We're getting more and more questions about how to detect bed bugs as bed bug infestations continue to increase in Florida. These questions reveal that many Tampa residents don't know where bed bugs hide or how to identify early signs of bed bugs in their homes. Do you have questions? If so, you're likely to find answers here. Our goal today is to hit the most important facts you need to know about bed bugs. We'll look at how to find signs of a bed bug infestation in your Tampa home, how bed bugs only get worse over time, how they get in, and, most importantly, how to get rid of them. Stick with us to the end and we'll also tell you how trained pest professionals deal with bed bug pest control in Tampa.
Clear Signs Of Bed Bugs In Your Home
Let's address the big question first. "How do I know if I have bed bugs?" There are lots of bugs that can get into your home. When you start getting bites on your skin, you may wonder if you have the dreaded bed bugs or not. There are a few ways you can find out.
- Bed bug bites have a pattern. When one bed bug bites you, you're likely to have three wounds in a line or zig-zag. These wounds will be close to each other. When more than one bed bug bites you, you'll have three times the number of bites as the number of bugs that bit you. It only takes a small number of bed bugs to make you miserable.
- Bed bugs stain bedding with black fecal spotting. Look for obvious and not-so-obvious stains hidden in tight spaces, seams, and cracks.
- Bed bugs lay eggs in compressed areas and dark voids. You may find these hidden in the frame of a bed or couch. You may dislodge them by dragging a debit card along a mattress seam.
- Bed bugs leave shed skins as they develop. You'll find these in the same places you'll find their eggs. These skins may be pale or tan-colored and not large. A bed bug is smaller than 1/6 of an inch.
Often multiple signs are what you'll need to confirm that bed bugs have infested your home. These are elusive pests. It isn't easy to find them to identify them. Use a flashlight and probing tool to check mattresses, box springs, bed frames, bed stands, upholstered furniture, baseboards, outlets, alarm clocks, computers, bags, and luggage. If you have a bed bug infestation, these are the likely places you'll find them.
A Bed Bug Infestation Only Gets Worse With Time
When you discover bed bugs in your home, you might wonder, "Will bed bugs go away on their own?" We can say with near certainty, "No. They won't." Does this seem overly pessimistic? Perhaps. But you may become a pessimist after reading this section. Why do we want you to have a pessimistic attitude toward bed bug infestations? Because it will give you the insight you need to make a wise decision about how to control these insects. Here's why bed bugs get worse with time:
- Bed bugs are almost exclusively indoor pests. They feed on human blood and live near humans. There is no chance you'll convince bed bugs to leave your home. They'll make the best of whatever situation they find themselves in.
- The longer bed bugs live in your home, the more bed bugs you'll have. A bed bug is gonna do what a bed bug is gonna do—if you know what we mean. Bed bugs eat, grow, breed, and hide.
- Bed bug infestations are often allowed to get worse because Tampa residents use incorrect methods to exterminate these bugs. You can expect your infestation to worsen if you use home remedies or topical treatments. They just don't work.
When bed bugs hitch a ride into your home, they will hide in locations where you sleep, lounge, or sit. They will take opportunities to bite you. They will grow their numbers and leave more bites on you. If you don't take steps to stop them, you can expect your infestation to worsen over time. We strongly recommend hiring a trained individual to handle your bed bug control. Professionals know how to treat bed bugs. Is there anything you can do? Applying preventative steps is where you can have the most success against bed bugs. Let's look at these.
How Bed Bugs Find Their Way Into Our Homes
"How do you stop a hitchhiking pest that only lives indoors?" First, you need to learn how they get into your home. Then, you can teach others what you've learned. We're all in this together. Here are some tips to directly prevent a bed bug infestation.
- Always perform a quick inspection before you stay the night away from home. Leave your luggage in your vehicle or on the bathroom floor of your room during your inspection. Look for black streaks, specks, and spotting on pillowcases, mattresses, box springs, and upholstered furniture. Use a debit card to probe seams and creases. Use a flashlight to look in recesses, gaps, cracks, and underneath labels. If you find feces, shed skins, tiny white eggs, or bed bugs, take steps to prevent them from coming home with you. Our best recommendation is to stay in a different room. Don't worry. It's okay to do this. Bed bugs are rarely widespread. Be sure to select a room that is not adjacent to the room with bed bugs in it.
- During your stay away from home, protect your laundry and luggage. Put laundry items in a sealed plastic bag. If you're working on the cheap, a trash bag and a bread tie will do. Put your luggage in a sealed plastic bag, store it high, or use a lavender spray to keep bed bugs out.
- Always wash and dry your clothing when you return from a trip. Use hot soapy water and put your laundry in the dryer for at least thirty minutes.
- Be watchful for bed bug signs everywhere you go. You can pick bed bugs in many places, some of them unexpected. Look for them at school, work, public venues, and when you are utilizing public transportation. Look for bed bugs, black feces, shed skins, and tiny white eggs. You can also use your nose to detect bed bugs. Some compare the scent of bed bugs to a dirty, moist locker room towel. Isn't that delightful?
- You don't need to go away from home to get bed bugs. Your family members can bring them to you. For example, a college-age son or daughter can bring bed bugs home from their dormitory, or young kids can bring them home from a sleepover.
- Inspect used items. When you get a sweet deal on a piece of furniture, you may also get a sweet deal on a bed bug infestation. You can also find bed bugs in alarm clocks, computers, and other household items that have a void inside.
Early detection is essential to bed bug prevention. Hopefully, these tips have given you what you need to stop these pests before they come home with you or hitch a ride into your home. But what do you do if you already have a bed bug infestation?
The Trick To Completely Getting Rid Of Bed Bugs
We've looked at how to tell if you have a bed bug infestation, why bed bug infestations only worsen, and how to prevent these annoying pests from getting into your home. These focus on detection and deterrence, but you can also use what you've learned to address an infestation. You can wash your clothes, check luggage and bags, and isolate infested items. These steps may arrest the infestation if you detect bed bugs early enough. You may also:
- Remove bedspreads, sheets, and pillowcases on infested beds and launder them in hot water and put them through a high heat dryer cycle.
- Inspect beds and furniture. Use a vacuum to suck up any bed bugs you find.
- Put infested items in a plastic bag and store them in a freezer for four days. Cold exterminates bed bugs.
- Put other dryer-safe items in the dryer to exterminate bed bugs.
- Vacuum your floors regularly until no bed bugs remain in your home.
In many cases, these steps are enough. Early detection and immediate action work well to stop bed bugs. But, what do you do if these steps are not enough? This leads us to the last question we want to address.
"Are bed bugs hard to get rid of with over-the-counter products?" Yes. Not because the products don't work but because the implementation of bed bug control is complicated. These pests have an incredible knack for eluding DIY treatments—a licensed professional uses field-tested protocols to outsmart bed bugs.
If you're in Tampa, contact EcoTech Pest Control Services for bed bug pest control. We can guide you toward the right solution for your specific needs. We understand these bugs and what works to stop them. Get relief today.