The majority of people in the world don’t know much about the parasites called bed bugs, but everyone is pretty sure he doesn’t want them in his house. It must sound surprising, but bed bugs are very often mistaken for various types of insects, so there’s really much to learn about these annoying parasites and the ways they can dramatically spoil your life as well as the ways of preventing them from doing so with you.
- 1 The Face of Your Tiny Enemy
- 2 Facts You Need to Know about Bed Bugs Bites
- 3 Can They Bite You Through Your Clothes and at Daytime?
- 4 How Do You Get Bed Bugs?
- 5 Peculiar Characteristics of Bed Bugs Presence in Your House
- 6 Bed Bugs Bites – Is It Dangerous?
- 7 What Diseases Bed Bugs Spread?
- 8 Symptoms of Bed Bugs Bites
- 9 How People React on the Bites?
- 10 Allergic Reaction to the Bites
- 11 Bed Bugs Bites Treatment
- 12 Are Home Remedies Effective with Bed Bugs Bites?
- 13 Medicines for Bed Bugs Bites Treatment
- 14 Prevention Measures
The Face of Your Tiny Enemy
Many people don’t even know what the insects look like and are puzzled whether we can see a bed bug at all.
Disproportionally to the problems they cause, the parasites are very small (about ¼ of an inch for adults), oval insects that feed themselves with animals’ or humans’ blood. Bed bugs are able to fill their bodies with blood in course of just 15 minutes which causes their growing up in sizes. They can reach up to 3 times growth when they are full with blood! When the insects got stuffed, they have little resemblance to their original looks, thus bed bugs are quite often mistaken for other insects.
Read also: How Do You Know If You Have Bed Bugs
Facts You Need to Know about Bed Bugs Bites
There is a row of facts about bed bugs spread about by people, but far not all of them are true.
One of them is that bed bugs can fly. It’s totally untrue, as bed bugs have no wings and can move only with their legs.
The insects can live at any part of your house, and even in your car. Tiny parasites are able to live in the smallest cracks in your furniture or in textile of all types. Most often they are found in beds, including springs, bed frames and mattress.
Each bug will consume about 1 micro liter of humans’ blood per bite. And to become full, they need to make about 5-7 bites, that is why you will see several bites in one spot in the morning.
Can They Bite You Through Your Clothes and at Daytime?
These insects are active primarily at night when they get out of their schedule and set off hunting for your blood. At night they are not disturbed and can hunt for blood freely. Any exposed part of your body will do for their bites when you or your family members are sleeping. Still, there are common locations for bed bugs bites that are arms and hands, face, neck, that is all body parts with delicate skin.
The peak of bugs’ activity lasts mainly from 3-7 AM. Human activity during the day as well as daylight make the insects hide, still if you move little, the bugs can bite you during the day as well. If the bites occur during the day time, you can be sure that you have a large population of parasites in your house.
How Do You Get Bed Bugs?
Unfortunately, there are plenty of uncomplicated ways for the bugs to enter your house and start using your body as their fridge with food. In order to prevent infestation it’s important to know how bed bugs spread.
As a rule bed bugs come into your house undetected through various items you or someone else brings to your home: clothing, luggage, used couches or beds, books and so on. They feature flattened body thus it’s pretty easy for them to fit into the tiniest spaces. Even the hole of a credit card width will do for them to hide and live.
Unlike bees or ants, bed bugs do not form nests, but they still tend to gather in groups and hide in different places of your house or a car. Initially they tend to hide somewhere in your bed, so that they can easily access human blood during the night while the house owner is sleeping.
However, in time they tend to scatter through your room trying to find some protective location for safe living and laying eggs. They will easily spread to next rooms or other apartments.
Some people consider that having bugs at home is a sing of untidiness and dirtiness- it’s not quite true as the insects live exclusively on blood. You will easily find the parasites even in immaculate houses and chic hotels rooms as well as in filthy premises.
Peculiar Characteristics of Bed Bugs Presence in Your House
You’ll easily know that you have bed bugs in your bedroom once you find tiny blood spots on your sheets, itchy bites on your skin and cast skins of the insects anywhere in your house.
Sometimes people don’t even realize they suffer a bed bug infestation and tend to attribute welts and itching to some other causes, for example mosquitoes. In order to confirm your bites are from bed bugs you must find the insects and identify them as bed bugs.
