Bugs That Hide in Couches, Hunker

Bugs That Hide in Couches

Contents

No matter how clean you keep your house, your couch can still be a hotbed of insect activity. Some bugs are attracted to the upholstery fabric, while others are lured by the fur, hair and dust that couches collect. Bed bugs, fleas, carpet beetles and dust mites can all become unwanted sofa guests.

Bed Bugs

As the name implies, bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are most commonly found on beds, but they’ll also move into couches. That’s because people rest on sofas, and the pests are attracted to carbon dioxide and warmth, both of which indicate a viable food source.

Bed bugs are flat, oval, reddish-brown insects about 1/4 inch long — about the same size as an apple seed. Their shape allows them to slip through tiny cracks. and the pests like to burrow into dark areas, such as in couch seams, bed frames or clothing folds.

Signs of Bed Bugs

You know you have a bed bug problem if you see live pests crawling on your sofa. Bed bug bites are another sign of an infestation, but not all individuals experience reactions. Those that do often mistake bed bug bites for mosquito bites, flea bites, hives or a rash. Look for signs of bed bug excrement, which looks like dark brown to black spots on the upholstery, or crushed beg bugs, which leave behind red or rust-colored stains on the fabric.

If you suspect you have bed bugs in your couch, use a flashlight to inspect the couch seams, in between the cushions and around the frame. Keep in mind that tiny bed bugs are about the same width as a credit card, so if you can fit a card into a little crack, then a bed bug can get in there, too. If you spot bed bugs in your couch, then you need to inspect and treat all areas of your home immediately.

Fleas

Couches often host fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) because pets love to sleep, sit and walk on furniture. Fleas are small, wingless pests that reach about 1/8 inch in length and feed on mammal blood. Adult females lay up to 50 eggs every day on their animal host, but those smooth eggs fall off the pet onto furniture and the floor. After hatching in about two days, the larvae stay hidden in cool, shady, out-of-the way places, such as beneath sofa cushions or the couch itself.

Signs of fleas

You know you have a flea problem if you see adult pests hopping about on your couch. Fleas also leave behind reddish-brown «dirt» — or excrement — where they like to rest. Adult female fleas feed on hosts because they need blood meals to mate and lay eggs. Not only do flea bites make your pets itchy and miserable, but the fleas can also bite people and cause small, itchy bumps to erupt on the skin, especially on the lower legs and ankles. Individuals allergic to flea bites might also break out in hives or a rash within 12 to 24 hours of being bitten. There’s no need to suffer from flea infestations, because there are so many ways to eradicate them.

Carpet Beetles

Many species of carpet beetles (Anthrenus spp.) exist, and all of the adults have oval bottles that reach approximately 1/8 inch in length. The most common nuisance in couches and other upholstered furniture is the furniture carpet beetle (Anthrenus flavipes), an insect with a black body and mottled white and yellow markings. Carpet beetles don’t bite people or pets. Instead, they consume keratin, which is the main protein found in fur, hair and feathers.

Adult female carpet beetles lay between 35 and 100 white eggs in cracks and crevices. The eggs hatch in 7 to 21 days and start feeding on upholstery fabric, shed fur, lint or other tiny debris your couch collects. Larvae prefer feeding in dark areas that aren’t disturbed very often, which includes beneath couches as well as in between the cushions.

Signs of Carpet Beetles

The primary signs of a carpet beetle infestation are the numerous little holes eaten through the fabric. If you suspect beetle damage, look for the brown, bristly skins the pests leave behind when molting.

When you suspect carpet beetles, you need to search for them in areas where cat or dog fur accumulates, including beneath furniture and under cushions. The larvae can travel throughout your home and cause a lot of fabric damage, so treat the pests as quickly as possible.

Dust Mites

Dust mites (Dermatophagoides spp.) are microscopic arachnids that live in dust. You might not be able to see them, but their droppings and body parts contain proteins that can cause allergies or asthma symptoms in sensitive people. Dust mites prefer feeding on sloughed-off flakes of dead skin, as well as on shed hair and pet fur, so the pests tend to congregate where people and pets rest, including couches, bedding and mattresses.

