It’s a popular misconception that bed bugs are the result of a dirty home, unhygienic living, or the forces of bad karma.
So just how do you get bed bugs? Well, there are countless ways bed bugs can invade a home or commercial building. And once they’ve made some comfortable accommodations, they’ll bite and breed until they’re forcefully evicted by you or a bed bug pest control service.
But the best bed bug exterminator is preventing them from entering your home in the first place. If you’re aware of these common bed bug causes, you can take the necessary precautions to ensure your home stays bed bug-free.
What Causes Bed Bugs?
A typical bed bug infestation is the result of the pests clinging to an unsuspecting person’s clothes or belongings, catching a ride into his or her home. From there, the bed bugs move from their current home to their new one – the person’s home.
Keep in mind that bed bugs can’t latch onto human skin, so taking five showers a day won’t dissuade bed bugs. These well-traveled hitch hikers have no preference for clean or dirty, which is why they show up everywhere.
Other Bed Bug Causes Include:
Traveling – You thought you were the only one chilling at the Holiday Inn, and now you’ve got a bed bug infestation in your home…great vacation, right? Hotels and motels rank among the top three places pest control experts report finding bed bugs. This isn’t surprising considering the mosaic of people coming from different corners of the world. The high turnover creates ongoing opportunities for bed bugs to enter the hotel or motel, and book another vacation to an oblivious traveler’s home.
Freebies – We get it – your neighbor just threw out that couch you’ve had your eye on every time you visit, and now it’s yours for the taking. Resist the urge if you can – transporting discarded furniture or accessories is one of the most commonly overlooked bed bug causes. Most people won’t clean something they’ve labeled for trash, meaning you’re taking a big risk in bringing bed bugs willingly into the house. Keep that couch where it belongs, even if it has built-in cup holders.
Friends – You could be doing everything right to prevent a bed bug infestation, but then you visit your dumpster-diving friend’s house and now you’ve got bed bugs for your troubles. Be mindful of your friends’ homes, especially if you’re crashing for the night. Even if the home is spotless, there could be bed bugs residing somewhere. This applies to inviting your friends over to your place, too, as they can act as bed bug carriers.
Non-Fabrics – We know bed bugs cling onto clothing and other belongings, but non-fabrics aren’t any safer. Picking up that old book from the used book store may have come with some free bed bugs. Bed bugs have been known to infest the most unlikely of places – alarm clocks, coffee makers, and other appliances – so double check everything you’re bringing inside!
How Do Bed Bugs Spread?
If bed bugs are already in your home, you should seek a bed bug pest control company to manage the infestation before it spreads to the entire house.
And while most bed bugs don’t stray far from their initial settling spot, there are a number of ways you can help them spread throughout your home.
Rearranging infested furniture – Moving a piece of furniture riddled with bed bugs near clean pieces of furniture creates new opportunities to breed and infest.
Using the same vacuum around the home – When people think ‘how do you get rid of bed bugs?’ one of their first solutions will be to vacuum them up. This is somewhat effective – until they ‘clean’ the rest of the home with the same vacuum, resulting in spreading the bed bugs to other areas.
Disturbing the ‘peace’ – It’s tempting to poke around bed bug infestations in your home, and you may even take satisfaction in mildly disrupting their community. But they’ll have the last laugh if you bug them, moving to new locations in your home where they’ll undoubtedly continue to breed and relocate.
How Do You Get Rid of Bed Bugs?
When it comes to getting rid of bed bugs, the best bet to ensure your home is completely liberated from the blood-sucking hitch hikers is to hire a bed bug pest control service. Specifically, organic integrated pest management (organic IPM) is a comprehensive approach that poses the lowest risks to your health and the environment.
If you’d like to see if you can control the problem yourself first, you can try some of these temporary strategies:
Remove any clutter from your home, especially in areas where you strongly suspect bed bugs.
Move your bed or mattress away from walls and other furniture.
Vacuum every part of your home, every day – but you must empty the vacuum bag immediately after cleaning an infested area of your home. Otherwise, you’re more likely to spread bed bug infestations than contain them.
Wash all bedding and clothing in hot water, and then in a hot dryer for at least 30 minutes. You can also consider mattress and box spring covers; use duct tape over the zippers.
Seal up cracks, crevices, and openings like pipes or wiring.
For more general information on bed bugs, you can learn more in our Pest Library. If your bed bug infestation is getting out of control, get in touch with a Terminix bed bug exterminator. We use bed bug heat treatments that are environmentally-safe and non-invasive, with the ability to eliminate an entire infestation in one application!