Bedbug in a piece of cloth

If you're like most people, when you hear the word "bedbugs," you get shivers down your spine, and you want to inspect your mattresses for these insidious pests. It's estimated that 20 percent of Americans have either dealt with bedbugs in the past or know someone who was the victim of an infestation.

Bedbugs can be difficult to eliminate, and if you suspect you have an infestation, you will want to know as much information about these pests as possible. Here are a few frequently asked questions you might have about bedbugs.

What Do Bedbugs Look Like?

The first step to determine if you have a bedbug infestation is to learn how to identify these pests. An adult bedbug is brownish in color and will turn red after it feeds. They do not have wings and feature a flat, oval body.

A juvenile bedbug can be difficult to spot. However, adults are typically anywhere between three-sixteenths and one-quarter inches long. The best time to look for bedbugs is during the night when they are more active. Check the seams of your mattress or between your mattress and your box spring.

There are also bedbugs traps available that will help you determine if you have an infestation. Another simple way to find bedbugs is to place glue traps around your bedroom before you go to bed. Check them the next morning to determine if bedbugs have invaded your home.

In addition to finding adult bedbugs, here are a few other signs of an infestation:

  • Bedbug feces
  • Fragments of eggshells
  • Small red stains on your bed sheets, which are occur when you accidentally kill a bug

Additionally, bedbug bite may appear in small rows and typically are found on your ankles or legs.

Do Bedbugs Just Live on My Bed?

The name bedbug is misleading because in reality, these pests will live just about anywhere in your home. If you suspect you have a bedbug infestation, here are a few areas of your home you should inspect:

  • Carpet edges
  • Dirty clothes hampers
  • Dresser drawers
  • In-between couch cushions

Bedbugs will live anywhere that is warm and where they will not be disturbed. In cases of severe infestations, bedbugs will even begin to live on walls and ceilings.

How Did Bedbugs Get into My Home?

From homes and apartments to hotels, day care and even movie theaters, bedbugs will thrive almost anywhere there are humans. It can often be difficult to pinpoint exactly how bedbugs made their way into your home, but there are likely suspects.

One of the most common ways unsuspecting homeowners bring bedbugs into the house is their luggage. Even the most pristine, quality hotels can suffer from a serious bedbug infestation, and these pests can easily hitch a ride on your clothing and inside your luggage. Bedbug infestations can also begin if you purchase secondhand furniture from a home with a bedbug issue.

If a friend or family member has a bedbug infestation, this person can bring bedbugs into your home on clothing.

Can Bedbugs Make My Family Sick?

Luckily, bedbugs do not carry any viruses or bacteria that can make your family sick. Some of your family members might suffer a reaction from the bite, however. The symptoms include redness and itching. Individuals who are allergic to bedbugs should avoid scratching the affected area because it could lead to an infection.

How Do I Get Rid of Bedbugs?

Bedbugs are insidious invaders, and unfortunately, nearly all at-home treatments are ineffective. If you find bedbugs in your home, contact a professional exterminator right away. The exterminator will have many options available, depending on the extent of the infestation.

For example, your exterminator might recommend combining the use of heat treatments and pesticides. The exterminator will bring in special equipment that will raise the temperature of your home to at least 117 degrees Fahrenheit. That temperature will kill most the bedbugs, and the use of cleaning agents and pesticides will help eliminate any insects remaining.

Ask your exterminator about how to eliminate the bedbug infestation and what tools you will need to ensure these pests do not return.

How Do I Prevent Bedbugs from Entering My Home?

The best way to control a bedbug infestation is to prevent them from entering your home in the first place. Here are a few tips to help ensure bedbugs do not wreak havoc in your home:

  • Check the bed, dresser drawers and anywhere else that bedbugs will hide when you stay in a hotel. If there is an infestation, inform the staff and move to a different hotel.
  • Check your luggage, after you get home from vacation for signs of an infestation.
  • Inspect any secondhand furniture or clothing before bringing it into your home.

Finally, if you unknowingly enter a home that is infested with bedbugs, change your clothing before you enter your home. Place the affected clothing in a plastic bag and throw it away in an outdoor garbage can.

Even the most cleanly, fastidious homeowners can suffer from a bedbug infestation. If you have any further questions about bedbugs, contact Blackburn Pest Control.