The five most commonly Googled questions about bed bugs answered

How to check for bed bugs? – 93,000 searches
If you think you might have bed bugs then the best place to start searching for them is in your bed sheets. Inspect your pillows and sheets for rusty marks and bloodstains. The next step is to remove the sheets and check all around the edges of your mattress as these are often where you’ll find bed bugs, shell casings, or eggs. It’s a good idea to remove your mattress from its frame and use a flashlight to check all the hiding spots around your bed frame.

Similarly, if you’re travelling over the holidays and staying in hotel, follow the same steps above to check your room and mattress for bed bugs before unpacking.

The earlier you can catch a bed bug infestation the better, finding it sooner means it’s easier and cheaper to fix. Surprisingly, bites aren’t the best way to identify an infestation. According to the EPA, “bed bug bites can look like bites from other insects (such as mosquitoes or chiggers), rashes (such as eczema or fungal infections), or even hives. Some people do not react to bed bug bites at all.

What do bed bugs look like? – 84,000 searches
Bed bugs are small, wingless insects with 6 legs and antennae that don’t fly or jump but can crawl very quickly. When you’re looking for bed bugs, there are a few different things to look out for, and depending on where a bed bug is in its life cycle, it may look different. Bed bug eggs are tiny (about the size of a pinhead), and they are white in color but turn pale yellow once hatched.

Young bed bugs are smaller and translucent or white-yellow in color and can be nearly invisible because of how small and pale they are. Once bed bugs feed they will change color. Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed and they are long and brown with an oval-shaped body but will balloon up and become reddish brown if they have recently fed.

How to get rid of bed bugs? – 69,000 searches
First of all, remember that you don’t need to throw everything away; most things can be treated and saved. Bed bugs can be resistant to insecticides so first try other approaches which are less harmful.

Remove any clutter and clean the space around your bed as bed bugs love hiding. Pack all of your clothes and bedsheets into a laundry bag. If you can buy a dissolvable one that’s great because you can throw your laundry straight in the machine without having to open it again. If you’re not using a dissolvable laundry bag, remember to wash your laundry hamper as these can be hiding places for bed bugs.

Once you’ve treated your laundry with a hot wash and heat drying, it’s time to turn your attention to your furniture. In the same way that your hot wash kills bed bugs in your laundry, temperature control is also a successful way to kill any remaining bed bugs in your furniture. It is believed that bed bugs cannot survive above a temperature of above 114-115°F.

A popular and non-toxic way of killing bed bugs is by using a steam cleaner, which keeps toxic insecticides away from your furniture. Lots of professionals are using steam cleaners to get rid of bed bugs by moving the tool slowly over the surface. It’s also common for pest management companies to use pressurized CO2 snow at -108° F to kill the remaining bed bugs.

Finally, it’s a good idea to get a mattress encasement. These seal your mattress so that no bed bugs can get in and any bed bugs currently in your mattress can’t get out of the encasement.”

Where do bed bugs come from? – 24,000 searches 
Bed bugs come from infested areas, such as other people’s homes, hotels, motels, or even from used furniture. They can travel on backpacks, purses, luggage, or other items which have been in infested areas. It’s also possible for them to travel between rooms so they can come from a neighbor if you live in an apartment complex.

Bed bugs can come from lots of different places and it’s important to remember that absolutely anyone can get them, and they are nothing to be ashamed of.”

What kills bed bugs instantly? – 23,000 searches 
If you have bed bugs you are understandably going to want to get rid of them as quickly as possible. Still, it’s important to take your time and get it right because it’s easy for them to come back. A popular home remedy is to use diluted rubbing alcohol, and while this can effectively kill adult bed bugs, it does not destroy their eggs. Unfortunately, there is no instant fix; the best way to get rid of them is to take your time and use a number of different methods to make sure they are all gone

Marten goes on to say
Bed bugs are most often transmitted through luggage – something lots of people are likely to be taking with them this holiday season. If you suspect you might have bed bugs, check rigorously before setting off to ensure you don’t spread them to your family and friends. They can easily hop onto your backpack or purse so, even if you’re not taking a bigger piece of luggage, they can still be spread. If you’re staying away from home this Christmas and suspect there could be bed bugs, try to put your luggage on a stool and keep it away from walls and other furniture.

Looking at Google search interest over the past few years, it isn’t surprising to see that there’s a spike in interest following the festive Christmas period because so many of us are visiting loved ones and travelling to different homes. According to Pest World, one in five Americans has had bed bugs, so there’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of if you find that you do have an infestation. The key thing to remember is to take your time and follow all the steps to make sure you get rid of them once and for all.

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