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How Do You Get Bed Bugs?

April 20, 2023 - Bed Bugs

Author - Tom Miche

how do you get bed bugs

There are several ways in which you can get bed bugs, and it's important to be aware of these possibilities to prevent infestations. Bed bugs are small, reddish-brown insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. Here are some of the ways you might encounter or get bed bugs:

  • Traveling: Bed bugs are notorious for hitchhiking in luggage, clothing, and personal belongings. Staying in infested hotels, motels, or using public transportation like buses, trains, or airplanes can expose you to bed bugs. They often hide in mattresses, bedding, and furniture in accommodations.

  • Used Furniture or Clothing: Bringing second-hand furniture, especially mattresses and upholstered items, into your home without proper inspection can introduce bed bugs. They can hide in seams and crevices.

  • Visitors: Guests, friends, or family members who unknowingly have bed bugs in their homes can transfer them to your residence. This can happen through their luggage, bags, or clothing.

  • Laundry Facilities: Shared laundry facilities in apartment buildings, dormitories, or hotels are common places where bed bugs can spread. They can move from one person's laundry to another's through contact.

  • Workplaces: Bed bugs can be transported from home to work or vice versa. They might infest items like backpacks, briefcases, or personal belongings in shared spaces.

  • Public Spaces: Bed bugs can be found in public spaces, such as movie theaters, libraries, and public transportation. They may crawl onto your clothing or belongings when you come into contact with infested furniture or seating.

  • Schools and Daycares: Children may bring bed bugs home from school, daycare, or sleepovers. Bed bugs can attach to their clothing or bags and infest your home.

  • Neighbors: In multi-unit housing like apartments or condos, bed bugs can easily move from one unit to another through wall voids or common spaces, even if your unit is well-maintained.

  • Clothing and Belongings: Bed bugs can hide in clothing, bags, and personal items. Bringing infested items into your home can lead to an infestation.

  • Wildlife: While less common, bed bugs can also infest nests of birds and bats. If your home is near these creatures, there's a small risk of them migrating to your living space.

It's essential to take preventive measures, such as regularly inspecting your living space, being cautious while traveling, and educating yourself on the signs of bed bug infestations. If you suspect you have bed bugs, it's crucial to act promptly and consult with a pest control professional for effective removal. Early detection and intervention are key to preventing the spread of bed bugs and minimizing the disruption they can cause.

How Do Bed Bugs Find You?

Bed bugs are highly skilled at finding their human hosts, primarily because they are attracted to the carbon dioxide and body heat that people emit. They use a combination of sensory abilities to locate their hosts. Here's how bed bugs find you:

  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2): Bed bugs can detect the carbon dioxide we exhale when we breathe. They have specialized sensors that pick up on increased levels of CO2, helping them locate the general vicinity of a potential host.

  • Heat: Bed bugs are also drawn to heat. They can sense the warmth of a human body, which guides them towards their target. Our bodies emit heat, and bed bugs are equipped to sense these temperature variations.

  • Odor and Chemical Signals: Bed bugs are sensitive to the pheromones and body odors that humans naturally produce. This can help them get closer to their host once they are in the vicinity.

  • Movement: While bed bugs are not attracted to motion per se, they can detect subtle vibrations or disturbances in their environment. When you move in your sleep or shift positions, it can attract them.

  • Hunting Behavior: When bed bugs are hungry and actively searching for a blood meal, they may exhibit a hunting behavior. This means they become more mobile and may climb onto bedding or furniture to search for a host.

It's important to note that bed bugs do not have good eyesight, so they rely on these sensory cues to find their way to a host. Once they locate a potential host, they will typically hide in cracks, crevices, and seams near the bed or furniture until it's time to feed. Regularly inspecting and cleaning your sleeping and sitting areas can help reduce the likelihood of bed bugs finding you, as well as early detection if they do.

How Do You Catch Bed Bugs?

Catching or trapping bed bugs can be a useful method for both monitoring and reducing their numbers, especially if you suspect an infestation or want to confirm their presence. Here are several methods for catching or trapping bed bugs:

  • ClimbUp Interceptor Traps: These are specialized traps designed to prevent bed bugs from climbing onto your bed or furniture. They consist of a plastic cup with a slippery interior surface, making it difficult for bed bugs to escape once they enter. Place them under the legs of your bed, couch, or other furniture. ClimbUp Interceptors can help monitor the presence of bed bugs and prevent them from reaching you while you sleep.

