Linen bugs and ways to get rid of them

How to get rid of bed bugs: Signs, treatment and what bites look like

Don’t let the bedbugs bite, here’s how to get rid of them instead

If you’ve been invaded by bedbugs, don’t feel ashamed because it has happened to five-star hotels and even a British Airways flight.

Although the bites aren’t dangerous and don’t spread disease, bedbugs can be a real nuisance because of their persistence, so you will want to act fast.

First things first, you need to be able to spot the little devils. Adult bedbugs are oval-shaped, up to 5/6mm long and can be dark yellow, red or brown.

We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.

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They are expert hiders though, so you may need to look for clues rather than come across the bugs themselves.

Signs you might have an infestation include tiny white eggs in the crevices of your mattress and furniture or blood spots on your sheets from squashing the bugs.

You may also find mottled shells that have been shed or tiny black spots on your mattress, which are their dried excrement.

How to get rid of them

Now that you’re sure that you have a bedbug infestation you need a plan of action to get rid of the pests.

The bad news is that bedbugs can be very difficult indeed to get rid of, because like The Terminator, they’ll be back.

The best course of action is to contact your local council or a pest control firm. However, there are some things you can do to help, such as:

  1. Wash infected clothes or bedding at 60 degrees centigrade or, if you’re feeling lazy, bung them in a tumble dryer for 30 minutes.
  2. Suck up any bugs you can see with a vacuum cleaner and dispose of the bag.
  3. Use plastic mattress covers to stop the bugs getting in or out
  4. If you’re getting desperate, you could cons >

Bites usually fade in a few days, but mild steroid cream can be applied to stop the itch. If you develop pain, redness or swelling, it may be infected so you should see your GP.

A 2016 study found that bedbugs are attracted to and repelled by certain colours. The parasites are more likely to hide in red or black areas, so you may want to avoid those colours when it comes to your bedding and furniture.

By contrast, they turn their noses up at green and yellow, according to research by scientists from the University of Florida.

Global resurgence

This essential guide couldn’t come at a better time, because scientists say we are currently in the midst of a worldwide bedbug resurgence.

This is partly because bedbugs, like many insects, have developed resistance to the extermination chemicals, so have evolved to become stronger.

Other factors at play in the resurgence include how modern central heating and soft furnishings have created the ideal environment for bedbugs and frequent travel has enabled them to hitch a ride between continents in suitcases and clothing.

Heather Lynch, a lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University, wrote recently that people could learn a thing or two from the residents of Govanhill in Glasgow, a deprived district characterised by waves of immigration and poor housing conditions.

So endemic is the bedbug infestation there that some residents have come to accepted it as the new normal, after numerous public health initiatives worth millions of pounds have failed to reduce the overall problem.

This article was originally published in December 2017

How to get rid of bed bugs and the products you need to do it

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  • Bedbugs are the small, flat, brown insect from the Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus that survive by consuming the blood of mammals, including human beings.
  • Bedbugs can be detected by ev >A bedbug can survive a year without feeding, so proper eradication is critical — never assume an infestation has simply resolved itself.
  • To combat bed bugs, you need a laundry treatment, a waterproof mattress cover, a pestic >

First, the good news: Bedbugs are not known to spread any infectious diseases. As they cannot fly or jump, their spread from one location to another is easy to prevent as long as you take proper precautions.

The bad news is that bedbug bites are itchy and often painful and lead to blistered welts and allergic reactions. Also, these parasitic insects can be found in every populated region on Earth. They can live for up to a year without feeding, lurking nearby, and waiting to bite again. And also they’re gross. Though adult bedbugs are usually just four to five millimeters long at full size, the sight of one is enough to make most people swoon. Or sprint.

Ideally, you’ll never have to deal with a bedbug infestation. But in case you do, we’ve got a few tips to help out. But first.

How to prevent a bedbug infestation

Once bedbugs get into your home (or office or shop), removing them can be quite the involved process. So prevent them from infesting in the first place by making sure none ever get in the door.