Signs of Dust Mites

Because dust mites are too small to see with the naked eye, so it can be hard to know you’ve got a problem. You’re most likely to realize you have a dust mite infestation when sensitive people start experiencing symptoms, such as:

  • sneezing
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • sinus pain
  • watery or itchy eyes
  • sore throat
  • headaches
  • coughing or wheezing
  • skin rashes

If someone in your household starts suffering from the above symptoms, inspect your entire house so you can quickly take steps to get rid of dust mites.

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Bed bugs: Diagnosis and treatment

How do you know if you have bed bugs?

To find out if you have bed bugs, you need to look for two things:

Bites on your body

Signs of bed bugs

Bites on your body: If you have bed bugs, you’re likely to have bites. Bed bug bites usually cause itchy welts. These welts usually appear in a zigzag pattern as show in the photo below.

Bed bug bites

When bedbugs bite, you often see clusters of bites. Each cluster usually contains 3 to 5 bites that appear in a zigzag pattern.

You’ll seldom see bed bugs, so many people mistakenly believe that mosquitoes, fleas, or spiders bit them. Sometimes people mistake bed bug bites for a common skin condition such as an itchy rash, hives, or chickenpox.

To make sure you have bed bugs, you’ll need to look for signs of bed bugs.

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How to check for bed bugs

Although bed bugs don’t usually require serious medical attention, they can cause a great deal of anxiety and restless nights. To help find bed bugs before they find you (and your belongings), dermatologists recommend looking for the following signs near places where you sleep.

How to check for bed bugs

Although bed bugs don’t usually require serious medical attention, they can cause a great deal of anxiety and restless nights. To help find bed bugs before they find you (and your belongings), dermatologists recommend looking for the following signs near places where you sleep.

Signs of bed bugs: This step is important. If you have a bed bug infestation, you need to find out so that you can get rid of the bed bugs. Getting rid of the bed bugs is the only way to stop the bites.

If you have a large number of bed bugs, you may see the bugs. Most people, however, only see signs of bed bugs. To look for signs of bed bugs, check the places that people sleep for the following:

A sweet, musty odor. Take a deep breath. If you notice a sweet, musty in your hotel room, cruise-ship cabin, or other sleeping area, there may be a heavy bed bug infestation in the room. Bed bugs produce chemicals to help them communicate, although not everyone will notice the smell.

Specks of blood on bedding, mattresses, or upholstered furniture such as couches and headboards. Look carefully at your blankets, sheets, and mattress pads and then check the mattress and box spring. Are there specks of blood anywhere, especially near the seams? If so, there could be a bed bug infestation. You should also check for specks of blood on all upholstered furniture, including couches and headboards.

Exoskeletons. Bed bugs have an outer shell that they shed and leave behind. Do you see shell-like remains on the mattress, mattress pad, or beneath couch cushions?

Tiny, blackish specks. If you see blackish specks on the bedding, mattress, headboard, or beneath couch cushions, it could be bed bug excrement.

Eggs. After mating, female bed bugs lay white, oval eggs in cracks and crevices. Keep in mind that these will be small, as a bed bug is only about the size of an apple seed. The photo below shows a bed bug near eggs. The photo was magnified so that you can see the bed bug and eggs.

If you do get bed bugs and have many bites or a bite that looks infected, see a board-certified dermatologist. A dermatologist can treat an infection and help relieve the itch.

Bed bug with eggs

A bed bug is a tiny insect with a broad, oval body. If it has recently eaten, it has a reddish-brown color.

If you see bed bugs, they will likely scurry toward the closest hiding place. Any dark place such as inside a mattress or even a picture frame makes a good hiding place.

As you watch bed bugs move, it can look like they are flying or jumping because they can crawl quickly. Bed bugs cannot fly or jump; they can only crawl.

