One day you wake up with little bug bites on your arms, legs, back, maybe even your cheek or forehead. Now you need to figure out where they came from while ignoring the urge to scratch, scratch, scratch. Then your mind lists all the possibilities of what could have bitten you. First, maybe your dog has fleas and much to his chagrin you decide to check your poor dog for the little pests. When your dog is cleared and giving you the death look, you decide maybe you were bitten by a mosquito or some other small insect, and you have nothing to worry about. At the moment, you notice little black marks on your wooden furniture and BAM! the realization hits that those are bed bug bites, you may have a bed bug infestation.
What are bed bugs?
Well, bed bugs are little, parasitic insects that feed only on blood, preferably human blood, thus leaving behind red bumps on your skin the itch terribly. Bed Bug infestations are not as rare as they once were. Here are some common signs for you to look for when wondering whether you have been infested with bed bugs.
- Little black markings on wooden furniture
- Black or dark red spots on your bedding, or mattress, or even walls and clothing
- Red bumps on your arms, legs, cheeks, back, neck that become itchier over time
- Egg shells or shed skins in areas that bed bugs hide such as furniture, bedding, clothing, and near walls
- A musty, wood-like odor, it comes from their scent glands
While bed bugs aren't really known for spreading diseases to humans, it has happened. If you realize that you have bed bugs and have other symptoms besides just the itchiness of the bites, be sure to check with your physician. Also be sure that if you are uncertain that you have been infested with bed bugs, call an exterminator just to be safe.
Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs do not just show up in unsanitary conditions like cockroaches might. Cleanliness has nothing to do with finding bed bugs in your home. Common bed bugs can hitch a ride with you and you wouldn't even realize it until it was too late. You can attract bed bugs a variety of ways, but keep in mind that these insects are not always found in these places, they've just been known to be there.
Traveling: motels and hotels are known sometimes to have bed bugs, so if you're staying overnight somewhere such as them, be sure to inspect the room for signs of bed bugs. It's a good idea to keep your clothing and luggage off of areas they could be hiding, maybe up on a coat rack or something similar.
Public Libraries: if you're checking out books, flip through them to see if there are any signs that bed bugs could have crawled in there from another person that had checked out the same book.
Retail Stores: it is possible that a bed bug could find it's way into a retail store just waiting to hitch a ride with an unsuspecting subject in their purse or on their clothing. Be sure to check your purchases for any tell tales signs.
Public Transportation: whether you travel on planes, or trains, or even in automobiles, bed bugs can find their way to the public transit system. Be sure when you arrive at your location, you leave your luggage out and check it before transporting it inside. Better safe than sorry.
Thrift Stores: the threat of bed bugs in thrift stores is because of the furniture or other merchandise that they sell, second hand. Be wary of wooden furniture, do not disregard it because wood is beautiful, but be sure to check it thoroughly before purchasing it for any signs.
Hospitals and Nursing Homes: these critters can make their way most anywhere, and hospitals or nursing homes are no exceptions when you consider a number of people that are in and out of the facilities on a daily basis. Just keep in mind that it is possible.
Although an infestation of bed bugs is annoying and bothersome, not to mention itchy, they are not known to spread diseases to humans or animals and they can be rid of for good. Treatments for bed bugs are found at most stores though they can be quite expensive. If you can afford it, calling an exterminator in the area you reside would be the most thorough and guaranteed way to get rid of them.
If you can't afford to have a professional come out, there are many products on the shelves that can help. Should you decide on the DIY way, make sure to read the instructions, some products, because of their chemicals and insecticides cannot be used on bedding of any kind as they are not safe for humans or animals. Having an infestation is not a problem that often repeats itself over and over as long as the proper steps are taken to rid your home of the little vampiric insects.