If you ever visit a location you think may have an infestation, inspect the area carefully, and don’t stay there if you find evidence of bedbugs.

To be safe, always place luggage, clothing, and other personal items on stands or hung in the closet, making your property less accessible to these insects that must crawl to move. Keep your effects away from carpets, upholstered furniture, and of course beds.

When you get home later, consider immediately washing and drying all of your clothing that was along for the trip on a hot setting, and if possible, leave unpacked suitcases and even your shoes out in the garage or on a back porch. And change and bathe as soon as you return from anywhere with a potential bedbug infestation.

If you are bringing home a piece of furniture — especially a second hand piece — thoroughly inspect it and consider preemptive treatment if you have any suspicion of bedbug presence.

Also, make sure to keep your own home as neat, orderly, and clean as possible. Hang clothes or put them away in drawers, don’t leave towels, linens, or pillows on the ground, and change sheets and make the bed regularly.

How to remove bed bugs from your home

The first thing you have to do here is be honest with yourself: Can you handle this bedbug issue, or should you call in the professionals? If an infestation has spread throughout your home, if the bites are causing you, your family, and/or your pets extreme discomfort, or if you just don’t want to deal with a horde of parasitic blood-sucking insects yourself, then call the pros.

Otherwise, it’s time to reclaim the residence from these nasty little characters, and it all starts with laundry.

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Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color.

Bedbugs do not fly, but they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. Female bedbugs may lay hundreds of eggs, each of which is about the size of a speck of dust, over a lifetime.

Immature bedbugs, called nymphs, shed their skins five times before reaching maturity and require a meal of blood before each shedding. Under favorable conditions the bugs can develop fully in as little as a month and produce three or more generations per year.

Although they are a nuisance, they are not thought to transmit diseases.

Where Bed Bugs Hide

Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bedbugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to people to bite in the night.

Over time, however, they may scatter through the bedroom, moving into any crevice or protected location. They may also spread to nearby rooms or apartments.

Because bedbugs live solely on blood, having them in your home is not a sign of dirtiness. You are as likely to find them in immaculate homes and hotel rooms as in filthy ones.

When Bedbugs Bite

Bedbugs are active mainly at night and usually bite people while they are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin and withdrawing blood through an elongated beak. The bugs feed from three to 10 minutes to become engorged and then crawl away unnoticed.

Most bedbug bites are painless at first, but later turn into itchy welts. Unlike flea bites that are mainly around the ankles, bedbug bites are on any area of skin exposed while sleeping. Also, the bites do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites do.

People who don’t realize they have a bedbug infestation may attribute the itching and welts to other causes, such as mosquitoes. To confirm bedbug bites, you must find and identify the bugs themselves.

Signs of Infestation

If you wake up with itchy areas you didn’t have when you went to sleep, you may have bedbugs, particularly if you got a used bed or other used furniture around the time the bites started. Other signs that you have bedbugs include:

  • Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases
  • Dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls
  • Bedbug fecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in areas where bedbugs hide
  • An offensive, musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands

If you suspect an infestation, remove all bedding and check it carefully for signs of the bugs or their excrement. Remove the dust cover over the bottom of the box springs and examine the seams in the wood framing. Peel back the fabric where it is stapled to the wood frame.

Also, check the area around the bed, including inside books, telephones or radios, the edge of the carpet, and even in electrical outlets. Check your closet, because bedbugs can attach to clothing. If you are uncertain about signs of bedbugs, call an exterminator, who will know what to look for.

If you find signs of infestation, begin steps to get rid of the bugs and prevent their return.

