Bed bugs make a good night’s sleep nearly impossible to have. Every night you wonder, “Why are my bed bugs getting worse?” These pests create infestations and hide in mattresses, cracks in your bedroom and apartment walls, and all in all, ensure that you know about their presence.
In this article, I have made sure to include all that you need to know about dealing with bed bug infestations, how you can treat for such infestations (with chemicals or without chemicals), and even a bonus section on when you should consider talking to a professional pest control company that will handle this issue for you!
Let’s dive in!
What are bed bug pests?
Shaped like apple seeds, bed bugs are tiny pests that typically infest your mattresses and other nooks and crannies of your apartment. The fact is that these insects, despite not being carriers of harmful bacteria and pathogens, are still terrible pests to have camping out in your bed!
Bed bugs don’t really eat anything apart from humans. This is why you will find that a night in a mattress that is infested by bed bugs will leave you feeling extremely itchy and at a high risk of infection if their bites are very severe.
Being flat in shape, bed bugs will seek out the seams of your mattresses along with any other crevices that your bedroom and bedside drawers may have.
While their life starts as an egg, bed bugs emerge from them as nymphs that are light in color. However, once these nymphs turn into adults, they often appear to be of a darker shade of brown.
What causes bed bug infestations?
The most common cause for a bed bug infestation is the presence of poor hygiene practices and the availability of human skin and blood. Yes, I know how gruesome that sounds. However, that is a fact.
Bed bugs generally only occupy places where they can find plenty of hidey-hole along with plenty of food! There is a reason why hotel rooms are extremely vulnerable to a severe bed bug infestation.
The constant influx of people with their filthy luggage and the presence of drawers or mattresses to hide out in are both attractive factors for these pests.
Bedbugs can also move quickly. They can run up to four feet per minute and travel long distances without stumbling across carpets, wood, or tile. This enables them to traverse entire hotels, apartment complexes, and private residences, regardless of size.
So unless you take prompt action against these pests and follow healthy and hygienic living practices, you will wake up in the middle of the night finding an itch on your neck caused by a pesky little bed bug.
How to Look for a Bed Bug Infestation Before You Decide to Break Out the Pesticide?
Most of the time, your bed bugs will get worse because you don’t know what signs to look for. If you understand the things you need to be on the lookout for, you are likely to be able to identify a pest infestation before they get worse. Here are some of the most things to watch for –
Symptoms of bed bug bites
The first obvious sign that you have bed bugs bites on your skin that itch and swell up a bit. You will probably find these bite marks when you spend some time in your bed, like when you wake up in the mornings.
To identify bites, simply watch for itchy groups of swollen spots on your skin. In fact, try to look for these marks on the parts of your skin that generally stay uncovered by clothes. Areas like your feet, arms, and lower legs are the most vulnerable parts of your body when it comes to being a bed bug’s meal!
That being said, bed bug bite marks are not always the best way to identify a bed bug infestation. The reason is that some people’s skin doesn’t react to being bitten at all!
A musty odor
When disturbed or threatened, bed bugs produce specific pheromones. These pheromones typically smell slightly musty and are odors that are usually not common in most houses.
But, what you must remember is that when there are a lot of bed bugs living together, their pheromones mingle with the odors of dead bed bugs, shed shell casings, and bed bug excrement.
The consequence is an obnoxious odor that worsens as the infestation progresses. And if you can smell these buggers, you have an infestation on your hand, and maybe, it is time to call professionals to treat your house with insecticides!
White clusters of bed bug eggs
A female bed bug, when pregnant, will lay up to 7 eggs. These eggs will hatch, creating mini-bed bugs by the 10th day of their being laid. And so the cycle continues.
If you find tiny white spots that are stuck to any surface in your house or bedroom, that is your cue to understand that mama bed bug has laid eggs and stuck them to the surface using a glue-like secretion to prevent the eggs from falling.
