and may lead to skin infection.
  • However, some victims do not feel any itching or swelling at all.

Warning: Avoid scratching the infected areas; this may lead to a serious infection which may cause skin bleeding.

Keep the infected area clean also, always wash with water and mild soap for immediate healing.

bed-bugs-bite02

Image source : Wikipedia by author James Heilman, MD shared under CC BY-SA 3.0

Signs of bed bug invasion

How to know if your place is invaded with bed bugs?

Below are the following signs:

  • Crawling bed bugs.
  • Rusty blood stains on mattresses, bedsheets, and pillows caused by crushed bed bugs.
  • Bed bug feces scattered on bedsheets, mattresses, and pillows. These appear dark and tarnished.
  • Yellowish molt shedding and hatched eggs or egg shells where the bed bugs are.
  • Moldy smell

How to get rid of bed bugs

Worry not, here are the ways on how to get rid of them.

  • Scrub sofa and mattress seams using a stiff brush.
  • Put bed cloths in a dryer with high heat temperatures for half an hour. Take note that washing alone would not do.
  • Eliminate by cold methods of -19 degree Celsius for four days. The colder the temperature the faster bed bugs die.


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Signs you are living with bed bugs

Now that you have identified what exactly a common bed bug looks like. You should also know whether you are infested with bed bugs. You must be able to identify the signs whether your place is infected with bed bugs or not. You should know what their favorite places are so that you can easily exterminate them.

How to find bed bugs

Tell you what, bed bugs are not only found crawling on or under your bed. They have other places where they live and multiply. You should know where exactly to find these creepy critters so that you can control them easily.

Below are the places where bed bugs primarily hide when they are not consuming blood.

Mattresses and bedsheets

Preferably on filthy mattresses and bedsheets, bed bugs easily multiply on these areas. Having bed bugs crawling on your bed is not a sign of having dirty mattresses and bedsheets. Bed bugs live where their hosts are.

However, you need to always change your mattresses and bedsheets. Always wash and hang them to get rid of bed bugs and their eggs from hatching.

Bed frame crevices

In the crevices of a wooden bed frame, you can easily find bed bugs. These insects are very small, like that of a credit card’s width. That is why they easily fit inside small hiding places.

Headboards

Preferably wooden and dusty headboards, bed bugs love wooden furniture where it has not been cleaned for years.

Drawers

Bed bugs love to hide on small cracks and edges such as the drawers’ joints. So, take a look on your drawers you might spot the bed bugs hiding there.

Box-springs

This is the bed bugs most favorite place; Box springs are where you find most of these insects hiding. Especially when the box spring is a decade old, bed bugs begin to scatter without you seeing it.

Sofas

Preferably old or second-hand sofas when not maintained clean. Bed bugs begin to live and scatter on sofas’ seams and in between cushions. They always target the personal belongings where their hosts usually stay.

Sagging wallpapers

Behind the sagging wallpapers, you will see the bed bugs. So remove the sagging wallpapers immediately.

Wooden window frames

Most people do not notice this that is why bed bugs also live on wooden window frames. Bed bugs are not only for beds, they are scattered everywhere as long as the host is visible within the place.

Curtain folds

Bed bugs love to hide in places where their hosts cannot usually see them. These insects also live in curtain folds especially when you are not washing the curtains regularly.

Baggage

Preferably baggage that has not been used for how many years, bed bugs start to make your unused personal belongings as breeding grounds.

Clothing

Preferably hand me down clothes and the clothes you have kept inside your closet. It might sound creepy but bed bugs do live on our clothes as well.

Bed bug treatment

Symptoms usually disappears without any treatment in 2 weeks. You just need to watch out not be bitten again.

Treatment can symptomatic use corticosteroids and antihistamines but there is no proves that this treatment improve outcomes.

Symptoms usually anyway goes away after 2 weeks.