You may associate bed bugs with seedy hotels or dirty homes, but the truth is, even the cleanest homes and best hotels can get bed bugs. You might pick them up on your clothing when you go to the movies or department store. You might pack some home in your grocery bags. Once established, they are difficult to get rid of, but in the early stages, DIY methods may be all you need. Here's how to tell if you have bed bugs in your home and what you can do to get rid of them.
Examine Your Bites
If you only have a few bugs and just get occasional bites, you may confuse the bed bug bites with mosquito bites. And if you have an intense reaction to the bites, you may even think you have dermatitis or an allergy to something in your home. Bed bug bites are small welts that resemble mosquito bites. They can itch intensely if you're sensitive to them. You'll often find multiple bites rather than just a single bite like you do with a mosquito.
Since the bugs attack at night, you'll notice new itchy spots when you wake up each morning. As the bed bugs multiply, the bites and itching will increase. Even if you can't find the actual bugs themselves, if you wake up with groups of red welts on your skin that itch constantly, you should consider you might have bed bugs and take steps to control them before they get out of hand.
Search For Evidence Of Bugs
Bed bugs like to hide in crevices and tight places. You may not see any crawling across your carpet in broad daylight since they come out at night. They leave behind signs of their presence in the form of rusty red or black spots from their droppings and blood. Look for these spots on your sheets and mattress. Also, examine the folds of your clothing that's left on the floor or that is hanging in your closet.
Next, begin your search for the bugs themselves. There's a good chance they are nesting in your mattress if you have them. They like to live close to their food source, so they shouldn't be too far from your bed. Examine the ridges and seams of your mattress and the crevices in your bed frame. Look behind pictures on the wall or stacks of magazines by your bed.
Clean Around Your Bed
As you look for bugs around your bed, use a hand held vacuum wand or steam cleaner, so you can clean the area as you go. The vacuum cleaner will pull out the bugs and a steam cleaner has enough heat to kill them on the spot.
Adult bed bugs are large enough to easily spot if you find their hiding place. The tiny young bugs are so small, they are nearly invisible, but their bites are just as annoying. Therefore, you want to clean the area near your bed as best as you can. In addition to using a vacuum cleaner and a steam wand, you should clean up as much clutter as possible so there are fewer hiding places for the bugs. Then you can put bed bug covers on your pillows and mattress so any bugs that are burrowed inside them will be trapped.
Try Diatomaceous Earth
You probably won't want to use dangerous chemical pesticides in your sleeping area, and many of the ones you buy at the store are not effective on bed bugs anyway. One thing you can try is diatomaceous earth. This is a fine powder that kills all kinds of bugs, including bed bugs, by dehydrating them. You have to apply it correctly for it to be effective. It's best to use an applicator intended for spreading the powder around the room, otherwise, you'll have large clumps the bugs will avoid. The bugs have to crawl through it and get it on their bodies for it to work.
Using an applicator, sprinkle the powder around your bedroom, getting the powder into as many cracks and crannies as you can. Since the bugs come for you in your bed at night, concentrate on placing the powder around your bed and in the frame so the bugs have to walk through it. As long as you buy food grade diatomaceous earth, it won't harm you or your pets as long as you don't inhale the powder and irritate your lungs.
If you notice your bites getting worse as time goes on, you should call in a professional pest control company to help you get rid of the bed bugs. If your home develops a serious infestation, your life will be miserable due to the constant itching. Plus, you may be covered with embarrassing bites. Bed bugs are nothing to play around with, so if your DIY methods are not quickly effective, get professional help as soon as you can.