As far as domestic catastrophes go, bed bugs are one of the worst to encounter. Don’t underestimate the insect due to its size. It may be as small as an apple seed but it’s capable of some severe damage.
These little guys bite and they are serious about it. And do you know what the “best” part is? They attack while you are snoozing in your bed (hence the term bed bug). And they don’t just appear from nowhere, suck your blood and go about their day. No, it’s far more disturbing and disgusting than that.
Calm down, stop looking at your bed with such betrayal in your eyes. Yes, the sad reality is that the little bloodsuckers are capable of making a home out of your mattress, beddings and even your cashmere blankets.
Before you decide to pack your bags and evacuate your house, you need to be sure that you are actually dealing with bed bugs and it’s not just your imagination biting you.
If you haven’t considered it, think about using a bed bug mattress encasement in case your bed or mattress are infested.
Moving forward, in this article, we will cover the ways to prevent bed bugs from attacking your bedwear and, well… from bugging you.
Bed bugs are like ninjas - they’re really good at hiding and attack during the night. They conceal themselves in cracks, crevices, bedding, electrical switches, picture frames and wallpaper. In short - everywhere in your home.
Like we said earlier, they mainly go out for a meal in the night, however, they’re more than happy to make an exception during the day if an opportunity is presented. Bed bugs only need around 10 minutes to feed and after that, they go back into hiding for about a week. During that time they like to play house, meaning they mate and make lots of babies.
Then the whole cycle repeats itself until your home becomes a 5-star bed bug hotel.
Curious about what are the favourite places that these bloodsuckers inhabit? For your convenience, we have prepared a list of the most common areas where you can spot the bed bug familia.
Brace yourself for some unpleasant surprise
Inside of car;
In toy boxes;
In stuffed animals;
In electrical devices;
Behind pictures and mirrors;
In your pet's cage.
Bedbugs favourite places to chill are mainly crevices and cracks in your bedroom. Pillows, blankets, mattresses, you name it and they're already living there. When it comes specifically to blankets, the bloodsuckers have a special purpose for those - they lay their eggs there.
And you know what eggs means, right? A full-on pest infestation! Yes, “Ewww!” is a perfectly reasonable response.
If you feel something chewing on you while you sleep, remove your entire bedding and inspect for any signs of a bed bug attack. There will probably be multiple blood stains on there, which are hard to clean.
Take a closer look at your blanket. If you see any dark-brown spots, sorry to gross you out but those are stains from dried out faecal matter. And if one of those spots starts to move on its own, we are not talking about poop anymore - that’ll be one of the bed bugs.
To make sure you are completely informed on the matter, we have gathered a list of signs for you to look out when suspecting a rising bed bug problem.
If you wake with the urge to scratch your body with sandpaper because of some mysterious red bumps that weren’t there when you went to bed, then bed bugs are most likely the culprits.
Check out the other signs for an infestation:
Blood spots on your bed sheets and pillows;
Dark-brown marks in your bed. That'll be the bugs poop;
Shed skin and eggshells;
A repulsive and musty odour from the bugs' scent glands.
If you have seen any of the described signs, you need to go further with your investigation.
Remove all bedding and scan for the presence of actual bugs.
After that remove the dust cover over the bottom of the box and carefully examine the seams in the wood framing. If you can, peel of the attached fabric to see the condition of the mattress beneath it.
Check around the bed's perimeter: in the bookcase, around the carpet, and even in the electrical outlets!
Also, go into your closet, because bed bugs can be found on clothing items, too.
If you have second thoughts, even after thoroughly examining every nook and cranny in your bedroom, Jordan Foster who is one of the London-based professional bed bug exterminators at Fantastic, says that calling a pest control company to inspect the area for you is simply a must. However, if out of budget or still not willing to book a professional, here’s the dash of the experts’ tips for prevention and remedy:
Use a Bed Bug Monitor,
Yup, such a device exists. Monitors are made to slip under the feet of your bed and block the access to it, by trapping the bedbugs inside. Overall, it’s a very useful tool in monitoring your home for bed bugs. The gadget is really easy to install: carefully lift each leg of your bedpost and put the device under it. You’ll need to regularly check the contraption for bed bug activity so you can act quickly if you spot any.
Be Careful With Laundry Facilities,
If you wash your bedding and clothes in shared laundromats, you need to be extra careful with them. Bed bugs like to hitchhike from home to home through laundromats. Transport the items to the laundry facility in a plastic bag that can be sealed, and when you’re done with washing and drying them, directly bag them again. Don’t iron or fold them there.
Wash Your Blankets Regularly,
Wash your blankets with your other bedding once a week or every other one. You can clean and dry bedding feather bed protectors and blanket protectors at a higher temperature as well. This way you kill any type of living organism that may be lingering in your bed.
Use Mattress Covers,
Use mattress covers to protect yourself from a bed bug infestation. This type of casing is made for non-vinyl mattresses and box springs. The idea is that the mattress cover doesn’t let bed bugs hide in the actual mattress.
The casings are typically made from quality fabric, which is very durable and resistant to tears. Mattress covers don’t form folds, so bed bugs can’t find shelter there.
To save your home from bed bugs you have to start with cleaning up the areas which the insects inhabit. Here are the steps you need to undertake:
Gather all your bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing and wash them on a high setting. After they are clean, put them in the dryer, again on the highest setting possible. Anything that you can’t clean in the washing machine, like shoes and stuffed toys, need to go in the dryer on a high temperature for 30-40 minutes.
Scrub your mattress with a hard bristle brush to reveal the bed bugs and their eggs before the vacuuming process.
Vacuum the area around your bed as frequent as you can. Remember always to empty the dust bag outside of your home.
Encase your mattress in a cover made from a thicker fabric, so any existing bed bugs can’t get out. Over time they will die out of starvation.
Glue down any peeling or ripped wallpaper and repair cracks in plaster to get rid of any potential bed bug hiding places
Remove clutter around your bed area.
And if everything else fails, just get rid of the infested mattress. Make sure to take care of the bedbug problem before you decide to purchase a new mattress because they’ll just attack that one, too.
Read our thorough guide:
As you can see, the war against bed bugs is tedious and time-consuming. On top of that, it’s hard on the budget and stomach-churning. No matter if the creatures have infested only your blanket or have taken over the whole house, a professional exterminator is a must with problems like these. Spare yourself the itchy bites and headaches and just call an expert.
Professional pest control technicians work with special equipment that can end your bed bugs problems ones and for all.