How Do You Get Bed Bugs?

Even though they’ve been around for thousands of years, it wasn’t until fairly recently that people started paying attention to bed bugs. In the late 1990s, the world saw a resurgence of the two main species: Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus.

These flat, brownish insects are natural hitchhikers, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that they’re found in abundance in many states.

There are many reasons why a household might suffer from bed bugs. Contrary to popular belief, unsanitary home conditions don’t play a big role, since bed bugs can live anywhere as long as there’s food.

So how do you get bed bugs? Everyone that wants to ensure they don’t bring bed bugs into their home should be aware of the following:

1. Hotels/Motels

According to statistics, 75% of all bed bugs are found in hotels and motels.

Those on a trip should be extra careful, as it’s very easy to transport them along with the luggage. They can also hide in clothes, so this is the most common way of bringing bed bugs into one’s home.

To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, vacuum your suitcase and wash your clothes as soon as you get home, regardless of the class or cleanliness of your accommodation.

2. Used Furniture

The name of these insects describes their habitat. During the day, they’re very good at hiding in mattresses, any folded furniture area, crevices, and such places.

This is why buying used furniture puts people at risk of bed bugs. They might’ve already reproduced and laid their eggs in the mattress, which could cause an infestation.

If you ever buy used furniture, perform a thorough inspection. Even if you don’t see anything, deep-clean and vacuum the piece of furniture you’ve bought.

The same goes for second-hand clothes, or any other used fabric, as these bugs can hide in all of them.

3. Public Places

Everyone visiting cinemas, theaters, coffee shops, and similar places should be on the lookout for bed bugs. How do you get bed bugs in these common places?

Well, the seats’ warmth is perfect for the proliferation of bed bugs, since temperatures of around 80 °F are perfect for them.

Aside from biting you, they can lodge in your clothing, which is the easiest way for them to enter your home. Again, washing your clothes is the best way to avoid this.

4. Transport

Whether it’s a cab, bus, or your own car, as long as there are fabric areas, you might get bed bugs.

Even though they can be found on other surfaces as well, fabrics are the most common, as the bugs are great at hiding in them.

5. Other Homes

Because of the way they travel, pretty much anyone can bring bed bugs into a person’s home. Having guests over for a visit can result in an infestation.

The same can happen if you visit someone else’s home. As mentioned, bed bugs can live everywhere, so unless there’s pest control, there’s really no way to know if a home is infected.

This might sound scary, but the prevention isn’t hard. If someone sleeps over at your house, simply wash the sheets they slept on. Thanks to them being visible to the naked eye, you can always tell if your home is infested.

Aside from this, there are many other signs of bed bug infestation. Let’s take a look at some of them.

How to Know If You Have Bed Bugs?

The easiest way to identify a bed bug problem is by inspecting your bed closely. You might notice their shed skin, or the bugs themselves.

Other signs include:

  • Waking up with any itching areas that weren’t there when you went to sleep
  • Small bloodstains on pillowcases or sheets
  • Shed shells or fecal spots in common hiding places
  • A musty smell that the bed bugs’ scent glands produce
  • Dark stains on the joints of your mattress and bed frame.

Noticing any of these signs should be followed by immediate action. Over a period of 12-18 months, just one fertilized female could produce up to 500 eggs.

Can You Get Rid of Them?

The good news for all and especially those with a bed bug problem is that there are many things that can be done.

Should you notice bed bugs, here’s what you can do:

  • De-clutter your room – Even though bed bugs can live in any space, getting rid of clutter will ensure less hiding spots.
  • Do some vacuuming – Vacuum your furniture, mattress seams and sides, box springs, and even your windows and walls.
  • Wash Your Sheets – Put sheets, blankets, pillowcases, and bed skirts into your washer, followed by the dryer. Let them tumble dry for at least 30 minutes on high heat.

What about Pesticides?

Chemical treatment deserves special attention. The first thing that comes to the mind of most people that notice bed bugs is pesticides.

However, this might not be a good idea.

First of all, pesticides can cause a variety of health issues, such as nervous system damage and cancer.

In addition, pesticides might not be the most effective method of exterminating bed bugs. According to research, bed bugs are evolving and developing resistance to various common pesticides.

Unless you’re an expert, your safest bet is to call a pest control service. Trained and experienced professionals can make an accurate assessment of the level of infestation and find the most effective and safest method for getting rid of them.

The Takeaway

Identifying a bed bug infestation is very important. Bed bugs are more than just an annoyance, as they can cause issues far beyond discomfort and itchiness.

Since they feed on human blood, they can potentially be the vectors of a wide variety of infectious diseases.

Now that you’re familiar with all the risk factors, you’re one step closer to ensuring that this doesn’t happen to you.

If by any chance it already has, give the methods you see here a try. When all else fails, you can always contact pest control and get rid of bed bugs for good.

References:

http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/bed_bug.htm
https://www.genome.jp/virushostdb/757355
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-08/good-morning-baltimore-orkin-says-your-city-is-a-bed-bug-mecca
https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/bedbugs-myths-and-facts.page
https://www.invader.net/blog/how-common-are-bed-bugs
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4553552/
https://www.ct.gov/caes/lib/caes/documents/bed_bugs/april1113forum/bedbug_reproduction_and_behavior_forum_vii.pdf
https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/news/20170410/bedbugs-building-resistance-to-more-insecticides
https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-science-and-assessing-pesticide-risks/human-health-issues-related-pesticides
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3060893/

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