Bed bugs – The ultimate guide
If you have bed bugs, then don’t feel bad because they are a fairly common problem and have been since ancient times. Here we will discuss what they are, what they are attracted to, how you got them in the first place, and more importantly, how to get rid of them.
- What are bed bugs?
- Can bed bugs make you sick?
- What attracts bed bugs?
- How fast do bed bugs spread?
- How to get rid of bed bugs
What are bed bugs?
They are tiny oval-shaped brown insects that feed on human and animal blood. And although very small, the eggs, nymphs (newborn hatchlings), and adults (up to 5mm/0.25 inches in size) are easily visible to the human eye.
These insects are mostly nocturnal, preferring to stay out of sight during the day by hiding between clutter, along carpet edges, inside curtain folds, box springs, mattresses, headboards, or any dark place they can fit into.
They come out at night when it’s dark, and humans are less active – most preferably while we are sleeping so that they can feed undetected and uninterrupted. Another thing that helps them go by undetected while feeding is that their bites are painless, and it can take weeks for those bite marks to become visible.
Can bed bugs make you sick?
Bed bugs do not directly cause disease, but some people are susceptible to allergic reactions from the saliva they inject into their victim’s bodies while feeding. These allergic reactions can lead to very itchy red spots that can keep you awake at night, and in some cases, cause painful blisters. Also, secondary skin infections are possible from scratching the itchy areas.
What attracts bed bugs?
Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are not attracted to dirt/dirty households. Instead, they are attracted to warm mammal blood, such as those of humans and our pets. They are also attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale.
So how did I get them in my house?
They mostly make their way into our homes by hitching rides on our clothing or inside purses and luggage from hotels, public transport, etc. We can also get them by bringing second-hand items into our homes, like furniture or teddy bears.
How fast do bed bugs spread?
In terms of spreading from one room to another, they travel at about 3 to 4 feet per minute – depending on the surface area. It may not seem like much, but considering their size, that’s the equivalent of an adult human sprinting.
In terms of multiplying, things aren’t as bad as some would like us to believe. Bed bugs are in fact, slow reproducers as females only lay one egg per day. It takes ten days for that egg to hatch and another 5 to 6 weeks for it to mature into an adult.
How to get rid of bed bugs
Getting rid of them is not exactly easy, but it is possible. You could make use of a reputable pest control company, or with a little bit of patience and effort, do it yourself.
If following the DIY method, keep in mind that it’s not as simple as spraying some roach spray around your home because most bed bugs are immune to insecticides. Instead, it’s going to take a combination of multiple approaches and strategies.
Heat is by far the most effective way of killing them. To do so, you will need to expose them to 113°F (45°C) for 90 minutes, or to 118°F (48°C) for 20 minutes. It’s a little bit harder to achieve a 100% mortality rate with bed bug eggs because they require continuous exposure to 118°F (48°C) for 90 minutes.
To kill bed bugs and their eggs instantly would require exposing them to a temperature of 300°F (149°C).
So how can you do this by yourself from home? With a heating box or handheld steamer.