Now, a great way to tackle eggs is to simply run a vacuum cleaner over them as soon as you spot them. This way, you will be able to reduce the birth rate of these pests inside your home and get the infestation at least a little bit in control.
Brown stains of bed bug feces
If you find clusters or stains that are brown in color but similar to bed bug eggs, you have most likely stumbled upon the excreta of these pests. These feces are generally only two to four millimeters big and could also appear as brownish-red smears.
Another thing to remember is that these smears are typically difficult to wash off fabrics, and often, they will end up looking like marks left by a felt pen marker.
There’s a decent chance you have bed bugs if you encounter their exoskeletons, also known as husks or shed skins. Shell casings that have been abandoned are a sure sign of a burgeoning bed insect infestation.
Bed bug exoskeletons are the translucent, hollow outlines of young bed bugs that are sometimes easier to spot than the bed bugs themselves. Mattress seams, upholstered furniture, holes, fractures, and fissures in wooden furniture are all places where bed bugs can hatch and breed.
Bed bugs shed their exoskeleton multiple times during their five lifecycle phases before reaching adulthood.
Why are my bed bugs getting worse?
Well, to begin with, if you have a bed bug problem, you should know that they are extremely difficult to kill.
The primary reason behind this difficulty in effectively driving them out of your bed is that bed bugs multiply rapidly. They have a short and concentrated lifespan. Therefore, multiple eggs are hatched that only take ten days to hatch before the cycle begins again.
Further, when a bed bug colony infests one apartment in an apartment building, you can be quite sure that they are going to go on to infest the remaining apartments in that building unless you call a pest management professional immediately.
Another quality that works in these pests’ favor is that they don’t need much to survive. Therefore, they will easily make a home for themselves in an area as long as they can feast on humans.
How to get rid of bed bugs?
Here are some common ways that you can use to get rid of your worsening bed bug problem.
Accurately identify bed bugs.
It is easy to confuse ticks and fleas with bed bugs. However, you should certainly try and identify accurately whether they are bed bugs and accordingly pick an integrated pest management plan that gets rid of them for you.
Integrated pest management system
Integrated pest management systems, or IPMs for short, are a great way to tackle pests like bed bugs. This system will get down to the very root of your issue and tackle it head-on. This will prevent your bed bug infestation from getting worse or even returning.
Clean your house and bedroom
Cleanliness is your best ally when dealing with bed bugs. The higher the level of clutter you leave in your house, the more space you allow these pests to find for themselves.
Use heat to kill these bugs.
Heat does kill bugs, and it is a great non-poisonous method to kill these pests without using pesticides and insecticides. However, you won’t get good results using heat if you have a full-blown infestation in your house.
Know when to accept defeat and call professional exterminators
This last step is crucial because, unless you recognize that the infestation is not your cup of tea anymore, all you would be doing by not contacting professional exterminators are making the infestation worse.
Pest control professionals are well equipped to deal with different grades of infestation. The insecticides that they use are far more potent than bug bombs and bug sprays that you can find at the local store.
How easily do bed bugs spread?
Bed bugs spread very easily and very quickly. The primary reason is that bed bugs can hide in almost any part of your house and bedroom, including behind loose wallpaper sheets, and reproduce at an exponential rate.
Can you experience an allergic reaction to bed bug bites?
Yes, you can have an allergic reaction to bed bug bites. These reactions, although rare, can show symptoms like excessive itchy welts, swelling, and hives. However, most people don’t face any sort of reaction to their bites.
Do bed bugs spread diseases?
No, bed bugs don’t really spread diseases through their bites or otherwise. However, they can be a painful and unnerving presence in your house, especially if they manage to infest it.
Is it legal to treat your house for bed bugs by yourself?
Yes, it is legal to treat your house for bed bugs using products like bug bombs and bug sprays. However, if you do have a bug infestation in your house, it is highly unlikely that you can deal with them without the help of a professional pest control company!