Though you may think you are relaxing between the sheets all by yourself, you could be sharing your bed with those annoying creatures known as bedbugs.
These tiny parasites can appear in even the cleanest of homes, but there are ways to reclaim your house and your bed from these little pests.
Bedbugs Really Suck
Like a relative or friend who stops by unexpectedly and refuses to leave, bedbug infestations can be a long-term problem.
Bedbugs tend to come out at night to feed on the blood of humans and other animals, so it can take a while to notice the problem.
For the most part, bedbugs exist only to eat and excrete, which means the only real work they do is hitching a ride from place to place.
When you move into a new apartment or house, bedbugs can move with you, via your furniture or clothing. Bedbugs also hide in baskets full of laundry, used furniture and luggage.
When bedbugs get hungry, these critters may sneak into neighboring apartments in search of their next warm-blooded meal.
Is Your Mattress a Motel for Bedbugs?
Because mature bedbugs are only a 1/4 inch in length, it is sometimes difficult to tell if you have bedbugs. There are, however, some steps you can take to determine if you really are sleeping with the enemy:
• Strip your mattress and box spring, carefully inspecting the sheets for signs of a bedbug infestation such as shredded insect skin, brown droppings or tiny eggs. Get out the magnifying glass and take a really close look at the bed frame and behind the backboard for evidence of bedbugs.
• Check family members, pets and especially your own skin for bites from bedbugs. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish wounds caused by bedbugs from those caused by mosquitoes, so you may have to consult a physician to be 100-percent certain.
• If you’ve recently returned from a trip, make sure to check your luggage. Bedbugs like to crawl into small spaces; you may have brought some back in your bags as unwanted souvenirs from the hotel.
If you do find evidence of a bedbug invasion, remember to be proactive. That means you should:
• Thoroughly wash your sheets, pillowcases and mattress covers.
• Seal the mattress and box spring in plastic bags, making sure they are airtight. Any bedbugs trapped inside will die from lack of air.
• Disassemble the bed frame and wipe it down with furniture polish or another safe cleanser.
• Vacuum the bedroom and try to eliminate as much junk from the room as you can. Bedbugs like to set up housekeeping in piles of papers or laundry.
Talking to a Professional
With any type of insect infestation, it is always a good idea to speak to a licensed, professional exterminator who can provide a long-term solution for your problem with bedbugs. With expert assistance, you definitely will sleep more comfortably at night.