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Home Care

What Exactly Are Bed Bugs and How To Deal With Them

Don't let the bed bugs bite!

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Photography: Shutterstock (main)

We’ve all heard of the saying, “Goodnight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!” But what are bed bugs really? In case you have yet to see one,  they are tiny, flat insects usually found hiding near where humans sleep: bed frames, headboards, box springs, luggage, under loose carpets and rugs, in the cracks of furniture and mattresses. At night, these little creatures come out of hiding, pierce the skin, consume blood, then hide again once they’ve had their fill. 


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While bed bug bites may not be painful initially, they can later develop into itchy red welts. They may even cause an allergic reaction such as anaphylaxis and a whole-body severe response. That’s why it’s crucial to avoid a full-on infestation at all costs, and its start by knowing the early signs of one.

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Signs that you have bed begs:

1. Blood spots and/or dark stains on your mattress 

These spots are actually the fecal pellets, and dried blood remains of the bed bugs. 

2. Sweet, cloying scent 

Smell your mattress, and if there is an unpleasant sweet scent, you may have bed bugs. 

3. Skin irritation

Unexplained swollen red welts in groups of 2 or 3 on your skin may be an indicator of bed bugs. 

4. Dried exoskeleton remains 

Bed bug nymphs will grow and shed their skin until they reach adulthood. 

5. Live insects 

While bed bugs are small, it’s still possible to spot them on your bed, carpets, or furniture. 

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If you experience any of the aforementioned issue, that it's a must that you take action right away before the infest all the rooms of your home.

How to deal with bed bugs:

1. Identify which rooms have bed bugs 

Look for the signs of bed bugs in your other rooms, as they can spread to other areas. Apart from the bedroom, they usually live in sofas and sofa beds.  

2. Before throwing your matress away, hire pest control professionals 

The first thing you might want to do is throw away your mattress. Yes, it may seem like a waste, but it's the only way you can be sure that no bugs are settled deep within the foam and springs. Remember, however, to hire a professional who can make sure that the infestation is dealt with. Otherwise, some may survive and may cause another infestation in your new mattress.  

3. Stay in your own bed 

Sleeping in your own bed can lower the risk of bed bugs spreading throughout the house, and as always, make your bed a safe haven by regularly cleaning your sheets and mattress. 

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Prevention is always the best solution, and while there is an odd chance that you can bring home bugs in one of your out-of-town trips, mostly, it's all about proper home maintenance and keeping things fresh and your matress dusted. 

These are a few ways to prevent bed bugs from entering your home: 

1. Clean your luggage

Once you’ve returned from a trip, quickly empty out your luggage. Wash all of your clothes and vacuum the luggage. Make sure to clean and disinfect your vacuum bag afterwards, or if properly throw it out if its disposable. 

2. Closely examine your ukay finds and second-hand furniture 

Carefully inspect any second-hand clothing or furniture you’re about to buy or accept from others. Watch out for dark or brown spots, as these may be the fecal matter and dried blood remains of bed bugs. Also, look for adult bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs hiding in between creases, cracks, and folds. 

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3. Frequently flip your mattress

It may be a good idea to turn over your bed and inspect whether there are bed bugs nested on your sheets, box springs, headboard, or mattress. 

4. Vacuum your mattress regulary.

Invest in a small, hand-held vacuum that specializes in the removal of mites and deep-seated dust. We have a list here: 5 Handheld Vaccum Cleaners You Can Buy Online for Those Hard-To-Reach Places

5. Keep your home tidy

Declutter your home, as piles of toys, clothes, and shoes can be potential hiding places for bed bugs. Additionally, make sure to regularly wash your clothes and bedding. 

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