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Unfortunately, most people discover bed bugs only after they’ve been bitten. Bed bugs feed at night when you’re asleep—often without detection. They’ll eat for up to 10 minutes, making multiple bites in the process, then go back into hiding. But what do bed bugs look like and how can you get rid of them? Find out what bed bugs look like, how to recognize a bed bug infestation, what steps to take to get rid of them, and how to prevent them from entering your home in the first place.
Adult bed bugs are wingless and have flat, oval-shaped bodies. They are typically 6–10 mm in length—about the size and shape of an apple seed. Usually brown to brownish-red, bed bug coloring shifts to dark red after a blood meal (feeding on a host’s blood). Note: a blood meal is needed between molting cycles.
Bed bugs hide in cracks in the wall, under your bed, and even inside your mattress. The best evidence of an infestation is a bed bug, whether it’s alive or dead. But there are other signs to look for to confirm that bed bugs have entered your house.
Here are six ways to determine if you have a bed bug problem:
A bed bug bite will look like a red, swollen bump with a dark center. Bites can be in a line or grouped together, with blisters and hives at the bite site. Bites can happen anywhere on the body, but they commonly appear on areas of the body that are exposed when sleeping, like hands, arms, legs, and parts of the face. Bed bug bites are often itchy and may burn.
Bites may become slightly swollen and look similar to mosquito or flea bites. Bed bug bites will appear in groupings or in a straight line, while mosquito bites are more sporadic, and flea bites are typically isolated to lower legs and ankles.
Some people aren’t allergic to bed bug bites and won’t show visible signs of being bitten. If you do react to the bites, you might not notice them right away, as some appear a couple of days after the initial bite occurs.
Bed bug bites will typically resolve within a couple of weeks if treated properly. Here’s how to treat a bite:
After identifying an infestation, take steps to get rid of these pests immediately. Not only will they continue to bite, but they’ll also increase histamine levels in a home, which can cause rashes and respiratory problems.
Though there are multiple methods for controlling bed bugs, be aware that resolving this situation will take time and patience. Bed bug populations multiply quickly—female bed bugs lay 1–3 eggs each day and 200–500 eggs in their lifetime. So the sooner you take action, the better. Follow these tips to eliminate bed bugs quickly.
Bed bugs come into your home through multiple ways, including:
Here are more preventative steps you can take to combat potential bed bug infestations.
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