FAQs About Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs

Have you been having trouble sleeping due to unexplained itching? Waking up with red spots on your skin? Did you recently stay at a hotel or brought home an old piece of furniture? Well, you might have a problem with bed bugs.

Bed bugs continue to be a problem throughout the nation. Mostly in cities and the hotel industry, but there’s no state that is truly immune to infestations. Massachusetts is sadly no exception, however there are ways to identify these little pests, if they’re a problem, eliminate them.

What Are Bed Bugs?

To deal with bed bugs, you first need to know what they are. Bed bugs are small, flat, oval-shaped, wingless insects that feed on human and animal blood. When they first hatch they are clear and lighter in color, but as adults are reddish-brown. They become swollen and darker red after they feed.

Luckily, unlike other blood-sucking parasites like mosquitos or ticks, bed bugs don’t transmit diseases to people. However, they can be a nuisance, and a potential hazard if you’re anemic.

Bed Bug Identifying Features

How Do I Know I Have Bed Bugs?

There are a few signs to look for if you’re worried you might have a bed bug infestation. To start, look at your own skin. If you’ve been finding small, itchy, red bumps on your skin, those could be from bed bug bites. If you do have bites, wash the area with antiseptic soap, and try not to scratch them.

The next thing to check is your mattress, bed sheets, and pillowcases. Reddish or brown spots and smears are an easy indication that they’ve been hiding in the tufts and seams of your mattress. You can also look for their eggs, which are typically white and pear-shaped. You might also have a musty, slightly-sweet odor emanating from the stained area.

While the bed is the most common area for them to infest, it’s not the only place to look. They’ve been known to hide in carpets and baseboards, behind loose wallpaper, in items you keep on a nightstand like your phone, picture frames, clocks, and radios, the folds of curtains and drapes, and other nooks and crannies.

How Did Bed Bugs Get In My Home?

The most common way for bed bugs to get into your home is they hitched a ride on something you brought home. Used furniture is the most common culprit. A brand-new mattress will likely be safe, but if you bought one secondhand, it’s important to inspect it closely before bringing it inside. This is the same for all furniture and even clothing. If you’ve stayed at a hotel recently, it would be smart to check your luggage and belongings for tiny stowaways that might have come home with you.

It’s also possible that they were already in your house or apartment when you moved in. Bed bugs can survive for months without feeding, so a house being vacant for a while beforehand doesn’t guarantee it’s pest-free. It’s important to inspect any new living space for these pests before you move into it.

How Do I Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

If you do find evidence of bed bugs in your home, it’s time for some deep cleaning. Identify the source of the bed bugs, then use a vacuum cleaner to remove any bugs, eggs, and discarded exoskeletons you can find. Vacuum and scrub your mattress, then seal it in a zippered mattress cover. Give the headboard and bed frames a thorough wash to ensure they haven’t been hiding in any cracks. Also be sure to wash any clothes, blankets, and bedsheets that might have come in contact with the bed bugs, then seal them in plastic bags or bins to prevent re-infestation.

After that, you’ll want to contact a licensed pest control operator. You may think this is something you can do on your own with insect killer, but sadly, it’s not. You can make your own alcohol-based spray to apply topically and kill bed bugs and eggs you find, but while you might kill some, you risk simply driving them away towards other hiding places. Along with that, homemade insect killers risk being a fire hazard. With how resilient they can be, it might not even totally kill them, so it’s better to call in the professionals to prevent them from spreading.

Bed bugs might not be life-threatening, but they are a major nuisance if they get in your home. Be sure to keep an eye out for any signs of infestation, especially on your mattress.


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