- Bedbugs are tiny insects that bite and suck blood like a mosquito. They do not fly, but they tend to infest bedding and upholstery where they can live without food for long periods of time. They can also hide in cracks in walls or in spaces between walls and floorboards, and they come out at night to eat. Although bedbug bites are itchy and annoying, they generally don't carry disease.
Signs of Infestation
- It might be possible to spot a bedbug infestation before anyone gets bitten, particularly if you're staying in a hotel or some other public sleeping facility. Check walls, floors and sheets for dark spots which could be bedbug feces, and examine the seams of the mattress for anything that looks like eggs, shed exoskeletons, or dead bugs. Look for tiny red spots on the bedding and mattress as well, since blood-engorged bugs burst when they are crushed.
Finding the Bedbugs
- Bedbugs often nest between the wall and headboard, but there are a lot of other places they can hide. Cracks in walls, floors, and moldings could contain nests, and you should check all wooden furniture like dressers, night tables, and wardrobes inside and out. Bedbugs can be in and under carpeting and rugs, or in the cushions and fabric of any upholstered furniture. Stuffed toys and clothing can harbor bedbugs, as well as any items stored under the bed.
Getting Rid Of Bedbugs
- If the bedbug infestation isn't too severe, you might be able to deal with it yourself without calling an exterminator by giving the room a thorough cleaning. Cover the mattress with a mattress bag. This will seal the bugs inside, but you should check the bag regularly for tears. Vacuum the floors, paying extra attention to corners and along the seam where the wall meets the floor. Seal any cracks in the walls and floor with caulking or other sealant to trap the bugs inside. Wash all of the fabric in the room in hot water and dry it on the hottest setting. If an item isn't machine washable, have it dry cleaned or clean it with a steam cleaner. After everything has been washed and vacuumed, make sure curtains, bed skirts, and other fabrics aren't touching the floor.
Spraying insecticides can kill bedbugs you see, though it's not very healthy for whoever sleeps in the room. A less toxic option is to sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the places in the walls where bedbugs might hide or near the legs of the bed frame, which will desiccate the bugs when they walk through it.