The Beginner's Guide to Bed Bug Infestations
Bed bugs have been around for a long time. They're a pest known for feeding on their human hosts and causing itchy, almost rash-like bites. While they don't transmit diseases, they are still a public health risk. They are tricky to identify! However, once you realize you have a bed bug infestation, you can begin to work on eradicating them. If your infestation is too difficult to handle, you'll want to reach out to a trained professional. Our extermination team has experience tackling bed bug infestations in both residential and community properties. The sooner you start tackling your bed bug infestation, the better!
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Bed bugs are small and oval in shape. They are brownish in color but become redder as they feed. A fully fed bed bug will swell significantly. They're very fast movers and can climb walls, window curtains, and doors. This makes it difficult to pinpoint which room in your home is the starting point of an infestation.
Because of their size, bed bugs themselves may be difficult to spot. This is especially true of bed bug eggs. Each egg is less than the size of a grain of salt! An adult bed bug can lay thousands of eggs in its lifetime. Because of this, it’s key that you start getting rid of your bed bugs as fast as possible. A single winter in Northern Virginia is long enough for a bed bug problem to become a true infestation.
Thankfully, bed bug infestations come with tell-tale signs. These are ways you can tell you have a bed bug problem without relying on only having bed bug bites. Make sure you keep an eye out for live bed bugs in and around your bed. Other common signs of a bed bug infestation include:
- Red stains on bedding, sheets, and pillowcases
- Dark brown spots on bedding, mattresses, walls, and window curtains
- A faint musty odor
- Remains of bed bugs in corners and underneath pillows
If you suspect that you have found one or more of these signs of bed bugs, investigate further. Look at the corners of your mattress closest to where you sleep. Use a flashlight to help you see these signs more clearly. Once you’re sure that you’ve seen signs of bed bugs, you can start working to eradicate them. If you believe that you may have bed bugs, take a picture of the bug and compare it with images of bed bugs you find online.
Remember that bed bugs are mobile. If you spot signs of bed bugs in a public space, take preventative measures to make sure you don’t bring them home with you. If you sat down in an area that may have bed bugs, change clothes outside of your home. Allow the clothing you were wearing to sit in a plastic trash bag for several days. This will help lower the chances that you bring bed bugs into your home.
What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?
Bed bugs have an obvious preference for biting humans. But they will bite pets and other mammals if left with no other options. Bed bug bites appear overnight. At first glance, they may appear to look like a rash.
Bed bug bites are extremely itchy. Often, the pain associated with their bites is mild. Yet bed bug bites will become irritated after a while. If you begin to feel itchiness at the site of small bumps on your arms, shoulders, neck, chest, or back you may have bed bug bites.
Bed bug bites can look and feel like a rash or as if you have come into contact with poison ivy. In reality, they are groups of small bites from bed bugs feeding overnight. They are often most visible right after waking up in the morning.
If you believe you may have bed bug bites, take a look around your bedroom and the rest of your house for signs of bed bugs. If you are traveling and find yourself with bed bug bites, there are steps you can take to help prevent bringing home an infestation. Make sure you keep on the lookout for these types of bites!
In cities like Baltimore and DC, you may find yourself dealing with bed bugs outside of the home. It is not unheard of for public spaces to have a bed bug problem. If you are experiencing bed bug bites and frequently use public services such as transportation, libraries, and government offices you should keep an eye on the local news. If you believe that you are being bitten while at work or other places outside of your home, you need to be vigilant. If you do not take preventative measures, you could end up re-homing bed bugs into your own home.
How Do I Get Rid Of Bed Bugs?
Getting rid of a bed bug infestation can take quite some time. The sooner you identify that you have a bed bug problem, the easier it will be to handle. Bed bugs can survive in a home unnoticed for weeks. If you have trouble getting rid of your bed bug infestation alone, reaching out to an experienced professional will make the process go more smoothly.
Before you use any products or do any deep cleaning to rid yourself of bed bugs, declutter the area. Remove all personal belongings such as blankets, toys, electronics, and clothing. Be aware that the bed bugs are likely to move with these items! Keep them sealed in a plastic trash bag. This will prevent the bed bugs from rehoming in another area of your house.
Make sure you remove the mattress, bedframe, window curtains, and dresser drawers from the room. Bed bugs can remain hiding in these materials even after you’ve treated an entire room. If possible, it is best to replace your mattress, frame, and bedding once you’ve eradicated your bed bugs. Covers to help kill bed bugs on your mattress do exist. However, it may not be worth the headache and effort to try and save an infested mattress.
Once you've pre-cleaned the infested rooms, you'll want to pick out a product to treat the infestation with. Liquid, aerosol, and dust insecticides all have their own pros and cons. The right extermination method for you will depend on the situation. What type of room are you treating? Will pets and children come into contact with this room shortly after treatment? Does the room have good ventilation? Read the back of each bed bug treatment product before purchasing to determine which one will best suit your needs.
Regardless of what type of product you pick to handle your bed bugs, start with the baseboards of a room. Work your way up the walls. Make sure you treat closets and doors, where the bed frame touches the floor, hampers, dressers, and your window coverings. Avoid using products on your bedding, chairs, or anywhere else humans may come into contact with unless using a product designed for that use.
- In review, the steps to getting rid of a bed bug infestation are:
- Deep clean the room and move all clutter into trash bags
- Remove your bed and bedding, either to treat or replace
- Treat the entire room with the bed bug removal product of your choice
- Keep children and pets away from the room
- After waiting the amount of time instructed by your removal product, clean again
- Dispose of all vacuum bags and other cleaning materials used
- Keep an eye out for signs that living bed bugs still remain
It can take several separate treatments to rid yourself of an active bed bug infestation. You will need to keep a sharp eye on your mattress and any other areas where you found bed bug activity before. If you continue to see signs of new life three days after the first treatment, it may be time to start the process over again.
What If I Can't Handle A Bed Bug Infestation?
Bed bug infestations are not just a matter of cleaning and spraying insecticides. There is also an emotional component to having a bed bug infestation. It can be very uncomfortable to know that there are bugs where you sleep. Even after several treatments, it may take children time before they are comfortable sleeping in their own beds again. This effect compounds if your bed bugs are resistant to treatment.
If you are having trouble with a bed bug infestation and need help, please reach out to our team. We are exterminators with years of experience helping families and business owners alike get rid of bed bugs. We know how to identify where an infestation started and pick out the best treatment option for your home. Our experts will help ensure that your bed bug infestation gets dealt with correctly. This will give you and your family the peace of mind you need to sleep at night. We are proud to serve families and businesses across the DC and Northern Virginia area!
Miche Pest Control is a top rated, family owned and operated pest control company that provides exterminating services for bed bugs and more in Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. Our expert technicians get rid of bed bugs fast, and use preventative treatments to help keep bed bugs from coming back after they're gone. Miche Pest Control has a 4.9 star rating and over 1,000 reviews online - give us a call today!