Bedbug Treatments

Getting rid of bedbugs begins with cleaning up the places where bedbugs live. This should include the following:

  • Clean bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. Place stuffed animals, shoes, and other items that can’t be washed in the dryer and run on high for 30 minutes.
  • Use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams to remove bedbugs and their eggs before vacuuming.
  • Vacuum your bed and surrounding area frequently. After vacuuming, immediately place the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and place in garbage can outdoors.
  • Encase mattress and box springs with a tightly woven, zippered cover to keep bedbugs from entering or escaping. Bedbugs may live up to a year without feeding, so keep the cover on your mattress for at least a year to make sure all bugs in the mattress are dead.
  • Repair cracks in plaster and glue down peeling wallpaper to get rid of places bedbugs can hide.
  • Get rid of clutter around the bed.

If your mattress is infested, you may want to get rid of it and get a new one, but take care to rid the rest of your home of bedbugs or they will infest your new mattress.

Bedbug Extermination

While cleaning up infested areas will be helpful in controlling bedbugs, getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments. Because treating your bed and bedroom with insecticides can be harmful, it is important to use products that can be used safely in bedrooms. Do not treat mattresses and bedding unless the label specifically says you can use them on bedding.

Generally it is safest and most effective to hire an experienced pest control professional for bedbug extermination.

University of Kentucky College of Agriculture: “Bed Bugs.”

Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: “Bed Bugs.”

The New York City Department of Heath and Mental Hygiene: “Stop Bed Bugs Safely.”

University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Lancaster County: “Managing Bed Bugs.”

Why Do Bed Bugs Leave Blood Stains on Sheets and Pillows?

If you’ve found unexplained blood stains on your bedsheets or pillows, you could have bed bugs. Blood spots on the bed are one of the most characteristic signs of an infestation.

We’ll look at why bed bugs leave blood stains in your bed sheets and pillows. We’ll also discuss how long it takes bed bugs to digest blood, and whether they have any blood of their own. Finally, we’ll explain why you might find blood spots if you don’t have bed bugs.

Do Bed Bugs Leave Marks?

Bed bugs are many people’s worst nightmare. Just reading about them is enough to make your skin crawl. However, most people don’t even realize their homes have bed bugs until the infestation is quite large.

This is because bed bugs are sneaky. They’ve evolved to avoid humans at all costs while we’re awake and moving around. They can fit into tiny gaps, and only come out while we’re asleep.

However, bed bugs do leave marks. There are two main types: blood spots and fecal spots.

Bed Bug Blood Spots on Bed Sheets and Pillows

One of the most obvious signs of a bed bug infestation is finding blood stains on your sheets, comforter, and pillow.

There are three main reasons why bed bugs cause blood stains.

  1. Bed bug bites bleed. When bed bugs bite you, they inject an anticoagulant. This stops your blood from clotting. When the bug has finished feeding, the bites can continue to bleed for some time.
  2. Bed bugs have a hollow tubelike mouthpart, called a proboscis, which they use to suck up blood. After a meal, blood can sometimes drip from the proboscis as the bug makes its way back to its h >

Fecal Spots on Bed Sheets and Pillows

Although it’s made of digested blood, it isn’t red. When blood is digested, it darkens in color considerably. Bed bug poop spots usually look dark brown or black.

Fecal spots are small, round and flat. They look like ink spots from marker pens. They may be slightly raised if the poop is on an impermeable surface, such as varnished wood. However, they’re usually found along the edges of the mattress, where bed bugs like to hide.

If you find any fresh spots, they’ll smear red when you touch them. As they age, they will dry, and be very hard to remove.

How Long Does Blood Stay in a Bed Bug?

Bed bugs are flat-looking when they’re unfed. However, when a bed bug consumes a blood meal, it becomes engorged. The abdomen elongates and swells up to fit as much blood as possible.

If you squash a recently-fed, engorged bed bug, it’ll leave quite a substantial blood stain. As it slowly digests its meal, however, there will be less blood to come out.

It’s a common misconception that squashed bed bugs will always bleed. It’s possible to squash an unfed bed bug and see no blood at all. You may see the bug’s internal organs, which are a yellowish color.

