Bed Bugs Symptoms and Signs
Once thought to be a problem of the past, bed bugs have made a comeback in the last couple of decades. These awful bloodsucking insects are now an epidemic, infesting both hotels and homes across the country. To figure out whether you have bugs in your bedrooms, get to know these common signs.
Bed Bug Bites
True to their name, bed bugs live in and around beds and mattresses. At night they crawl out and bite sleeping humans, feeding on their blood like a mosquito or flea. Because they are so small, shorter than a grain of rice, and hide during the day, they are often difficult to spot. The first sign you may have of their presence is their bite. Beg bug bites usually show up a day or two after you have been bitten, appearing in clusters of red bumps or welts most commonly found on the upper body or on areas of the body exposed during the night. They tend to be itchy, and some people may develop a rash around the spot.
To stop the itching, you can use over-the-counter creams and lotions. Unless you are highly sensitive or allergic, most bed bug bites clear up in a few days to a week. They usually heal faster if they remain unscratched.
Checking for Bugs
If you suspect you have been bitten by a bed bug, check for other signs in your bed. Strip off the covers and inspect the seams and edges of your mattress. Look for faint brown speckles or spots from crushed bugs and feces. Small dots of bloodstains may be visible on the sheets and bedding. You can also search for the bugs themselves in the mattresses and other places they commonly hide:
- Bed frames
- Dresser drawers
- Behind wallpaper
- Under carpet tack strips
Keeping out Bed Bugs
Once bed bugs have infested your home, extermination can be a difficult process that may require professional help. One of the most effective ways to handle bed bugs is to prevent them from entering your house to begin with. The insects most frequently arrive by being carried in on luggage or other items after visiting an infested place such as a hotel. When staying at a hotel, check for bed bug signs, and avoid placing suitcases or clothing on the floors or beds. After coming home, wash all your packed clothes in hot water, and leave the suitcases in a hot (summertime) garage for at least a few days.
A bed bug infestation can be a serious problem. By watching out for the signs and symptoms in your house and when you travel, you can prevent them in your home.