What are bed bugs and how do I protect my home from an infestation?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), bed bug infestations are on the rise in America, mostly due to a lack of knowledge about the pests. So, if this rise in infestations is to be stopped and your home kept safe, then it’s time to learn a thing or two about these tiny pests and what you can do to prevent them.
Bed bugs feed on blood and cause itchy, irritating bites. Unlike most of their insect brothers, they’re not known to transmit or spread disease. However, they can create extreme discomfort for homeowners as well as create an unsanitary environment. One of the most difficult aspects of these insects to deal with is merely identifying them. Young bed bugs are often transparent and extremely small, making them difficult to see against fabric and framing. Even when grown to full adulthood, bed bugs are roughly the size of an apple seed. Although they become dark brown or reddish brown with flat, oval-shaped bodies that might make them easier to see against surfaces, these insects also enjoy hiding, making spotting them all the more difficult.
While identification and confirmation of bed bugs is difficult, it’s important to check often and try to catch an infestation of this pest early on. According to the EPA, “Treating a minor infestation, while an inconvenience, is far less costly and easier
than treating the same infestation after it becomes widespread.” The best times to check for bed bugs are when cleaning, changing bedding or after coming home from any trip. Since bed bugs are so difficult to see and the red bites they leave could appear as bites from any other common insect, it’s best to look for physical evidence of the infestation or clues left behind. When crushed, bed bugs leave rust-colored stains on fabric. Bed bugs also leave small dark spots of their excrement in places where they live. While possibly harder to spot, eggs and egg shells can also be clear signs that you have a bed bug infestation.
Since bed bugs love to hide, it is important to check small, tight spaces like drawer joints, electrical receptacles, appliances, loose wallpaper and even wall-to-ceiling junctions. The bed bug’s shape allows it to fit into areas such as these and avoid detection.
Even if you find no evidence of bed bugs in your home, it is important to follow prevention tips as closely as you can in order to avoid a future infestation. Make sure to check secondhand furniture before bringing it into your home and use protective covers on your mattress and boxspring. It’s also important to reduce clutter and vacuum frequently. If you use a shared laundry facility, be extremely vigilant about what you take back into your home, as places such as these can be hotbeds for bed bug infestations.
If you’re worried about bed bugs in public, make sure to stow your belongings separately from others. This also applies to bed bug awareness while traveling. If you’re staying somewhere other than your home, inspect whatever room you stay in and utilize luggage racks so that your suitcase does not come in contact with the floor or bedding. Once home, unpack your clothing directly into the washer and then use the heat of the dryer to kill any bed bugs that may have tried to hitch a ride in your suitcase.
When armed with this knowledge and these prevention tips, one should be able to avoid a bed bug infestation. However, if you do encounter an infestation, be sure to contact a professional extermination and treatment provider Excel Termite & Pest Control to ensure complete removal.