Learn More About Bed Bugs
Few things induce an uneasy feeling than discovering you have mattress bed bugs and pests.
You might wake up and see spots on your bed or even get itchy and have red marks all over your body. These could be signs that you are dealing with a bed bug infestation in your mattress, furniture, or anywhere else in your house.
Did You Know:
- Bed Bugs are found in all 50 states and across the globe.
- Incidences of bed bugs are 3x higher in urban areas.
- Bed bugs do not discriminate, their presence is not determined by cleanliness or wealth.
- Bed bugs can travel over 100 feet in a night but tend to live within 8 feet of where you sleep.
- Bed bugs can leave an emotional and psychological effect on their victims.
- You can use your nose to detect the presence of bed bugs, a sweet and musty chemical is produced by bed bugs to communicate.
Bed bugs are problematic pests, but the CDC does not classify them as disease-transmitting. They are also not a sign of uncleanliness. A house or hotel room could be immaculate but still have bed bugs.
If you plan on getting rid of these unwelcome guests, solutions like throwing out your mattress and box spring, mattress cover, or dismantling your bed frames won’t work.
Instead, you should be aware of what bed bugs are, how they behave, and how to get rid of these pests effectively.
Use our ultimate guide on mattress bed bugs and learn how to deal with a bed bug infestation.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped, brown insects or pests, and they like to infest beds and furniture across the United States. Bed bugs feed on a blood meal from animals or humans, after which their color changes to a reddish hue.
Bedbugs cannot fly, but their quick movements allow them to walk over walls, floors, and ceilings. Female bed bugs can lay hundreds of eggs that are the size of a speck of dust over their lifetime. Once the eggs hatch, bed bugs begin life as nymphs and go through several life stages before reaching maturity.
During a bed bug nymph’s growth period, they shed their skins about five times and require feeding before each shedding. That means immature bedbugs need a blood meal five times before they become adult bed bugs.
So if you are experiencing many bed bug bites, they could be from bed bug nymphs trying to grow. Fully grown bed bugs have flat bodies, can reach the size of an apple seed, and are visible to the naked eye.
How to Identify a Bed Bug Infestation?
Bed bugs are crafty creatures, and they can enter your home through luggage, used furniture, clothing, or any other items.
Because they’re so small and flat, measuring the width of a credit card, bed bugs can fit into any crevice or crack. This makes it very difficult to spot them, but they still are visible to the naked eye.
From their nesting grounds, they then migrate to mattresses, box springs, headboards, bed frames, and other places where they can bite a person during the night. If you have pets, they will also move to your pet’s sleeping place so they can feed
As bed bug nymphs increase in number, they’ll move throughout your home, before spreading to other apartments. So identifying a bed bug infestation early is crucial to stopping the sprawl.
Here are a few things to look for if you suspect you have a bed bug infestation in your home.
- Itchy, red spots all over your body that weren’t there when you first went to bed. These are the telltale signs of a bed bug bite.
- Dark or “rusty” spots on your mattress, sheets, pajamas, or walls around your home, which are traces of bugs’ bed bug fecal matter.
- Blood stains on your pillowcases or sheets.
- Shed skin or eggshells from immature bed bugs.
- A musty odor all over your home released from the bed bug’s scent glands.
What Are Common Bed Bug Behaviors and Habits?
When you suspect you have bed bugs, your first reaction might be panic. However, understanding their behaviors and habits can help you go from bed bug bites and infestations to bed bug control and treatment.
Bed bug feeding habits can help you reduce the opportunities for feeding:
- A bed bug’s meal of choice is human skin. That’s why you’re likely the bearer of all the bed bug bites. In the absence of humans, this pest will resort to other mammals and birds.
- These bugs can move between five to 20 feet away from their hiding spots in your home to feed.
- A bed bug can feed for approximately three to 12 minutes, so your bed bug bites can vary in size depending on the length of feeding.
- Bed bugs usually feed at night while you sleep on your mattress and may hide in your box spring during the day. However, this is a pest that won’t hesitate to feed during the day, especially while they’re growing.
Mating and Growth
Understanding how bed bugs mate and grow can help you gauge the level of infestation you may have in your home and what treatment would work best when dealing with this problem.
- Bed bugs start as nymphs and need to feed and shed their skin multiple times to become full adult bed bugs.
