Can you really have a good night and sleep tight knowing that bed bugs will bite? Probably not. The good news is, there are some steps you can take to avoid a bed bug infestation in your home, especially if you travel often.
Bed Bugs and Dust Mites: What’s the Difference?
Bed bugs are different from dust mites. Bed bugs have six legs and are about the size of an apple seed so you can see them, whereas dust mites have eight legs and are so small you can only see them through a microscope.
Bed bugs feed on human or animal blood; dust mites feed on flakes of human skin and even pet dander. Bed bugs bite; dust mites don’t. Dust mites, however, cause allergic reactions because their feces contain an allergen.
Top 5 Bed Bug Facts
- Bed bugs love cozy warm spaces and CO2. A bed bug’s idea of heaven could be your neck or chest. Anyone who’s warm, breathing and has blood flowing through their veins can be a victim.
- Bed bugs aren’t just found in beds. Bed bugs, though visible to the naked eye, can be hard to spot because they love hiding in dark cracks and crevices of your home, not just your mattress. They can hang out between or behind cushions, dresser tables, in your cabinets and between the folds of linen. Tell-tale signs you have a bed bug infestation are small feces or specks of blood on your mattress, bed linens and even behind wallpaper.
- They get bigger when they feed. Like dog ticks, the bodies of bed bugs get engorged with blood when they feed. From a brown color, they turn more reddish. The younger bugs or nymphs (identified because of their translucent coloring) may turn bright red because of the blood they feed on.
- A bed bug’s bite is painless. That’s right, you won’t usually be able to feel that a bed bug has bit you until the morning when you see and feel the bites on your skin. As bed bugs feed, they inject a blood thinner into you to make it easier for them to suck out your blood and so you won’t notice there’s a tiny vampire feeding on you.
- Bed bug infestations can cause stress, depression and anxiety. People who have bed bugs experience unease, sleeplessness and anxiety. Some individuals even reach the point where they isolate themselves from society because they worry about spreading the infestation.
Bed Bug Control: Top Tips for Travelers
If you have a bed bug infestation at home, it’s best to call in a professional pest management service to completely exterminate the bugs. Vacuuming is only a temporary solution. When traveling, do the following:
- When you see signs of a bed bug infestation in your hotel room, request another – preferably one that’s far away (not one that’s next to, or above or below the infested room).
- Keep your dirty laundry in a sealed bag.
- Store your luggage as far and as high away from the bed and floor as possible.
- Hang up your clothes in the closet. Avoid putting them in drawers.
- Upon returning home, wash and dry all the clothes you brought – even unused ones – using the hottest settings on your washing machine.
- Steam or vacuum your luggage before storage.
We hope this information helps you get to know more about bed bugs, where they lurk and what you can do to keep your home and your family safe from them. Now you can really sleep tight!