Have you ever heard the saying, Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite? This familiar rhyme is frequently recited by parents to their children as they prepare for bed. Wait a second, bugs? In my bed? Yes, these bed bugs are real live critters that can and do exist in beds.
What are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small insects the size of an apple seed that feeds on the blood of mammals and birds. Adults are oval, wingless and rusty red colour and have flat bodies, antennae and small eyes. The name of the “bed bug” is derived from the preferred habitat of the bed bugs which is the beds and bedding or other sleep areas. Bed bugs are mainly active at night but are not exclusively nocturnal. When they feed, their bodies swell and become a brighter red. In homes, they feed primarily on the blood of humans, usually at night when people are sleeping. It can be difficult to identify bed bug bites because the red itchy bumps caused by bed bug bites look like flea bites or mosquito bites. You’re more likely to discover bed bugs at night and they’re capable of travelling from location to location by boxes, furniture, purses, luggage, or clothes.
In this article, you will learn how to identify bed bug bites and find out how to get rid of them quickly. You will also see images of bed bug bites to help you to spot the tell-tale signs that you have been bitten.
How to Identify Bed Bug Bites
Bed bugs feed by piercing the skin and withdrawing blood through an elongated beak. The bugs will feed for three to ten minutes to become engorged and then crawl away unnoticed. The face, neck, hands, and arms are common sites for bedbug bites. Most bedbug bites are painless at first but later turn into small, flat, or raised bumps. If scratched, the bite areas can become infected. It can be difficult to know if the bite marks have been caused by bed bugs or not. The symptoms of bed bug bites may not appear for a few days. Each person reacts differently to being bitten by these irritating pests. Some people show no signs of being bitten whereas other people have a severe reaction to the bite, and large bumps appear on the skin that itches severely.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bug Bites Fast
If you have been bitten by bed bugs, here are a few of the best ways to treat the bites and relieve the irritation.
The cold temperature from ice can help numb the nerve endings, thus relieving the itching sensation caused by bed bug bites. It will also help calm the swelling.
Aloe vera also has properties that reduce itching and help to speed up the healing time of a bed bug bite.
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, helps neutralize acidic chemicals that could be causing the itching from a bed bug bite. Being an anti-inflammatory agent, it also helps reduce swelling and redness.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil will help to treat the itch in bed bug bites and help prevent secondary infections making the skin worse. Tea tree oil contains powerful antimicrobial compounds as well as properties that help to reduce inflammation and itching.
Witch hazel is a liquid astringent that you can get from a drug store. Mostly used as a facial cleanser, it can also help calm itching caused by bed bug bites because it contains tannins that have a mild anaesthetic effect.
Apple cider vinegar
when it is diluted with water in equal proportions, helps to reduce itching and kill germs in bed bug bites. Just apply diluted apple cider vinegar to the affected area to stop itching fast.
How do you know if you have bed bugs?
Check to see if you can identify the rust-coloured faecal stains, egg cases, and shed skins (exuviae) in crevices and cracks on or near beds. A sweet, musty odour is sometimes present. You should also look at other areas such as under wallpaper, behind picture frames, in couches and other furniture, in bedsprings and under mattresses, and even in articles of clothing. Only observing the bugs themselves can confirm an active infestation. A professional pest control company may be required to help identify and remove bedbugs from the home.
How to get rid of bed bugs
Getting rid of bedbugs begins with cleaning up the places where bedbugs live. This should include the following:
- Clean bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. Place stuffed animals, shoes, and other items that can’t be washed in the dryer and run on high for 30 minutes.
- Use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams to remove bedbugs and their eggs before vacuuming.
- Vacuum your bed and surrounding area frequently. After vacuuming, immediately place the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and place in garbage can outdoors.
- Encase mattress and box springs with a tightly woven, zippered cover to keep bedbugs from entering or escaping. Bedbugs may live up to a year without feeding, so keep the cover on your mattress for at least a year to make sure all bugs in the mattress are dead.
- Repair cracks in plaster and glue down peeling wallpaper to get rid of places bedbugs can hide.
- Get rid of clutter around the bed.
If your mattress is infested, you may want to get rid of it and get a new one, but take care to rid the rest of your home of bedbugs or they will infest your new mattress.