Bed bugs have been known as “human parasites” for many thousands of years. Their name comes from their habit of taking refuge in beds and feeding when their hosts – humans and animals – are fast asleep. This pest can make life extremely unpleasant with symptoms such as skin rashes, psychological effects, and allergy-related symptoms. If you experience severe reactions, seek medical treatment immediately.
According to the Mayo Clinic, bed bugs are the size of an apple seed and are not known to carry or spread any diseases. Bed bugs are often tricky to exterminate without professional assistance.
The first step to check for bed bugs is to know where they hide.
- Bed bugs conceal themselves in the cracks and crevices of beds. They hide in box springs, headboards, bed frames, and even in the seams and tags of a mattress. They can easily travel between areas in your home.
- They stay close to people as they sleep, so you may find these pests hidden in places near beds.
- A heavy infestation of bed bugs means that they can be found in the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, and even in the folds of curtains, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- It is possible that bed bugs may hide inside electrical outlets, underneath peeling paint and loose wallpaper, or under carpeting.
- Since bed bugs are only ¼ of an inch long and about the width of a credit card, so they can hide in many different places. If your skin forms red, itchy bumps in a cluster on any part of your body, take a closer look to check if bed bugs may be the culprit.
Here are some common times where you should check for bed bugs.
- When moving into a new apartment, dorm, or home, you should check for bed bugs. Apartments and dorms are much more likely to have infestations due to high turnover rates.
- If you plan to travel – domestic or international – it is recommended to check your hotel (Airbnb, dorm room, cruise ship, train or bus) for bed bugs before you enter your accommodations. Try to avoid placing your luggage on the ground and instead place it on a table, countertop, or luggage rack. Once you return home, be you to check the seam of your suitcase for bed bugs prior to unpacking.
- Never pick up furniture from the side of the road! The reason people throw out old mattresses and furniture may be due to an existing infestation. Avoid picking up outside furniture for this reason.
Get in the habit of always checking for bed bugs anytime you move or visit a new place. They can live just about anywhere and create one heck of a mess.
Article information courtesy of the EPA and Mayo Clinic.