Bedbugs: What You Need to Know about Infestation and Prevention
When you think of pests and their potential to wreak havoc in your home, images of rats, mice, cockroaches, and mosquitos probably come to mind. You might not immediately think of bedbugs. But bedbugs in homes have become more common in recent years, as they are resistant to pesticides used to kill them.
If you’re concerned about whether your home might be at risk for an infestation of bedbugs or other pests, keep reading for information on recognizing the signs that you may have a pest problem and tips on preventing them from taking up residence in your home.
What are Bedbugs?
Bedbugs are small insects in the cimicid family. They are found in many parts of the world and in swarms in heavily populated areas such as hotels, cruise ships, and public transportation. Due to their nocturnal nature, they are rarely seen but often leave behind stains from their fecal matter and a distinct smell many associates with infestation.
Most often, the species of a bedbug that is seen on a large scale is the Common bedbug, Cimex lectularius. As their name suggests, bedbugs can feed on human and animal blood. This factor alone allows them to thrive in various places, but they prefer to stick to places with high population densities.
How do You Know if You Have Bedbugs?
Unfortunately, bedbugs are often identified as soon as they’ve begun to feed. Though they can take up to five days to fully mature, the first signs of their presence are usually found between the larval and nymph stages. The red bumps that are often mistaken for bites are small amounts of blood drawn from the skin.
If you notice bites on your skin that seem to be getting worse or more frequent, bedbugs are likely biting you. Other signs of infestation include shed exoskeletons, dark spots on sheets and furniture from old blood, and a musty odor. If you are unsure about whether you are dealing with bedbugs, you can always contact a professional.
How do You Get Rid of Bedbugs?
The first step in getting rid of bedbugs is identifying their presence in your home. Once you’ve confirmed, they’re there, and it’s time to start approaching the problem with care. Early detection and proper cleaning will go a long way in keeping these pests from spreading. If you’ve already identified that you have an infestation, you must act quickly to eradicate the pests before they spread to other parts of the home.
Begin by cleaning all surfaces that are suspected to be contaminated with hot water and a diluted bleach solution. Next, seal any entry points into your home with bedbug-proofing materials. Because bedbugs can lay up to 500 eggs at a time, it’s important to be careful of what you bring into your home. Anything that can’t be washed or frozen should be treated with pesticides before you bring it inside.
How to Prevent Bedbugs from Infesting Your Home?
The best way to prevent bedbugs from taking over your home is by taking a preventative approach. Bedbugs are most commonly found in hotels, hostels, and other places people frequently travel. The best way to safeguard your home from an infestation is to take proper preventative measures once you arrive at your destination.
Avoid bringing any items inside that cannot be washed or frozen. Don’t leave your luggage in the open. Instead, store it in a closet or other place where it can be closed off from the rest of the house. Be sure to inspect your body for any bites once you return home. If you notice any bedbug bites, immediately treat the area and the rest of your home with an insecticide designed to kill bedbugs.
Conclusion: Understanding Bedbugs
Bedbugs are a persistent and difficult pest to eradicate. Though they are not a health hazard, they can cause anxiety and distress in those bitten by them. If you think you have bedbugs, it’s important to act quickly to prevent them from spreading.
Begin by cleaning all surfaces with hot water and a diluted bleach solution, then apply an insecticide to all areas that may be affected. If you follow these steps and take preventative measures in the future, you’ll be able to eradicate any signs of bedbugs and keep them away from your home.