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Bed Bugs: How and Why are They in My Home?

Bed bugs are a nuisance, and notoriously difficult to get rid of. They also spread quickly and easily, leaving just about anyone susceptible to finding the critters in their home. Understanding these pests and how they live can help prevent them from getting into your home, and help you deal with an infestation should one occur.

How do You get Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are skilled hitchhikers. They are often transported by humans through belongings such as suitcases. They are also transported in purses, backpacks, and other items with soft surfaces. When bed bugs are disturbed, they will move to other areas. This can cause other areas, such as storage that contains clothing, more difficult to spot and treat. Bed bugs can also travel between different units in apartment buildings and hotels. 

What Causes Bed Bugs?

While bed bugs can find their way to just about anywhere, there are some factors that will put you more at risk for finding them in your home. These common causes of bed bugs are:

  • International travel
  • Changes to pest control management practices
  • Resistance to pesticide

How do You Know if You Have Bed Bugs?

It’s easiest to treat bed bugs if you can catch them early. Some common signs and symptoms that will alert you to a bed bug problem are:

  • Red, itchy bites
  • Uncomfortable nights, as that is when bed bugs feed
  • Blood stains that look like small rust spots on the bed
  • Oval brown exoskeletons left behind as bed bugs molt
  • Strong, unpleasant, musty odor

How to Prevent Bed Bugs?

Of course, the best method for dealing with bed bugs is to prevent them from entering your home at all. Some good ways to do that include:

  • Cover power outlets. Bed bugs hide in these to avoid extermination and can use them to travel to other areas of a home or building. 
  • Store clothing in vacuum-sealed bags. This is particularly important when traveling, as bed bugs are easily transported from hotels to clothing in suitcases. Doing this at home can also prevent a bed bug infestation.
  • Call a pest control service. When an infestation has already begun, a pest control service is the most effective way to eliminate it. However, these services can also take preventative measures to help protect your home.
  • Declutter. Clutter provides a good hiding spot for bed bugs. Remove all clutter from your home, particularly if it’s pushed up against walls. 
  • Cover your mattress and box spring. This is one of the best ways to prevent a bed bug infestation. 
  • Inspect used items. Bed bugs easily travel in clothing, furniture, and other items that people often purchase used. Before bringing anything into your home from someone else’s, inspect it thoroughly to ensure it does not house bed bugs.
  • Use your own blankets. When moving, movers often include blankets to help protect furniture. These blankets have been on several other pieces of furniture that could have contained bed bugs. Use your own blankets instead. 
  • Caulk. Cracks on the interior and exterior of a home allow bed bugs to travel relatively freely. Repair these cracks by caulking them, and seal bed bugs out.

How do Bed Bugs Spread?

Bed bugs live in soft, often upholstered areas such as bedding, couches, and clothing. Mature bed bugs and their eggs are often found in new and used furniture and clothing. Bed bugs can crawl and so, they can easily spread from one room of a home to another. They are also very adept at finding their way in between multiple units of a housing complex. Bed bugs are most commonly spread from boxes, suitcases, and other items that are taken from one place of accommodation or residence to another. 

How can You Detect Bed Bugs?

The first signs of bed bugs are either red, itchy bite marks on the body, or the rusty blood stains they leave behind on beds and other furniture. 

What Attracts Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are attracted to warm-blooded creatures. They need these hosts, which include humans, pets, and rodents, to feed from. Your breathing attracts bed bugs from the carbon dioxide you exhale. Your body temperature attracts bed bugs because you are generally the warmest thing in a room. According to this 2013 report, if you’re alive, you attract bed bugs.

A Missouri Pest Control Service can Help You Control Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are certainly no fun to deal with, and your home could easily become infested with them. To prevent bed bugs from entering your home, or to get rid of them if they already have, you need the help of an experienced pest control service in Missouri. At Amco Ranger, we have the tools and the knowledge necessary to eliminate bed bugs from your home once for good. Call us today at (636) 223-5180 to learn more about how we can protect your home.