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12 Easy DIY Ways to Get Rid Of Bed Bugs Fast | Killer Guide

Updated on November 15, 2014
bedbug picture
bedbug picture | Source

What can you find here!

This article describes the following topics.

What are bed bugs?

What causes bed bugs?

Pictures of bed bugs and bed bug bites.

How can you know if you are infected?

Common questions about bed bugs like can you see them? How big are they? Are they dangerous? Do bed bugs fly? How do they spread? Does alcohol kill bed bugs? Where do they hide?

How to get rid of bed bugs?

How to avoid bed bugs while travelling and in hotels?

Effect of DDT on bed bugs.

How to treat bed bug bites?

You will get an overall idea of how bed bugs can be such annoying and how to get rid of them and prevent them from coming back.

What are bed bugs?

A bed bug (Cimex lectularius) is a small, blood-sucking parasite that feeds on the blood of warm-blooded animals and humans. An adult bed bug may have the size up to 8mm. Bed bugs belong to the insect family Cimicidae. There are different types of bed bugs. They are mainly found in the bedroom: mainly in hotels and inns as well as in private homes. These insects with their flat bodies can hide in tiny chinks in and around the bed and wait for their prey which is us to get asleep. Then they come out poking their snout into the skin to suck blood. The bugs are most active about an hour before dawn.

The bed bug bite causes itchy red bumps similar to mosquito bites. The color of a bed bug can be reddish brown to brown. The more they eat, the darker they become. Immature bed bugs (nymphs) can be translucent or light tan in color. Bed bugs are often red in color after feeding and they are attracted to heat.

Before World War II, bedbug infestations were common, but after the introduction of DDT in the mid-20th century, bedbug infestations became less and less. The recent upsurge in infections worldwide is associated with several factors, including the increase in international travel and resistance to insecticides.

What causes bed bugs?

Contrary to popular belief, dirty place is not a source of bed bugs. Dirty place is not the cause of bed bugs. They need warm blood and they spread where ever it is available. No matter the area is tidy or dirty.

They spread very fast and they can hide very well. So most often, you get bed bugs from public places like theatre or hotel rooms. Bed bugs usually travel via clothes, luggage, coats purses etc. So whenever you come in contact with any of the things that carry bed bugs, you are attacked and become the new carriers.

Bed bugs can hide anywhere in your home. In the closets, behind base boards, inside beds and so on… The more cluttered is your home, the more hiding places for bed bugs.

Pictures of bed bugs and bed bug bites

Ever wondered how does a bed bug or bed bug bite look like?

The bed bug begins its life as an egg. They are white and about 1mm long. It takes 10 days to hatch and grow up into adult in 6 weeks.

The bed bug bite is typically a red spot with a small central bulge around the sting site. The slot-opening is still visible. Usually, there are several bumps to be found together.

Adult Bed Bug
Adult Bed Bug | Source
bed bug nymph
bed bug nymph | Source
bed bug bites
bed bug bites | Source
bedbug bites
bedbug bites | Source
bedbug eggs
bedbug eggs | Source

Bed bugs symptoms

Well... You know when the itching starts and by looking at the bites (possibly several of them). If they are same as the pictures above, you’re attacked by bed bugs. You can see rusty-colored blood spot on bed sheets and furniture where bed bugs concentrate. If they are excess in number, you can feel a sweet musty odor. It is hard to tell if you’ve been bitten by a bed bug because they inject an anesthetic and coagulant which prevents a person from realizing that he is bitten. Other symptoms of bed bug bites include insomnia, anxiety, and skin problems.

Heavy bed bug infestation

This will give you an idea about the size of a bed bug

Common questions about bed bugs!

#1 Can you see bed bugs?

Yes. They can be seen but it is difficult as they are experts in hiding. You may need to thoroughly check the whole bed, bed sheets, clothes, luggage etc.

#2 How big are bed bugs?

Adult bed bugs are usually 4-5 mm in length. They are completely flat and make it difficult to spot them. Young bed bugs are much smaller as 1.6 mm long. You can easily see a bed bug by putting little effort into ‘looking’. These pictures will give you a rough idea of how big a bed bug is.

#3 Are bed bugs dangerous?

Unlike other insects, bed bugs are not very dangerous but heavily irritating. In rare cases it can transmit hepatitis B virus. The saliva injected by them can cause allergic reactions in some people.

#4 Do bed bugs fly?

No they do not. Bed bugs do not have wings and therefore cannot fly.

#5 Does alcohol kill bed bugs?