Bed bugs don’t stay engorged for very long after feeding. They begin the digestion process straight away.

It takes roughly two to five days for a bed bug to digest its meal fully. This will depend on how much blood it took. Younger bed bugs typically digest their meals faster, as they’re smaller, and consume less blood at each feeding.

What Color Is Bed Bug Blood?

Bed bugs don’t have any blood of their own. This is because insects don’t produce blood in the same way that humans do.

According to the Annual Review of Entomology, insects instead have a fluid called hemolymph. This is similar to blood in a lot of ways.

Hemolymph helps to transport nutrients, such as proteins and sugars, to the body’s cells. It also clots when the insect gets injured.

However, because it doesn’t contain any red blood cells, it’s not red. Instead, it’s bluish-green when oxygenated. This is because it contains hemocyanin, which is a kind of copper-based protein. When unoxygenated, it simply looks grey.

You probably won’t be able to see the bed bug’s hemolymph when you squash one, because there’s so little of it. Instead, you’ll most likely see your undigested blood that the bug has drunk.

Blood Stains on Sheets But No Signs of Bed Bugs

Unexplained blood spots on the bedsheets are a classic sign of bed bugs.

However, it’s common for people to insist that they can’t possibly have bed bugs. They’ve never seen any bugs running around in their bed, so how could that be the case?

Well, bed bugs are small, sneaky and hard to see. Just because you haven’t seen any with your own eyes, that’s no guarantee that there are none.

How Do I Find Bed Bugs in My Home?

Bed bugs are not likely to walk past you in broad daylight. On the contrary, they usually only come out when you’re asleep.

During the day, they hide in tiny crevices around the home. Their favorite spots are the mattress, the box spring, and grooves in the headboard.

You’re more likely to see fecal spotting than the bugs themselves. Look for small, black ink-spot stains on your bedsheets and mattress.

Also, keep eyes peeled for shed bed bug casings. Bed bugs shed their exoskeletons occasionally, and leave them behind. They look like small, translucent insects, but they don’t move.

To make sure that there are no bed bugs in your home, we’d recommend scheduling an inspection with an exterminator. This usually costs between $50 and $600. The price will vary depending on:

    Where you live The pest control company’s rates The size of your home Whether you require the use of bed bug sniffer dogs.

Other Causes of Blood Spots on Sheets (Not Bed Bugs)

If you’ve received the all-clear from the exterminator, you’re probably feeling pretty relieved. However, now you have to figure out what else could be causing the blood stains.

There could be various reasons that you’re bleeding in the night. For example:

    Nosebleeds (epistaxis). If the stains are near your pillowcase, this could be the reason. Night-time nosebleeds are particularly likely in winter, and when your home’s hum >Small cuts. It’s quite common to injure yourself in your sleep acc >Pimples and spots. Pimples can burst in the night when you roll over. You may have some on your back where you can’t easily see them. Colds and illness. If you’ve recently had a bad cold, sinus or chest infection, you may be coughing up blood in your sleep. Pet fleas. If you have pets, check for fleas. Fleas prefer dogs and cats, but they can bite humans. Flea bites can bleed just like bed bug bites can.

The stains may not be blood at all, but something else. If you bring food or drinks into the bedroom, for example, you could have spilled something on your bed.

If you’re concerned about any aspect of your health, it’s always wise to consult a doctor.

What Should I Do If I Have Bed Bugs?

It might take you a while to notice the signs of bed bugs in your home. This is especially true if the infestation is still small. The fewer bed bugs you have, the harder it will be to spot them.

However, if you do find signs of bed bugs, don’t panic. Bed bugs can’t spread diseases, and their bites won’t cause severe damage. They may be unpleasant, but you aren’t in danger.

It is imperative, though, to tackle the problem as soon as you can. Bed bugs can reproduce and multiply very quickly. If you sit on your hands, the infestation will only get worse.

