If you see signs of bed bug infestation in your home, it is best if you find it early before it spreads. Treating the infestation when it is still minor is far easier and less costly than after it spread and become established. However, a small outbreak is very hard to find and identify. You can easily mistake other insects like carpet beetles with bed bugs, and if you misidentify bed bugs, it gives them more time to spread all over the house.
Bed bug bites are indicators of infestation, but you can also confuse them with bites from other insects like mosquitoes and some people do not react to the bites at all, which makes it hard to identify a bed bug infestation by bites.
The best way to determine if you have a bed bug infestation is by looking for physical bed bugs signs which include;
- Rusty stains on the mattresses or bed sheets. The reddish stains are as a result of bed bugs being crushed as you sleep
- Dark spots, the size of a dot on the fabric which could be as a result of bed bug excrement
- Tiny eggs and eggshells and yellow skins shed off by the nymphs as they grow bigger
- Seeing the bed bugs themselves
Bed bugs hide in many places when they are not feeding. They can be found near the seams, piping, and tag of the mattress. They also hide in the cracks on the bed headboard and frame. If your house is highly infested you can find them in other places like;
- The junction where the ceiling and the wall joins
- Electrical receptacle and appliances
- The joints of drawers and cabinets
- Under wallpapers and wall hangings
Bed bugs have become a significant challenge when they start attacking furniture. You will find them in the seams of couches and chairs and between cushions. However, understanding their behavior and how they feed will help you identify their hiding places.
When buying old furniture, there is a likelihood of bed bugs in their hideout. You need to do a thorough inspection before purchasing the furniture to ensure you do not carry the bugs to your house.
You should begin the inspection by removing the cushioning layers from the couch or bed checking every item you remove. Bed bugs can squeeze themselves into small holes and cracks so you should check each corner of the furniture. Trace each zipper, seam and edge using a flashlight and your credit card or any object with sharp edges. Check the cracks under the bottom of the furniture, cracks are potential hiding places and remove the dust cover.
If there are signs of the bugs, you should start treating the furniture immediately. Here is a simple guide on how to deal with the bugs.
Vacuum the furniture. Use a vacuum to remove the bed bugs, bugs feces and eggs along the cracks and corners of the sofa or bed. Vacuuming will help you reduce the bed bug population very quickly before you can think of using chemicals and steaming. After you are done with vacuuming and ensuring the bugs do not escape from the vacuum cleaner, you can move to the next step which is steaming the cracks. This is the most environmentally friendly method of killing the bugs and their eggs.
When steaming and you want to take advantage of pinpoint nozzles, wrap the head of the steamer with a piece of cloth and secure it with a rubber band. The fabric lowers the speed of the pressure coming from the steamer which increases the temperature at the tip of the object. You can steam the couch by following the cracks with the pinpoint on the steamer. Ensure to treat all the potential hidings like below the cushions and along the seams and folds. After you are done, give it some time to dry before applying the chemicals.
Make sure to treat the furniture with a long-lasting pesticide, harmful on the bugs but mild on people. You can then prevent the bugs from reaching your furniture by using interception devices under the beds and sofas legs to detect minor infestations that might have been missed during inspection. The devices will trap them as they move to and from the furniture. Leave the interceptors for 2-4 weeks and inspect them once in several days to see if there are any trapped bugs.
Another effective way is by installing mattresses and box spring encasement. They not only detect early infestation but also protect the bed from the bugs. They help in early detection by restricting the bugs to the exterior and when there, they can be detected by visual inspection. Using the encasement in combination with interceptor device is very effective.
If you suspect a major infestation, it is advisable that you contact a pest management expert to do a thorough inspection. The experts will not only inspect but also implement measures that will eliminate and protect your home from a possible re-infestation.