How Do Bed Bugs Spread?

Bed bugs are cheeky; they rely on humans for travel. they hitch a lift on unsuspecting passers-by, can get in your luggage, and come home with you. Before you know it, you have bed bug infestations that needs to be dealt with, as bed bugs spread quickly.

This type of insect will not just leave of its own accord! So long as they have a regular blood meal, they will stay.

They have been living with us humans for many many years now. The bed bugs feed on blood alone, nothing else!

In this article, we will explain how bed bugs spread and give advice on how to get rid of bed bug infestations. If you know how they spread, you can help keep your home or business bed bug-free.

What are the signs to look for?

Have the bed bugs been biting? Bites are one indication you may have bed bugs.

Other things to look for when deciding if you are infested with bedbugs are the following:

  • The bed bug bites will cause poor sleep.
  • Empty bed bug egg cases, bed bug feces, or a bad musty smell that comes from the bed bugs scent glands.
  • If you search your bedding you might notice bloodstains on the sheets and pillowcases.
  • Search for rusty marks on the bedding, which comes from bed bug poop.

The bed bug

A bedbug is visible to the naked eye at around 4-7mm in length, about the size of an apple seed. They are reddish-brown in color, turning redder when they have fed on blood.

An adult bed bug is oval and flat which allows them to crawl into tiny spaces, like cracks in the wall. Bedbugs cannot fly as they do not have wings.

A bedbug is able to move very quickly, covering 4 feet a minute, which is one of the ways bed bugs spread.

Where do bed bugs hide?

Bed bugs do not live in nests, they hide together in mattresses, box springs, headboards, and bed frames.

They will also hide in crevices, cracks, and gaps. Try to block up crevices, cracks, gaps, etc.

Check inside drawers and cupboards to make sure they are not hiding in them.

Eggs

As with the majority of insects, the female lays the eggs. The adults’ eggs are the size of a fleck of dust! The eggs will then go on developing into nymphs, which will shed their skin up to 5 times before becoming an adult.

The female bed bug is able to lay up to 100 eggs a month. After the first month there could be 40-50 nymphs.

These bed bug pests take around ten days to hatch and will become adults after 5-6 weeks.

Interesting fact

In comparison, a housefly lays 500 eggs over four days!

Bites

Bed bug bites can be very irritating to the skin, causing itching. Thankfully there are no known health risks associated with a bed bug bite. These pests do not transmit or carry disease; thank goodness.

These insects bite the skin and feed on the blood of the sleeping host at night. You may notice bite marks around the face, neck, arms, and hands at the points they have been feeding on while you were sleeping. Fleabites tend to be found around the ankles and legs.

The bites are often red with a darker spot in the middle.

In rare cases, some people do not have any marks from being bitten by a feeding bed bug.

The bites from these insects can be treated with calamine lotion, which will help the itching, or you can take an antihistamine treatment to ease the irritation.

If you notice you are developing a reaction to the bite, for example, severe swelling, contact a doctor and get medical attention as soon as possible. It can be bad for your health if you have an allergic reaction.

The bad news is bed bugs can go months without feeding on a single drop of blood.

Your bed and mattress

Bed bugs, as the name suggests, live in or near where a person sleeps.

Having a bed bug infestation is not a sign your home is dirty. You could be the cleanest person in the world and still get bed bugs; they are simply looking for a blood meal.

It is worth considering a mattress casing to fully enclose the mattress, these are used all over the world effectively.

No need to throw out bedclothes and mattresses. Once, treated they will be fine to use again.

Do not be tempted to move any mattresses from the room; this could mean the bed bugs spread around the home.

Vacuuming and steam cleaning

Vacuum everything as part of the treatment: the bed base, skirting, carpets, mattress, box springs, all material furniture. Do this in all the rooms.

Empty the vacuum cleaner outside into a bag and tie it up.

Vacuuming regularly is probably one of the best methods a person can use to remove bed bugs.

The heat from a steam cleaner will kill bed bugs and their eggs. It may be worth investing in one and using it in all rooms in the house.

Use the steam cleaner regularly to control the spread of infestations.

Second-hand furniture

Have you ever bought second-hand furniture? It is a cheap alternative, but it should be checked thoroughly before you bring it inside the home. This is another way the bedbug can get into your home and spread.

If you want to be on the safe side, spray it with an insecticide that will kill bed bugs and eggs.

Check your suitcase

If you go away and stay in a hotel, be sure to put your luggage on a rack. This will help prevent bed bugs from getting inside the case. The same goes for backpacks, briefcases, clothing, and coats.

Once in your hotel room, check the room for bed bugs. Look at the furniture and bedding for any evidence. Pay special attention to the beds and pillows.

Even top-class hotels have had a bed bug infestation. It does not mean the hotels are dirty.

The bed bugs will get inside your luggage, then when you bring home the items, you will have a bed bug infestation in your home.

If you find any bed bugs or other signs, let the hotel’s manager know the room is infested, so it can be treated, and in the meantime, you should ask for a different room.

On returning home, be sure to wash all your clothes in hot water and tumble dry them. The heat will kill bed bugs.

Leave a bin near the front door and put your things in it and close the lid when returning from a trip. You can then use a pesticide on them to treat the bed bugs.

Washing your clothing and bedding

Bed bugs die in high temperatures. Wash all clothes and bedclothes and tumble dry on high heat if the items can stand high heat. This is one of the best methods of removing bed bugs.

Don’t hoard

Bed bugs can be found in any building, whether it is your home, flats, or business. They love to hide in amongst items, so have a good old fashioned clear out.

Donate unwanted clothes to charity, instead of leaving them to pile up and provide a home for bedbugs.

Do bed bugs spread disease?

Bed bugs do not cause any health problems or spread disease.

Their bites however can be itchy and can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

DIY pest control

DIY bed bug removal is time-consuming; you must be on the ball with it. It needs to be reviewed regularly.

Diatomaceous earth is commonly used for bed bug infestations, as is baking soda, sprinkled on the infected area.

Tea tree oil can be diluted and used as a treatment. Add around 20 drops to a spray bottle of water and spray on infected areas.

Rubbing alcohol can be tried, but you will need a high percentage of alcohol for it to work. Apply to areas infected and around the bed frame.

Bedbugs are difficult to remove yourself.

Professional treatments

Are they winning? Time to call in the professionals.

Heat treatment is used often for pest control, as it kills both the bed bug and the eggs.

The property is heated inside to a high temperature, around 50+ C. This will kill off bed bug infestations.

Before the heat can be applied, heat-sensitive items must be removed from the home, along with pets, including fish.

This type of infestation method may not prevent a re-infestation further down the line.

How long does it take?

Around 6 to 8 hours

Not only will it kill bed bugs, it will get rid of cockroaches, fleas, beetles, and woodworms, amongst others.

Another treatment is applying insecticides that can involve up to 3 visits to the home. You will not be allowed to enter your home until it has dried.

And finally,

A bedbug infestation can be difficult to treat. We hope you have found the advice and tips useful in this article. Please feel free to contact us by email. If you have any questions we will do our best to answer as quickly as possible.

And Remember,

Don’t let the bed bugs bite!

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each pest control method, product and process. 

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