What causes bed bugs?
Bed bug infestations can result from numerous reasons, some of them can seem nearly unavoidable, whilst others are easier to tackle. These creatures can easily infest any place of their choice irrespective of its cleanliness. Be careful traveling and don’t take furniture off the street. Avoid used furniture and if you have to have it, steam everything. Steam is your greatest ally.
Once you what causes them it is much easier to get rid of them. In this article, we will discuss what causes bed bugs along with some different methods of how to control them.
So what causes bed bugs?
After a lot of research, it has been put forward that the most common cause of bed bug infestation is travel. Often without the knowledge of the traveler bed bugs will hitchhike onto people, clothes, luggage or other personal belongings and then be transported to other properties such as your home or your next location.
This can also be the cause of bed bug infestation on public transport or other public places where you may have visited. Bed bugs can often get by unnoticed by the naked human eye as they are wingless, brownish, tiny insects with flattened bodies which help them hide in tight, dark and hidden places. These bodies also give them another advantage as it helps them to avoid getting squashed under their host at night when they decide to roll over.
Some of the common places they hide are under the mattress, behind headboards or deep into the furniture even in screw-holes, cracks and any available tiny places.
These blood-sucking insects love humans so much that they tend to gather around where large populations of humans live, which is why they are particularly fond of hotel beds. They have a constant stream of fresh lunches as many people come and go from hotels on a daily basis.
Bed bugs are so dreaded by people that even the thought of them being around can cause stress and anxiety, leaving your skin itching. Bed bugs are not just secret travel companions, they also like to go to the movies and even enjoy a spot of shopping too. Bed bug infestations have been spotted in many movie theatres and shopping malls. Some people have even been known to have brought bed bugs home from school or work. These bugs like to remain hidden until they have to feed. This usually takes place at night. The bed bugs will crawl out after midnight, as the carbon dioxide we release lures them out to feed on us, by tearing up some skin and sucking the blood out through a tube. This is almost painless as the saliva of bed bugs acts as a mild anesthetic. Unlike flies and other insects decay does not attract them, it is only our blood that they can feed on which is why they are typically found where they are, close to us, their most desired food source.
Let’s take a detailed look at exactly how these factors cause bed bugs.
Travel: research shows that bed bug infestation is one of the top three fears of travelers. Other than being food poisoned or losing your luggage. An increase in global travel has also brought along a significant increase in bed bug infestation. Most of the bed bug infestations are linked to travel, maybe in the future, there will be a new meaning to being bitten by the travel bug. Bed bugs have become the number one concern of hotels or motels just like they have been an increased risk for private housing.
How can they travel along with us without our knowledge?
Giving credit where credit is due, their tiny flattened bodies can easily squeeze their way into the deepest darkest corners of your luggage, hiding there till the next best opportunity to grab a quick meal arrives. They are really great hitchhikers, there is no thumbing for a lift with these guys, they can easily travel with you just by grabbing onto your clothes or other belongings.
How can this cause be reduced or eradicated:
Clean your luggage thoroughly once you arrive home! Wash all your clothes with warm water preferably above 40 degrees Celsius. If you were staying in a few sketchy places and you really want to nuke them, drop some pesticide tablets into your luggage and zip it up, or alternatively steam the heck out of absolutely everything. It probably comes as no surprise that they are not a fan of the steam room, steaming is a highly effective way of killing both bed bugs and their eggs. It’s also pretty effective at killing most insects, eggs, bacteria and viruses so if you have been doing a lot of traveling it would probably be a good idea to go with either steaming or pesticide tablets.
Used or second-hand furniture
Unsurprisingly another highly typical cause of bed bug infestations is used furniture. This is pretty self-explanatory but essentially it’s because it may be dirty or not well maintained and could easily already be infested with bed bugs. The unfortunate truth is you do not really know where this stuff has come from. You don’t know who donated it or dropped it off to a thrift store. You also don’t know what procedure these stores have with regards to cleaning drop-offs. And let’s not even get started about pulling it in off the curb. If something like a sofa or bed has been left on the street, it’s probably best to leave it there. You can’t be sure why it’s previous owner is throwing it out to begin with. Unless you plan on totally treating it as if it was already infested and even then we would really recommend not bringing these things into your house. Bed bug fumigation will be far more than anything you saved by taking that item into your house.
How can it be bed bug-infested?
When you look at the furniture it may look very clean and you may not initially see any signs of bed bug infestation as they hide in darkest corners out of reach of the human eye, for example in tiny cracks in the furniture, they can even hide in screw holes and if there is not a huge population of them yet, any other indicators such as the smell of the molted skin of nymphs may not be prominent.
How can this cause be minimized or eradicated?
By doing a thorough inspection of any furniture before you buy it. Make sure you look for all the signs of it possibly being infested although if the number of bed bugs is small they will easily hide away from you. Hence to be on the safe side once you buy any used furniture it’s better to steam it with a steamer and wash it properly with warm water, ensuring to get into all of those hidden corners. If possible fill any cracks to reduce hiding places.
School, universities, and offices
These human-loving insects can be found anywhere a lot of humans gather especially where they sit in the same place for a long time. It’s when you stay in one place for a long time that they can easily creep up on to you and can even hide in the shadows of your clothes or take refugee in your belongings such as bags.
How can it be bed bug-infested?
Bed bugs have tiny hair extensions on their legs and can pretty easily hold on to you or your belongings, or basically anything that you are carrying around with you and keeping close to your person. Anyone with an infested household could have carried some bed bugs along which can easily move on to you undetected.
How can this cause be minimalized or eradicated?
Start with washing your clothes with warm water to kill any bed bugs on them. Know that they seldom travel very close to the human skin or hair as they do not like the direct heat. What else you can do is try keeping your belongings close to you and maintain some distance from your classmates or colleagues to avoid carrying home a bug infestation.
If your neighbours have recently had a bed bug infestation it would be no surprise if you realise that you now have one too. As the bed bugs encounter pesticides, they can build a thicker layer to protect themselves and also produce enzymes that digest pesticides. This will tend to buy them enough time to escape the danger and migrate in search of a new home. They will look for the easiest route of travel to the next nearest food source where they will begin a new colony, which could very well be your home.
How can this cause be minimalized or eradicated?
If your neighbor complains to you about bed bugs then it’s time for you to start taking the following precautionary measures. Stay in your house, avoid visiting them or letting them into your house. Secure your premises with plant-based essential oils that are made to deter and kill bed bugs as they are less toxic and also cannot be digested by enzymes the bed bugs produce. Also, keep an eye on all the usual places bed bugs can infest in an attempt to stay one step ahead and be ready to kill them as soon as they show signs of existence. Vacuum dark corners of your bed every day to get rid of any possible laid eggs.
Now You Know What Causes Bed Bugs!
Now you should have a better understanding of what causes bed bugs. By being aware of what causes bed bugs and the different ways in which you can accidentally bring them into your home, you can ensure to do your best to avoid an infestation to begin with.