It may be widely acknowledged that an infestation of bed bugs in your home does not reflect on your standards of cleanliness, but still, the thought alone is enough to make you itch your skin right off the bone, right?
For many, an infestation of bed bugs might be the least favourable pest problem imaginable, and for good reason! They’ve been here, living off the warm blood of the likes of you and I since time began, but with only one species causing a problem for humans, the good news is, we know just how to tackle them.
Not only have humans and bed bugs had a long history, starting in the caves we used to dwell in together, but the increase in bed bug activity can be clearly linked to the accelerated movement of people and the frequency at which we travel these days.
Often considered to be a result of questionable holiday accommodation, bed bugs can in fact be transported into our homes from almost anywhere, from the homes of our friends, from busses and even the workplace. Wherever humans go, bed bugs go too.
In this blog, we’ll tackle how to prevent bed bug activity in the home, and how to remove them should you uncover an infestation.
Bed Bugs? Argh! How do I keep them out of the house?
To prevent your abode from housing these nasty little critters, there are a number of things to consider.
Due to their love of our beds, use a quality mattress protector. These will enable you to spot bed bug activity more easily, and if made from a tough material, could protect you from the bites of bed bugs should they be present.
Hoover the home regularly, paying close attention to the bedroom, specifically under the bed, and around the headboard. Remove clutter around the house, paying close attention to the bedroom, to reduce hiding places for any potential bed bug visitors.
If you’re a procurer of vintage furniture, be sure to check the item you’re purchasing in great detail. This is one of the easiest ways to transport bed bugs into the home accidentally.
Shared laundry facilities could also be the perfect environments to transfer a case of bed bugs from one home to another. Inspect the machines you’re using before you add your laundry to them and be sure to do your washing at the highest possible temperatures, to reduce the chances of any bed bugs that may be present in the wash, surviving it.
When travelling, or staying away from home, inspect the bed and mattress of the hotel or accommodation you’re staying in before you lay on top of it, to reduce the likelihood of transporting pests and receiving a few nasty nibbles.
A good habit to fall into, whether travelling or returning home, is to keep suitcases away from beds. This helps to prevent the possible movement of bed bugs from hotel, to suitcase, to your bedroom at home.
We even recommend hoovering suitcases upon your return and storing suitcases in garages to be on the safe side, to ensure your home remains free of bed bugs.
What are the signs of a bedbug infestation in my home?
The most obvious signs of a bedbug infestation are their red bites. Indiscriminate little critters, they’ll bite any skin left bare during sleep, and whilst not painful, these bites turn into red itchy welts.
Besides their bites and their sucking of our blood, which turn the bug’s translucent body a deep red as it fills them up, if you find any of the following signs of bed bug activity, it’s likely you have an infestation.
A strange, sickly, sweet and distinctive smell in the bedroom, and around the bed specifically, is a characteristic often easily attributed to a bed bug infestation.
Blood spots on your bedding, from squished bed bugs, caught off-guard as we roll over in our sleep, are another sign of a bed bug problem. Of course, there are a huge number of reasons why we might find blood on our sheets, but if this sign of bed bug activity is present with any number of others, it looks like you’ve got guests.
Finally, look for dark or black stains on the mattress, bedding and surrounding areas, this is bed bug excreta, and is another clear sign of these unwelcome bedfellows.
They’re already here – How do I get them out of the house?
You’ll read an occasional, almost whimsical news article, referring to the resilience of these pests, discussing bed bugs alongside the mighty “nuclear resistant” cockroaches, but fear not.
While it’s true that some DIY options are unlikely to treat an established infestation, they can certainly help.
However, the second you suspect that you have a bed bug infestation, we recommend calling Key West, for affordable treatments, and friendly advice, fast. Notoriously difficult to tackle alone, you’ll certainly save money, and a great deal of time, by calling in the professionals.
If you want to try and tackle the problem alone or work to minimise numbers while you wait for us to arrive, try some of the following points.
First things first, assess your mattress. If you fear your mattress has been compromised, dispose of the mattress and purchase a new one.
Encase the new mattress in a new zipped protector, to keep bugs from entering.
Should you presume your existing mattress is uncompromised, use a stiff brush to scrub it, before hoovering it, and securing a zipped protector around your mattress for a year. Not only will this stop the pests entering and existing, but it will be sure to kill any bugs on the mattress, as they can live up to around a year without feeding.
Look for cracks in plaster and peeling wallpaper where bed bugs could be hiding, and make these repairs to cut off their pathways to other rooms or homes.
Vacuuming your bed, surrounding areas and the floor of the bedroom will also help to diminish the number these pests present in the home.
Bed bugs can spread, fast. When trying to minimise an infestation, work logically from room to room, being sure to hoover thoroughly, and ensuring that when disposing of affected items, you’re leaving no opportunity for the problem to spread across the home.
Finally, bedding, curtains, linens, clothes, soft toys and pyjamas that could now be compromised, should be washed in as hot a temperature as possible, and dried on the highest dryer setting.
Unfortunately, these DIY options are highly unlikely to rid you of your bed bug infestation entirely, but can certainly help to lower numbers, and bring you some piece of mind. Tim to get in touch with Key West.