If you find signs of bed bugs, call a pest-control company or your property manager. You should not use bug spray or a fogger. These products have little effect on bed bugs.

Treating bed bug bites

You should see a dermatologist for treatment if you have:

Skin infection (bites feel tender or ooze discharge, such as pus)

An allergic skin reaction (skin red and swollen or hives)

Your dermatologist may prescribe the following to treat bed bug bites:

Allergic reaction. Some people may require an injection of an antihistamine, corticosteroid, or epinephrine (adrenaline) for a severe allergic reaction.

Infection. An infection may require an antibiotic. If the infection is mild, your dermatologist may recommend an antiseptic medication that you can buy without a prescription. Your dermatologist will tell you which one to use. Your dermatologist also may recommend an antiseptic to prevent a skin infection.

Itch. A prescription antihistamine pill or liquid can help. You also can apply a corticosteroid to the bites. Your dermatologist will tell you which is best for you.

At-home treatment

If you do not have any signs of an infection or a serious reaction, you can often treat the bites at home.

To treat bed bug bites:

Wash the bites with soap and water. This will help prevent a skin infection and help reduce itchiness.

If the bites itch, apply a corticosteroid cream to the bites. You can get a weak form of this medicine without a prescription at your local drugstore. Stronger corticosteroids require a prescription.

Bed bug bites usually heal and go away within a week or two.

Image
Getty Images

References
Leverkus M et al. “Bullous Allergic Hypersensitivity to Bed bug Bites Mediated by IgE against Salivary Nitrophorin.» J of Invest Dermatol. 2006;126:2364-2366.

Liebold K et al. “Disseminated bullous eruption with systemic reaction caused by Cimex lectularius.” J Euro Acad of Dermat and Vener. 2003;17:461-463.

Steen CJ, Carbonaro PA, Schwartz RA. “Arthropods in dermatology.” J Am Acad Dermatol 2004; 50:819-42.

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Bed Bugs in Couch-Covers, Signs & How to Get rid

Bed bugs can colonize any environment provided the conditions are favorable. The couch is one of the most notorious areas that bed bugs find a lot of comfort. This article elaborates how you can check and confirm that you have an infestation of bed bugs in your couch. You will also be equipped with the information on how to get rid of them.

Bed Bugs Couch- Signs & How to check

There are some indicators that can give you a clue of the presence of bed bugs in your couch. Here we review the real signs and how you can scout for them.

Can they live in leather & fabric couches/sofa?

Not only sofa but bed bugs can also live in the leather furniture. They in fact are capable of living in any place that is dark. The leather couches or sofas have some few dark areas that are as well conducive for the bed bugs.

They will not entirely penetrate to the inside because they will find it a great challenge to burrow through the leather. They only find convenience of space to hide and come out when looking for food at night or even daytime. [1]

Where do bed bugs hide in couches

They will nest on the surface and perhaps any voids that are left when the furniture was being made. When your house is heavily infested, you will find them on the seams of the couch, the cushions and the folds.

Signs of a couch infested with bed bugs

Whenever you suspect bed bug infestation in your home, look for the following signs to confirm their presence:

  • Dark spots which could be the excrement from the bed bugs, or blood spots, when they are accidentally sat on.
  • Egg shells that look tiny and pale yellow skin, which the nymphs shed when they grow into adult bugs.
  • Some rusty looking stains that is sometimes red in color. This could occur when the bed bugs are crushed when the sofa is brought to use.
  • Live bed bugs that crawl on the couch. This could become very evident when the infestation is out of control and they could openly come out from time to time.

How to Check

The best and most reliable method to detect the bed bugs is to check for their physical presence on the sofa. Keep in mind, bed bugs do not only live in the couch but also the nuts and nails of the sofa.

The following are some of the steps you can undertake to check the presence or absence of bed bugs in your furniture:

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Acquire white latex gloves, a white sheet of paper and a flashlight for inspecting the sofa.

