If you’ve ever dealt with a bedbug infestation, you know what a headache these pests can be.
Despite their tiny size, they’ve become notorious for clearing out entire hotels and driving people out of their homes. With sneaky habits that make them hard to spot, it’s easy to miss signs of an infestation until it’s too late.
If you’re wondering whether these nuisances are causing your itching and scratching—and how to get rid of bedbugs, if they’re the cause—we’ve got you covered. Here’s what you should know about spotting and dealing with a bedbug infestation.
Know the Signs of a Bedbug Infestation
First things first: are bedbugs to blame for your problems?
Unfortunately, the state of Utah is home to a number of biting and stinging insects that can make your life a nightmare if they get through your doors. From mosquitoes to fleas and ticks, there’s no shortage of creatures that could be causing itching or red spots.
However, there are a few ways you can tell that a bedbug is the culprit in your particular case.
First, if you manage to spot the insect itself, you’ll be better poised to identify it. Bedbugs are small but not impossible to see with the naked eye. Brownish-red in color, they will look around the size of an apple seed—though this depends on the stage of their life cycle.
In some cases, you might also notice discarded body parts—often legs or molted skin—in or around your bed. With a large infestation, you’ll see a great number of molted skins accumulate wherever the bugs gather in groups. These body parts are similar in color to the insect itself, dark red to brownish-red.
Another sign of a bedbug infestation is fecal matter. These bugs will excrete waste in and around the area where they live and hunt for food, usually your bedsheets. This waste will often be black or dark red in color.
Last, but not least, be on the lookout for bedbug bites. These bites can itch and turn red, and you may notice swelling or a dark spot at the center of each bite.
Know Where Bedbugs Hide
It’s one thing to know what signs to look for during a bedbug infestation, but where should you search for them?
Although bedbugs make pests of themselves by biting you in your sheets at night, they won’t live out in the open on your bed. Instead, they may find more sheltered areas in which to make their home. You’ll want to look for signs of them in the nooks and crannies of your room.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few common areas bedbugs like to gather:
- Behind the headboard of your bed
- Under the seams of your mattress or beneath the paper tag
- Under the frame of your box spring
- Inside or around your electrical outlets
- Inside the folds of your curtains or window treatments
- Behind frames, artwork, and lighting fixtures on your walls
- In high corners of your ceiling or walls
- Inside the creases of loose or curling wallpaper or wall hangings
- Underneath or around your window air conditioning unit
- Inside closets
- In the joints of your drawers
- Between couch cushions
- In little-used personal belongings
If you find live bedbugs, discarded skin, or feces in any of the areas above, you may have an infestation on your hands. Because they’re so small, these insects can squeeze into tight spaces, so it’s important to comb through your home with great attention as you search for a possible infestation. You may want to grab a magnifying glass and flashlight to help in your search.
Understand How to Get Rid of Bedbugs for Good
If you do find signs of bedbugs, don’t panic! Though we don’t recommend DIY pest control, you may be able to take some simple steps to get rid of these pests before calling for backup.
The first step is to contain your infestation. Identify any and all areas where you’ve spotted signs of bedbugs, and work to get rid of them as fast as possible.
The easiest way to do this on your own is to vacuum the bedbugs and their debris. From there, you’ll want to throw the vacuum bag into a plastic garbage bag, seal it, and throw it away.
Next, clean any fabrics that have come into contact with the bed bugs. This includes bed linens, articles of clothing, and any upholstery coverings you can remove and wash. Bedbugs die in high heat, so make sure to put them through both the washer and dryer cycle on the highest possible heat setting.
For larger items like mattresses or sofas, you can use a steamer for the same effect.
You’ll also want to quarantine any articles that you can’t heat-treat. This may include delicate fabrics or furniture, for example.
You can place these items in a plastic bag and place them outside in the heat for a few days, ensuring that any bedbugs living within them have died. In the winter months, you will need to store these items for up to five months to ensure that they’re free of bedbugs.
Consider Hiring a Professional
In addition to the solutions above, the best way to get rid of bed bugs is to contact a professional.
With expert help, you can identify an infestation—even a small one with minimal signs you may miss on your own—and take care of it before it snowballs out of control. What’s more, even after you’ve taken steps to heat-treat and clean any areas associated with the bedbugs on your own, missing just a few of these tiny insects can lead to another infestation down the line.
A bedbug removal specialist can use special insecticides for additional help getting rid of bed bugs. They can also help you deal with bedbugs in hard-to-clean items, as well as advising you on ways to prevent these nuisances from returning in the future.
Contact Elevate Pest Control
Dealing with bedbugs on your own is a nightmare—and missing part of the infestation will mean repeating the process once the survivors have a chance to reproduce. To skip this risk, it’s critical to call a pro for expert help.
At Elevate Pest Control, we’ve been helping Utah homes and businesses with their pest control needs for years. With the right tools and products to tackle your infestation and treat your belongings, we’ll help you remove your unwanted guests for good. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do, and don’t forget to request your free inspection!