What to Know About Bed Bugs

image of man sleeping on a bed

We’ve heard it before: “Night, night. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” But what if you actually have a bed bug problem? Not much you can do…or is there? Here is the game-plan on how to survive bed bugs and get back to restful, and bugless, sleep at night.

What causes bed bugs?

Contrary to common sense, bed bugs are not the result of a lack of cleanliness. Anyone can get them, no matter how well-maintained and clean your home or area of residence is. So what causes bed bugs? It’s really a matter of transportation. When you travel somewhere, and the place you sleep is already invested, you are very likely to come back home with an unwanted souvenir or two. And it only takes one egg-laying female to begin an all-out little colony of bed bugs.

How to identify and treat bed bug bits

Bed bug bites often come in clusters or zig-zags of 3-5 bites. They appear like mosquito bites, as a red, raised bump on the skin. To treat, use calamine lotion or steroidal anti-itch cream to prevent scratching. Use over-the-counter pain medication or take an oral antihistamine for pain relief. The bites should go away in 1-2 weeks.

How to get rid of bed bugs

Bed bugs are notoriously resistant to most pesticides. If you found you are host to infestation, you need to act quickly. Consider calling on a professional service that guarantees complete eradication. If you want to DIY, begin by vacuuming the affected rooms thoroughly (to pick up stragglers on the floors), and wash all of your clothes and sheets on high-temperature settings. Consider using a mattress liner to encase your mattress and prevent further bite marks or destruction. If possible, it may also be a good idea to simply vacate the infected home or area; this will starve the bugs of their food source (you), and may be more effective and less hazardous than most pesticide treatment options.

How to prevent bed bugs

There are a few simple preventative measures you can take to greatly reduce the likelihood that you will ever have to encounter bed bugs for the first time, or ever again. Most importantly, when you travel, it is a good idea to keep your luggage pieces away from your bed. Keep them either in your car or, if necessary, in the bathroom area of your hotel. Once you return home from your travels, make sure to wash all of your clothes on a high settings and store your luggage away from your sleeping area. If you are really paranoid, you can get a luggage heater specifically designed to kill any stow-away bed bugs.

There you have it. Everything you need to know about bed bugs. Sleep tight!