Any household can be invaded by bed bugs. The key is to spot them early, and to take the right steps to eliminate them before a full-blown infestation. Here’s what you need to know, as well as some of the signs that you might have bed bugs.
What do bed bugs look like?
A fully grown bed bug is about half a centimetre long, which means they are very difficult to spot with the naked eye. Light brown in colour, they turn a rust-red colour when they have consumed a blood meal. Bed bugs have a flat, oval-shaped body, and large antennae. They like to live and hide in tiny crevices in your home, close to humans, where they can come out at night to feed, although they will also emerge during the day if they are really hungry.
How you get bed bugs
So, how do you get bed bugs? If you want to know what causes bed bugs to come into your home and your bedding, the answer is that they are attracted by warmth, blood and carbon dioxide. Human beings can offer all three! Infestations usually occur in places like hotels, hostels, shelters and motels where lots of people come and go. The bugs can hide in clothes and luggage and spread to different locations.
How do I know if I have bed bugs?
You might suspect you have bed bugs if you have started to notice bites on your arms, legs or body. Bed bug bites can look red and swollen and feel incredibly itchy if you are allergic to them. However, not everyone will react to a bed bug bite. Some people will have no reaction at all while others will notice a reaction immediately. Others might suffer a reaction as many as nine days after they have been bitten.
How to get rid of bed bug bites
To get rid of bed bug bites, wash the area with antiseptic soap and apply an anaesthetic cream to stop the itching. It’s important not to scratch because if you damage the skin, you could end up with a secondary skin infection. Calamine lotion can also soothe the itching and burning. If the bite is swollen, apply an ice pack. If it’s painful, you can take pain-relieving medication, and an oral antihistamine can be a good medicine for bed bug bites. Please always remember to consult a medical professional to ensure the methods you choose are suitable treatments for your body type.
Other signs of bed bugs
Other bed bug signs include noticing red specks of blood on the bedsheets where the bugs have been squashed during the night. A sweet, sickly, musty smell is associated with a very heavy infestation; the smell comes from the bugs’ scent glands. You can also look for specks of excrement along mattress seams, and pale yellow, empty skins where the bugs have moulted.
What to do if you have bed bugs
If you think you have bed bugs, here’s what you need to do to get rid of them. Strip the bed and put the sheets, blankets, and any other bedding on a hot wash. Wash pyjamas, clothing and bedding in hot water at least 60 degrees, put them in the drier, and iron them with a hot iron. We recommend that you contact a professional clothes cleaning service to help you achieve the best results using heat. And, of course, to call Pesti Pest Control for treatment to your home, office and areas of infestation.
You should also vacuum and wash all surfaces. Vacuum the mattress, wrap it in dark plastic, and leave it outside in the hot sun. Steam clean your carpets.
Homemade Bed Bug Killer
If you want to make your own natural bed bug killer at home, you can use diatomaceous earth or baking soda to dehydrate the bugs. Other natural bed bug killers include tea tree oil diluted with water and applied as a spray, lavender oil, and peppermint oil. However, if you’re not sure what you’re doing or how to locate the bugs’ hiding spots, or you don’t fully understand the bugs’ lifecycle, it’s best to leave it to the experts.
If you want to know more about bed bug treatment costs or about prices for other kinds of pest control in Perth, get in touch with Pesti Pest Control. Our experts will be able to advise you on the best route for you to take to get rid of those pests for good.