Still, if one day you or anybody of your family wakes with itchy spots on the skin you didn’t have before going to bed, this may be a sign of having bed bugs, especially if you brought used furniture or some other items into your house around the time you noticed the bites.
There are some other sign that might help you identify bed bugs infestation:
- Small stains of blood on your pillowcases and sheets;
- Rusty looking spots of insects’ excrement on your mattress, walls or bed clothes;
- Egg shells, fecal spots or cast skins of bed bugs in the locations they hide;
- Musty, offensive odor coming from the parasites’ scent glands
In case you do suspect infestation in your house, first you need to do is to remove all bedding and carefully study it for any signs of insects’ excrement or the bugs themselves. Then you should check the seams of wood framing of your bed- that’s a favorite place for bed bugs to live. Thoroughly examine every inch of the bed, checking in every seal and tiniest crack.
You should also study the areas around your bed or sofa, especially inside the books, carpet, telephones and even looking into electrical outlets. Study your closet as well, because parasites may easily attach to clothing. If after doing all this you are still unsure whether you have infestation or not, call an exterminator- professionals know pretty well what to look for and where to find it.
Once you have detected the sign of bed bugs you should start getting rid of them and do your best to prevent them to come back.
Bed Bugs Bites – Is It Dangerous?
As blood is the only nutrition source for bed bugs, they will need you or one of your family members daily to keep living. Young bugs need blood to turn into adults, and female adults will need blood for producing eggs as well.
The bites are primarily found on those body parts that tend to be exposed during the night: shoulders, legs, arms, face and neck. It’s not always like this, but quite often the bites of bed bugs are grouped in one small location on your skin. They may also form a zigzag pattern or a line.
They will pierce human’s skin and withdraw blood for feeding themselves through a special elongated beak. The sucking process takes about 3-10 minutes until the insect becomes engorged; after this it crawls away unnoticed.
What Diseases Bed Bugs Spread?
Everyone knows that bed bugs are pretty pesky, but the most import question that worries people as a rule is if the insects spread any serious diseases. About 30 known agents causing diseases were found in bed bugs by researches. Among them are such major dangerous diseases as hepatitis, HIV, MRSA (drug resistant).
Still, there’s no official conclusion or evidence that the parasites actually spread these diseases as they have no source for living on within the insect. Bacteria and viruses die very quickly as soon as they were digested. Thus, we can conclude that the chances for these diseases to be transplanted to humans via bites of bed bugs are pretty low, but the possibility of this isn’t excluded according to scientists.
The greatest risk the bites of these insects present is infection, as the small red spots can get swollen and start emitting green or yellow pus. If you don’t treat the affected areas duly, you may end up with major skin infections that will spread to other organs and body parts.
Symptoms of Bed Bugs Bites
Fortunately, despite being a great nuisance to humans, bed bugs do not transit any serious diseases. But their bites do cause serious problems and can sufficiently decrease the quality of your life.
Quite often the bites of these parasites are mistaken for the bites of other insects or even for various skin conditions and rashes due to their great visual similarity. That’s why it’s quite hard for a person to identify whether he has bed bug bites just by looking at them alone.
So, what do bed bugs bites look like?
The symptoms of bed bugs bites do not always show up right after a person has been bitten, and the fact makes diagnosing of bed bugs bites even more difficult. In some cases they it may take days and chances are they won’t develop at all.
As a rule the bites of bed bugs look like very small, raised or flat spots that I time may get itchy, red and inflamed. The very middle of affected area is normally dark red. The outstanding feature of the bites is that they are usually arranged in
clusters or in a straight line called as breakfast, lunch and dinner by specialists.
If you have uncertain rash or spots on your body, you can look for the images of bed bugs bites online and compare the pictures with your bites. If you still hesitate about what you have: flea bites vs bed bugs bites, study carefully your skin in the course of several days. Multiple bites marks, redness and unbearable itching on skin are the most distinct signs proving you have exactly bed bugs bites, not any other parasites or insects.
What’s worth mentioning is that the symptoms of bed bugs bites may show up for some period of time to stop suddenly for a month or more and then appear again. The reason of it hides in abnormal feeding habits of the parasites that don’t have need to get food every night.
The reactions from bed bug bites don’t necessarily develop immediately: sometimes symptoms may take several days to appear. That is more- not all people react in the same manner and some of them may have worse symptoms of the bites than others.
How People React on the Bites?
