Bed infestation is gross and can make you feel bad after being bitten by critters.
But what can you do about an infestation, how does it develop and how can you treat bites? Here is everything you need to know …
Bed bugs live in the crevices of your mattress and bite your skin so they can suck your bloodImage Credit: Getty – Contributor
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small, blood-sucking insects that can be found in the joints of your mattress – adults are around 5 mm long.
They crawl out at night and feed on human blood after biting through exposed skin.
Typically they are brown, dark yellow or red in color, flat and oval in shape, and the size of an apple core.
While not dangerous, they can cause extreme discomfort and stress in those they bite.
They can’t jump or fly, but they can crawl long distances and therefore can spread quickly around a building.
Baby bed bugs – called nymphs – molt five times before they grow up and need a blood meal before each shedding.
How do you recognize a bed bug infestation?
There are very obvious signs that you’ve got bedbugs, the first sign is on your skin …
- Usually, small, red bites on your skin are one of the first signs you have a bed bug problem
- You may then see more signs of small bugs, tiny white eggs in crevices in mattresses, or tiny black spots that could be their dried feces
- While you may not spot the creatures at first, if infested, blood stains will also appear on your sheets if you crush the bugs in their sleep.
- It is also possible that your bedroom has an unpleasant, musty smell
- Finally, some people may react to bed bugs as itching and swelling, which can be severe – although this is rare
How can you treat bed bug bites?
Bed bug bites are painless and often go away on their own, but some people can react to the red, itchy bumps on their skin.
In some cases, skin rashes or fluid-filled blisters may appear, and they may become infected with bacteria when you scratch.
You can put something cool, like a clean, damp cloth, on the affected area to relieve any itching or swelling.
Keep the infected area clean and prevent infection by not scratching the bite.
You should see your primary care doctor if you have signs of a skin infection such as swelling, redness, and pain as you may need antibiotics.
The NHS also says you should see a family doctor if any redness spreads around the bite.
If they are very itchy, you can use antihistamines to relieve the itching and apply a mild steroid cream (like hydrocortisone).
You should also clean your bed linen.
People can be left with red bites if their rooms are infected with bed bugsCredit: Alamy
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
An infestation can be extremely difficult to get rid of, so it may be best to seek professional help.
In your home, bed bugs can spread quickly from room to room.
Wait too long before identifying the problem and they could completely contaminate your home.
The NHS recommends contacting your local council or a pest control company that is a member of the British Pest Control Association or the National Pest Technicians Association.
Here’s what you should do to get rid of an infestation:
- If you suspect you may have become infected, the first thing to do is to undress your bed and wash the sheets and blankets in 60 ° C water before tumble-drying for at least 30 minutes.
- Better yet, get rid of them entirely by wrapping them in trash bags and throwing them in a trash can.
- Make sure that you either throw away your mattress or vacuum thoroughly and place your rug under your bed. Then make sure you take the vacuum outside and dispose of the contents.
- Since 30 percent of bed bugs live in your bed frame and headboard, it’s important that you clean them thoroughly, too.
- While vacuuming kills the bugs on its own, it does not remove the eggs. To do that, you’ll need to wipe everywhere with a good pesticide.
How can you prevent bed bug infestation?
Check your mattress and bed regularly for signs of infestation.
Avoid buying used mattresses and carefully examine used furniture before bringing it to your home.
Keep your bedroom tidy and remove clutter.
Bed bugs aren’t attracted to dirt, so they’re not a sign of an unclean home, but cleaning up clutter will reduce the number of places they can hide.
If you live in an apartment, you may be more susceptible to an infestation as bed bugs can move between apartments.