Bed bugs are small parasitic insects that feed on human and animal blood. They are reddish-brown and almost naked to the eye. These tiny creatures of one of the most common pest infestations in the United States. Many homes are affected every year thanks to these uninvited guests. So what do you do if you have bed bugs? Keep reading to find out.
What are the signs of bed bugs?
Are you worried you may already have bed bugs? To have a better understanding, here are the most common signs of bed bugs:
- Red, itchy or swollen bumps on exposed skin
- Bloodstains on sheets or pillowcases
- Dark, rusty red excrement marks on clothes, bedding and walls
- Fecal droppings, skin sheds and eggshells in dark areas
- Musty odor
If you have one or more of these signs, you have a high chance of having bed bugs in your home. And the moment you discover these pests, you need to take steps to get rid of them right away.
How do bed bugs come inside?
Bed bugs love old furniture, boxes, bags, suitcases and clothes. They prefer to nest or hitch rides on soft upholstered items. Once they enter your home or an apartment complex, they can travel between vents and other small openings spreading the infestation even more. Before you know it, your house will be infected in a matter of days.
What are the steps to get rid of them?
The first thing you need to do if you have bed bugs is to wash all linens (sheets, bedding, clothing, pillowcases, etc.) as well as shoes and stuffed animals and dry them on high heat in the dryer. Most people replace their mattresses after an infestation, but you can also remove bed bugs with a stiff brush. Always makes sure to scrub all sides of the mattress. After sweeping them off, you will not only vacuum the entire room, including under furniture, but you will also vacuum the mattress. Once you finish vacuuming, you will remove the bag or clean the inside and dispose of it outside immediately.
Now that vacuuming is over, you need to place a tightly woven plastic cover on top of your mattress. Sometimes a few bed bugs may survive the initial cleaning; however, after a year of being enclosed in plastic, they will die. With that being said, you need to keep this protective cover on your mattress for over a year to ensure all the bed bugs still lingering around are dead.
To ensure that they do not reenter, you need to also seal any cracks, gaps or other small openings with caulk, plaster or glue down wallpaper. If you need help caulking or plastering all these areas, contact us today. You will also need to pick up any debris or trash as well.
Are you worried about bringing them from your travels? Here are a few tips to remember:
- Check the room for signs of bed bugs.
- Do not unpack your items in closets or dressers.
- Place your suitcase on a suitcase stand.
- Clean all your items, especially clothing, as soon as you get home.
- Let your bags and suitcases air out for at least 48 hours.
When should I call for help?
When in doubt, if you think you have bed bugs, you should contact a professional right away. Bed bugs are tiny pests and can go unsuspected for weeks. Cleaning your entire home of these uninvited guests takes a lot of work as well, especially if you have carpet and furniture. A pest control specialist will come in with the proper equipment and expertise to clear your home of these pests in one go. They will also give you tips and advice on the best ways to keep them out.
Do not let bed bugs take over your home. By following these steps, you can keep these pests out for good. While Valor Home Services may not be a pest control specialist, we can still help you with your home service needs. We are the top local bathroom remodelers, flooring experts, handymen and hardwood floor refinishers in Belleville, O’Fallon, Edwardsville and the surrounding areas. For more information or to book your next appointment or consultation, give us a call today.