If you’re like most people, discovering bed bugs in your home is nothing short of a nightmare. Maybe you brought them back home after traveling, or they hitchhiked in on some used furniture picked up at a yard sale. However they arrived in your home, bed bugs multiply quickly, so they need to be eliminated fast, before their population explodes. But how difficult will it be to get rid of them? If one room has bed bugs, do they all?
The short answer is that it’s possible there are bed bugs in more than one room in your house. It depends on your living habits, how long the bed bugs have been there, how extensive the infestation is and how you respond to their presence once you find out about them. Let’s learn more about these pests, including signs of you might have a problem, ways to get rid of them and how to avoid bringing them into your home in the first place.
Identifying Signs of Bed Bugs
True to their name, bed bug infestations usually begin in your sleeping quarters. These small, brown insects are about the size and color of apple seeds, and they feed off the blood of people and animals. They usually hide during daylight hours and then come out at night to feed on sleeping hosts. Most people don’t feel bed bug bites while they’re happening; the welts show up and start itching after the fact.
For most people, bed bug bites are extremely itchy. They might show up as red bumps, welts or even little blisters on the skin. Some people don’t have a reaction to bed bug bites, which is one reason why it might take some time to realize there are bed bugs present. Another reason is that people often mistake bed bug bites for something else. For example, bed bug bites can be mistaken as mosquito or flea bites. There are other signs you can look out for that indicate that you have bed bugs and not another type of pest problem.
Along with itchy bites, here are some of the other telltale signs of bed bugs:
- Blood stains on the sheets or mattress.
- Small black dots on pillows, sheets or the mattress. These may look like a pen ink stain, but they are actually bed bug feces.
- Bed bug eggs, nymphs or shed skins clustered along the seams of the mattress. Bed bug nymphs shed their skins multiple times before they become fully grown adults. Their shed skins are small and pale yellow, as are the nymphs themselves. Their eggs are tiny, whitish and translucent. That said, these are all so small that they are almost impossible for the untrained eye to see.
- Adult bed bugs, whether alive or dead. Along with eggs and nymphs, these are often found in the small spaces along the piping that runs around the edges of an infested mattress.
Where Do Bed Bugs Hide?
It’s important to note that bed bugs aren’t found only in beds. During the day, they might hide in cracks in the headboard or in the floorboards below the bed. They might also hide on the wall, behind picture frames or clustered in cracks between the wall and the baseboards. Bed bugs can also infest other furniture besides beds. You may find bed bugs in couches, sofas or easy chairs. These are all places where people spend time in one position, such as while napping or watching TV. Bed bugs can also be found in luggage and clothing (the main way they come home with you after a trip). When you put clothes away from these suitcases or other bags, these pests can even hide in your dresser drawers!
When you purchase secondhand furniture and clothing, you may also unknowingly bring bed bugs into your home. If you do decide to like to buy second-hand, be sure to check any of these items for any signs of bed bugs. You can use a flashlight to make a thorough inspection of each item as a precaution. You can also press tape into the seams of your furniture to see if any shed bed bug skins or tiny eggs stick when you remove it.
If you find bed bugs or signs of bed bugs, it’s often best to reach out to a reputable pest control specialist. These professionals have the training and expertise needed to do a comprehensive inspection for signs of bed bugs. They can also determine how large the infestation is and which rooms are impacted. Then, these knowledgeable pros can recommend the best steps to take to eliminate the pests.
If you do have a bed bug problem, note that it’s extremely hard for people to control bed bugs on their own. Female bed bugs can lay hundreds of eggs, so their numbers grow quickly. Furthermore, bed bugs have become resistant to many of the pesticides that you can find at the store. Bed bug infestations tend to be prolonged and exact a huge emotional toll. Pest control professionals have access to the most up-to-date and effective treatments to address a bed bug problem. That way, you and your loved ones can rest easy again.
Does Lysol Kill Bed Bugs?
Many people who have found bed bugs in their homes, or who fear encountering them while traveling, have wondered if cleaning products can be effective in neutralizing a population. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to get rid of bed bugs as spraying Lysol in your bedrooms. If you’re dealing with a bed bug infestation, spraying these creatures with Lysol or other cleaning products won’t kill enough of them to make a difference. And, doing so (or, literally, overdoing your spraying) could damage furniture, flooring, clothes or anything else the cleaning product touches.
To be clear, bleach, Lysol and other cleaning products can kill bed bugs, but only the pests they come into direct contact with. Bed bugs are as flat as a credit card, and they are excellent at hiding in very tiny cracks and crevices. Most cleaning techniques don’t penetrate into these tiny spaces. This means the bed bugs that are in hiding won’t be eliminated by Lysol or other cleaning products. This is why bed bugs can become a problem in any home, no matter how clean it is. Bed bug infestations are not signs of a filthy environment; these pests are just opportunists. They need to feed on blood to live, so they have adapted well to live alongside humans without being detected, even after a population has become well-established.
Is There Anything I Can Do To Control Bed Bugs?
Fortunately, yes, there are steps you can take that can help control bed bugs. Heat is particularly lethal to these pests. Washing sheets, blankets and mattress covers in hot water and then drying them on your dryer’s hottest setting can kill off bed bugs. If you have items that can’t be washed in hot water, you can run them through the dryer first. Then, wash them in cold water and proceed as normal.
Vacuuming your mattress and headboard as well as the walls and floor near the bed can also help to get rid of bed bugs. Be sure to take extra time to vacuum along any cracks or seams. Repeat this washing and vacuuming routine regularly for the best results. Keep in mind that these efforts alone will not control a bed bug population, as these creatures will be able to penetrate quite deep into cracks and crevices. Pest control professionals can use targeted spot treatments in common problem areas and whole-house heat treatments to deal with these infestations in a way that a homeowner cannot.
If you’re dealing with a major bed bug infestation, your mattress or other furniture may be beyond saving. If you have to get rid of bed bug-infested furniture, make sure to paint the words “bed bugs” in large letters on it to warn others, or make rips in it so other people won’t be tempted to take it home. And again, keep in mind that hiring a bed bug specialist is often the best way to deal with a pest infestation. Knowing the problem is being addressed by a professional can also bring great peace of mind.
Do Bed Bugs Bite Dogs?
Another common question that comes from pet owners who are dealing with a bed bug infestation is, “Do bed bugs bite dogs?” It’s a great question; after all, dogs are mammals just like people are, and bed bugs depend on mammal blood for survival. Also, dogs are susceptible to flea and tick bites, which can cause lots of problems for pets including excessive itching or even allergic reactions. If you’re dealing with bed bugs in your home, it’s natural to be concerned about your furry friends, especially if Rover naps in the bed or on the sofa where you found the pests.
Since these pests feed on the blood of mammals, bed bugs can bite dogs and other pets, just as they bite people. However, they don’t live on pets or in their fur the way that fleas and ticks do. If you’re dealing with a bed bug infestation, it’s a good idea to check your pet’s skin to see if there is evidence of insect bites. Also, observe your pet to see if they seem to be scratching more than usual.
If you’re dealing with a bed bug infestation, you can wash your pet’s bedding and toys regularly, just like your own bedding. For the most comprehensive approach to getting rid of bed bugs, enlist the help of a pest control specialist who is trained to eliminate these pests.
ABC Can Bring Your Whole Family Relief From Bed Bugs
Homeowners who have a bed bug problem agree that it can significantly alter your normal routine and have a negative impact on your mental health. Take your back life from these pests by contacting ABC Home & Commercial Services. We offer comprehensive solutions to all types of pest problems, so you can get some relief.