Bed bugs are a complete nuisance, and their itchy bites even more so. Let’s take a look at how to identify an infestation and how to deal with bed bug bites.
Bed bugs are parasites that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals, including humans. Bed bug infestations can be a severe problem for homeowners. These pesky insects can quickly spread throughout the home, causing discomfort and health risks to those living there.
In this blog, we will discuss what bed bugs are, explain the signs of a bed bug infestation, and offer some tips on preventing and eliminating these pests from your home.
Signs of Bed Bug Infestations
Bed bugs are tiny creatures and can therefore be difficult to spot. They measure 0,2 – 0,3 inches (5-7 millimeters) in length when fully grown and have an oval shape with a reddish-brown coloration.
During the day, they hide in cracks or crevices in walls, mattresses, furniture, and other places where they have access to their food source – human or animal blood.
Bed bugs can live up to 18 months without feeding. Moreover, they can travel long distances by crawling through windows or doorways. The most common sign of a bed bug infestation is visible bites on the skin from their nocturnal feeding activities during your sleep.
Other signs include dark spots on mattress seams or along baseboards, this is fecal matter left behind by the bugs after eating; seeing actual bugs crawling around your bedroom; or an oddly sweet, musty odor emitted by male bedbugs when trying to attract female bed bugs for mating purposes.
Additionally, if you find eggs (small white capsules) in any area of your home, you likely have an infestation, as these contain developing bedbugs waiting to hatch into adults.
Causes of Bed Bug Bites
#1 Unsanitary Conditions
Unsanitary conditions are one of the primary causes of bed bug bites. Bed bugs thrive in environments where there isn’t sufficient cleanliness, hygiene, and maintenance. They reproduce quickly when they find their way into a home or building that provides them with optimal conditions.
Poorly maintained mattresses and bedding are prime locations for bed bugs to hide and feed on unsuspecting victims when they sleep. Furthermore, clutter can provide ideal hiding spots for these pests, allowing them to reproduce and feed upon humans.
#2 Traveling and Accommodations
Traveling increases the risk of exposure to bed bugs for several reasons.
Hotels are often targeted by bed bugs due to their large occupancy numbers, frequent movement of guests, and soft furnishings. This makes them ideal places for these pests to hide until nightfall arrives, and they can feed on unsuspecting travelers while they sleep.
Unfortunately, travelers often unknowingly bring bed bugs back home in their suitcases after visiting hotels without properly checking for signs of bed bug infestations.
Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites
Bed bug bites can appear as small, red welts on the skin, usually in clusters or a zigzag pattern. These marks are caused by the bed bug’s saliva being injected into the skin when it feeds.
Bed bug bites may not cause physical pain to an individual; however, they can be very itchy and irritating. Other signs of bed bugs include dark spots and smears on mattresses and other furniture left behind from their excrement.
Most people experience some physical reaction to bed bug bites, although the severity of this reaction can vary from person to person. The most common symptoms are itching and swelling at the bite site, which can persist for days after the bite has occurred.
Individuals may experience hives, rashes, or even more serious allergic reactions such as difficulty breathing or anaphylaxis in more severe cases.
Because bed bug bites can look like other types of insect bites or even certain skin conditions such as eczema. It is essential to get a diagnosis from your doctor if you suspect bed bugs have bitten you and if your symptoms worsen or persist for longer than a few days.
Treatment for Bed Bug Bites
The first step in treating bed bug bites is to clean the bite area with soap and water. After cleaning the area, antiseptic cream or other topical medication, such as hydrocortisone, can be applied to reduce itching and inflammation further. If the bite area appears infected, consult a doctor for further treatment.
You may also use ice packs to reduce discomfort from bed bug bites since they help decrease itching, swelling, and associated redness. Not scratching the area is vital since it increases skin damage or infection risk. Over-the-counter antihistamines can also temporarily relieve itching caused by bed bug bites.
For more extreme cases, a doctor may prescribe an oral antihistamine such as diphenhydramine or cetirizine, providing more relief from itching and other symptoms associated with bed bug bites.
Sometimes, a corticosteroid shot may be necessary if there is no response to oral medications or the symptoms are severe enough to interfere with daily activities.
It’s important to note that while treatment options exist for reducing symptoms associated with bed bug bites, none of them will eliminate an existing infestation of these pests.
To completely eliminate bed bugs, you should consult professional pest control or extermination services for the best results.
Prevention Strategies for Avoiding Bed Bugs
Prevention Strategies for Avoiding Bed Bugs involve:
- Being vigilant when buying used furniture.
- Regularly cleaning the living space.
- Proactively protecting bedroom items.
- Check for bed bug infestations when traveling.
When shopping for used furniture, inspect it for signs of bed bugs before bringing it home. Look for any rust-colored spots on the table or fabric that could be evidence of bed bugs.
Also, check any crevices or drawers and thoroughly vacuum the furniture after you bring it home. This will help reduce the chance of bringing in a population of bed bugs from a previously infested residence.
Vacuum carpets and rugs regularly, paying particular attention to areas under furniture and around baseboards and window sills. Wash all bedding, curtains, linens, stuffed animals, etc., with hot water at least once a month.
Wash everything else (clothing, pillows) in hot water every two weeks. It is also important to keep clutter down as much as possible because it gives bed bugs more hiding places.
Proactive protection is another way to avoid bed bug infestations. Put mattress covers on all mattresses and box springs so that bed bugs cannot feed on them if they are in the environment.
Seal any crevices or seams around your mattress with adhesive tape or caulk so that bugs cannot crawl into them if they enter your room from elsewhere in the house or apartment building.
There are also products specifically designed for controlling insects, such as sprays and dust which may help repel some kinds of pests, including bedbugs, if used regularly and correctly according to manufacturer instructions.
|Bed bugs are parasites that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals, including humans.|
|Bed bugs measure 0,2 – 0,3 inches ( 5-7 millimeters) in length when fully grown and have an oval shape with a reddish-brown coloration.|
|Unsanitary conditions are one of the primary causes of bed bug bites.|
|The most common symptoms are itching and swelling at the bite site, which can persist for days after the bite has occurred.|
|The first step in treating bed bug bites is to clean the bite area with soap and water. After cleaning the area, apply antiseptic cream or other topical medication,|
In conclusion, bed bug bites are a common and growing problem for people worldwide. They can be extremely bothersome and cause various medical issues such as severe itching, skin irritation, welts, infections, and allergic reactions.
Bed bugs can live in any environment, including homes and hotels, so it is essential to prevent their spread by taking preventative measures such as regularly laundering bedding and vacuuming furniture.
If bed bug bites are suspected, you should seek medical care immediately to minimize the risk of further complications. But most importantly, you need to contact a professional pest exterminator, as your bites will persist if the infestation isn’t handled.
Thank you for reading this article on bed bug bites! Now, let’s inquire further into the world of insects, read our post Do Ladybugs Bite?