If you’ve crossed paths with bed bugs, they are definitely an unwelcome nighttime visitor. These small insects feed on human blood and are usually active at night when you’re sleeping.
Bed bugs don’t spread disease, but can be a huge nuisance. They don’t jump or fly, they crawl and move about the same speed as an ant. According to the King County Health Department, bed bugs have flat, rusty-red colored oval bodies, and are about the size of a pen cap tip. When bed bugs feed, they swell and become brighter red. They are big enough to be easily seen, but will hide in your mattress, box springs, bedding, cracks in furniture, or even floors and walls. Bed bugs can live for several months to over a year without feeding.Signs of an infestation may include:
- Itchy skin welts on your body
- Small blood smears on bedding from crushed insects
- Tiny dark spots on your sheets, mattress or box spring, which are their fecal droppings
- Dried remains of shed bed bug skins
The only way to be sure you have a bed bug infestation is to find and positively identify a live bed bug.
According to WebMD, home treatment can help stop the itching and prevent an infection.
- Wash the bites with soap to lower the chance of infection.
- Use calamine lotion or an anti-itch cream to stop the itching.
- Use an ice pack to stop the swelling.
- See your doctor if you think the bite may be infected.
WebMD also provides further tips on how do you get rid of bedbugs:
- Remove debris, such as wood and paper trash piles, where these bugs may hide.
- Wash, vacuum, or clean all furniture and bedding. Be sure to vacuum cracks in wood doors or floors where bugs may hide.
- Put small things like jewelry boxes, pillows, and stuffed animals in a dark plastic bag, and leave them outside in the hot sun for 2 or 3 days.
- Get rid of mattresses and box springs that have bedbugs. If you can’t throw them out, then cover the mattress and box springs with a plastic mattress bag that traps the bugs.
- Wash clothes and bedding in hot water, and dry them with the hot cycle of the clothes dryer.
If you can’t get rid of bedbugs yourself, call an insect control company for treatment choices. When the bugs are gone, be sure to keep your house and bedding clean to prevent the bugs from coming back.