Bed bugs are some of the most dreaded of all pests. Their bites can cause a practically unbearable itch and irritation.
Once they take up residence in your home, it’s extremely difficult to eradicate them.
First, it’s important for you to be able to recognize bed bugs. Next, you can discover proven ways to keep them away from your property.
Lastly, you can learn effective methods of eliminating them if they do end up in your house.
How to Identify Bed Bugs
Bed bugs have a distinct appearance. They are either light brown or reddish in color, depending on whether they’ve recently had a meal.
The small nymphs are about 1/16 of an inch long. When they reach adulthood they’re up to 1/4 of an inch long. Adult bed bugs have a flat, oval shape.
Another way to identify bed bugs is by looking at the evidence they leave behind. Their shed skins and fecal matter can leave tiny brown stains on mattresses and upholstery, especially around seams.
They also leave bites on your body that can sometimes become red and swollen due to an allergic reaction.
Though other insects, such as fleas, also bite, bed bugs are nocturnal feeders. If you only notice the bites after you sleep, you may be dealing with bed bugs.
How to Avoid Getting Bed Bugs in Your Home
They usually travel into homes on pieces of furniture that are brought in, or even on clothing or luggage. That’s why it’s so crucial to stay away from places that are known or strongly suspected to have bedbugs.
If you know that a friend has been battling with these pests, you should avoid going to their home until they’ve gotten the problem under control.
Here are a few other ways to try and keep your home bed bug free:
- Carefully inspect any used furniture before purchasing it.
- Dry clothing in high heat and avoid laundromats if possible.
- Place protective bed bug-resistant covers on mattresses.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
If you are unfortunate enough to find these pests in your home, don’t panic. Though they’re hard to get rid of, there are ways to get the job done.
But it will require diligence and, depending on the nature and severity of the infestation, some financial investment.
Here are some bed bug elimination methods:
- Dry any articles of clothing or bedding that have had contact with bed bugs on high heat for at least half an hour.
- Rent or purchase a safe, EPA-approved bed bug heater to heat items that have come into contact with bed bugs to a temperature of at least 120 degrees.
- Use safe, EPA-approved pesticides.
- If all else fails, call in a professional insect exterminator.
Though it may seem like an uphill battle, you can win the war against these pests. All it takes is some know-how and dedication.
Remember, prevention is half the battle.