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Dealing with Dreaded Bed Bugs

Don’t let the bed bugs bite! But seriously.

Bed bugs are no joke. These tiny brown creatures (no bigger than a seed) can cause mayhem in the home if left unattended. In fact, a female bedbug can lay hundreds of eggs smaller than a speck of dust in a mattress over the course of her lifetime. Bed bugs live on the blood of humans and animals, which is why they bite. Though they aren’t known to carry or transmit any diseases, their bites do itch.

How Do I Know if I Have Bed Bugs?

In addition to noticing itchy patches of exposed skin that weren’t there when you went to bed, you can identify the presence of bed bugs by specks of blood on your pillowcase or sheets, dark spots on the bed or on the sheets, or a musty odor.

What Should I Do if I Have Bed Bugs?

If you think you’re housing bed bugs, the first thing to do is remove all bedding from your mattress. Then look at the mattress, the seams of the bedframe, and under the dust cover for traces of bed bugs. You might also want to check areas of the room that are near your bed, because bed bugs will travel. If it’s difficult to spot bed bugs but you still suspect an infestation, it’s a good idea to reach out to an exterminator who will be able to tell for certain.

Once you’ve identified that you do have bed bugs, take any and all exposed fabric materials and wash in hot water. Dry those items on the hottest dryer settings.

Note: don’t waste your time on bug spray or other pesticides. For one, they’re not great for health. Secondly, you probably won’t spray in all the areas bed bugs are actually living in your room. Turn to pesticides only if you’re going to be working with an exterminator. He or she will know where and how much to safely apply.

You should also stay away from DIY suggestions like bleaching your mattress, dousing it with rubbing alcohol, or applying gasoline or kerosene. All of those things not only smell terribly, but are also dangerous to your health.

What about the items near your bed that could also be infested? If they’re able to be washed and dried in high heat, do as well. Asside from that, place all items (whether or not you’re able to wash them) in tightly sealed storage containers.

Remember: Bed bugs can live on you too! For that reason, don’t hop to your guest bedroom, the couch, or a friend/family member’s house with your current clothes on. You could spread bed bugs and create even more of a hassle. The best thing you can do is kill the bugs that are currently living in your mattress and bedroom.

What Do I Do After I’ve Treated the Bed Bugs?

Place a tightly woven zipper cover on your mattress and box spring. This will help make sure that any bed bugs left behind can’t escape, and that new bed bugs won’t be able to get in. Interestingly, bed bugs can live without eating for up to a year. So, you’ll want to keep that cover on your mattress for the long haul.

Don’t think that throwing away your mattress will be the end of your bed bug saga. If bed bugs originally came in through cracks in your plaster or wallpaper, you’ll need to address that larger issue in addition to eliminating existing bed bugs on your mattress and sheets.

While bed bugs are never welcome guests, they don’t have to stay for long if you take immediate action.

For more mattress tips and tricks, check out other articles from the Shovlin Mattress blog!

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