We all hope to keep our homes as tidy and free of debris as possible. With kids running around, this can sometimes feel like a losing game.
However, we still try our best to make sure debris and clutter is kept to a minimum. The effort that we put in makes it all the more devastating to find out that bed bugs have invaded your home.
Our homes are supposed to be our safe spaces where our family members and us can feel completely at ease. Bug infestations of all kinds destroy that feeling of comfort and security.
Bed bug infestations are particularly noteworthy, though, due to just how annoying they are to get rid of. There’s also the fact that their preferred home is somewhere that we spend a lot of (but never enough) time — our beds.
The best way to get rid of an infestation of bed bugs is to never have them in your house in the first place. Of course, this can be easier said than done and is not much of a consolation when you are in the middle of battling these pests.
Luckily, there are many effective ways to eliminate these blood-sucking insects for good. These remedies do not accomplish very much, though, if the bed bugs come right back into your home afterward. As such, it is integral to understand where bed bugs come from so to keep them out of your home and bed.
Whether you are hoping to prevent bed bugs from ever entering your house, you’re currently fending off an infestation, or you want to prevent another swarm in the future, here’s what to know about where bed bugs come from.
What Attracts Bed Bugs to Your Home?
Since most homes have mattresses, bedding, or some amount of clutter, bed bugs could presumably reside just about anywhere. That being said, there are certain elements that attract bed bugs more than others. Take a look at your home in its current state. Is there anything that could be reduced or removed to lessen the risk of bed bugs?
Several of the key elements that attract bed bugs are the same as what entice other bugs, especially those who feed on blood for their sustenance (looking at you, mosquitoes). They need a way to ensure that they will have a steady food source, and they have to be able to find those food sources in the first place.
Bed bugs and other blood-sucking insects do this through two primary means. The first is through body heat, and the next is by observing carbon dioxide.
Regrettably, you can’t exactly diminish the amount of body heat that you give off. This means that bed bugs will always be able to observe you due to some amount of heat that you are giving off. As a result, we have to make our homes, beds, bedding, and upholstered furniture as inhospitable to these insects as possible.
As icky as this might sound, there is a dose of good news. Bed bugs are only able to sense our body heat from relatively short distances away. In fact, if they are over three feet away, then they will be unable to react to both our body heat and our carbon dioxide output.
All warm-blooded creatures give off body heat, making it an ideal way for blood-sucking pests to clock us. For another way to seek out their prey, bed bugs and other insects look no further than the carbon dioxide that we emit.
People and animals exhale carbon dioxide as a natural byproduct of breathing. That means that it, unfortunately, can’t be stopped, and bed bugs will be able to register us this way. Since there are multiple ways that we attract bed bugs simply by existing, it becomes even more important that we control our other risk factors whenever possible.
Since body heat and carbon dioxide are both found in all sorts of mammals, our pets are not safe from the wrath of a hungry bed bug either. Although we typically associate bed bug bites with people rather than our animal companions, they aren’t always picky when it comes to a meal.
If your pet is experiencing itchy welts, it is understandable for your immediate instinct to be that they have fleas. In reality, there are multiple blood-sucking bugs that could be the culprit.
For instance, mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, bed bugs, mites, ants, and more can all use pets as their next food source. This is why it’s so crucial to know the characteristics of different bites, so you can know how to treat the spots, even if you don’t see the bug directly.
Dirty Laundry and Dirty Bedding
Body heat and carbon dioxide are inevitable parts of being a mammal, but dirty laundry and dirty bedding do not have to be. Bed bugs are attracted to clutter since it allows them to effectively hide from prey and lay eggs. They are especially attracted to clutter or hidden spaces that are frequently trafficked by you and your family.
Bed bugs feed on us while we sleep, which is what makes beds such an enticing home base for them. It also makes them significantly harder to find during the day. However, if they find your bed to be inhospitable for some reason, they can just as easily make a den out of a nearby pile of dirty clothes, pillows, or a nearby pet bed.
It has been studied that bed bugs are attracted to the odor given off by dirty laundry and dirty bedding, so it’s always a wise practice to tidy up frequently. Even if you do not clean for the benefit of reducing the risk of bed bugs, it’s just best to be sanitary anyway.
Upholstered surfaces are among bed bugs’ favorite haunts, but they can also live in wooden bed frames and other kinds of furniture. Check your home frequently, especially if you have reason to believe that you or a family member have been exposed to bed bugs.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Keep an eye on the various surfaces of your home. If you notice any small red-brown insects, it’s possible that you have bed bugs.
These bugs might be larger or smaller depending on how recently they have fed. Bed bugs are capable of going several months without feeding, so they can vary somewhat in size.
Also, watch out for minuscule white-yellow bugs since these could be bed bugs in an earlier stage of their life cycle. Finally, bed bug eggs are about a millimeter long and are oval in shape. They are typically white or gray and could be either open or closed, depending on whether or not the bug has hatched yet.
Can Bed Bugs Enter Your Home Through Furniture?
The most common way that bed bugs get into our homes is through furniture that they are already living on. It’s possible that bed bugs could invade our space when we purchase new furniture, but the likelihood is lower because the chances of contamination are smaller.
One high-risk situation for introducing a bed bug infestation into your home is when you get used upholstered furniture. Anything from a used mattress, to a chair, to a couch, to a box spring, and so much more could do the trick. No one brings bed bugs into their homes by choice, but instead, they often find out after it’s too late and the infestation has spread.
Getting an upholstered piece of furniture secondhand might be good for your wallet in the short term, but dealing with the consequences of bed bugs in your home is anything but.
In addition to being time-consuming, gross, and not to mention, itchy, it can also cost a lot if you need outside help. Even if you handle the outbreak at home, there’s still a great deal of thorough washing to be done. Sadly, the furniture will likely need to be replaced.
What To Do About Bed Bug Bites
If you’ve determined that you are dealing with bed bugs, chances are that you’re already deep in the throes of getting rid of them. Hopefully, the issue will be dealt with quickly and smoothly, but there’s still a very itchy problem to handle in the meantime.
If you and your kids are feeling the itch, try out the MagicPatch Itch Relief Patches. With Grid-Relief technology, these patches help alleviate scratchy symptoms without using any harsh chemicals. Kids and adults can both reap the rewards of these patches. Originally crafted to soothe mosquito bites, MagicPatch can come in handy in many pest-related situations.
Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite
By being cautious of where you get your furniture, who you spend time around, and what you bring into your home; you can lower the risk of a bed bug infestation significantly.
As it turns out, the age-old saying about sleeping tight and letting the bed bugs bite has very actionable roots. No one wants to deal with the consequences of bed bugs in their home. Thankfully, there’s more you can do to put a plan into action instead of just wishing that they won’t bite.
Bed Bug Biology and Behavior | Virginia Tech
Bed Bugs Attracted to Dirty Laundry | ScienceDaily
Here's Why People Say 'Don't Let The Bedbugs Bite' | HuffPost Life