Bedbugs (Cimex lectularius) are described as small-sized blood sucking insects that can thrive in crevices and cracks in and around the bed. These insects are attracted by the body heat and carbon dioxide where they crawl out at night time to bite exposed skin and feed on blood just like mosquitoes.
Not all who are bitten by bedbugs ends up with a skin reaction but some develop itchy red-colored bumps. These manifest around 15-30 minutes after being bitten and can last for a number of days.
The bites by bedbugs are typically found on the neck, face, hand or arm and often mistaken as mosquito bites. Even though bedbug bites can be hard to find, they are not dangerous and do not transmit any human diseases. Many do not develop any serious skin reactions. On the other hand, it is vital to take action right away to prevent the spread of an infestation.
How to spot bedbugs
- Check for any unexplained skin rash or itchy bumps
- Check for black spots on the mattress since this might be dried feces of bedbugs
- Inspect for mottled shells that are shed by bedbugs
- Inspect the sheets for blood spots that might be squashed bedbugs
- Check the crevices and joints of mattresses as well as furniture
- Unpleasant, musty scent in rooms with significant infestation since adult bedbugs produce odor using their scent glands if disturbed
Treatment of bedbug bites
Since many individuals do not react to bites by bedbugs or only have odd spots, treatment might not be needed.
Once the individual develops itchy bumps, the doctor might prescribe a mild steroid cream to be applied on the skin or antihistamine tablets to relieve the itchiness. In most cases, the skin should clear up within a week. In some individuals, they develop a severe rash filled with blisters. In some cases, this can become infected if scratched which requires antibiotics.
Where to find bedbugs
Due to the flattened bodies of bedbugs, they can squeeze into small-sized crevices or cracks such as joints of the bed frame or mattress seams. This is why they are difficult to spot.
Bedbugs prefer wood or plastic over metal and plastic and often hide close to where humans sleep such as under the mattress or along the headboard. Nevertheless, they are capable of travelling several feet to reach their victims.
How do bedbugs spread?
Once bedbugs are introduced into the house, they can easily spread from room to room. They do not fly or jump but can crawl quickly. Bedbugs can spread within a building by entering holes in the walls or pipes. Generally, it takes around 7 weeks before bedbugs are discovered in another room or property.
The insects can also travel in clothing, luggage, furniture and bedding. This is why tourists and commuters can also spread bedbugs.
How to get rid of the pests
Infestation of bedbugs can be difficult to get rid of, thus it is vital to get in touch with a pest control service for proper elimination of the pests.
These inserts are hard to avoid since they are easily transported and might not be noticed right away. The best thing to do is to regularly inspect the mattress for the usual indications of bedbugs and take immediate action if needed.
Do not purchase second-hand mattresses and be cautious of old beds used in a rented accommodation. By keeping the bedroom tidy and eliminating unwanted clutter especially under the bed and floor, it reduces the potential hiding areas for bedbugs.