How Do You Get Bed Bugs – What Are The Signs?
Signs of Bed Bugs Infestation
Bed bugs are mostly active through the hours of darkness. Therefore in most cases the first signs of activity are usually in the form of bites to the skin and blood spots on your sheets and/or pillow. Bites are usually very itchy and often appear as reddish welts, although different people can often have a different reaction. Sometimes it can take several days before the bites become itchy. Some people have a very minor reaction to bed bug bites, particularly if they have never been bitten by them before, and may not notice their activity straight away, especially if the bugs are active towards the foot of the bed. Unfortunately, some people have a severe reaction to the bites and this can manifest itself in the form of asthma attacks, eczema and skin rashes.
You are unlikely to find bed bugs on your body – they don’t live on us like lice do. They return to their place of harbourage after feeding, therefore it’s important to know what to look out for when detecting whether you have any bed bugs or not. So, apart from the signs we have already discussed what other things should you be looking out for?
Let’s make it a little easier and break it down into an inspection regime;
Daily check (this should only take a minute each day):
- Check your body for bites after you wake each morning.
- Pull your bed covers back and check your sheet for blood spots.
Laundry Check (do this each time you change your bedsheets/blankets, etc)
- Check the mattress, paying particular attention to spring buttons and seems/folds/piping. Make sure you check the topside and underside. You are looking for faecal droppings, which look like a collection of small black spots or specs, moulted body casings and live bugs
- Check the bed base, paying attention to any material folds and fixings if it is a divan base and around any wood or metal joins, if it is a framed-bed. In both cases, don’t forget to check the top AND bottom of the legs and also around the headboard, if you have one.
Dusting Check (do this whenever you are dusting the room)
- Again, you are looking for faecal marks, body parts and live bugs but this time extend your search to the fabric of the room.
- Starting from the bed, inspect the walls for any tears or bubbles in the wallpaper and behind any wall fixtures such as picture frames and clocks.
- Check the curtains, paying particular attention to any seams and bindings.
- Check any bedside stands/tables and any electrical items such as lamps, radios, etc. Be sure to pull any drawers out fully and inspect the backs and undersides and then check the drawer runners (you may need a torch to see the back of the cabinet clearly).
A whole industry has grown around providing products to detect and kill Bed Bugs. The benefit of this is that there are now specially developed low-cost detectors that you place in your room and will assist you in detecting if you have Bed Bugs before their numbers start to multiply. Bed Bug Interceptors can be placed at the base of bed and sofa legs to prevent the bugs from accessing the furniture from the floor.
Another specially developed product is mattress and box spring encasements. These products “encase” your mattress/box spring, turning them into smooth capsules that bed bugs cannot penetrate, thus depriving them of their favourite harborage.
And finally, the ultimate tool for DIY Bed Bug extermination has to be the Dry Vapor Steamer. These steam cleaners operate at a higher temperature than standard steamers and kill Bed Bugs and their eggs on contact. They also remove any faecal matter and of course clean your home at the same time. The good thing about a steam cleaner is that it’s usefulness does not end after you have killed all your bugs. It can just be used as a standard chemical-free home cleaning tool with the reassurance that, should the bugs ever return, you have a ready-made solution waiting to go back into action.
See which Dry Vapor Steamer we recommend for the job here.
So Where Do Bed Bugs Actually Come From?
How do Bed Bugs first get into your home? Quite frankly, the answer to that is, “lots of ways”, However, below is a few of the more common and probable sources.
Probably the most common way is from an adjoining building/apartment/room. Bed Bugs will simply travel through service ducts, pipe runs and any crack and crevice in the fabric of a building, from one point to another.
Bed Bugs are unlikely to travel directly from one free-standing building to another, so don’t panic if you hear about a nearby building suffering an infestation. However, it could be possible for them to hitch a lift on animals such as birds and rodents.
They often enter buildings hidden in second-hand furniture, acquired from a location that is already infested. Or on the clothing of someone who has visited an infested building. They can hitch a lift on some surprising items such as old books (check the binding) and some obvious ones like luggage.
Wherever your Bed Bugs came from, it is important to know how to recognize their signs and to act quickly and thoroughly and nip the activity in the bud, thus avoiding the stress and expense associated with dealing with a full-blown infestation.
For more home remedies for Bed Bugs click here
A nice video showing how to spot signs of Bed Bugs
As usual, wikipedia has some good information about Bed Bugs here
29 2015, updated on August