It wasn't until the 1990s when we started seeing a resurgence in bed bug infestations. Though these pest insects are normally found outdoors, they've become more prevalent indoors and are still found in homes, businesses and schools, as well as buses, taxis and other forms of transportation.
It's true that bed bugs feed on blood. In fact, they get all the nutrients they need from human blood more than any other host, receiving enough nutrition from one feeding to survive for months without another blood meal depending on their age, the temperature and the humidity.
How to Identify Bed Bugs
Bed bugs, or bedbugs as they are often spelled, are true bugs. This means they have segmented bodies, six legs and an exoskeleton. It's important to do a thorough inspection for bed bugs if you suspect they're indoors where you and other people live or work. Some signs to look for include:
- Small, reddish brown bugs in seams, along baseboards, behind picture frames and other hidden spots
- Dark spots or stains on bedding where the bugs have been crushed between the mattresses or under the sheets
- Tiny eggs or yellowish exoskeletons left behind by young bed bugs going through the molting stages
How to Prevent Bed Bugs
Taking preventive action is the key to stopping bed bug infestations indoors. Whether you do it right before traveling or you pick a random day of the week, set aside some time to eliminate the bugs' hiding spots. Here's a short list of things to do if you want to prevent bed bugs in the home:
- Vacuum a couple times per day, especially if you already have bed bugs indoors.
- Use protective mattress covers and encasements to eliminate seams and other spots where they could hide.
- Get rid of all the clutter where bed bugs could nest and breed.
- Inspect your luggage before bringing it into your home after traveling.
- Wash your clothes, and use high heat in the dryer to kill bed bugs that could be hiding in clothing.
- Set up bed bug monitors and traps to help monitor and capture any possible bed bugs.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
The most important step in getting rid of bed bugs is to prevent them from spreading throughout the interior space. They breed quickly, and they'll hide almost anywhere they can fit. So to keep them from moving around the house and causing a worse infestation, take these steps to ensure their elimination:
- Use caulk to seal cracks and crevices in each room.
- Remove all infested belongings from the home. Bag them up, and toss them out.
- Get rid of old furniture that bed bugs have infested.
- Kill the bugs using tried-and-true products made for bed bug control, such as:
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You can get rid of bed bugs if you take quick action and stay diligent in bed bug proofing your home. Whether you use DIY methods or hire a professional, it's important to act quickly to prevent the bugs from spreading and causing a widespread infestation throughout the interior.