Chances are, if you have traveled enough or stayed in your share of hotel rooms, you have likely come across bed bugs—possibly even on multiple occasions. While bed bugs are not particularly dangerous or known to spread any sort of diseases, they are very annoying; can cause painful, ugly, itchy rashes; and are very transferable.
Outside of you losing just one night of sleep at your hotel room due to bed bugs, it’s also likely that you have brought them home with you, as they are almost completely undetectable and are excellent hitchhikers.
The trick is knowing what bed bugs look like and where to see find them.
Spotting Bed Bugs in the Wild
Bed bugs look unique but they can be extremely hard to spot and can hide almost anywhere. They are a bit lazy, though, and won’t travel more than a few feet to find food. That means they’ll tend to live in your bed, bed-frame, furniture near the bed, or even in the walls behind the bed.
Bed bugs have very small, flat, egg-shaped bodies. They are brown in color and get more and more red as they feed. Bed bugs’ sole source of food is the blood of its victims. Full-grown bed bugs move quite slowly and will only measure somewhere between four and five millimeters long as adults.
A common misconception is that bed bugs cannot be spotted with the naked eye, but this is not true.
Once your eyes are trained, you’ll have no problem spotting bed bugs, as well as the evidence they leave behind. In addition to finding the actual bugs or eggs, you can determine if you have a problem by finding small blood spots on your sheets. Since bed bugs typically go for exposed skin, such as the face, neck, hands, and arms, look for blood spots near the top of the bed.
Bed bugs are often confused with small spiders, especially when you only notice the bite marks on your body but don’t actually see the bug. If you look closely enough at the bug, though, then it’s easy to spot the difference between a spider and a bed bug.
How to Know If You’ve Been Bitten by Bed Bugs
If you are waking up with bites on your body, you might be curious as to what is attacking you during the night. It’s actually very hard to tell if you have been bitten by a bed bug unless you see it happening. When a bed bug bites you, it injects you with an anesthetic; this prevents you from feeling the actual bite and allows the bed bug to feed on you without your realizing what’s happening.
Generally, you won’t know you have been bitten until a day or two after it has happened—when you notice the bite marks. The bite marks from a bed bug are very similar to a mosquito bite or a fleabite. You will generally have a slightly swollen red bump. It may itch or become a little bit irritating. Very rarely, someone might experience a severe allergic reaction to bed bugs. And for some, they won’t have any indications that they’ve been bitten at all.
Preventing the Spread of Bed Bugs
You can prevent bed bug infestations by following a few simple steps after you have traveled. When traveling, take a close look at the bed and sheets before putting your luggage or clothes on top of them, and especially before going to sleep.
When hunting for bed bugs, look at the bed first. Lift the mattress to see if any bugs are under it; this is a favorite bed bug hiding place. Use a flashlight to inspect all along the seams of the mattress, on and under the bed-frame, and in the nightstand next to the bed. These pests also like to live in the netting of luggage racks, so give it a thorough inspection before putting it to use.
While inspecting the room for bed bugs, experts suggest you keep your luggage in the tub. Then, when you’re sure the room is free, you can settle in.
When you arrive home from your vacation, do a little bed bug “detox.” Have a staging area for your luggage in the garage or outside, and before bringing your clothes inside, wash and dry them in the hottest settings advisable to the keep the clothes safe. Anything that cannot be washed can be placed in the dryer on hot for 20 minutes to kill the bugs.
If you believe you have inadvertently welcomed bed bugs into your home, start your own home detox by washing all of your fabrics (clothes, sheets, and curtains), and contact Budget Brothers Termite & Pest Elimination.
Handling bed bugs is not a DIY venture, let the professionals on the Budget Brothers team help.