- To ensure that they mate and produce eggs, bed bugs need to feed at least one time in 14 days, which means you may end up with multiple bed bug bites in one night.
- Females can lay one to three eggs each day, which amounts to around 200 to 500 eggs in one bed bug’s lifetime.
Eventually, all these eggs hatch and start the cycle all over again. You can see how quickly a bed bug problem becomes an infestation.
Bed Bug Living Conditions
Knowing how bed bugs like to live and how they survive helps you get a better view of how to implement bed bug control in the United States or elsewhere.
- Bed bugs can withstand incredibly low or high temperatures. They can survive on as low as 46 degrees (7°C), and they will only die if their body temperature reaches 113 degrees (45°C).
- Despite their environment, bed bugs can survive anywhere they have a host to feed on. So, having an exceptionally clean or dirty environment does not contribute to the likelihood of a bed bug infestation. This is also why cleaning your memory foam mattress, box spring, or home will not get rid of bed bugs.
Treating Bed Bug Bites
Once bed bugs bite you, your skin will react with a red, itchy bump. Any part of your body that makes contact with infested bedding while you’re sleeping is fair game. To treat bed bug bites, you can take the following steps.
- Apply a cream with anti-itch component to the inflamed area.
- If the itching is particularly bad, get an antihistamine.
- If you are experiencing swelling or pain because of an infestation, you could try an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Sometimes, but very rarely, you may experience an allergic reaction to bed bug problem. In that case, an at-home treatment may not be enough, and you’ll need to reach your doctor or call emergency services.
Five Steps to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Treatment and prevention are the keys to stopping an infestation from wreaking havoc on your life. If you’re unsure about having bed bugs in your home, begin by calling an exterminator. These experts will know what to look for in your mattresses and can help you find the source of the infestation.
But if you are confident that you have bed bugs, you should take these steps as a bed bug treatment.
Step #1: Remove Unnecessary Items From the Room
In the infested room, remove any items you can, such as blankets, electronics, toys, etc. Many people make the mistake of just putting these items in other rooms, but you should be careful. Simply putting the items there will cause the bed bug infestations to spread to the other room. Instead, transfer the items to a vacuum bag.
Step #2: Launder Infested Fabrics
Next, any items go straight into the laundry. This includes bedding, curtains, linens, and clothing. Wash these fabrics, which all bed bugs love, in high temperatures and dry at high heat settings. Place anything unfit for washing in the dryer for about 30 minutes to kill bed bugs.
Step #3: Encase Your Mattress and Clean It
Encase your mattress and box spring with a tightly zipped cover so the bed bugs cannot get out. Vacuum the mattress thoroughly and place the vacuumed matter in the garbage outside immediately.
Step #4: Vacuum and Treat the Entire Room
Do a thorough cleaning of the entire room very frequently. Scrub the room to dislodge the eggs. At this time, you can rub or spray neem oil on your bed frame, baseboards, around your windows, and into cracks in your room.
Vacuum and scrub every crevice and potential hiding spot, including wall hangings and other furniture — even your wall paper.
If possible, use steam for a thorough clean. The combination of heat, washing, and vacuuming can be very effective in getting rid of a large majority of these pests.
Step #5: Use Natural Repellents
Trying to remove bed bugs requires a multi-step approach. Besides washing and cleaning, you can also use a natural repellent treatment made specifically for the bedroom or on mattresses. This can include using sachets of lavender or mint, or eucalyptus oil-infused sprays.
Sometimes, the inevitable solution to bed bugs is throwing your mattress out. Bed bugs are stubborn pests that can be quite difficult to exterminate and treat after they hit a certain number in the population. So even if you thoroughly vacuum and treat the room with chemicals, it might be time to get a new mattress.
Essentia is the right choice for keeping bed bugs at bay if you're looking for a new mattress. Essentia mattresses have been extensively tested, and are uniquely impervious to dust allergens, dust mites, and other bed invading bugs — a perfect solution for allergy sufferers as reported by Dr. Robert G. Hamilton of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
Essentia’s performance-focused collection of mattresses also help you sleep at cooler temperatures all throughout the night, which means there’s less chance of your body overheating and your mattress attracting these heat-seeking pests. Learn more about the Essentia difference and how we help you get the rest you deserve.