Bed bugs are bloodsucking parasites that survive on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded animals. Despite being extremely small in size (usually 5-7mm), they can make your life terrible. They are a nuisance. They are hard to get rid of. You would want to take these pests out immediately and keep them out for good!
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What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Bed bugs are reddish brown in color. They can be confused with other brown bugs. Their color may vary from white, light to deep-brown or burnt orange, depending on whether they have fed or not. A red-colored blob can be observed within their bodies after they have fed. Bed bugs do not fly. They move very quickly on walls, ceilings, and over the floors.
Bed bugs are long, oval-shaped insects which are about the size of an apple seed. Adult bed bugs are about 0.25 inches in size. They may be flat or they may look like tiny, brown-colored balloons sometimes. After feeding, their size may double. Nymphs or hatchlings are newborn bed bugs. They are extremely small in size but are visible to the naked eye. They are approximately the size of a poppy seed.
Where Do Bed Bugs Live?
They are called bed bugs because their preferred habitat is human homes. They reside in bed mattresses, sofas, clothes or any other soft furnishing that may be available. They can live in tiniest of cracks. They can even live in any upholstered furniture.
How Does Bed Bug Infestation Occur?
Bed bugs are consummate hitchhikers. They are transported primarily by humans and their belongings. They can enter your home without getting noticed. They can come with used furniture and used clothing. If you were traveling and staying at a place that was infested with bed bugs, you may bring them along with your luggage or unwashed clothes.
Signs and Symptoms of a Bed Bug Bite
Bed bugs are most active during the night. They bite any area of skin that is exposed. Most common sites of a bed bug bite are the face, arms, hands, and neck. The bite does not appear immediately. It can take up to several days for the symptoms of a bed bug bite to appear.
A bed bug bite is very itchy. You may feel a burning sensation at the bite site after several days of the bite. Before the bed bugs bite, they excrete small quantities of anesthesia on your skin. This means you won’t realize that you been bitten.
Most people get nothing more than a dot at the site of the bite, followed by irritation and inflammation. However, some people may be hypertensive to bites and can develop more serious symptoms. Bed bug bites will always be associated with some discomfort. The signs and symptoms that are most commonly observed after bed bug bites are:
- Burning sensation
- A raised bump on the skin with a clear center that is usually itchy
- A raised itchy bump on the skin with a dark center and lighter surrounding area
- Small red spots in a zigzag pattern
- Small red bumps surrounded by hives or blisters
- Papular eruptions on the skin
- Tiny dried blood spots
- Dried blood spots on fabrics
In some people, bed bug bite may cause serious problems. They may develop severe symptoms like:
- Feeling nauseated or flu-like feeling
- Difficulty breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Swollen tongue
If bed bugs are not treated and you continue living with them, some serious health complications may arise.
- Increased chances of developing an infection as the surface of the skin are being compromised constantly
- You may suffer from sleep deprivation because the thought of being bitten is quite disturbing
- When you aren’t getting proper sleep regularly, it will greatly affect your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. You may observe general fatigue, anxiety, and even depression.
Treatment of Bed Bug Bites
There are very few treatment options when we talk about the treatment of bed bug bites. Most of the times, the wound heals without any treatment in a week or two. If the itching, burning sensation or the inflammation persists, medical attention is necessary.
- The initial treatment option available is washing the site of bite with soap and water.
- For itchy bites, steroidal ointments can be used
- Antihistamines (anti-allergy) can be taken orally
- Anti-itching creams can be applied on the bite
If the body responds drastically to a bed bug bite, immediate medical attention should be sought. Usually, the following medications are given:
- Corticosteroid injection
- Antibiotics (in case of an infection)
Treatment of Bed Bugs
Treatment of bed bugs is an extensive task. It just does not happen in a day or two.
- Remove the personal items and anything that does not stay in the room permanently. Reducing clutter makes more area visible and hence, bed bugs can be found and treated.
- Launder infested clothes and bed sheets in hot water (at least at 120 degrees Fahrenheit). Fabrics cannot be treated with insecticide. You can also dry heat the fabric for several minutes if the option of washing is not available.
- The dismantling of bed frames exposes the hiding sites of bed bugs. Cleaning on the outer surfaces would not help a bit in the treatment of bed bugs. Cleaning has to be thorough.
- Removing dresser drawers is also helpful because bed bugs might be hiding in such areas.
- Turning furniture over can also help as you will be able to clean it completely.
- Scrub the infested area with a stiff brush and vacuum extensively.
Bed Bug Treatment Cost
The most foolproof way of getting rid of bed bugs is through the help of bed bug treatment teams and professionals. Hiring a service to help you get rid of bed bugs can increase the bed bug treatment cost but the expenditure will be worth it in the end. Professional pest removal teams know the right way, have the right equipment, and have adequate knowledge.
If you are wondering how much bed bug treatment costs, it approximately costs $320 to $400 per room. It depends on the size of the infested area. Depending upon the severity of the infestation, a number of rooms infested, geographic location, and similar factors, the cost may lie between $1500 and $2000.
Number of Rooms:
The extermination cost goes up with the number of rooms. Usually, the pest controls professional visits the site before quoting a price. They survey the area to see the size of the area. The cost quoted is in accordance with the quantity of material being used and that depends on the area to be covered.
The cost may also depend upon the clutter or amount of furniture present in the room. The more the furniture and clutter, the more work will be required to exterminate the bed bugs. The average cost for covering a room that is 10 foot by 15 foot with standard furniture and light to moderate infestation is $250.
The Severity of Infestation:
The more rampant the infestation is, the higher you will be charged for the service. The pest control professional will pay a visit to inspect the area for fecal material and exoskeletons and offer you a rate accordingly. An average cost is usually $300 to $400 per room.
If the room has too much furniture, the pest control professional would charge for it. They have packages based on standard furniture. However, in the case of additional furniture, you will be charged extra for every piece of additional furniture. The average cost for this is $50 per piece.
Cleanliness and Clutter:
Bed bugs love areas where they can hide easily and lay eggs. If there is too much clutter around in your house, it would mean more spots for bed bugs to hide. The pest control professional will have to spend more time and, thus the charges will be higher.
Construction of Home
If you have a bed bug infestation in your entire home, the pest control professional will have to treat the area under the house as well. This will increase the extermination cost. If the infestation is severe, the pest control professional may recommend fumigation which is an extreme solution and requires you to vacate the place for a few days.
Bed bug extermination companies may charge an hourly basis. An average rate is $75 for 45 minutes of service.
Bed bugs are not easy to get rid of. If they are not treated on initial stages, they become a nuisance that requires professional attention. Bed bug treatment costs also vary with the severity of infestation. It is best to address the issue of bed bugs the moment you realize it exists to avoid any serious complications or inconvenience.