If you have found even one bed bug on your mattress, then do note that there are bound to be many more of these pests lurking nearby. This is due to the simple fact that female bed bugs lay hundreds of eggs in cracks, crevices and other hard-to-access areas. These bugs also hide during the day and come out only at night to feed when they are attracted to the heat and carbon dioxide emitted by the human bodies.
Let us take a look at what it means if you have found one bed bug on your bed.
Bed Bugs: Are they present if there are no bites?
Majority of homeowners who find out about bed bug infestations do so only after they have seen one bed bug crawling on their mattress. In 90% of such cases, the inhabitants of the household do not suffer any bites. The reason being: only a few people are allergic to the bed bug’s saliva. Thus, most people get bitten, but they produce no symptoms on account of improved immunity to the bites.
Another common misconception about bed bugs is that they do not occur in clean households. No matter how scrupulously clean a bedroom is; bed bugs can still infest it particularly if they have hitched a ride by crawling inside you home through someone’s luggage. Chances are that you might have had some overnight guests. These could, quite unknowingly, bring bugs into your home. Secondly, you yourself might have taken a recent trip in an infested bus or plane or stayed in an infested hotel. No matter how clean the sheets or how luxurious a hotel is; it can still have a bed bug problem.
So, if you have found even one bed bug on your bed, please remain alert. Watch out for tell tale signs such as discarded shells, rust colored stains and a sweet almond like odor in the air. All these are signs that you have bed bugs.
Do bed bugs ever go away?
Ask any homeowner who has dealt with a bed bug infestation and chances are that s/he will tell you that they never really go away for good. This is due to the fact that bed bugs are becoming increasingly resistant to pesticides. Secondly, they have developed the ability to go without blood meals for long periods of time; some are even known to survive for months, or years, without feeding.
The female bed bug lays 100s of eggs and these tend to hatch rather quickly under favorable conditions. The bed bug larvae need tons of blood to grow and develop. In absence of humans, bed bugs could also bite pets, poultry, rodents etc and survive.
What to do if you have found one bed bug?
First of all, closely inspect all your sleeping areas for signs of bed bug activity as described above. If you find none, it does not mean that you are safe from bed bugs. It just means that they are hiding rather well and will come out when the time is right.
If you do see other bed bugs, do not try to take care of the infestation on your own. Call in the professional company who can treat the premises with the latest safe and effective bed bug products.
What can I do to avoid a major infestation
Once the pest control company has treated your home, you can do several things to keep the matter in check and prevent a large scale infestation.
- The best thing to avoid bed bugs is to keep the house clean by thoroughly vacuuming carpets, and rugs. Note that vacuuming will not kill eggs.
- If possible, wash all bedding, sheets and blankets in hot water-as much as the individual fabrics can withstand.
- Never buy used clothing or pick up old furniture or bedding from the road side as these could be infested. If possible wash used clothes before use.
- Treat your mattress, box springs etc with approved bed bug products like sprays, powders etc.
- You could also use natural substances like Borax and/or Diatomaceous powder to treat all sleeping areas. These are known to be highly effective against bed bugs as they kill them by shredding the bug’s insides. Naturally, for them to be effective, the bed bugs must come in contact with the powders.
- Once you have a confirmed infestation, make sure you restrain it to the sleeping areas. This can be done by avoiding moving things especially blankets, linen etc to other rooms.
As stated above, even if you have found one bed bug, you must try and avoid DIY approaches to get rid of it, as majority of these approaches are rather risky. The use of bug-killing aerosol products can cause allergies, asthma etc. You might kill the bug by spraying it directly, but this is not a guaranteed way of getting rid of all the other bugs. The Internet is also full of websites and products which promise a miraculous treatment to ensure complete riddance from bed bugs. No matter what treatment you choose, do make sure that you research it well in order to reduce fire hazards.