The discovery of bed bugs can be frustrating, irritating and disturbing, but not uncommon. One in five Americans has experienced a bed bug infestation at home or knows someone who has come across bed bugs somehow. But it’s good to know how to identify and deal with them if they do find their way into your home.
If you’ve never encountered bed bugs and have some questions, we’re here to help. Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions about bed bugs.
How big are bed bugs?
The common bed bug ranges from about 1 to 7mm long. They are flat and oval-shaped with six legs. They have a reddish-brown tinge that becomes more noticeable if they’ve recently fed on human blood.
How do you get bed bugs?
Bed bugs can infest your home in various ways. They might:
- Hitch a ride from nearby infested areas (this is particularly common in motels and apartment complexes).
- Attach themselves to clothes, upholstered furniture, and luggage.
Can you get rid of bed bugs with a vacuum?
The best way to tackle bed bugs is by calling a professional bed bug exterminator. You can also try and limit the problem yourself with the following techniques:
- Buy a small handheld vacuum and use it on your clothes, upholstery, and bed sheets frequently
- If you’re traveling, keep your clothes in a Ziploc bag to stop the bed bugs from spreading or finding your clothes in the first place
- Wash your clothes, sheets, and upholstered furniture frequently, especially after traveling or having guests over
- Buy mattress and box spring protective covers to prevent the bugs from hiding in the mattress seams
- Fill in any cracks in the wall, even tiny ones
Do you get bed bugs if you’re dirty?
Despite the stereotype, bed bugs aren’t attracted to dirt and decay. They’re only attracted to blood, and they’ll search it out, no matter how clean the environment is. Bed bugs can detect carbon dioxide that humans emit, and they’re drawn to warmth and moisture as they search for a human host.
Many people believe that bed bugs are attracted to unclean rooms, but it’s a myth that was perpetuated for two reasons:
- Bed bugs are often associated with dirty motel rooms, but even the most high-end hotels have to deal with bed bug infestations.
- The misconception that bed bugs are attracted to dirty environments also connects to the fact that low-income households experience more bed bug infestations than higher-income households. Rather than being caused by poor hygiene, it’s more likely an issue because lower-income households may not afford total extermination and are often packed tightly together.
Do certain scents repel bed bugs?
Yes and no. Researchers found that some scents will repel bed bugs, but they won’t prevent them entirely. You can’t rely on scents to keep bed bugs at bay. They may help mask your smell some, but unfortunately, you can’t use them to treat an infestation or prevent getting bitten entirely. Here are the scents that have been seen to have some effect:
- spearmint oil
- blood orange oil
- paraffin oil (remember this is flammable!)
- silicone oil
How can I prevent bed bugs when traveling?
You’re more likely to encounter bed bugs if you visit high human traffic places like hotels and motels, movie theaters, public transport, and retail dressing rooms. You can reduce your risk of a bed bug infestation by limiting the time your clothes, purse, luggage, and other garments come into contact with upholstered seats, chairs and mattresses. It’s always a good idea to wash your clothes immediately upon returning from your travels.
If you return to your Arizona home to find that you brought along some unwelcome hitchhikers, don’t despair. Fortunately, our heat treatments are extremely effective and treat most problems with just one treatment. If you’re worried you’ve got bed bugs, request a free inspection by our team today.