Bed bugs are tiny, oval, brown insects with flat bodies that are around 5 millimetres long (about
the size of an apple seed). They have a pair of front wings, but they can’t fly. However, they
move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. As their name suggests, they live and hide in the
cracks and crevices of bed frames, bedside tables and drawers. These insects like to crawl into
mattresses, bed sheets, pillows, blankets, clothes, towels and other fabric items.
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Why should you care?
Bed bugs may not initially sound like a big problem, but they feed on blood. This includes
human blood. They are like tiny vampires that come out at night and feast on your sleeping
body. They swell and turn reddish after feeding.
You’ll probably never notice the insects themselves, but the red bumps on your skin in the
morning should indicate that there’s some issue. If you don’t deal with a bed bug infestation
promptly, you can even become allergic to their saliva.
Female bedbugs can lay hundreds of eggs over their lifespan, each of which is about the size of
a speck of dust. In their infancy, bedbugs, also called nymphs, shed their skin five times before
reaching full maturity and require a meal before each shedding. Under ideal conditions, they can
fully develop in about a month and produce more than three generations per year.
Luckily, even though they are a nuisance, they aren’t known to transmit diseases.
How did you end up with a bed bug infestation?
The assumption that someone has acquired a bed bug infestation because of a dirty property is
actually false. Many luxurious hotels have also been invaded by these insects. The issue has
nothing to do with the level of cleanliness. You’re as likely to find them in immaculately
maintained homes and hotels as you’re in filthy ones.
Bed bugs are travellers and extremely efficient hitchhikers. They crawl on people’s clothes or
suitcases and transfer from one place to another. They can fit into small spaces because of their
flattened bodies. They can often be found in hotels, hostels, motels, campuses, hospitals, on
public transportation, and in other busy areas.
Another way through which bed bugs can enter your home undetected is through second-hand
furniture. They hide in the upholstery and you don’t realise that you are letting them in.
Bedbugs don’t have nests like many other insects. Instead, they live in groups in hiding places,
typically mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards, where they have access to bite
people during the night. However, over time, they can spread through the bedroom, moving into
any crack or protected location. They can also travel to nearby rooms, other houses or
How do bed bugs behave?
Bedbugs are mainly active at night and usually bite people while they’re sleeping. They feed by
piercing the skin with an elongated beak and drawing blood. The insects feed for 3 to 10
minutes and then crawl away undetected.
Initially, most bed bug bites are painless but later turn into itchy welts, which can appear on any
area of exposed skin. Many people don’t realise they have a bedbug infestation and attribute the
bite symptoms to other sources, such as mosquitoes. Besides the bite marks, other signs of a
bed bug infestation include:
● Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases;
● Dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrementс on your sheets, mattresses, bedclothes and
● Bed bug faecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in areas where they hide;
● A musty odour from the bed bugs’ scent glands.
If you suspect you have an infestation, remove all bedding and examine it carefully for signs of
bugs or excrement. Check the seams in the wood framing by removing the dust cover over the
Besides your bed, check the area around it, the edge of the carpet, and even in electrical
outlets. Inspect the closet as well because bed bugs can get attached to clothes. If you’re
uncertain about the signs, call a professional pest control service that will know what to look for.
How can you avoid a bed bug infestation?
Some people get so affected by bed bugs that they refuse to travel and sometimes even need
therapy. However, you shouldn’t let them ruin your travel experience. Instead of barricading
yourself at home, learn more about their habits. If you know them better, you’ll be able to
successfully protect yourself.
Before you settle into the room you’re staying in during your trip, do a thorough inspection. If
you’re moving into a new accommodation, don’t unpack before you’ve examined the space.
Pest control experts advise putting your bags and suitcases in the bathroom or even the
bathtub. The chance of bugs living there is very low because of the tiled floors.
Start with the bed. Look for tiny brown spots on the mattress and sheets. Slowly lift the mattress
and check for eggs, nymphs, or adult bugs underneath it. Continue with the bedside tables, if
there are any. In some cases, bed bugs can also be spotted on curtains and carpets. A small
flashlight will be very useful during such an inspection.
Once you’re sure there are no signs of bed bugs, you can safely unpack and enjoy your stay.
If you find signs of bed bugs in your home, follow these steps:
● Wash your bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing in hot water and dry them on the
highest setting. Place any unwashed items in the dryer and run at the highest
temperature for 30 minutes.
● Vacuum your bed and the surrounding area. After that, immediately seal the cleaner bag
in a plastic bag and place it in the garbage container outdoors.
● Encase your mattress and box springs with a tightly woven, zippered cover to keep the
bedbugs from entering or exiting. They can live up to a year without feeding, so keep it
on for at least 1 year to ensure all of them are dead. However, the best course of action
in case of an infested mattress is to get rid of it and buy a new one.
● Repair any cracks in the plaster and glue down any wallpaper peeling to eliminate any
potential hiding spots for bedbugs.
● Get rid of any clutter around your bed.
Cleaning up potential bed bug-infested areas will be very helpful in getting rid of and preventing
bed bugs from settling in your home. However, exterminating them completely usually requires
chemical treatments. Using pesticides in your bedroom can be extremely dangerous and
harmful, so it’s important to handle such products safely. If you’re unsure of how to do that, it’s
better to hire bed bug control experts to exterminate them for you.