Maybe your parents said, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite!” as they shut your bedroom door at night when you were little. Did you take a few seconds to wonder exactly what bed bugs were, and how you could stop them from biting? Now that you’ve got your own rental, it’s definitely worth learning a little more about these little critters so that you can get rid of bed bugs in case they become a problem.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped brown bugs. As their name suggests, they’re most often found in bed parts, like mattresses and box springs, but they’re fond of any little crack or crevice they can hide in. This means that they travel easily, and bed bugs are often spread by being carried in suitcases and bags.
Because of their tendency to feed on our blood and give their human hosts itchy welts, they’re considered pests by many government agencies (such as the EPA, CDC, and USDA). One major difference between bed bugs and most other pests is that they don’t spread disease. Even given that, you probably don’t want these nasty little bugs as bedmates. So how do you recognize a bedbug infestation, and how do you get rid of bed bugs if you do have them?
How Will I Know If I Have Bed Bugs?
The biggest and most obvious sign of bed bugs is their bites. These might not be painful at first, but they’ll turn into itchy red welts before long. Unlike fleas, who bite around the ankles and feet, bed bug bites can appear anywhere on your body. They show up in a straight line, typically in places that are left uncovered when you sleep. When you wake up, you may notice little blood stains on your sheets from these bites which were not there the night before.
Another way you’ll be able to tell if you have bed bugs is by noticing the bugs themselves. They have long, flat, reddish-brown bodies which are approximately the size of apple seeds. Bed bugs also tend to have an odor, often described as “musty” and “sweet.” As we said before, bed bugs love to inhabit different parts of your bed and the cracks and crevices near it, so that’s another identifier. Once you’re able to affirm that the bugs you’re seeing are bed bugs, you’ll be able to take steps to get rid of them.
How Can I Get Rid of Bedbugs If I Have Them?
So you think you have bed bugs, and you’re ready to set about getting rid of them. Here are the top tips we have in order to make sure that your bed bugs are gone as soon as they can be:
- Call a professional bed bug extermination professional. The best and safest way to get rid of bugs is to get a professional to take care of the problem. This is mostly because professional exterminators have the means to heat up your whole room or apartment if necessary, ensuring that all of the bugs are dead. This will probably involve some coordination with your landlord, so be sure to get in touch with them.
- Clean up all visible bugs by vacuuming and washing. Before the professionals arrive, you can make sure you’re getting rid of bed bugs on your own by cleaning up the affected areas. Running the vacuum over any spaces with visible bed bugs is a good first step. Washing and drying your bedsheets on the highest setting is another step which will help to kill the bugs.
- Use a mattress protector. Another easy step to manage your bed bugs is to seal your mattress in a zip-up mattress cover. This will ensure that no bed bugs can get in and out. Be mindful of the fact that it can take up to a year for bed bugs to die without food, so it won’t get rid of the bed bugs right away, but it will at least prevent the situation from getting worse for your mattress while you find a better solution.
How Can I Prevent Bed Bugs From Being a Problem?
Even if you don’t think you currently have bed bugs, it’s still a good move to take some simple precautions so that they don’t become a problem. Here are a few key steps you can take:
- Clean up your clutter. We want to get rid of any spaces where your bed bugs could potentially make a home. Getting rid of your clutter will minimize the small, dark spaces where bed bugs can hide.
- Be careful while traveling. Bed bugs are often spread through unsuspecting travelers. When you stay in a hotel, motel, or hostel, make sure that you check the room for evidence of bed bugs so that you don’t end up taking a few home in your suitcase.
- Patch up crevices and cracks near your bed. Making sure that you take care of any cracks in your bedroom walls and floors is another way to prevent bed bugs from making a home in your space. Identifying the problem areas and communicating your concerns to your landlord in order to find a solution will save you both trouble down the line.
When you’re climbing into bed at night, the last thing you want to think about is a bunch of creepy-crawly critters being your bedmates. Getting rid of bed bugs is a huge pain, but if you take the right precautions, hopefully you’ll never have to worry about them. We hope this list of tips keeps your rental as bug-free as can be.
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