When you wake up, what’s the first thing you do? Maybe you stretch and yawn, or go back to sleep, or hit the snooze button. But if your Nashville home is experiencing a bed bug infestation, you might do something completely different: scratch. Itchy bites can ruin even the deepest of sleepers’ nights, and bed bugs are often to blame. If you’re waking up to constellations of scratchy welts across your arms, legs, and exposed skin, read more on how bed bugs may have invaded your Nashville house.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Often, the most stressful part of a bed bug infestation is that you probably won't even see the critters. Bed bugs are small, brown-red insects that rarely grow longer than ⅕ of an inch - approximately the size of an apple seed. Like other insects, bed bugs have six legs, though these legs are usually clustered at the front of the body, while the back half is plump and striated. Many of these details cannot be seen unless you use a magnifying glass or get uncomfortably close. For the purposes of identification, it’s enough to simply see small, dark bugs scurrying around your bed or other household furniture.
Where Did My Bed Bugs Come From?
Simply put, it’s impossible to know. Bed bugs are “hitchhikers,” meaning they rarely transport themselves from place to place. They rely on other organisms to move them around. A bed bug likely latched onto your bags or clothing while you were out, and you brought it in completely unaware.
Because bed bugs are so tiny, they can latch on and wait almost anywhere, so it’s impossible to tell where it came from. However, there are several “hotspots” to be aware of. Bed bugs are often waiting in public, densely populated areas - the more urban, the better. Common hotspots include transportation hubs like bus stops, airport terminals, train stations, etc.; medical facilities, hotels, and inns; office buildings, thrift stores, and used furniture shops.
Obviously, these types of places aren’t easily avoidable. That’s why bed bugs hang out there in the first place. However, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to carry an infestation home with you. Here are some tips so you don’t pick bed bugs up while out of the house:
Travel with light-colored bags: Black looks great on you, but it also looks great on bed bugs. They blend right in with dark-colored bags, so traveling with something a little lighter might help you see them before you bring them home.
Store everything in plastic bags: Especially if you’re on vacation, keep bed bugs from hiding in your belongings by storing clothes and fabrics in plastic bags. If you can’t avoid touching your luggage with other peoples,’ you can place your luggage in a garbage bag so that it’s bed bug-proof.
Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts: This might be a difficult task in the summer months, but the less skin you show, the less likely that bed bugs are going to be attracted to you.
Other Bed Bug Hot Spots
Another way bed bugs get into your home is through used goods. Thrift stores and used furniture shops are bed bug heaven, so if you’re inspecting a piece of furniture for the house, check to make sure it doesn’t have the following: reddish-brown stains (from squished bugs), dark spots (from bug excrement), eggs, eggshells, pale yellow skins, or – obviously – live bed bugs. Be sure to inspect thoroughly under the cushions and pillows, in the dark cracks of the furniture, and anywhere where an apple seed-sized bug can stay and hide.
Even with all these prevention tips, bed bugs can still find their way to your home. If that happens, don’t fret. After all, bed bugs are on the rise in America. If bed bugs are keeping you up at night, the best thing you can do is contact the expert exterminators at ThermalRid so we can heat treat the pests away. Learn more about your pest control options here, or contact us today, and we’ll get you back to sleeping tight, where the bed bugs don't bite.