Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.
How many times have you heard this as a kid?
But what are you supposed to do when the bed bugs do, in fact, start to bite?
Well, first of all, don’t go into the panicking mode, throw out all your bedding and your mattress, and start looking for a new home. Getting rid of bed bugs is hard, but it’s not impossible – I’ll share with you some proven ways to fight off an infestation.
But first, let’s see where do bed bugs come from!
- 1 How Do You Get These Pesky Creatures: Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?
- 2 Where Do Bed Bugs Come From – Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation
- 3 Is There a Proven Way To Get Rid Of Them?
- 4 Final Thoughts
How Do You Get These Pesky Creatures: Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?
So, you’ve been waking up to itchy, red welts for quite some time now, but always thought mosquitos are to blame. However, one day you noticed a reddish-brown bug the size of an apple seed on your bedding, and a horrific realization hits you:
I have bed bugs!
It’s normal to be grossed out by them, even to panic, but there’s no reason to be ashamed. The truth is, there’s been a resurgence of bed bug infestations over the last couple of years – you’re not alone in this.
Of course, you’re going to want some answers. For example, one of the first things people want to know is how the infestation happened. Where do bed bugs come from? Was it that hotel you stayed in a few months ago, or did one of these creatures latch on to your clothes in public transportation?
Moreover, does this mean your home is somehow filthy?
No, it doesn’t – that’s one of the biggest bed bug-related misconceptions out there. Bed bugs don’t care where you live, or how clean your home is. Any environment is good enough for them, as long as they have food around. And guess what, you’re a bed bug’s equivalent of a buffet, so of course, they’ll try their best to go unnoticed and stick around.
That said, clutter might help them hide, but no, they’re not drawn to it – they’re attracted to you.
But seriously, where do bed bugs come from?
Think of them as hitchhikers. It may sound silly at first, but if you consider the fact that they most commonly travel around in people’s luggage, it does make sense. As long as there are humans around, there is a possibility that bed bugs will be there, too.
Saying they mostly lurk in hotel and motel rooms would be easy. Sadly, things are much more complicated than that, and the list of places where you might find (and pick up) bed bugs is a lot longer:
- Public transportation, such as buses, trains, taxi cabs, and planes
- College dorm rooms (and colleges in general)
- Daycares and nursing homes
- Office buildings
- Second-hand furniture stores
- Other people’s homes
I could go on and on like this, but that’s not the point. Again, what I’m trying to say here is:
If there are people, there could be bed bugs there, too.
There’s no way for you to tell when or how bed bugs entered your home, and, to tell you the truth, it doesn’t matter – you already have bed bugs, and hunting down the place where you might have picked them up is pointless.
You have a much bigger problem on your hands now, and that’s getting rid of them.
That said, let this be a learning moment for you. The next time you’re staying at a hotel, or go to the theater, you’ll know how to recognize an ongoing bed bug infestation, which could save you the effort of having to deal with it all over again.
Where Do Bed Bugs Come From – Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation
It’s safe to assume you already suspect there’s a bed bug party going on in your mattress, or you wouldn’t be here, reading about these pesky little creatures.
Ugh, just thinking about them makes my skin crawl.
Anyway, before you declare war on something that might not be there in the first place, take a moment to learn more about signs of a bed bug infestation, so you can perform a check today, and know for sure!
You Can See The Bugs (Or Their Shells)
Okay, I have to admit, this one is pretty obvious – if you can see physical evidence, like the actual bugs, or at least their shells, at least you’ll know for sure.
Keep in mind viable bed bugs are hard to find – they’re smart enough to hide during the day, and a lot of people don’t even know what they look like, which only makes matters worse.
Shells are much easier to detect because every bug molts five times before reaching maturity. If you’ve been dealing with bed bugs for quite some time now, don’t be surprised if you find hundreds of molted skins around your mattress.
You’re Finding Fecal Spots
Yes, you read that right. Like any other living being on this planet, bed bugs digest and excrete their food, too. What makes it creepy is the fact that they’re feasting on our blood. Yuck!
