Bedbugs - All you need to know about them
February 01, 2021
Among the many kinds of pests that invade our homes, bedbugs are pesky parasitic creatures that because of their tiny size can slip into properties mostly undetected. A lot of people mistake them for fleas that do share similarities but are different.
Difference between bed bugs and fleas
While both are reddish-brown and can be seen by the naked eye, they differ in appearance. Fleas have narrow long bodies that are flat from top to bottom. Bed bugs on the other hand are flat and oval in shape. A full-grown adult bedbug resembles an apple seed in appearance and after they feed on blood they swell in size and look reddish. They thrive on animal and human blood. While they are unable to fly, they are relatively nimble and crawl over ceilings, falls and floors. Once they invade a property, they multiply in number at extremely fast with the females laying hundreds of eggs in their lifespan. The young bedbugs are known as nymphs and shed their skins five times before maturing into adults. In conditions that are favourable for breeding, they can have three generations or more within a year.
Areas they invade on a property
Bedbugs can slip into a home on clothing that people wear and get into beds, upholstery and couches among other concealed areas. Since their bodies are flat and can fit into the narrowest of spaces, nooks and crannies. While they do not make nests unlike other pests but inhabit concealed areas in groups. Generally, they are found within bedframes, below mattresses, headboards etc. that makes it easy for them to get access to humans when they feed at night. Over time they can proliferate through areas of the room and slip into adjoining rooms as well. Since they thrive on human blood only and eat nothing else, they can even be found in the most spotless and well-kept properties and hotels.
Signs to detect bedbugs’ infestation
If you get up in the mornings from bed with red blotches on the skin that are itchy, it could be the sign that bedbugs have invaded your home. If you notice this especially when you start showing these symptoms after sleeping in the same place with bites appearing, it could be a sign of bedbugs. Other things to watch out for are:
An unpleasant musty type of odour that is emanated from bedbugs’ glands
Rust/dark coloured spots on cushions, the mattress or sheets etc
Minute bits of skin shed, eggs or faecal spots in concealed areas
You find bloodstains on the pillow or sheets
When you suspect there could be bedbugs it is best to examine under the mattress and look for their tell-tale signs in hidden or covered areas. Check the framing of a wooden beg particularly as they tend to hide in such areas. You can also look under the sofa cushions, carpet areas and closets. When in doubt and to ensure your home is free from these pests it would be prudent to call a pest and flea control professional to examine the home.
How to treat bed bugs
The most effective ways to get rid of these pests is to clean the locations where they inhabit and include the following:
Get a zippered mattress cover and keep the mattress within it. Since bed bugs can exist up to a year without feeding keep the mattress covered for a minimum of 12 months to ensure that they perish within the cover.
Keep the surrounding areas of the bed free of clutter
Ensure that wallpaper is well attached with no cracks or crevices for the bed bugs to hide
Before you use a vacuum on the bed use a hard brush to scrub the seams that will remove their larvae and adults from within the seams.
All clothing items, curtains, upholstery and linen items should be washed in hot water and dried at the highest setting. Similarly, stuffed toys and other items should be cleaned in the same manner.
Use a vacuum cleaner regularly in areas that would be susceptible to bed bugs infestation. Keep the vacuumed waste bag in an outdoor waste bin.
If you find the mattress is rife with them you may consider replacing it although, first ensure to clean the bed so that they do not reinfest your new mattress.
As a norm bedbug are most active in the night and feed when people sleep. They possess a long beak that pierces human skin and they suck the blood. They feed for 3-10 minutes until they swell up and then crawl off. While their bites are mostly painless, they become inflamed and start itching later. They bite almost any of the skin they come in contact with. Treatments can include anti-itch cream or calamine or even an antihistamine tablet, if severe.
Bed bugs Treatment
While cleaning up areas is effective, if it is widespread, it is best to call a pest control service like Aim Environmental that will determine the causes of bedbugs and find the most suitable treatment methods to exterminate them permanently from your property. Bed bugs’ elimination and prevention are best left to the professionals.
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