Bed bugs are a growing problem in the United States and across the globe. While they do not pose a serious risk of disease, bed bugs can be a nuisance and are difficult to eliminate once inside the home. They tend to live within eight feet of where people sleep, and are commonly found in places such as mattresses, box springs, couches, headboards, tables, and behind wallpaper. For more information on bed bugs and preventing an infestation, read our frequently asked questions below:
- Do bed bugs spread disease?
Bed bugs do not pose a serious risk of disease. However, they can cause extreme itching, lack of sleep, and significant expenses for home-owners.
- How can I know I might have a bed bug infestation?
Many people find out about bed bugs through bite marks on their face, neck, arms, or other body parts. However, these bites may take up to two weeks to appear. In the meantime, there are other signs you can look for to determine if there are bed bugs in your home:
- Bed bugs on or nearby beds
- The bed bug’s exoskeleton (pictured)
- Rust-colored residue from their blood-filled fecal matter
- A sweet, musty odor
- How can I prevent a bed bug infestation?
The best way to prevent bed bugs is by regularly inspecting for signs of an infestation. It is also important to prevent bringing bed bugs into the home:
- When traveling at a hotel, inspect the room for signs of bed bugs. Even if you do not see signs of bed bugs, store your suitcase on a luggage rack and avoid leaving clothes on the floor. While at home, store suitcases away from your bed, such as in a basement or garage.
- Always inspect new furniture before bringing it into your home. Avoid purchasing used upholstered furniture from secondhand stores or garage sales.
- How are bed bugs treated?
Bed bugs infestations are usually treated by insecticide or thermal (heat) treatment, or a combination of the two. Bed bug experts can help you decide which is the best option based on the characteristics of your home and the severity of the problem.
It is important to remember that treatment does not stop after the exterminator leaves. Heat treatment and a consistent cleaning regimen can help keep bed bugs away. Because most bed bugs die when exposed to high temperatures, you can prevent infestation by drying clothes, sheets and other fabrics on a high heat setting. You can also prevent bed bugs by vacuuming frequently, using mattress and furniture protectors, and sealing cracks and crevices in your home.
For more information and a list of bed bug exterminators in Southeastern Idaho, click here.