Anyway, pay attention to any suspicious, dark, rusty-looking stains and smears – they’re not just any stains, they’re fecal spots.
Or Blood Stains On Your Sheets
The clues don’t end with fecal spots – it’s entirely possible for you to find blood stains on your sheets and pillowcases. As I said, they’re smart enough to hide, but they can’t clean up the evidence of their bloody feasts.
So, if there’s an occasional blood stain on your bedding or pajamas, know that it’s time to do a more detailed search, and possibly declare war on bed bugs.
There’s A Musty Odor In Your Bedroom
Have you recently noticed a strong, musty odor when you enter your bedroom? The best way to describe it would be a smell similar to that of a wet towel. Trust me; if (or when) you smell it, you’ll know what I was talking about here.
That’s because bed bugs release pheromones – the larger the number, the stronger the smell.
Anyway, if your bedroom suddenly smells like a dirty locker room, it might be time for a detailed inspection.
Red, Itchy Bite Marks All Over Your Body
Now, you might be thinking:
Isn’t this the most visible sign of a bed bug infestation?
Well, not really. As it turns out, most bed bug bites go unnoticed – people often blame them on mosquitos, fungal infections, rashes, and such. To make matters worse, some people won’t even react to a bed bug bite, making it even harder to recognize a full-blown infestation.
Since you’re here, though, make sure you pay attention to the following symptoms: red welts appearing in clusters, burning or itchy sensation, and straight or zigzag lines of multiple bites.
Here’s what it looks like when a bed bug bites you:
If you notice any of these signs of a bed bugs infestation, it’s essential to start dealing with it as soon as possible. Don’t even think about ignoring the problem until it goes away, because it won’t – it can only get worse with time.
I mean, if you had a steady supply of food and a dark, safe place to sleep, would you consider leaving?
Of course, you wouldn’t – and neither will the bed bugs.
Is There a Proven Way To Get Rid Of Them?
Here’s where it gets tricky. We’ve all heard stories about how hard it is to get rid of bed bugs – when you think the problem is solved for good, you wake up with another bite mark on your arm.
Why are bed bugs so hard to kill, though?
Well, there are a couple of reasons for that:
- They Reproduce Like Crazy – I’m serious. Bed bugs have pretty much two objectives in life – to feed on your blood and to reproduce. Nothing else seems to matter.
The numbers tell it all – one adult female is capable of laying up to 500 eggs throughout its life, and after only a couple of months, all those eggs will grow to reproduce, as well, resulting in three to four generations per year.
The thing is, there’s bound to be more than one female bed bug in your home, meaning you’ll end up with hundreds, if not thousands of bed bugs reasonably quickly.
- They Don’t Need To Eat That Often – If you thought about packing your bags and leaving everything as it is for a couple of months, hoping you’ll starve them to death, I hate to break it to you, but it won’t work.
When there’s no host to feast on, bed bugs can be extremely patient – they’re capable of waiting for up to a year (sometimes even up to 500 days) for their blood meal. Nymphs, on the other hand, can survive for months without food.
- Also, They’re Pretty Much Resistant To Common Pesticides – As you can see, there’s no way you’ll starve these pesky creatures, so it’s time to switch to plan B – pesticides. Well, that’s not as easy as you might think, either.
It turns out bed bugs are becoming more and more resistant to the most commonly used insecticides. Their bodies have evolved enough to either degrade these poisons or prevent them from penetrating their bodies, in the first place.
Even the two go-to chemicals of exterminators, chlorfenapyr, and bifenthrin, aren’t yielding the same results as they used to – some bed bugs still find a way to remain alive and well. Fascinating, huh?
- You Have To Kill Every Single One – As if everything else I mentioned above wasn’t enough, there’s also the issue of having to find every single viable bed bug, and kill it.