Put the furniture on the sheet of paper which will help you see the bed bugs.

Use your gloved hand or any other object with sharp edges to run through the cracks and crevices of the couch.

Observe from time to time any signs of bed bugs on your gloves or the white sheet of paper. Use a magnifying lens for better observation. You should be able to observe the real bed bugs, their fecal material or old and shed skin of the bugs.

Using the flashlight, look into the couch especially the dark areas. Bugs hide in very dark areas. Because the bugs do not like light, a flashlight could also scare them from their hiding places and you will be able to see them on the white sheet.[2]

Plastic and other Couch covers for bed bugs

Protection of your sofa sets is always called for when you want to keep the bed bugs away. There are covers and encasements that can help you do this.

How do Bed Bug proof Covers, Protectors and encasements work?

The encasements work by creation of barrier to the bed bugs from accessing the couch. The covers keep all the stages of bed bugs in the zipped cover and this chokes them to death because they will not come out to get a blood meal which they need for survival. They will also lack air and thus collapse and die.

You will also be able to easily detect the bed bugs if you have your furniture covered with the encasement. This because the covers lack the dark areas, folds and nooks that the bugs love to hide in most cases.

What are the pros and cons of these covers?

Looking at the advantages:

  • They save you money because you will not spend on getting professionals to exterminate the bugs or even replace the entire infested furniture.
  • The bed bug covers also prevent your furniture from getting dust or dirt.
  • The covers also act as detecting tools for the bed bugs; especially if the covers are white and clear enough for you to see.

On the other hand, there are some disadvantages that are associated with their use. They include:

  • They are not entirely effective because not all the bed bugs in the sofa would be killed. The bed bugs would also migrate to other places during covering and then come back after some time.
  • They are only effective for the sofa and would be of less use in other areas like the mattresses and the bed.
  • Covering the bed requires some technique and special skill to be effective.

Types of covers

Plastic

This are handcrafted covers that are meant to perfectly fit on the furniture in your house. They are supposed to protect your sofa from any stains from bed bugs or any tear. You can use them permanently or as much as needed. It is recommended that you always clean your furniture before you put the covers.

Fabric slip covers

These are fitted covers that are always easy to take off whenever need arises. They enable you to keep your furniture from the infestation of bed bugs and any other threats to your furniture.

Spring encasements

They are designed to end the bed bug infestation and their allergens that they release. Its design combines both the zipper technology as well as the breathable hypoallergenic materials.

This type is meant to prevent and treat the infestation of bed bugs on your sofa. This is a real-time protection if you frequently suffer asthma attack or allergic reactions from the inhalation of the allergens released by the bed bugs.

How to get Rid-Removal & Treatment options

Other than use of covers, how else can you get rid of the bugs in couches?

Washing-how to clean a couch with bed bugs

Laundry is always the number one alternative before any other. All you have to do is remove all the cushions and then strip off the covers then wash them at the highest setting.

Raise the temperature of the water to effectively get rid of the bed bugs. This will only take you about 20 minutes.

If the bed bugs do not succumb to the washing, then subject them to a higher temperature for 90 minutes. Once you are done with the washing, pass the cushions through a dryer if they can fit. You should dry bulkier cushions through commercial dryers because they are set at higher temperatures and could be more effective.

Other treatment and removal options

Apart from the prevention of the terrorism by use of covers, you can also get rid of the bed bugs using vacuum and steam. The use of vacuum picks up the bed bugs, their feces and eggs from the crevices of your sofa.

The use of vacuum is often the fastest and the first step to take before you could even think of steam or other chemicals. It is recommended that you use the HEPA filtered vacuum that could even prevent the bugs from escaping.

After trying the vacuuming, you should go ahead to try the use of steam. This is now the most effective and surest way to completely remove the bed bugs from the couch. The steam produced should be about 180° Fahrenheit. This kills the bugs and even kills the eggs of the bugs.

