Bed Bug Infestation

By Perry Benani

Bed Bug Infestation Prevention

Understand how bed bug infestations occur and learn what are the possible methods to prevent bed bugs infestations in the house.

How Does a Bed Bug Infestation Occur

There are many ways a dwelling can become infested with bed bugs. In most common cases, bed bugs are unknowingly picked up from infested areas such as hotels, hostel or motels and transported to non-infested areas when they cling onto someone’s luggage, or clothing that is then brought into homes.

Bed bug infestations can also occur in homes because contaminated furniture, especially used bedframes, mattresses, wardrobes or couches are introduced to the home. Toys such as stuffed dolls can also be infested as well.

Since bed bugs are able to live for several months without feeding it is possible for them to be hiding in vacant apartments and homes that appear to be clean. It also possible for bed bugs to migrate from apartment to apartment through small crevices and cracks in walls and floors.

Bed bugs can also live on birds, rodents and household pets and that can be easily carry into a home, allowing the bugs to spread in this manner.

How to Detect the Seriousness of a Bed Bug Infestation

Here are some simple signs that will let you identify infestation and whether the area is heavily infested or if it is a mild bed bug infestation.

  1. Bed bug bites are usually the first clue in identifying an infestation. The bites will leave red bumps on the back, legs and arms. Since they feed while you are sleeping it is hard to catch them in the act. They can look like other insects bites except they will appear in groups or rows of bites and usually are accompanied by a rash. You will also notice that you are getting bitten just about every night and you are going to see the bumps regularly.
  2. Bed bugs leave behind a great deal of waste in infested areas and it is another method of identifying an infestation. You will notice small bloodstains on your bed sheets from crushed insects, or dark spots from their droppings around your mattresses. Also you will find the skin that is shed during molting, empty egg shells and dead bed bugs in the seams and tufts of your mattress or inside the box spring. The more waste that is found the more heavily infested the area is.
  3. A great way to go about identifying infestation is to use double sided tape. You should line the edges of your mattress and box spring with the tape as well as place it on the floor around the bed. The more heavily infested the room is, the more bugs will be on the tape.
  4. When a bed bug infestation becomes severe, the room would also carry a distinctive and unpleasant almond-like scent.

Methods to Prevent Bed Bug Infestations

Some of the things you can do yourself to stop bed bug infestations in your home include:

  • You should regularly inspect all possible hiding places of your home for evidence of bed bugs, especially the mattresses and your bedframe.
  • Seal all mattresses and box springs with a waterproof, hypoallergenic, zippered cover labeled “allergen rated” or “for dust mites.”
  • Repair and seal any cracks that may be present in you the interior and exterior of you home to prevent bed bugs from entering and escaping.
  • Be sure that windows have screens and repair existing screens to keep birds and other rodents from entering.
  • Regularly remove excess clutter and clothing because they can be additional hiding spots for bed bugs.
  • Vacuum the mattresses, bed frames, carpets and upholstered furniture regularly to remove any possible bed bugs and their eggs. Immediately after vacuuming, dispose of the vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag in an outdoor trash bin.
  • Use a bed bug spray to treat any suspected infested areas or furniture. A spray is also a handy tool to help kill off any bed bugs on sight.
  • One of the best ways to prevent bed bug infestation is to avoid buying or accepting any previously used furniture. Check all luggage and clothing after traveling before returning home especially if you have bed bug bites symptoms in the hotels or accommodations that you have previously stayed.

Bed Bugs Travel Prevention Tips — Checklists and tips on how to avoid bed bugs while you travel.

Bed Bug Traps — Monitors and traps for the detection and trapping of bed bugs in the house.

Bed Bug Repellent — Get the truth about the effectiveness of bed bug repellent for skin.

Additional Resources:

U.S. EPA on Bed Bug Control
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on controlling and treating bed bugs.

Cornell University Bed Bug Guide
Guidelines for prevention and managment of bed bugs in shelters and group living facilities.

Bed Bugs FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions on bed bugs from the National Pest Management Association.

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