It is difficult to get rid of bed bugs – but there are ways and means. We explain how you can find out if you have bed bugs and how to get rid of bed bugs fast successfully.
The body is covered with stitches – which not only don’t look too good, but also itch and, in the worst case, trigger an allergic reaction? Then there are some indications that you have bed bugs at home, because they love to feed on our blood. It’s hard to get rid of the beasts – New York can tell you a lot: Years ago, the metropolis was ravaged by a bug plague for months, and it didn’t stop at landmarks like the Empire State Building or Carnegie Hall.
There are several ways to get bed bugs into your home. For example, as an unwanted travel souvenir or as a resident of used objects such as mattresses, picture frames, textiles and other beauties that you can get hold of at the flea market.
Although bed bugs are difficult to spot, they can be seen with the naked eye when they are fully grown. The animals are then about 5-6 mm tall, have a red-brown color, six legs and a very flat body. Immediately after eating, the appearance of the insects changes, their body size increases to up to 9 mm, their color changes from dark red to black – the human blood sends its regards. On average, bed bugs live for 6 to 12 months. During this time, they provide plenty of offspring: the female bugs lay their eggs every day, up to 500 in their entire lives. How long it takes for the larvae to hatch and mature depends heavily on the temperature and food available. At a bedbug-optimal room temperature of 22 degrees, it takes around two weeks to until the larvae hatch and around eight weeks until they are fully grown. During this time the larvae go through five developmental stages and have to ingest blood at least once per stage. They get that from humans.
Bed bugs usually live in close proximity to their food sources. And since we humans are one of them, they feel particularly comfortable in our apartments. Usually, however, only the area that promises the pests a meal with regularity is affected – our bedroom . Since the bedbugs are nocturnal, they are difficult to track down. During the day they hide in hiding places. There are many possible places for the tiny ones, including behind light switches, in cracks and crevices or under the mattress. It is only when the food source runs dry that the bugs migrate to other rooms. In the rest of the buildings with rooms that are alternately occupied by many people, such as hotels, are considered to be particularly at risk.
Whether you have bed bugs as an uninvited guest at home or not can be recognized by various characteristics. On the one hand in stings, or rather bites, on the body. They are mostly close to each other, often even in line form because the parasites do not hit a blood vessel on the first try and then bite until they find what they are looking for. The animals sit on their skin for up to ten minutes until they have eaten their fill. Where does the itchy bed bug bite come from? From the saliva of insects. At first, this has an anaesthetic effect, but subsequently causes the well-known itching, which varies from person to person and varies in length (several days). Important to know: bed bugs do not transmit diseases. Bed bug bites usually appear the next morning, but sometimes they don’t show up until days later.
Another sign of bed bugs are tiny black spots – their droppings. These traces of excrement can be found on bed linen , sheets , mattresses or in their hiding places , for example . You may also find moulting coats there. Traces of blood on bed linen or sheets – remnants of their attacks – or a sweetish, unpleasant odour from the insects’ stink glands can also indicate bed bug infestation.
The bed bug is not particularly varied when it comes to food. It feeds exclusively on blood – from mammals and birds. Because the bug is no longer active, it attacks its victims at bedtime. It is attracted by body heat, carbon dioxide and body odor.
If neither humans nor animals are available, the bloodsuckers will still not starve to death. Because: It is possible for you to get along without food for months. For this reason, uninhabited rooms or furniture that has been kept in uninhabited rooms for a long time can be infested with bugs.
The bloodsuckers are not friends of extreme temperatures. Extreme heat or cold kills them. Smaller things from infested rooms, such as books and accessories, can be treated best by freezing them for about three days or exposing them to intense heat for several hours, for example by placing them in the sun. Infested fabrics such as bedding or clothing, on the other hand, can be washed in the washing machine at 60 degrees to get rid of the bugs. The textiles should be carefully packed and brought to the washing machine.
It is not possible to get rid of the parasites and their eggs in an infected apartment alone. For this you definitely need the help of an exterminator and usually several treatments. The pest control workers either work with insecticides, i.e. chemical substances, or with certain cold or heat methods to kill the animals and their offspring.
However, you can take supportive measures to help you regain control of the situation. As described above, certain items can be frozen or treated with heat to kill the animals. You can also thoroughly vacuum floors and cracks as well as infested furniture . However, you should definitely use a vacuum cleaner with a bag: The bag should be well packed after vacuuming and then also frozen or treated with high heat to kill the bugs. After using it, it is important to check carefully whether bed bugs may have been hiding in the vacuum cleaner.
Under no circumstances should you carry objects out of the infested room, as this gives bed bugs the opportunity to spread to other rooms.
To make sure that the bed bug plague is really over, it is important to regularly check certain things yourself after the professional treatments by the exterminator. Do feces, blood or stings appear again? It is also advisable to consciously search for the pests regularly after an infestation.
Since bed bugs are often caught when traveling, it is important to carefully check the accommodation such as hotel room or holiday apartment for signs such as feces, blood stains or skins and not unpack the suitcase near the bed and keep it closed at all times.
Used furniture, home accessories and clothes are also considered to be carriers of the parasites. When buying such things, therefore, pay attention to the signs of bugs, textiles can also be washed at 60 degrees as described above to be completely safe.
If you notice an infestation on objects, do not simply dispose of them. Treat the items with heat or cold and then wrap them thoroughly with plastic wrap to prevent further spread.