How Do You Get Bed Bugs? What leads to an infestation?
How do you get bed bugs: Bed bugs are tiny, reddish-brown parasitic insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. They are not considered as carriers of diseases, but they can trigger other public health concerns, as well as damage to property when there is a bed bug infestation in your home.
The bedbug is typically the size of an apple seed, and due to its size, can easily hide in the cracks, as well as, crevices of your bed, box-spring, mattress, bed frames, headboards, and other furniture around your bed. There is an increased chance that you will pick up a bedbug or two if you tend to travel a lot, visit hospitals, or hotels, or even homeless shelters, just to name a few.
Symptoms to Watch Out For
Bed bug bites can be difficult to discern from other insect bites or even rashes, but there are a few signs and symptoms that can make it easier to pinpoint:
- Red spot with a dark centre
- Typically appears on exposed skin when you sleep such as the face, hands, and arms
- Can appear in a cluster or a rough line
Not everyone who is bitten by a bedbug will get these red welts on their body. However, others will break out in an allergic reaction, which can include hives, severe itching, and even the appearance of blisters, just to name a few.
The More You Know: Confirming you have a case of bed bugs starts with finding them. How do you check for bed bugs? Here’s everything you need to know.
Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?
You’re probably wondering where do bed bugs come from? This is a common question that a lot of people ask when they see these tiny creatures in their home.
These insects came from developing parts of Africa as well as the Middle East and were taken to different parts of the world because of international travel. With governments banning the use of DDT, which is a type of pesticide that can get rid of bed bugs, but dangerous to humans, the spread of bed bugs has become rapid.
If you are wondering, ‘where do bed bugs come from’ locally, these insects prefer to stay in areas where humans live. It’s easy to assume that you will pick up a bedbug in a motel or a hotel, but these pests are everywhere. Bed bugs are referred to as ‘hitchhiking bugs’ meaning they attach to clothes, luggage, socks, and the like for easy transport. Other places that you may encounter bed bugs include:
- Transportation hubs, buses, trains, etc.
- Office buildings
- Home of a relative or friend
What Causes Bed Bugs?
How do you get bed bugs? There is a common misconception that bed bugs appear when your room or home is filthy, but it is important to know that these creatures don’t like decay at all. As a matter of fact, they are happy to live anywhere, provided they have access to humans or animals, which they prefer as their blood meal.
However, because they are not like mosquitoes that fly around in search of prey or even ticks for that matter that lives in a host, bed bugs need to be creative when it comes to finding their food source.
What causes bed bugs? Bedbug infestations can happen when they spread from one area of your house to another. They don’t normally latch on your clothes, but they can hitchhike on your travel bag. Then they will make their way into dark places of your room, such as in the cracks of the bed frames, furniture, and even the walls. These insects don’t normally have nests, but they tend to reside in groups inside of a mattress, second-hand furniture, upholstered furniture, and even open sockets, and every crack or crevice that they can find in your nooks and crannies.
To really understand what causes bed bugs to infest a place, here is a quick checklist to recap:
- Bed bugs are NOT caused by dirty areas. They can easily live in any kind of environment; provided that they have access to food; however, clutter can attract them.
- Bed bugs aren’t necessarily spread from one person to the next, but they can attach themselves to your bags, luggage, and such which can take them to different places.
- Bed bugs aren’t necessarily contained in one room. If you are staying in an apartment, where one room has an infestation, it won’t be long before the rest of the apartments have the same problem, unless a pest management professional is hired to eliminate them.
Related: Getting rid of a bed bug problem means expert intervention. However, there are some effective home remedies you can use to contain the problem.
Lifecycle: How Do Bed Bugs Spread?
Now that you know the answer to the question, ‘How do you get bed bugs’ the next thing that you should know is how do bed bugs spread? Like it was mentioned before, bed bugs tend to hitchhike on our bags and accessories when we’re traveling, and from there, they can easily crawl out from your luggage and look for hiding places.
The End of the First Month
If the bedbug that you brought home with you is a female that had already mated, you will have several bed bugs to contend with, as a bed bug can lay up to a hundred eggs in the first month alone. Bed bug eggs are laid several times in a month, which is why, by the time the first eggs have turned into nymphs, there will be new eggs waiting to be hatched.
The End of the Second Month
By the end of the second month, adult bed bugs in your home may have doubled already, with female bed bugs laying more eggs. There will be several developing bed bugs in your home at this point, from eggs to nymphs, and finally, adults. At this point, you may start noticing tiny stains on your mattress or bedding; even tiny dust-like particles on the seams of your mattress. It would be a good idea to detect bed bugs at this stage so that you will be able to prevent bed bugs infestation from happening. Finding them early is essential, as it will be tougher to eliminate bed bugs by the third month.
The End of the the Third Month
By the third month, you will have a colony in your hands, with more than a hundred breeding adults, thousands of growing nymphs, and about 500 eggs. Since bed bugs are not contained to one area, you can expect them to spread to other parts of your home. The problem with live bed bugs is that they can live for several months without food, especially adults, which means that, if you let them be, you will have a severe infestation on your hands. The population of bed bugs in your home will continue growing if you don’t intervene immediately.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs?
It’s not really easy to detect if you have bed bugs in your home from a bite alone. As it was mentioned earlier, it is critical to watch out for other signs of bed bugs such as red spots on your bedding, tiny translucent shells, and the like. That said, if you suspect that these insects are in your home and would like to do pest management on your own, here are a few things that you can try:
- Remove clutter – Bed bugs love dark hiding places which, when you have clutter in your home, can become a good breeding ground for them. Get rid of the stuff that you don’t need and focus on organization.
- Vacuum – Make sure that you vacuum your bedroom or even other parts of your home every few days or so. Use the hose attachment to get into the seams of your mattress, bed frames, box springs, and the like. Dispose of the vacuum bag afterward in a sealed container to prevent the bugs from getting out.
- Steam Clean – Bed bugs can cling to your bedding, pillowcases, bed skirts, and blankets without your knowledge which is why it would be a good idea to give them a thorough cleaning using hot water and dry heat. Any bed bugs and eggs that are attached to them will be killed off because of the heat. Make sure the temperature is between 130-180 degrees Fahrenheit. This method is not only a way to control bed bugs; it is an effective way to kill a bed bug infestation. Note that it is important to rent a professional steamer.
- Move your bed away from the walls – Bed bugs can climb the walls and transfer to your bed while you sleep. This may be more likely to happen if your bed frame has been treated to repel pests. However, that said, keep in mind that bed bugs will always try to find ways to reach their food source, which is you.
The Bottom Line
Even though you know, not only how you get bed bugs, but how to control them with at-home methods — keep in mind that you can never be too sure when or where these bugs will strike. This is why it is important to take precautions all the time. Lastly, it’s essential to note that when it comes to bed bug infestations, many times a professional exterminator will be needed to rid yourself of these pests.
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