Bed Bug FAQ

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are tiny, wingless, oval, red insects with flat bodies that feed on the blood of birds and mammals. They are called "bed bugs" because of their propensity to live in mattresses and bedding and bite sleeping humans. Although bed bugs are tiny, they can be seen with the naked eye. However, they usually hide in crevices and small cracks in the bed, making them hard to spot. Also see what are bed bugs?

bed bugs

How do I know if I've been bitten by a bed bug?

If a bed bug bites you while you're sleeping, you probably won't even wake up. The bite itself usually doesn't hurt. But afterward, you may find big, itchy red welts on your skin where the bed bug bit you. Note: if the welt has a red spot in the center, it's NOT a bed bug bite, but a flea bite..

Are bed bugs dangerous?

Bed bug bites do not spread disease, but their saliva can sometimes cause an allergic reaction in people who have allergies, compromised immune systems, or sensitive skin.

How long do bed bugs live?

Bed bugs generally live for approximately 10 months. They are able to live for weeks, or even months, without feeding.

How do bed bugs get into a home?

Bed bugs usually get into a home by getting onto a person's clothing and traveling into the home when that person enters, or by hiding in bedding, luggage, or furniture that is brought into the home.

How do I know if there are bed bugs in my home?

Signs of a bed bug infestation include itchy welts on the people in the home, or signs on the bedding such as small bloodstains from crushed bed bugs, dark spots from bed bug droppings, or even the tiny bed bugs themselves. Bed bugs frequently hide in bedroom furniture, in the folds and seams of mattresses and covers, in the crevices and cracks of box springs and bed frames, behind headboards, pictures, and loose wallpaper, and in piles of clutter such as books and papers.

How can bed bugs be eliminated?

The first step is to find all the places where bed bugs are hiding. With a flashlight, carefully examine bedding and furniture for bed bugs, bloodstains, and dark droppings. Shine the flashlight into the folds and seams of the mattress, around and inside the box spring, behind the headboard, all along the cracks and crevices of baseboards, around and inside nightstands, inside loose wallpaper, and around all nearby furniture, books, piles of clutter, etc. You can also use a hairdryer to blow hot air into all these places, which may drive out the bed bugs so they can be easily seen. If bed bugs are found, you can use chemical or non-chemical methods to exterminate them, or a combination of both. Chemical methods would include insecticides and pesticides, which can be used in walls or other hard-to-reach areas where bed bugs are found. But one must be careful when using insecticides. Be sure to use insecticides that are approved for household use, use only insecticides that are specifically for bed bugs (not roaches, ants, or other insects),. follow all directions on the label, and use particular caution around children, the elderly, people with allergies or compromised immune systems, and pets. Insecticides with pyrethrins are most effective against bed bugs, so read the ingredients on the label. Do NOT use insecticides directly on mattresses, bedding, furniture, or near children. Non-chemical methods to control bed bugs include wrapping infested materials in black plastic and placing them in the sun, whose heat will kill the bed bugs. Infested clothing should be washed in hot water and dried on the hottest cycle of the dryer, which will again kill the bed bugs with heat. If an item is too delicate for heat treatment, it can be put into the freezer. For bedding, first scrub the mattress seams with a stiff brush to dislodge any bed bugs or eggs. Then vacuum the mattresses, bedding, and box springs thoroughly, then seal the vacuum cleaner bag in an airtight plastic bag and throw it away. Bed bugs will die at temperatures below 25 degrees Fahrenheit, so on very cold winter nights, mattresses and furniture can also be left outside for several hours to kill bed bugs. If a mattress or box spring is very heavily infested, seal it in plastic and throw it out. Bed bugs are excellent at hiding, which makes them hard to eradicate. If you still see signs of bed bugs two weeks after following all the steps to eradicate them, you can try the steps again. But if the bed bugs are still there, or the infestation is heavy, consult a licensed exterminator. Make sure to ask to see their license, as it is important to use only licensed exterminators.

How can I prevent bed bugs?

There are many steps you can take to avoid bed bugs or to prevent bed bug infestations from reoccurring. Make sure to wash clothing and bedding regularly in hot water and vacuum and steam-clean carpets. Zip mattresses inside a waterproof airtight cover (these are often marketed for people with allergies to prevent dust mites, but they keep bed bugs out too). Keep the airtight cover on for a full year, to kill any bed bugs that may remain in the mattress. Get rid of loose paper or clutter. Seal it in a garbage bag and throw it away. If you think you might need any of it, seal it in an airtight plastic bag for a full year to kill any bed bugs hiding within. Repair all cracks in walls and furniture, and seal or replace any loosened wallpaper. When buying furniture, inspect it carefully for bed bugs before bringing it into your home. Never take in furniture that has been discarded on the street. When returning from a trip, wash all clothing immediately.

If your home has been invaded by bed bugs, send your clothes to us! We are experts at treating clothes that have been exposed to bed bugs, and we'll return them to you absolutely clean and free of bed bugs!

Here's how it works. When you contact us, we'll dispatch our crew in an unmarked vehicle to collect your laundry and dry cleaning. We'll bring it back to our facility, where we will thoroughly inspect, sort, and treat your clothes to eliminate bed bugs. Then we'll wash all your laundry TWICE with Kleen-Free, a natural, organic enzyme that is hypoallergenic, non-pathogenic, environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and non-toxic. After your clothes have been washed, we will dry it according to the manufacturers' recommendations.

Once your clothes have been thoroughly treated, washed, and dried, we will wrap it in fresh, new bagging and deliver it to your door - clean, bed bug-free, and ready to wear!

More on bed bugs from the EPA

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