Bed bugs are one of the worst household pests that any homeowner or renter can face. These tiny insects may not look like much of a problem at first glance. However, they are notoriously challenging to exterminate and can cause a range of symptoms that can easily disrupt your everyday life. You can keep bed bugs at bay by learning the top five signs of an infestation and what you preventative measures you can take for your home.
1. Skin Lesions
Bed bugs fortify themselves by latching onto and biting people and animals. When they bite you, they leave behind noticeably red skin lesions. These lesions are small and resemble chickenpox.
If you have a particularly extensive bed bug infestation, you may even notice that the red bite marks resemble a rash. The rashy bites may extend across all parts of your body but especially your lower back, upper legs, and along the waistband of your underwear. These areas are easy for bed bugs to access while you sleep in an infested bed or lounge on an infested piece of furniture.
The bites and rash will linger for as long as you have bed bugs in your home. To get rid of both, you need to exterminate your entire house and vacuum and steam clean all upholstered surfaces including the carpeting, drapes, mattresses, and pillows.
Along with suffering bites everywhere on your body, you probably also will experience extensive itching. Bed bug bites itch, and they only get worse the more you scratch them. In fact, if you persist in scratching the bites, you could cause them to get infected and leave scars on your skin.
The itching is caused by the chemicals in the saliva of the bed bugs. You can ease this symptom by using a paste made with baking soda and water. You can also use antihistamine or calamine lotion to diminish the itching sensations from the bite marks.
3. Burning Sensations
The bites left behind by bed bugs may also cause a burning sensation on and under your skin. As with itching, the burning sensation is caused by chemicals in the saliva of the bugs. Scratching or rubbing your skin can make the burning worse.
You also may notice that some articles of clothing irritate the burning you experience with bed bug bites. Elastic waistbands of underwear, for example, can cause burning along the waist and lower back worse. You can ease the burning sensation by using calamine lotion or a baking soda paste.
4. Dried Blood Spots on Linens
When bed bugs bite you, they draw blood that can leave tiny spots on your linens. If you notice dried blood spots on your sheets, you should examine the mattress and linens for bed bugs. If you find them, wash your sheets, pillowcases, blankets, and other linens in hot water to get rid of these pests.
5. White or Clear Molted Skin
Bed bugs will often molt while they infest your home. If you notice white or clear molted skin on your bed, furniture, or elsewhere, chances are you have an extensive bed bug infestation. You should hire a professional exterminator or use products that are designed to kill and prevent bed bug infestations.
Preventing Bed Bugs
Preventing bed bug infestations requires you to take a few common sense approaches to protecting your home. You first should avoid buying used furniture from second-hand stores or garage sales. You cannot be sure of where this furniture has been or if it has been exposed to bed bugs.
You should also use caution when staying in hotels or motels. Many of these businesses experience bed bug infestations. You should check your luggage, purse, and other personal belongings for bed bugs, ideally before you bring them into your home, after a hotel stay.
Bed bugs can wreak havoc on your home and personal life. You can prevent them by knowing what signs to look for and what steps to take to keep them out of your home.