A Homeowners Guide to Dealing With Bedbugs: Everything You Need to Know

by Matty ByloosMay 9, 2016

The Bites, The Terror, The Bugs Have Invaded!

Bed bugs are tiny creatures that inhabit the mattresses of people all over the world, sending fear into the hearts of otherwise courageous men and women at the very mention of their name. They exclusively feed on blood, and cause itchy bites to occur on human skin in the process.  Read on for a handy guide that will teach you how to spot them, and how to effectively treat a bedbug infestation right away.
dealing with bedbugs in the home

Signs You May Have a Bedbug Infestation

Notice any itchy red bumps on your body when you wake up in the morning? While some people will have more severe reactions than others, if you do get bitten by bedbugs, you’ll notice some kind of small red mark on your skin, typically on your arms, neck and often on your legs, near your feet.

When this happens, check your sheets and mattress for rusty red colored stains, which usually denote bed bugs being crushed by the sleeping inhabitant. They might also be in various furnishings, such as the seams and insides of couches, chairs, and pillows.

Their eggs are tiny, approximately 1mm in size, though the bugs themselves measure only about 5mm in length. Make sure you don’t have ticks or other types of pests rather than bedbugs, because they might not be able to be exterminated in the same way as bedbugs. The EPA has a valuable resource guide that will show you various ways to identify bedbugs.

What Bedbugs Actually Do

Besides ruining a perfectly good morning around your home, bedbugs announce their presence by delicately biting you and sipping on your  blood. They primarily feed on humans, but can also feast on other mammals. Although they do not spread disease like other vermin, they are considered to be a public health pest, and must be immediately exterminated.

What You Need to Do Immediately

Bed bugs must be taken care of right away, as neglecting them will only allow them to further infest your home and furniture. Do not make the mistake of throwing the infested material out, as it could let the bedbugs spread to others who may scavenge materials like furniture from a garage sale or from out in front of your house on trash day. The key is being comprehensive in your approach to extermination.

You can most effectively kill bedbugs with heat, though heat treatment should be conducted by a trained professional to ensure that you fully eradicate the bedbug problem. You should also wash everything you can in hot water and heat-dry your bed sheets, blankets, bedspreads, and any clothing that recently touched the floor.
bedbug lifecycle

Getting Professional Help for Bedbugs

If you’re intimidated by the extent of the infestation in your home or apartment, you should consider getting professional help. This will increase your chance of getting rid of the pests quickly, and will exponentially increase the efficiency of the extermination process.

The best way to kill off bedbugs or any household pests is to use the integrated pest management (IPM) technique, which minimizes harm done to the environment in pursuit of a bug-free home. Contact your local exterminator or consult a dedicated bedbug specialist to learn more about effective extermination.

Reasonable Expectation of Cost

You can reasonably expect the cost of exterminating bedbugs with the help of a professional to range anywhere from $500-$1500 or more, depending on the extent of the infestation. It is bound to pinch your wallet a little bit, but is entirely worth it if you don’t want to get bitten and have creepy crawling bugs in your home. Angie’s List and Yelp are both good places to check for vetted, high quality exterminators in your area.

There are multiple ways in which you can exterminate the bugs – it just takes patience and persistence. Check out the Citizen’s Guide to Pest Control for more information on those unwanted residents in your home.

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About The Author
Matty Byloos
Matty is the Content Marketing Specialist for Homes.com. He's a newly minted homeowner who currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife. When he's not working, he enjoys writing fiction, working on the house, and enjoying the amazing nature that the city has to offer. He is also the founder of NOVEL Creative Agency.