The best and fastest way of getting rid of bed bugs is to hire a professional pest control service. They’ll use extreme heat treatment to kill all bugs and eggs in your home. They may also combine this with insecticides, to be on the safe side.

You can buy insecticides yourself, but bear in mind that bed bugs can hide in the smallest of gaps. They’re notorious for hiding in tiny crevices to escape the poison. This is why bed bug bombs and foggers often don’t work.

If you live in a rented property, contact the landlord straight away to inform them of the problem. Depending on the terms of your lease, and your state laws, they may be required to hire an exterminator for you.

Further Information About Bed Bugs:

Even though pest species annoy us, there are usually reasons not to wipe them out. Perhaps they form a crucial part of the food chain, and larger animals would die…

Bed bugs come and go in a way you can’t explain. You might get an explosion of bites one month, before experiencing far fewer the next. That’s because bed bugs…

Bed bugs need a regular supply of blood to survive. For some reason, you’re covered in bed bug bites while your partner isn’t affected at all. You’re no doubt wondering…

There are two kinds of parasites: those that feed on their host’s skin or blood, and those that live near them, eating crumbs and anything similar that the host leaves…

Having both bed bugs and cockroaches is a nightmare. One feeds on you at night, and the other causes havoc in your kitchen and around your home. Fortunately, it’s possible…

If you’ve ever experienced a bed bug infestation, you might have noticed a peculiar pattern to their bites. Bed bug bites appear on the skin in lines or clusters. The…

Lou Carter

Hi, I’m Lou. I’ve long been fascinated by bed bugs, ever since a friend’s life was turned upside down. That’s why I’ve put together this specialist site. You’ll find detailed answers to all of your questions on how to get rid of a bed bug infestation. I hope you find it useful!

How to Control Bugs that Eat Clothes

Most everyone knows that moths can damage wool clothes. But did you know that there are bugs that can damage cotton, rayon, linen and even stain synthetics?

Learn how to identify each bug and how to control the infestations that are ruining the clothes you are wearing or have in storage.

Control Carpet Beetles

There are three species of carpet beetles that look very similar (the black carpet beetle is the most common); the only difference being in their coloration pattern.

Female carpet beetles lay around 100 soft, white eggs in concealed places that hatch in eight to fifteen days. They hatch more quickly in warmer weather. The eggs are laid on clothing, furniture, cracks in flooring and, of course, carpet. These beetles typically produce four generations within a year.

It is not the adult insect but the larvae that feed on fabric. They begin feeding as soon as the egg hatches and prefer natural fibers like wool, mohair, fur, and feathers. The larvae are most often discovered on fabric but they can crawl from place to place and hide in any dark crevices including air ducts, closets and behind baseboards when they are not feeding on your clothes.

Insecticides to control carpet beetles should only be used after a thorough cleaning of baseboards, corners, and edges of carpeting where the adults hide. To vacuum thoroughly, you must go over infested areas several times. It is important to vacuum in different patterns to ensure that the carpet pile is moved in every direction to access the carpet backing.

In infected nonfood areas, household formulas pyrethroid insecticides can be used to kill the infestation. There are many products available and should list as the active ingredient: permethrin, bifenthrin, deltamethrin or tralomethrin. Follow package directions carefully. You can also use organic methods to control carpet beetles.

Control Clothes Moths

There are millions of moths in the world – some quite beautiful. But the two that are commonly found munching away on your favorite wool suit are not so enchanting.

The webbing clothes moth (shown here) is a small moth with a wingspan of about 1/2 inch. It is pale gold with no unusual markings and a weak flier that seldom leaves dark areas. When you see the adult moth beware. It is no danger to wool, cashmere or mohair clothes; but if there are two that breed the larvae can be terribly detrimental as they feed and cut holes in clothes.

The larvae feed for five weeks for up to two years depending on humidity, temperature, and food availability. It then spins a case and emerges as a full-grown moth in 2 1/2 weeks. The cycle begins again and multiple generations can be produced within a year.