Residual spray is also effective. After spraying your sofa with the steam, it is important to add some residual spray to continuously kill the bed bugs. Look for the non-staining insecticides that provide up to 12 weeks protection of your couch.

The chemical should also be able to kill the eggs of the bed bugs. Always ensure that you are protected and not to allow the chemicals to get in touch with your skin as it could irritate.

Use climb up interceptors. Prevent the bed bugs from coming back again using the interceptors. Use the climb up interceptors as they are more effective. They work to lure the bed bugs from their hiding places and then trap them in a pit thus killing them. You should place the devices below your couch and in most cases the stands of the couch.

Use a heat treatment unit. The use of ZappBug Room are large equipment that can be used to rid your couches of the any bed bugs. They are more expensive and more effective as well. Because of their costs, they could be rented and used when need arises.

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What Causes Bed Bugs in Your Home ?

If you wake up in the middle of the nigh scratching itchy arms and legs, you may have a bed bug infestation. These small, reddish-brown bloodsucking pests can cause a number of health issues if they are not eliminated quickly.

A single bug is no larger than an apple seed. This is why you may not be able to detect them till it is too late. They can remain hidden between cracks, crevices, box springs, the headboard, and any furniture that is near your bed.

Table of Contents

How Do Bed Bugs Get In Your Home?

These pests don’t materialize out of thin air and land on your bed. Bed bugs are notorious hitch hikers – they can get on you and you won’t even realize they are there till they multiply on your bed. Here are some common places where these bloodsuckers can come from:

  • Office buildings.
  • Daycare centers
  • Schools
  • Libraries
  • Nursing homes
  • Police station
  • The theatre
  • Bus depots (from seats)

In fact, bed bugs can also transfer from one person to the next so you aren’t safe even if you avoid the aforementioned locations.

1. Doesn’t Matter If You Are Clean

What causes bed bugs to come? Let’s get one thing straight – no matter how clean you are, you are still susceptible to an infestation from these pesky insects. Their main diet is human and animal blood and they can live almost any place that has a ready supply of either of these. So no matter how pristine your home is and even if you don’t have pets, you may have these bugs.

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Even though bed bugs prefer to remain hidden, they venture out when they sense a suitable source of food nearby. These are quite caution though which is why they come out in the middle of the night. Plus, there is a reason why you don’t feel them biting you when you are asleep. When they bite, they inject a weak anesthetic into their host so that they can eat their fill without being noticed.

2. They Are Master Hitchhikers

As mentioned before, for bed bugs to get in your home, they have to hitch a ride on you or anything you are carrying. Normally, they don’t remain on a host after they have fed their fill but they may crawl onto them and ride to a new location.

Needless to say travelers are the ones who are the most susceptible to this. If you stay in a hotel that has a bed bug problem, you will probably take some home with you on your luggage, purse, backpack and coat.

3. They Prefer High-Activity Areas

Since bed bugs travel from one feeding ground to the next by hitching a ride on unsuspecting people, they are usually found in populated areas. This includes shelters, dorms, hotels, apartments, etc.

In other words, if you have a lot of guests coming over for dinner or a party, chances are at least one of them are hiding pesky uninvited guests so to speak. People who live in single family residences are at a lower risk.

4. They Love Clutter

Once bed bugs get in your home, they immediately start searching for hiding places. This can be anything from baseboards and wallpaper to your sheets, under switch plates and especially clutter. This spells bad news for hoarders – the more things you have lying around your home, the harder it will be for you to get rid of them.

Once they find a decent hidey hole, they spare no time multiplying and they do this quite fast. In fact, a single female can lay over hundreds of eggs at a time. With a ready food source and isolation, it can produce eggs as many times as it needs.

5. They Can Be Found In Second Hand Furniture

If you prefer to buy furniture second hand, chances are you will get more than you bargained for. If it comes from a home that is infested with bed bugs, it will definitely have a few that can infest your home as well. This also includes rented furniture which is not deep cleaned and inspected for pests after it is returned.

