Getting rid of bed bugs and how to treat a bite from these insects are the thoughts that occupy your mind if you have a bed bug infestation. For those who are not sure about the presence of these insects, it can be very easy to check your room. There are DIY methods which are very easy to understand and practice.
Can You See Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are very difficult to discover. Identifying a bed bug can be impossible for most individuals regardless of the current outbreak of bed bugs. To learn more about the difficulties with discovering a live bed bug due to the various life stages, you can visit this University of Minnesota extension page which explains:
The bed bug eggs require six to ten days to hatch. As soon as the bed bug nymphs emerge, they begin their search for a blood meal. From the immature nymph stage to adulthood, the molting process takes place five times. Before a molt, the insects need to feed at least once. Nonetheless, they can feed as frequently as once daily. In a year, there can be over three generations.
The website of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides various images of bed bugs in over the different life stages. Bed bugs are nocturnal insects. This is an important fact to note if you are hoping to find these insects during the day. You will need both determination and luck if you are to find these insects in the daytime.
A lot of people often make the simple mistake of assuming that a bed bug bite is from a mosquito or any other insect. It is quite common for some individuals not to react to bites from bed bugs. This is one reason why it can take a very long time before the bites are discovered.
Nonetheless, it is possible to identify bed bugs by searching the correct areas. Without any equipment, you can see an adult bed bug. Simply check the following areas:
- Loose paneling or wallpaper
- Wall junctions/ceilings
- Bedside tables
A crevice or crease close to where an individual sleeps is also good hiding spots for bed bugs. This includes any of the following:
- Mattress seams
- Personal belongings
A mature bed bug can grow to about five millimeters. These bed bugs are flat, wingless, and reddish-brown in color. After feeding on blood, they swell up to a bigger size. This causes a change from a reddish-brown color to a bright red. They retain this color for days before returning to their original color.
There are five stages before adulthood which can be used in the classification of an immature bed bug. With the exception of the bird bugs in the youngest stage, it is possible to see the immature bed bugs with the naked eye. Although they are the hardest to see due to their very small size, eggs serve as another sign of the presence of bed bugs. Appearing in clusters, they are one millimeter long and pearly white in color.
Close to where the host sleeps, bed bugs form aggregations by gathering together. The aggregation consists of the different stages. This results in varying sizes and shapes. Egg castings, feces, and exoskeletons also pile up within. Micro climate factors, specific smells, stimulation of antennae, and chemical stimuli are some of the conditions that result in aggregation. Places, where aggregations can be located, include personal belongings and areas around wood framing such as around baseboards, air conditioners, etc.
Physical Evidence in the Room
Although they do a good job of hiding, they are very sloppy when it comes to cleaning their trails. Here are some of the secondary signs which clearly indicate a bed bug infestation in your room:
- Areas of your pajamas and sheets with blood stains
- Shedding/castings of exoskeletons and bed bug skins
- Bedding and mattress with fecal spots
If you think your room is infested with bed bugs, you can check the piping, edges, and crevices of your mattress after taking off the sheets. These insects are very tiny, flat, almond-shaped, and reddish brown. Check in the spring box for bed bugs in any of the different stages. For more information on the common signs of bed bugs, read on below:
Bed Bug Shells or Molted Skins
In areas where the bed bugs feed or aggregate, you are likely going to find empty shells. As they grow to maturity, bed bugs become bigger with each meal. To enable this growth, bed bugs need to shed their shells or exoskeleton. This is the molting process. As they grow through the five immature stages, each bed bug will go through the molting process five times. Although it is translucent, the shells have a similar appearance to the bed bugs. It is possible to find thousands of empty shells of different sizes in areas with a bed bug infestation.
A liquid waste is another common sign of bed bugs. These fecal spots are different from the blood stains and are present in an area with bed bugs.
There is a common belief that the fecal stains from bed bugs should have a little bit of blood since these insects feed on the blood of their hosts. This is not true although they come out at night and attach themselves to the host. Due to the digestion and excretion of blood, fecal spotting has a dark brown and sometimes black color with an appearance similar to a stain or smear.
Since these insects are ectoparasites, they feed on the blood of the host and live outside the host. If the host is near, bed bugs can feed between five to seven days.
There are methods to carry out a DIY check for bed bugs. You can learn proper treatment methods for bed bug bites and also how to identify an infestation in your home. Your main objective is to quickly end the infestation as soon as you discover it.
Signs of Symptoms of a Bed Bug Bite
The bed bug bite isn’t the simplest means of identifying a bed bug problem. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency:
A bite on the skin is not the best sign of an infestation in the home. Hives, rashes, as well as bites from other insects like chiggers and mosquitoes can also look like a bed bug bite. There are also individuals who have no reaction to bed bug bites.
There is a popular 70% estimate of people who have no reaction to bed bug bites. Nonetheless, discussions are still ongoing as to why this is wrong. According to conclusions from new evidence, reaction to the anesthetic present in the bed bug saliva is affected by “repeated exposure.” This simply means that there is a need to eliminate the infestation rather than just minimizing the itch.
Bed bug bites have the following signs and symptoms:
- Itching and burning
- Multiple bites in straight lines
- Red, raised welts
- A localized area with bed bug bite rash
For a view of the clusters and wheals which result from the bed bug feeding, you can view these pictures by American Family Physician.
How to Treat Bed Bug Bites
It is important you eliminate the bed bug bites after learning the signs of an infestation. For individuals with infections or severe allergic reactions like pus, blisters, oozing, or multiple bites, it is recommended you visit a dermatologist. This is according to the American Academy of Dermatology. A bed bug treatment which they recommend is as follows:
Use soap and water in washing the bites. It minimizes the itchiness and also averts skin infection. You should also apply corticosteroid cream if there is an itch in the bite. Taking medicine without prescription can lead to weakness. You need a prescription before using stronger corticosteroids.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Getting rid of bed bugs is a difficult task. If there is an infestation in your home, you will need to apply various methods in a strategic approach to eliminate them. This is the main reason why hiring a professional is necessary. With their training and knowledge on bed bug control, they can provide the best treatment methods to eliminate the insects.