Alcohol can kill bedbugs but cannot rely on alcohol for eliminating them entirely. Rubbing or spraying alcohol kill bed bugs that come in contact but it will not continue to kill them unless you spray alcohol periodically which is not a good option. Also alcohol does not kill bed bug eggs.

#6 How do bed bugs spread?

As I said above, bed bugs can spread easily. The most common medium are clothes and luggage. They also travel via purse, suitcase, laptop bags etc. Thus they make their way to hotel rooms, offices, hospitals, or any other building.

#7 Where do bed bugs hide?

Because the bodies are flat, they can hide under the smallest spots like border of beds, under the mattress, edges of carpets, couches, cracks in the walls and ceilings, in your pillows, under your bed sheets, cushioned chairs, behind electrical plugs and wall sockets, in your cupboards and dressers, on your curtains or under furniture. In fact bed bugs prefer any fabric materials. They can travel for pretty good distance too. So expect them to be found anywhere in the room.

Effect of DDT on bed bugs!

DDT is a synthetic pesticide mass-produced in the 1940s and found to be useful against mosquitoes, bedbugs and other insects. DDT was found to harm people seriously and was eventually banned in many countries including U.S.

DDT reduced the presence of bedbugs in the 1940s and 50s. The pesticide was continued to use until the 70’s. By the time it was not able to kill bed bugs as they developed immunity. states, in reference to an article by the BBC, that DDT is useless in killing bedbugs. Bedbugs developed immunity to DDT in the 1950s and now the DDT serves only as an anesthesia for the insect, causing it to fall, it more rather than kill.

How to get rid of bed bugs?

Getting rid of bed bugs can be a tricky task since they are expert hitchhikers. The best thing you can do is to entrust the task with an experienced pest control professional. If you are planning to do it yourself, here are some tips:

  1. Bedding and garments are to be washed in boiled water. Preferably at 120F.
  2. Dry clean all your clothes.
  3. For those things that cannot be washed, wrap them in a transparent plastic bag and place it outdoors where the temperature can reach 120F
  4. Use well known insecticides to kill bed bugs
  5. You can kill them by freezing also. Although it’s a bit difficult and time consuming. But you can save the trick for winter.
  6. Steam your carpets above 120F
  7. Vacuuming the house may not eliminate each and every eggs and bugs but it can help get rid of them to an extent.
  8. Rubbing alcohol can kill those come in contact but you cannot rely solely on this method.
  9. You can buy a bed bug spray that contains IGR (Insect Growth Regulator) which is very effective if the infestation is small.
  10. Reduce clutter in your home. With less cluttered, bedbugs have fewer places to hide and reproduce.
  11. Diatomite: Non-toxic and pet friendly, diatomaceous earth is an environmentally friendly way to kill all kinds of insects, including bed bugs. Powdered and spray type are available to buy.
  12. Some oils like tea tree and neem oil can not kill bedbugs but they work well to repel them. Tea tree oil is an extract from the Melaleuca alternifolia plant that can cause various health problems with pet birds, cats and small dogs. If there are pets in the house, look for other safer choices. Apply the oil in small quantities to the skin to repel bed bugs. Since bed bugs are active at night, apply before bedtime.

How to relieve Bed bug bite fast? Bed bugs bites treatment

Here is a simple method to get rid of bed bug bite fast and easy.

You will need

  • Anti bacterial soap
  • Towel
  • Anti-itch cream
  1. Wash the affected area with warm water. Apply soap to the area and hand wash gently but thoroughly. Rinse the area with warm water until all soap is removed.
  2. Pat the area dry with a towel. Do not rub or scrub your skin. Apply the anti - itch cream to the area, according to the instructions of the cream. Gently apply the cream, do not scratch or rub hard.
  3. Place the ice pack on the affected area and leave it for about 15 minutes to reduce swelling.

This happens when a bed bug bites you

How to avoid bed bugs while travelling?

Before you book hotels, read the reviews online. You can find many. Most travelers will not post fake reviews about bed bugs attack because they don’t have time for this. So reviews can be genuine.

Look for the signs of bed bugs in the room. The easy way to do this is to check the mattresses and bed sheets thoroughly for any dark spots. They may be dried feces of bed bugs. Other symptoms include blood stains, discarded bedbug skins, a sweet almond smell and white bedbug eggs.

Check the rooms before you pay.

Always use cabinets and drawers to keep the clothes and luggage.

Bed bug traps!

Share your bed bug horror stories!

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    • profile image

      kill em all 2 years ago

      Nasty little f***ers

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Oh my, I hate to hear of this bug and its damages to others. Thanks for the tips on dealing with them.