Bedbugs lurk in cracks or crevices of beds, home desks, and other kinds of furniture. They thrive on human blood though they don’t transmit illness or pose a medical risk to victims. Their tiny apple-like sizes make them hardly noticeable. However, once the small insects infest a property, it can be difficult to exterminate them. Only a few years ago, bedbugs had become a thing of the past but since early 2000 bed bug infestations have become pretty common features in homes. In fact, property managers have made the prevention of bedbug infestations a high priority goal in various residential homes and small unit departments. The subsequent discussion deliberates on what to do if you think you have bed bugs in a home.
To begin with, we should understand the hiding areas of these insects to know what to do if you think you have bed bugs in a home. Bedbugs don’t fly or jump, but their survival tactic is the ability to live for months without food. As such, they can linger on a residence for months on end. They live in high-traffic areas like single-family units, condos, and multi-unit apartments, such as those managed by a property management company in Fairfield.
Bedbugs easily hide in folds, clothes, bags, luggage, wood, floors, and paper trash. They also take shelter in inside bedding and behind wallpapers. Note that bedbugs prefer hiding under wooden or fabric materials over plastic and metal; thus they often hide close to the victim e.g. along the headboard or under a mattress.
However, it does not rule out potential hiding areas like along the edges of a rug, inside smoke alarms, and behind mirrors. Bed bugs also invade new spaces when carried using luggage, bedding or furniture. The insects don’t discriminate between clean and dirty homes, hence even clean luxurious condos managed by property managers in Fairfield are prone to infestations. Crowded spaces like hotels and homeless shelters are more susceptible to bed bug infestations. Those that feed on human blood can crawl over one hundred feet during the night. So, how can you answer the question of what to do if you think you have bed bugs?
Determine if there are Bedbugs in the Apartment
Bedbugs are active during the night and are attracted to moisture, warmth, and carbon dioxide that is produced by humans. Homeowners develop red itchy bites on the skin usually on the neck, arms, and shoulders. Unlike other insects, bed bugs leave straight rows of bites on the skin. The bites are painless, but people with sensitive skin may develop reactions in a few minutes or two weeks after the bites. In extreme cases, victims may develop watery blisters. Bug bites do not always confirm an infestation in a home. The bites often resemble nibbles from insects like mosquitoes and fleas, scabies, and folliculitis, not to mention the varying reactions of the bites in people. It is important to look for other signs like:
- Small bloodstains on the mattress or the sheets.
- An unusual sweet odor from the bugs’ scent glands especially when found in large numbers.
- Inspect the seams of the mattress.
- Dark spots of the bugs’ blood-filled waste when crawling into hiding areas like walls, floors or furniture.
- Papery skins that they cast off after molting.
What to do if you think you have Bed Bugs
After verifying the presence of bedbugs in a home, most folks are tempted to move to the next room, sofa or bed. Experts cite that such attempts only solve the problem for a short while. The bugs crawl long distances and tend to migrate from one area to another. Additionally, staying out of the home for an extended period in the hope that they will disappear only makes them dormant. As mentioned earlier they can survive for long periods without food-usually up to eighteen months.
Once the victim gets back to the apartment, they resume feasting on their prey. The most obvious reaction by homeowners who suspect a bedbug infestation is spraying insecticides on the furniture, bed or other infested areas. However, property managers in Fairfield recommend engaging a professional exterminator. They are experienced in dealing with the bugs and are well-versed in natural extermination techniques like:
- The use of heat: the professionals bring devices that heat rooms to 50 degrees to kill the bedbugs and their eggs.
- Freezing infested pieces of furniture using temperatures as low as -18 degrees for a few days.
- Vacuuming and laundering items that may harbor bugs. The items should be cleaned and the dryer set to the hottest level to kill any bugs on the clothing or linen.
- Using traps to capture the bugs (the technique is not always bug-proof).
If the professional has exhausted all the natural methods without success, he may use pesticides. The pest control firm should verify its effectiveness in previous bug control infestations. It is because ordinary bugs have developed resistance to the common insecticides e.g. those that contain pyrethroid chemicals.
Treating and Discarding Heavily Infested Items
The homeowner may isolate and cover items of furniture. A pest control firm treats sofas, furniture, and mattresses and they determine if the item should be discarded. The professionals also discard heavily infested items safely to avoid spreading the bugs to other homes.
Here are do’s and don’ts about what to do if you think you have bed bugs.
- Arrange for another pest control treatment every two weeks until the home becomes bug-free.
- Use bug monitors to determine if there are bugs after treatment.
- Avoid buying used mattresses and inspect second-hand furniture e.g. those bought in a yard sale before bringing it home.
- Check mattresses and other pieces of furniture regularly for signs of bed bug infestation after treatment.
- Don’t use a bug bomb. Some property managers and inexperienced exterminators may use them in a bid to eliminate the insects. On the contrary, the foggers only spread the bugs.
- Don’t spray a load of chemicals to avoid the need to engage a pest control firm. The cost of engaging professionals is expensive if the homeowner has to foot the entire bill. However using different pesticides to eliminate the insects only disperses them, giving professionals a challenging time later on.