Bedbugs are troublesome little insects that move into your home and invade your space.
They are small, reddish-brown and feed off the blood of humans and animals, according to the Mayo Clinic. They are not known to spread disease, but are considered a public health issue.
Bites from bedbugs can be difficult to distinguish from the bites of other insects or rashes, the Mayo Clinic reports.
Usual symptoms are:
Some people have no reaction to bedbug bites, according to the medical center, while others experience an allergic reaction that can include severe itching, blisters or hives.
Bedbug infestations can spread quickly and can be a challenge. It is recommended for a professional to treat infected areas, but taking the task on with a do-it-yourself approach can work to, if done meticulously and safely.
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service reports that about 70 percent of bedbugs in the typical infestation are on the mattress, box spring and bed frame.
They offer several steps on how to manage bedbug infestation when taking matters into your own hands.
As a first step, determine which rooms are infested to help prevent the bedbugs from spreading. In addition to mattresses, box springs or headboards, they can be found in crevices of furniture, in upholstery, on walls and baseboards.
Create a safe place to sleep.
According to the extension service, they recommend people avoid moving to another room to sleep because bedbugs will follow. Staying in your own bed will reduce the risk and further infestation.
Cleaning the bed:
Treat other areas in your home.
A challenging, but necessary part of the do-it-yourself approach to bedbug control is treating and isolating the affected areas. If an infestation has spread to other parts of a home, moving furniture to get those hard to reach places is required.
Treat and isolate:
Select and use insecticides safely
“Bug bombs,” or aerosol foggers are mostly ineffective in controlling bedbugs, according to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, but because bedbugs hide in crevices and voids where aerosols do not penetrate, they are able to avoid contact with these insecticides.
Products the service suggests include: desiccant dusts, low toxicity contact sprays, plant oil-based products and Pyrethroid sprays.
To view the extension service's entire detailed list of steps, visit citybugs.tamu.edu/factsheets/biting-stinging/others/ent-3012/.
Myth: You can’t see a bed bug.
Reality: You should be able to see adult bedbugs, nymphs and eggs with your naked eye.
Myth: Bed bugs live in dirty places.
Reality: Bedbugs are not attracted to dirt and grime; they are attracted to warmth, blood and carbon dioxide. However, clutter offers more hiding spots.
Myth: Bedbugs won’t come out if the room is brightly lit.
Reality: While bedbugs prefer darkness, keeping the light on at night won’t deter these pests from biting you.
Myth: Pesticide applications alone will easily eliminate bed bug infestations.
Reality: Bedbug control can only be maintained through a treatment strategy that includes a variety of techniques plus careful attention to monitoring. Proper use of pesticides may be part of the strategy, but will not by itself eliminate bedbugs. In addition, bedbug populations in different areas of the country have developed resistance to the ways many pesticides work to kill pests. If you're dealing with a resistant population, some products and application methods may not work. It is a good idea to consult a qualified pest management professional if you have bedbugs in your home.