As a rule the bites themselves are totally painless and won’t even wake a person up, but some of us may feel burning sensation at the moment of bite resulting in allergic reactions with hives, endless annoying itching and serious blisters.
Bed bugs use special anti-coagulant that they inject with the help of their saliva. This anti-coagulant is responsible for human’s reaction to the bite and predetermines the sizes of affected areas. The sensitiveness will vary from person to person, thus the bites will vary in sizes as well.
There’s another factor, however, that influences the bites size – it’s the number of times you’ve been bitten. As the number of parasites’ bites increases in time, person’s response may become intense or on the contrary decline.
As a rule the rashes after bed bugs bites last for about 2-3 days after which they will slowly fade away until disappear. Still, if a person is more prone to allergies, he might have rashes for a longer period. In some cases it may even require certain medical intervention to clear skin completely.
Unfortunately, the bites itch and in some cases the feeling is unbearable. One should avoid scratching affected areas as failing to do so may cause severe skin or blood infections.
Allergic Reaction to the Bites
For some people bed bugs bites can be not so innocent and may cause various unforeseen complications, such as allergy. If it’s the case, a person may suffer severe rashes and pain, itching and irritation. Among more serious symptoms are weakness, fever and dizziness.
Bed Bugs Bites Treatment
Happily, as it has been mentioned above, the bites do not bring any diseases, thus the only thing that matters in this case is allergic reaction and bites symptoms. Even if you haven’t developed allergic reaction, the symptoms by themselves can be pretty frustrating and annoying to deal with.
Nowadays there is no special medicine used especially for treating bed bugs bites, but you can use various things to alleviate pain and itching.
In order to get quick relief from the itchiness and other discomfort the bites cause, you may clean the affected area under warm running water and then use some antibacterial soap. This will help you minimize skin irritation and inflammation.
Some doctors advise on taking antihistamine to remove unpleasant results of bed bugs bites and avoid serious consequences.
Are Home Remedies Effective with Bed Bugs Bites?
There are several home remedies that will help you overcome severe itchiness. Despite they are very simple and can be quickly made of ingredients at hand, they do help to overcome unpleasant symptoms and the results of bed bugs bites.
The most popular of them are:
- Use water and some baking soda to make a paste. Apply a thick layer of it the affected areas and allow the mixture to dry on the bite spot. Leave it for an hour before washing with warm water.
- Squeeze some lemon juice and wet a cotton ball in it. Dab your rash spots with the saturated cotton ball which will sufficiently relieve your itching.
- Aloe plant gel is another perfect remedy for treating bed bugs bites. Use only pure 100% gel for healing your bites. The gel features anti-fungal and antibiotic properties, which will prevent you from secondary infection resulting from scratching affected spots on your skin.
Medicines for Bed Bugs Bites Treatment
In the cases of severe itchiness, skin rashes and in order to prevent possible infection, it’s better to apply stronger treatment, for example you can use any local antiseptic lotion, oral antihistamine or antibiotic cream. Hydro-cortisone creams are especially good for treating bites: they will help you stop unbearable itching and remove rash rapidly.
If the bites cause you pain or great discomfort, take some anti-inflammatory oral medication, such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
On rather rare occasions people may develop allergic reactions to the bed bugs bites that will result in sickness, nausea and even shock. Many people get affected psychologically as well: they fail to fall asleep as they are afraid of getting bitten in their own bed. In this case some calmative medicine will be needed in order to normalize sleep and let you relax during the night.
The first thing you should do is to clean all the places in your house where the insects hide and live. This process is uneasy and long, but make sure you do every point of the following:
- Clean all clothing, bedding, curtains and linen in hot water and then dry them on the highest temperature possible. All the items that can’t be washed such as shoes, stuffed toys etc. should be placed in the dryer for half an hour.
- To remove bed bugs and their eggs from your mattress seams, thoroughly scrub them with a stiff brush.
- Try to vacuum everything in your bedroom frequently enough and right after doing this put the cleaner bag into a plastic bag and throw it away.
- Place your mattress and box springs into a tight zipped cover to make bed bugs imprisoned there. They say the insects may live about a year without any food, thus you should keep your mattress in a cover for at least one year to kill all the parasites in it.
- Try to keep your bedroom space clean and remove all the clutter around your bed daily.
- If your bed mattress got infested with the bugs, the best option is to throw it away and buy a new one instead. In this case you should make sure you got rid of all the bugs in your house, or your new mattress may be infested again.