Unfortunately, isolating an infested piece of furniture may not resolve the problem. Bed bugs can survive for months without feeding after all.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes bed bugs and how to get rid of them?

To summarize, bed bugs are caused by clutter, infested furniture and travel. Here are some ways that you can prevent an infestation and/or get rid of them:

  • Be diligent when you are traveling. When you are staying at a hotel, place your bag on your suitcase, not on the floor or the bed. Plus, keep it away from the furniture and the walls.
  • Before purchasing new or used furniture, examine it for bed bugs by lifting the seams, cushions and tufts.
  • Vacuum your home frequently
  • Cover all power outlets. Bed bugs hide in the holes during extermination and come out when the coast is clear.
  • Store clothing in vacuum sealed bags while traveling. This will prevent these pests from hitching a ride on you all the way back to your home.

How do I know that my home has bed bugs?

  • You see small, red bumps on your skin that itch when you get up in the morning.
  • You see blood stains on the sheets.
  • You see black droppings on furniture, in crevices, in your bed and in cracks.
  • You notice a musty odor in your home
  • You see dark spots on the walls.
  • You see bed bug shells (white, husk-like specks) on your mattress.
  • You see small, white spots in the furniture.

I have a bed bug problem. How do I control it?

  • Get rid of clutter and clean up your home.
  • Move the bed well away from the furniture before treating it.
  • Wash infested sheets, pillows, blankets etc and dry it in a hot dryer for at least half an hour. This should kill the eggs as well. After that, consider using spring and box spring covers to prevent re-infestation.
  • Seal all openings such as cracks and crevices especially where the pipes and wires are located.
  • Remove all the drawers from a dresser to search for the bugs and pull it away from the wall to block escape routes.
  • To dislodge eggs, scrub infested areas with a stiff brush and then vacuum the room extensively. A vacuum hose attachment will be effective especially in cracks and small holes. Since bed bugs latch on tightly, use the nozzle of the vacuum to scrape them lose and then suck them up.

How do I use pesticide to eliminate bed bugs?

Only use pesticides if the infestation is too large to manage. Plus, make sure to use a product that is made specifically for eliminating it such as Temprid FX. Follow the directions that are mentioned on it carefully. Use only the amount that is prescribed and place it in a spray bottle.

Spray the pesticide in areas where bed bugs are usually found such as in corners, around thresholds, and window frames, under the furniture, the bed and furniture legs, the edge of carpets and baseboards, etc. Whatever you do, do not spray an entire carpet or floor and allow it to dry on areas that you do spray before removing dead bugs.

What health risks do bed bugs carry?

Bed bugs affect each person differently. Some people may not even see any red spots or signs of an infestation on their body while others may either get small, red and engorged marks on their body or a full-on allergic reaction which may require medical aid. The worst case scenario may be burning and an anaphylactic reaction. Some people may also suffer from insomnia if they know that their bed has bugs in it for fear of being bitten.

How do I prevent bed bugs from returning after cleaning them out?

Even if you evacuate your home, some bugs may return and feed off other pests such as rats and mice. In other words, make sure that you get rid of them as well as the bugs at the same time.

How do I prevent an infestation after returning home from a vacation?

  • When you get home from a vacation, take your luggage into the garage or any area that is not near your home and shake out everything in it.
  • Place all of the clothes in your luggage in a plastic bag and wash them separately in the washing machine even items that you never wore during your trip. Use hot water for this.
  • Vacuum your empty suitcase from the inside out thoroughly and dump the contents outside. Take extra precautions by rubbing the suitcases with rubbing alcohol. Apply it to a cotton ball and rub it around the crevices and cracks.
  • Items that should not be washed can still be treated. For example, you can leave the shoes you used in your travels out in the sun for a couple of days to drive out any bed bugs in it.

If you see a single bed bug, chances are there are more behind it hiding in your home. Take the threat seriously by taking the mentioned preventative/elimination measures and you will be free of the pesky critters in no time.

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