While many people tend to think that bed bugs are only a problem in large-group living situations (like dorms or hotels) or in inner-cities, the truth is that they are a problem all over – suburban areas and rural communities included. Some will want to prevent having a bed bug infestation through DIY methods, but the sad reality is that there really aren’t too many ways for effective bed bug control unless they’re done by professionals.
Causes of Infestations
The first step to bed bug control is learning why they appear in the first place. Now, bedbugs are found in most tropical and temperate climates around the world, but they can be found in other environments due to traveling. They are most commonly found in beds, hence the name, but can really live in any soft fabrics like luggage, furniture, clothing, and pillows. Still, they are most commonly found in the seams of mattresses and box springs.
While many people attribute infestations to homes that are dirty, we at Patton Termite and Pest have found that it isn’t the case. Instead, they have been found everywhere from dormitories to 5-star hotels.
DDT is the major reason why bedbugs weren’t a problem when many of us were young. This insecticide reduced the prevalence in the United States. However, an increase in international travel, dense living conditions, and ineffective bed bug control has led to a similar increase in bedbugs.
Symptoms of Bedbug Bites
Most symptoms of bedbug bites are usually mild when they first start, especially for those who don’t really know what a bedbug bite is. Most commonly, you will find bites on parts of the body that are exposed, including: face, neck, arms, and hands. The signs don’t appear at the same time, and depending on the individuals, can appear anywhere from a few minutes to a few days after exposure.
Most people will have localized itching and reddish welts, which might look like mosquito bites or hives in some people. However, the key to knowing these are bedbugs is that the bites look to be in clusters or linear patterns. They also last much longer than mosquito bites, clocking in at about 1-2 weeks.
Now, if you are exposed to bites a few times (repeat infestations or just being unlucky), you will see worse reactions. Some people may even develop scarring or infections from scratching at the bites, which can get itchier after each bite.
Rarely, others may develop severe allergic reactions to the bites which can result in hospitalization. Others will develop insomnia from problems with bed bugs. This is especially prevalent in young children.
To stop suffering from bed bug infestations, it’s a must to call on Patton’s bed bug control experts.
The American Academy of Dermatology has a video suggesting how to search yourself and your home for bedbugs:
Summing up the video, you should check your home for the following signs:
- A musty odor – bedbugs secrete an odor that smells somewhat musty or even sweet.
- Dots on the mattress – brownish or red dots lining your mattress, box spring, or even your sheets are a sign that someone is feasting on you at night.
- Tiny shells – bedbugs have exoskeletons that they shed and leave behind.
- Tiny black dots – black dots are a sign that bedbugs were there, and they left some excrement behind to prove it to you.
- Eggs – females leave white or beige ovals shaped eggs in the cracks and crevices of your mattress.
Treatment for Bedbug Problems
The University of Minnesota suggests leaving any luggage or clothing outside of your home for a few days just to make sure that you don’t bring bedbugs from your hotel or travels. However, in many places it doesn’t seem to be practical.
Now, bedbugs aren’t something to be taken lightly. Instead of trying to treat them yourself which can lead to a lot of money spent on pest control products and repeat infestations, contact Patton Termite and Pest immediately. Prolonging treatments for bed bug control will only make the problem worse.
There are a few steps you should take before, during, and after our visit:
Step 1: Prepare Your Home
In order for us to get to the bottom of the problem, you should try to clear up as much clutter as possible from the infected areas. Try to remove anything that you will want to keep like stuffed animals or important blankets so that you can vacuum them clean of any bedbugs or eggs. A vacuum is a good tool if used properly so as not disperse the bed bug eggs. The content of the vacuum bag should be removed, sealed in something like a Ziplock bag and thrown away.
Cleaning your beddings — making sure they’re washed and dried, will also help eliminate all stages of bed bugs. The clothes dryer is a person’s best friend in home settings. Sheets, blankets, stuffed animals, etc. can be dried on low heat for 15-20 minutes and this will kill all stages of bed bugs.
You should also know that we will likely inspect many areas of your home, including: desks, furniture, sofas, and even your clothing.
Step 2: Inspection
Since bedbugs are common, we know immediately where to look and what to do. It might seem like we are on a mission, but that is because we want to contain the problem to as few rooms as possible. We have a bed bug control checklist of sorts that we use to inspect the home.
We might ask you some questions as well, or talk to you about where the bedbugs originated from.
Step 3: Bed bug Control
There are a few different steps we can take to clear your home of the bedbugs. We might use sprays or powders, depending on how bad the infestation is. Many of the most effective treatments use professional grade sprays, so they wouldn’t be possible for you to get down at the local store.
These sprays will require you to leave your home for a few hours, in fact, all pets and people should evacuate the premises for 4 hours.
We follow up in several weeks and recommend two follow-up treatments for most infestations. The insecticides we use last for months, but we do a second and third service to make certain that the bedbugs haven’t moved and are dying.
Step 4: Clean Up
Clean up is one of the biggest things to keeping bedbugs at bay for a long time. You will want to launder, vacuum, and clean everything in your home very thoroughly – even in rooms where the infestation wasn’t.
The biggest and best thing you can do for a bed bug infestation is get professional help as soon as possible. Contact Patton Termite and Pest today if you even suspect that you have a problem – just a few days can make a huge difference! We have a lot of experience working with bedbugs and helping you to get your life back – and your good night’s sleep!