It is hard to sleep tight when thoughts of bed bugs keep you up at night. Mostly eradicated from developed countries after World War II, these pests are making a comeback with the ban of the toxic pest control substance DDT.
Getting rid of these pests is easier said than done and will probably require the help of a pest control service. In addition to practicing pest prevention techniques, learn to recognize the signs of an infestation in your home so you can control the problem early. pest is an excellent resource for this.
Recognizing a Bed Bug Infestation in Your Home
Bed bugs like to live where their hosts, which are mammals, sleep. They survive by consuming their host’s blood, feeding up to three times per night. The most important step to eliminating them is making sure you aren’t actually dealing with a different insect, like fleas. Bed bugs resemble a reddish-brown, flat apple seed with a small head and six legs. However, they can appear rounder in shape after they eat. These wingless insects have segmented antennae between the two main eyes.
When they bite, the host usually does not feel it. They are nocturnal insects that hide during the day in your bed’s nooks and crannies, including the headboard, frame and box spring, which is why you do not see them after you wake up. However, if you do have an infestation in your home, you will find their feces, which will appear as small, reddish-brown stains, on the linens, mattress and surrounding wall.
Symptoms and Treatment of Bed Bugs
The most common parts of the body to receive bites are the face, hands, arms and neck, but a bed bug will bite any exposed skin. Upon waking, an individual may find a few red bumps lined up in a row on the skin. They may appear slightly swollen and are usually accompanied by painful itching. Occasionally, a bite can cause an allergic reaction and, rarely, mental health problems. Scratching the skin where the insect bit can lead to an infection. In addition to fecal stains, individuals may notice an odor, which the insects secrete from their glands.
Bed bugs can harbor infectious microbes, so it is important to keep the skin clean and avoid scratching the bites. Typically, there is no need for treatment when bitten; however, when itching is severe, a doctor may prescribe an antihistamine or steroid cream. In more extreme cases, when a person develops a secondary bacterial infection from scratching at the bites, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics.