Picture this: You go to bed with smooth, clear skin and wake up with tiny red welts all over your body.
No, it isn’t the plotline to a strange horror flick.
It’s the reality you face when you live in a home that’s infested with bed bugs. Creepy, crawly and easy to transport, these pests can wreak havoc on an otherwise peaceful bedroom.
Are you curious about whether or not they’re taking up residence where you lay your head at night? Today, we’re sharing a few ways to spot the major bed bug signs and how to treat the issue if you confirm it.
Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!
How to Identify Bed Bug Signs
Though they’re tiny, the good news is that bed bugs aren’t very smart. They leave traces of their presence wherever they go!
That works to your advantage, as you can usually see evidence of an infestation not too long after it begins. Let’s take a look at a few telltale signs you can’t ignore.
During their short lives, bed bugs go through five nymph stages. Between each stage, they require what’s known as a “blood meal.” In other words, they need to munch down on a human to refuel.
After they eat, they’ll shed their outer layer, called their exoskeleton. As you’d expect, these skeletons get larger with every new nymph stage. Thus, you may find a pile of exoskeletons in your bed that are different sizes!
Look for them along the seams and under the tags of your mattress and box spring, as well as in any cracks within your bedframe or headboard.
These shells look like the bugs themselves, meaning they’ll be flat and almond-shaped. They’ll be translucent and yellow in color. The biggest ones can reach the size of an apple seed!
Do you see tiny red spots on your sheets, pillowcase or pajamas? If so, those could be blood stains resulting from bed bug bites.
Despite common belief, the bugs themselves don’t leave reddish stains when they defecate. What you’re noticing is your own blood, though it can be easy to miss as the specks will often be super small.
In some cases, the red marks will also result when you crush a live bed bug. As you roll around at night, you could smash them without even knowing it.
The fecal matter excreted by bed bugs is about the size of a bullet point on a computer screen. It will be dark brown to black in color and you’ll often see them in clusters.
Look for the dots to smear or stain, as if you’d rubbed the fine tip of a ballpoint marker over the area.
The most obvious, yet unsettling sign that you’ve got bed bugs? You may notice the live bugs themselves crawling around on the edge of your mattress.
If you have a heavy infestation, you may also notice bed bugs in other areas of your bedroom. Look for them in the following places:
- The seams of any nearby chairs
- Between the cushions of a sofa
- Inside drawer joints
- Inside electrical appliances
- Beneath loose wallpaper
- At the spot where your wall meets your ceiling
Agile and narrow, bed bugs are experts at squeezing their bodies into the smallest spaces. A general rule of thumb? If you can fit a credit card in a space, a bed bug can fit there, also.
Bed Bug Treatment Solutions
You discovered the aforementioned signs of bed bugs. Now what? Here are the important next steps to take.
Contact an Exterminator
First, it’s important to contact a professional bed bug exterminator. While there are a few things you can do at home to help ease the problem, this isn’t an issue to tackle halfway.
The only sure-fire way to know that you did a complete job is to let the pros take the reigns. Hop online and search for “Bed bug exterminator near me” to find a reputable one you can trust, as not all pest control companies are alike.
Read reviews, ask for recommendations and dig around on each website before making your decision, but do so as soon as possible. You don’t have time to waste!
Wash All Bedding
You may want to throw your entire bed into a pit of fire at the first sign of a bed bug! Yet, you don’t have to go to such extreme measures.
Strip your bed and wash all linens in hot water. To be safe, also throw in any other fabrics in your bedroom, including sofa slipcovers, curtains, and pillow coverings. Use the highest dryer setting available to kill even more germs.
Do you have items you can’t wash well, such as stuffed animals or shoes? Place these in the dryer for 30 minutes for quick heat treatment.
Clean and Vacuum Your Mattress
Using a stiff brush, give your mattress a good scrub-down. Focus your efforts on the seams, and then vacuum all over. Also, vacuum around your bed and the surrounding area while you’re at it.
As bed bugs love to hang on and travel wherever you take them, go ahead and prepare to toss your vacuum after you complete this step. Place it in a plastic bag and take it to your outdoor garbage can.
Cover Your Mattress
To prevent any more bed bugs from entering or escaping, cover your mattress with a tight, zippered cover. Even without a reliable meal, bed bugs can live up to a year on their reserves alone!
To that end, keep your mattress cover on for at least 12 months to make sure any clingers die out.
Safeguard Your Surroundings
Bed bugs tend to congregate in areas of clutter, so to help prevent a reoccurrence, clean the area around your bed well at least once a week.
To help keep your room as safe from an attack as possible, also caulk around any cracks or openings where the bugs could sneak through. Look for places where the plaster is crumbling or the wallpaper is peeling and patch those, too.
Know the Bed Bug Signs and Call in an Expert
Think bed bugs can’t happen to you? Think again.
They’re some of the most common household pests and they rear their nasty heads in all sorts of homes. With the proper precautions, you can know the bed bug signs to spot and ways to treat an infestation.
A surefire way to kill them in their tracks? Call a residential pest control expert today. If you’re dealing with an infestation we’d love to help.
We’re experts in this industry and we have the tools, resources, knowledge, and experience to tackle any issue. Bed bugs might make your skin crawl, but they’re no match against our expertise.
Contact us today and get back the peace of mind you need to sleep soundly tonight!