Bed bugs are small and brown insects with an oval shape, and they live in animals and human's blood. They are flat, and they are as big as the apple's seed but, after feeding, they become redder and more swollen.
They belong to the Cimex genius, and their bites can cause many health problems such as skin rashes, allergic reactions, and psychological effects. Their size is between 1 and 7 mm. The lack of hygiene is hardly ever a reason for their infestation, but they can be found in a high-density area.
Bed bugs often spend their time in hidden dark places like mattress seams or maybe even cracks in the walls. They happen to be in all regions worldwide, and as of the 1990s, there has been a massive increase in their infestation. The cause of this increase is still unclear, but one of the theories on why they are so much more expanded is the rise of human traveling.
These insects can live for a few months, but they also can hibernate, which helps them live up to one year without feeding.
How you can identify bed bugs and successfully remove them
These insects are a real troublemaker, baby bed bugs are harder to find since they are incredibly tiny, but the adults are easy to spot. Even though they are parasitic, they don't spend a lot of time attached to hosts.
Once they are finished with their feast, they follow a chemical trail to return to the place they have previously been. They can also be found near nested animals within a dwelling, like rodents, birds, and bats. They can also be found in domestic dogs and cats.
One way to detect if you have bed bugs at home is the characteristic smell they leave, like rotting raspberries. Also, homemade detectors use the method with lactic acid or carbon dioxide to attract them and trap them in a container.
Do bed bugs have wings, and can they fly?
Despite what many people think, these nasty insects don't have actual wings, but they do have wing pads, and they can not fly with them. Bed bugs usually crawl to their desired destination, but that doesn't mean they can't travel long distances.
There are a lot of similar insects that can fly and look like bed bugs, which is why people often think they have bed bugs at home. But even though they can't fly, do not underestimate them and get rid of them as soon as possible.
Are bed bugs capable of jumping?
Suppose you spotted a brownish bug at home that jumps up and down, then a hundred percent that's not a bed bug. They cannot jump, as I previously mentioned, they have wing pads, but they can't use them to jump or fly with them. The only way they can move around is by crawling, and since they are flat and tiny, they can hide in a lot of places.
How do bed bugs come into my home?
Bed bugs can quickly come into anyone's home from other infested areas or used furniture. You can also bring them home with your luggage, backpacks, purses, and other similar items.
These extremely awful brown insects can travel between rooms in buildings with many apartments, hotels, and motels.
Can I control the bed bug problem at home, and how?
The problem can be easily controlled, but you must use the IPM (integrated pest management) approach.
- Place your bed away from furniture or walls
- High everyday hygiene at home, especially in your bedroom, is a must
- Seal any wall cracks, openings where wire or pipes are coming into the house.
- If you have a steam cleaner, clean your mattress with it very often since bed bugs can't handle the heat.
- Wash sheets, blankets, and pillowcases regularly and iron them with a clothing iron.
- Clean your house every day, including vacuuming floors and cleaning windows. Empty the vacuum cleaner every time you use it.
- Remove any possible mold in your house.
Can I use pesticides to kill the bed bugs?
Pesticides may not be effective and can be dangerous to you and your pets if not used properly. The most common compound that is used to control bed bugs is Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids. Pyrethrins are insecticides that are obtained from chrysanthemum flowers, and Pyrethroids are synthetic insecticides that act like Pyrethrins.
I would probably tell you to leave that to the professionals and hire a pest control company. But it would be best if you were sure that they have enough experience with bed bugs.
Can bed bugs cause skin conditions?
Yes, bed bugs can bite and cause a lesion to the skin. It is about two to five millimeters but can be as large as two centimeters in diameter. These troublemakers can usually bite you on areas of exposed skin or parts of your body that are not covered by sheets or blankets, such as arms, neck, feet, legs, or face.
If you have a red and swollen lesion with a dark spot at the center, you have probably been bitten by a bed bug. Also, in some cases, the bites might have a fluid-filled blister.
The bites from these insects can be noticeably red and swollen, and they tend to be itchy, and sometimes they can cause a burning sensation. The more you scratch the bites, the bigger chances to cause them to bleed and infect.
You can use an anti-itch cream or calamine lotion directly to the bites to reduce all these unpleasant symptoms. You can also drink an oral antihistamine to bring down the itching and burning.
Like humans, the same skin conditions can also occur in pets having identical symptoms, skin irritation, scratching, etc.
Although very rare, bed bugs can also cause allergic reactions and if you develop symptoms, immediately go to a doctor or call 911.
Bed bugs myths
Myth: Bed bugs won't bite you if the room is filled with light
Truth: Although they prefer more dark places, sleeping with the light on won't save you from them.
Myth: They live in dirty places
Truth: On the contrary, bed bugs are not attracted to dirt and grime, they prefer blood and carbon dioxide.
Myth: Bed bugs can transmit diseases between people
Truth: It is still not proven, nor are there cases that confirm that bed bugs can transmit diseases.
Myth: Bed bugs can fly or jump
Truth: No, these insects can't jump or fly like some other insects and fleas, they can only crawl.
Myth: They can reproduce really quick
Truth: Unlike other insects, bed bugs' reproduction is slow. The adult females can only produce about one egg per day, and each egg takes ten days to hatch and five to six weeks for the baby bed bug to develop into an adult.
What kills bed bugs instantly?
You would be surprised to know that steam is the biggest enemy to bed bugs. The high temperature of 100 degrees Celsius will kill the bed bugs instantly. That's why it is always a plus if you have a steam cleaner at home. You can clean your home with steam and kill those gnarly insects at the same time.
Also, steam can help disinfect and kill 99 percent of the bacteria and viruses. So, I say steam up and have fun destroying all those dreadful living organisms.
Can I do something as prevention?
To prevent bed bugs and avoid bringing them into your home if you are coming from an infested site, you first need to check your shoes thoroughly. Also, change your clothes outside the house or apartment before entering and put them into a clothes dryer outside your home or clean them with a steam cleaner.
Always check your bed to any accommodation you stay in before taking your suitcases into the sleeping area. Be always extremely careful with the suitcase in the tub, never leave the clothes on the floor, hang them or don't take them out from the suitcase at all.
Bed bugs can be a real pain in the neck and cause you a lot of discomforts. They don't fly or jump, but they find their way to your delicious skin by crawling, and you end up being their feast. Hot steam is their enemy, and they can't survive after steaming them at 100 degrees Celsius.
These bloodsuckers can make a lesion on your skin by biting, and that will give you an intense itching which is not really pleasant. They have a brownish color and flattened oval shape. Although they don't cause serious health problems, they still are nasty little creatures that you don't need in your house. Be extremely cautious when coming home from an infested area. If you have bed bugs at home, call professional pest control, do not try to exterminate them with DIY projects since you won't succeed.