That could be an easy enough task if the bed bugs didn’t discover they could hide pretty much everywhere – inside bedside tables, headboards, behind loose wallpaper, under floorboards, inside books, electrical outlets, and edges of carpets, to name a few of their hiding places.
So, unless you’re diligent enough to check every possible spot there is, you’re most likely to miss a couple of bed bugs – and that’s just another major infestation waiting to happen.
So, does that mean we’re all doomed to cohabitation with bed bugs?
Well, I wouldn’t go there just yet – there’s still hope for those unfortunate enough to go through a bed bug infestation. Plus, my goal wasn’t to scare you out of your mind but to help you realize that the usual bug-killing methods won’t work here. It’s time to bring out the big guns!
Now that you know where do bed bugs come from and how to recognize an infestation, it’s time to talk about what you can do to get it under control and get rid of these annoying freeloaders.
Start By Minimizing The Spread
Don’t be the kind of neighbor that doesn’t report a bed bug problem to the landlord, and lets them spread throughout the building. Alternatively, if the landlord doesn’t plan on addressing the matter, I strongly encourage you to talk directly to your neighbors.
Bed bugs are nothing to be ashamed about, so don’t be scared to speak up!
There’s one more thing you can do to save someone else from getting bed bugs, but it may sound a bit extreme:
Before you throw out any mattresses or furniture that’s too far gone to recover from an infestation, paint the words „bed bugs“ on it, or rip them to the point where no one else would think it’s worth salvaging.
Anyone who’s ever dealt with bed bugs will tell you they wouldn’t wish an infestation on anyone else.
Clean Everything Thoroughly
When I say everything, I mean everything – from bedding, pillows, linens, and curtains, to clothing and shoes. The next step is to scrub the mattress with a stiff brush, and pay particular attention to the seams – it will remove both bed bugs, as well as the eggs and shells.
Lastly, vacuum everything thoroughly, and throw the vacuum cleaner bag immediately after in the garbage can outside.
If you notice bed bugs in your kid’s room, remember to wash and dry stuffed animals, too.
Keep in mind that bed bugs will do their best to stay as close to their primary source of food – you – as possible. That means they’ll mostly hide in and around your bed, so purchasing a bed bug mattress cover might be a good idea.
Bring On The Steam
Now, I know this might not be an option for everyone, but if you own a steamer, now’s the time to put it to play.
Heat is a very effective way of killing bed bugs in all five stages of development, which is why a steamer is your best bet in delivering a lethal blow to these tiny pests. Not only is it capable of killing bed bugs located on the surface of your furniture, but it’s also useful for up to ¾ of an inch inside the fabrics, too.
Plus, it does wonders for eliminating bed bugs that are hiding in all the cracks and crevices in your home.
Try Insecticide Alternatives
You know how I said that common insecticides aren’t working very well anymore? Well, there are still some home remedies for bed bugs you can try, like silica gel, boric acid, and even diatomaceous earth – they work by damaging the outer shells of bed bugs so that they dry out and die.
Just be careful you don’t ingest or inhale them yourself.
If Things Are Getting Out Of Control, Ask For Professional Help
Since you got this far, you know how hard it is to get rid of bed bugs. Even if you do everything right, there’s still a chance you’ll miss a couple of them here and there, which will lead to a re-infestation pretty fast.
So, if you tried all of the methods mentioned above, but you still can’t seem to remove them from your home, the best thing you can do is hire a professional to do the job for you. Sure, it means you’re going to have to spend a bit more money, but it’s a relatively small price to pay for getting rid of bed bugs for good.
Okay, I think that pretty much covers everything – from learning where do bed bugs come from, to how to get rid of them.
Lastly, I want you to remember that you did nothing wrong here. Bed bugs didn’t pick you because your home isn’t in pristine condition – they don’t care. They’re after human blood, not dirt and decay. So, don’t let anyone make you feel bad about having bed bugs.
Is there anything else you’d want to know about these pesky freeloaders? Leave a comment below!
Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!