Sleepless in Stillwater: How to Deal with Bed Bugs

Growing to only about 3/16th of an inch in length, oval-shaped bed bugs have lived for approximately 3,300 years. They can be found where people gather, such as in residences, hotels, schools, offices, stores, and public transportation.

Bed bugs are called bed bugs because they are usually found in beds, especially within mattress seams and box springs. Adults are brown and flat. After feeding, however, they become red, swollen, and elongated. These insects have two antennae and six legs. They have reduced wing pads, but they do not have wings. Although they cannot fly, they are known to be excellent “hitchhikers.”

Bed bugs can easily latch onto clothes, linens, and luggage. This allows them to travel long distances.  From one point, they can end up wherever their “ride” takes them. This is one of their effective methods of spreading.

These bugs are visible to the human eye. They can be easily detected by sight, except for nymphs, which are smaller in size ranging from 1.3 to 5 mm. Also, these underdeveloped bugs are almost colorless. 

Bed bugs feed on people as they sleep. Blood is the only means of their development and survival. They also target other warm-blooded animals, such as birds. It is often hard to identify bed bug bites. Most people confuse it with bites from a different insect. This makes bed bug infestations hard to detect.

Although they do not transmit diseases, they can cause great trouble to you and your family.  Sleep deprivation and skin irritation will be among your top concerns.

Where Do Bed Bugs Hide?

Bed bugs can go unnoticed as they enter your home. Their flattened bodies allow them to fit into tiny spaces.  Imagine being as flat as the width of a credit card. They can hide in any crevice, such as cracks, behind the wallpaper, and in other tight spaces. Because they feed solely on blood, an infestation does not signify filthiness. Bed bugs can thrive even in immaculate homes and hotel rooms.

Unlike most other insects, bed bugs do not thrive in nests. They live and hide in groups. Their preference is to stay in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to people to feed at night. They may cover areas in your bedroom and other rooms or apartments nearby as they spread.

What Does a Bed Bug Bite Feel Like?

Bedbugs feed mainly at night. Typically, they bite people in their slumber. They withdraw blood after piercing the skin through an elongated beak. After feeding for three to ten minutes, they become engorged, and then they crawl away.

Bed bug bites are mostly painless. Eventually, they turn into itchy welts. Bed bugs bite on any exposed area of the skin, usually on the arms and legs. The welts do not have a red spot in the middle like other insect bites. Sometimes, these bites can be attributed to a mosquito bite. To confirm, you should find the bugs responsible for the bite.

What are the Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation?

If you wake up with itchy welts that you didn’t have before going to sleep, consider that bed bugs are biting you. Itchy areas on the arms and legs are tell-tale signs of bed bugs. These are small, but they swell, so they seldom go unnoticed.

Think about when the bites started to appear. It can take two to three days for these to become visible.  Since bites alone do not indicate an infestation, look for other signs. Did you get a used bed or other used furniture? Here are common signs to look for:

  • Blood stains or dots on your sheets or pillowcases
  • Dark, red, or rusty spots of bed bug excrement on sheets, mattresses, and walls
  • Bed bug egg shells and molt skins in areas where they hide
  • A distinct and musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands

If you suspect an infestation, take off all bedding and check them carefully. Remove the cover over the bottom of the box springs to examine the wood framing. Peel back the fabric that adheres to the wood frame to have a closer look.

Examine the area around the bed. You may want to look inside books, edges of the carpet, electrical outlets, and other gadgets. Your closet is another area you want to check.  Since bed bugs find it easy to attach to linens, they may have found refuge in your clothes.

If you find signs of infestation, start taking steps to eliminate the bugs and keep them away.  On the other hand, if you aren’t sure, call a professional exterminator who will know what to look for.

How Do You Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

Start cleaning up where you found the bed bugs.  Wash beddings, linens, curtains, and clothing in hot water.  When drying, run them in the highest dryer setting.  For items that can’t be washed, such as stuffed toys and shoes, place them in the dryer and run them on high for at least 30 minutes.

Scrub the mattress seams with a stiff brush to eliminate bed bugs and their eggs.

Remove clutter around your bed.  Vacuum it and the surrounding areas.  Do this frequently.  It is essential to properly dispose of the collected dirt after vacuuming.  Right after, immediately place the cleaner bag in a plastic bag and bring it outdoors.

Enclose your mattress together with the box springs securely.  Choose a tightly woven and preferably zippered bag.  This will ensure to keep bed bugs from entering or escaping.  These bugs can live up to a year without feeding.  Keep the casing on your mattress for at least 12 months to be sure that all bugs in the bed are dead.

You may want to get rid of your mattress and buy a new one.  Ideally, you should have completely dealt with and gotten rid of the bed bugs in your house before bringing home the new one.  Else, they will infest your new mattress.

Repair wall cracks and glue peeling wallpaper to eliminate places bed bugs can hide.

Get the Help of a Pest Professional.

Have you ever heard that bed bugs can be tricky to treat?  Seventy-six percent of pest professionals report this is the most complicated bug to eradicate.  It is ideal to call a licensed professional to address the issue. 

As was mentioned, bed bugs do not fly, but they can travel quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. Their females can lay hundreds of eggs over their lifetime. Given favorable conditions, these insects can develop into full adults in as little as a month. They reproduce at the rate of three or more generations per year. Don’t let this happen.

Should you suspect an infestation, contact a professional pest control service. If you are located in Stillwater, OK, Harmony Pest Solutions can inspect your property and provide the best solution for your bed bug problems.

For all your pest problems, choose Harmony Pest Solutions. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or inquiries regarding our company or services. Send an email to Call us at (405) 760-7204 today!  Our office address is 16307 Sonoma Park Drive, Suite #6, Edmond, OK 73013.