If you see a worm-like insect with a hard shell on your clothes, it is actually the larvae of the case-bearing clothes moth. It is this creature that cuts holes in your clothing and other fabrics. The adult moths are very small and are rarely seen.

Mothballs or blocks contain naphthalene a common repellent. Naphthalene is best used by scattering the balls in layers throughout the fabric. However, in moist conditions naphthalene can discolor fabrics and should be wrapped with paper so there is no direct contact with the fabric. It does not react with plastic but it can corrode some metals.

Paradichlorobenzene (PDB), is the common ingredient in moth crystals and is less toxic to humans. It should be used in sealed containers or closed rooms at a high concentration for two to three weeks. It reacts with some hard plastics and can even melt storage boxes and plastic buttons. Read directions carefully before using.

Cedar and lavender can be used as natural moth repellants. ​

Control Cockroaches

Along with its many habits that can cause asthma and carry disease, the cockroach will also stain and damage clothes and any fabric in the home. The cockroach is attracted to perspiration and body fluid stains, food and drink spills and laundry starch. As the cockroach eats away at these food sources, it can cut holes in the fibers or weaken them so that holes appear.

Their excrement will also stain clean clothes, often requiring the use of non-chlorine bleach on washable clothes to remove the brown stains.

To get rid of the roaches, begin by cleaning and sanitizing the areas around your clothing. Remove soiled clothes and vacuum away insect eggs and droppings. You can then use residual insecticides or baits to control the cockroach infestation. The insecticide should have one or more of the following ingredients: chlorpyrifos or Dursban, propoxur or Baygon, pyrethrins or pyrethroid, hydroprene Gencor and silica gel.

Roach baits should contain propoxur or Baygon, boric acid, sulfluramid, or hydramethylon. Follow package directions carefully for best success. Repeated treatments will be necessary.

There are organic methods of cockroach control that you can make yourself. They are less toxic but take longer to control the problem.

Control Crickets

Crickets are not commonly thought of as an insect that eats holes in clothes. They do not attack clean clothes. However, they find body soil, food and beverage stains and laundry starch very attractive. The cricket will eat the remains of the stain and during its feast will often cut the threads of the fabric. Cricket excrement will stain clean clothes and often happens if clothes are dried outside.

If you find you have indoor crickets, begin by removing sources of moisture and food. You must also find the points of entry from the outside. Look around light fixtures and inspect any cracks along floorboards and outside foundation walls. Insecticides should be used when there are a large number of crickets. Select a product that is labeled for control of indoor crickets and contains the ingredients chlorpyrifos (Dursban), permethrin, or propoxur (Baygon). Whether choosing an aerosol product or liquid, follow application directions carefully.

Control Silverfish and Firebrats

Cousin to the firebrat, silverfish (seen here) are wingless insects about 1/4- to 1/2-inch long with five legs. Their carrot-shaped body is completely silver in color. Silverfish are found in dark areas around 70 degrees F. They feed at night and stay close to food sources.

They like natural fibers like silk, cotton, rayon, and anything starched. Body soil and food stains also attract contamination. Once they find a food source, they tend to stay close by. As they eat the “food” they cut irregular holes in the fiber usually following the outlines of the stain.

Firebrats are usually 1/4- to 1/2-inch long. The firebrat has a mottled silver and brown coat. They are wingless insects with carrot-shaped bodies and five legs. They are active at night and firebrats prefer warm spaces like attics that over 90 degrees F.

As with carpet beetles, before you can control silverfish and firebrats you must first remove moisture and food that these insects crave. A thorough cleaning before treatment is a must.

For an infestation, select a spray insecticide that contains synergized pyrethrin and pyrethroids. Look for listed ingredient bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, tetramethrin or phenothrin. Some sprays are an oil-based solution and should not be used near electric motors or gas pilot flames. They should not be used around food preparation areas.

Organic control can be done using silica gel after cleaning.

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