Bed bugs are small, wingless, oval-shaped insects. As adults, they are only about an inch long.
These bugs are found all over the world and can survive in locations between 46 and 113 degrees Fahrenheit. They usually live near sleeping places, usually within eight feet of a bed.
Bed bugs feed on blood. They don’t spread disease, but are a nuisance and their bites can be itchy and irritating.
Because they don’t have wings, bed bugs move by crawling. But in many cases, people carry bed bugs from place to place, often without realizing it. However, there are some steps you can take to prevent bed bugs and stop their spread.
Female bed bugs lay five to seven eggs a week. If fed properly, this results in more than 250 eggs in a lifetime.
It takes about 10 days for the eggs to hatch. After hatching, bed bugs go through five nymph stages (youth stages) before becoming adults. In between each stage, they shed (or shed) their exoskeleton. Bed bugs must be fed at least once before each molt, but can be fed up to once a day. It takes two to four months for bed bugs to grow up.
Bed bugs don’t have wings, so they have to crawl to move on their own. This means that in some cases the infestation will spread slowly. However, they can move within walls, through floor and ceiling openings, and on pipes.
But most bed bugs spread from place to place when they get on people’s clothes, bedding, or furniture and in luggage. People will then move the bed bugs from place to place much faster than the bed bugs themselves could infest new areas.
Unlike lice, bed bugs do not travel directly on people and spread from person to person. But they can travel on people’s clothes. This is how people can pass bed bugs on to others without knowing it.
The best way to stop bed bugs from spreading is to regularly check for signs of an infestation. That way, you can treat bed bugs early on before they spread. Other ways to stop bed bugs from spreading include:
- Keep your bedroom clean and free of clutter where bed bugs can hide, especially clothing.
- Avoid used furniture. If you do, check it thoroughly for any signs of bed bugs before bringing it to your home.
- Use a protective cover over your mattress and box spring bed.
- Vacuum your home regularly.
- Examine your sleeping area while traveling.
- In hotels, use a bag stand instead of placing your bag on the floor or bed.
- When traveling, check your luggage and clothes before you go home.
- If you use a shared laundry, take your clothes with you in a plastic bag. Immediately remove the clothes from the dryer and fold them at home.
- Seal any cracks or crevices in the walls of your home.
To determine if you have bed bugs, look for:
- reddish stains on your sheets, pillows, or mattresses (which could be crushed bed bugs)
- dark spots the size of a poppy seeds on your sheets, pillows, or mattresses (which may be bed bug droppings)
- tiny bed bug eggs or eggshells
- small yellow skins (these are the exoskeleton bed bugs that peel off as they grow)
- a musty smell near your bed or pile of clothes
- Bed bugs themselves
You may also find that you have bed bugs when you start getting bites. Bed bug bites are usually small, slightly puffy, and red. They can be itchy and appear up to 14 days after the sting. But different people react differently to bed bug bites. You may have a big red frame or you may have no reaction.
You should see your doctor if you:
- Lots of bites
- Skin infection (bites feel tender or ooze out, like pus)
- An allergic skin reaction (skin red and swollen or hives)
Bed bug infestations can be very annoying. Although they don’t spread disease, you can be covered in itchy red bites. However, you can take steps to prevent bed bugs from spreading, such as: B. Regularly inspect your room for signs of bed bugs, check your luggage and clothes when you travel, and keep your room free of piles of clothes to hide in.