  • Sticky Traps: Sticky traps, similar to those used for catching other pests, can be effective in capturing bed bugs. These traps are placed in areas where bed bugs are suspected, such as near the bed or along baseboards. Bed bugs get stuck to the adhesive surface when they come into contact with the trap.

  • DIY Traps: You can create your own bed bug traps using common household items. One popular DIY trap involves placing double-sided carpet tape or duct tape sticky-side up along the baseboards or around the legs of furniture. Another DIY trap is to place a bowl or container filled with soapy water under a nightlight. Bed bugs are attracted to the light and may fall into the soapy water and get trapped.

  • Homemade Dry Ice Trap: Bed bugs are attracted to carbon dioxide, which we exhale. You can create a DIY trap by placing dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) in a container and positioning it near a known or suspected bed bug hiding place. Bed bugs may be lured into the container by the carbon dioxide.

  • Active Bed Bug Lure Traps: Some specialized traps use a combination of heat, CO2, and chemical lures to attract and capture bed bugs. These traps mimic the conditions that bed bugs are naturally drawn to. They are often used by pest control professionals to detect and monitor infestations.

When using traps to catch bed bugs, it's essential to regularly inspect the traps and act promptly if you find any trapped bed bugs. These methods can be valuable for monitoring and confirming the presence of bed bugs, but for complete eradication, it's often necessary to consult a professional pest control service. Traps alone may not eliminate a large infestation.

How Do You Get Rid Of Bed Bugs?

Getting rid of bed bugs can be a challenging and comprehensive process, often requiring professional assistance. Here is a detailed, expert-recommended approach to eliminating bed bugs:

  • Identify the Infestation: Inspect your living space for signs of bed bugs, including small reddish-brown bugs, tiny white eggs, shed exoskeletons, and small reddish or brown fecal spots on bedding, mattresses, and furniture. Use a magnifying glass and a flashlight to examine cracks, crevices, and seams, as bed bugs like to hide in these areas.

  • Isolate and De-Clutter: Isolate infested items by sealing them in plastic bags to prevent bed bugs from spreading. Remove clutter in your home, as it provides hiding spots for bed bugs.

  • Wash and Heat-Dry: Launder all bedding, clothing, and fabric items in hot water (at least 120°F or 49°C) and then dry them on the hottest setting for at least 30 minutes. Consider using mattress and box spring encasements to trap bed bugs and make it easier to detect and treat them.

  • Vacuum Thoroughly: Vacuum your home, paying special attention to cracks and crevices where bed bugs may hide. Use a crevice tool to reach these areas. Dispose of the vacuum bag or contents in a sealed plastic bag outside your home.

  • Use Bed Bug Sprays and Powders: Apply residual insecticides, such as those containing pyrethroids, to cracks and crevices where bed bugs hide. Apply diatomaceous earth (a natural desiccant) to areas where bed bugs are suspected. This substance can help dehydrate and kill them.

  • Professional Treatment: Consider hiring our licensed pest control professionals experienced in bed bug control. They may use a combination of methods, such as heat treatments, insecticides, and steam to eliminate bed bugs. Follow their instructions closely and prepare your home as directed before their visit.

  • Prevent Reinfestation: After eliminating bed bugs, take measures to prevent reinfestation, including: sealing cracks and crevices in walls and furniture, regularly inspecting your home for signs of bed bugs, using bed bug-proof mattress and box spring encasements, and being cautious when traveling to avoid bringing bed bugs home.

  • Monitor and Follow-Up: Continue monitoring your home for any signs of bed bugs after treatment. Be prepared for follow-up treatments if necessary, as some bed bug infestations may require multiple interventions.

It's important to exercise patience and persistence when dealing with bed bugs. The process can be time-consuming and may require several treatments. Professional help is often the most effective way to ensure complete eradication. Remember that early detection and intervention are key to preventing a small infestation from becoming a larger and more difficult problem to address.

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