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  • How To Identify Bed Bugs, Plus Effective Ways To Get Rid Of Them

    There are simple and natural ways to keep these insects away.
    by Dahl D. Bennett .
How To Identify Bed Bugs, Plus Effective Ways To Get Rid Of Them
PHOTO BY Shutterstock
  • Don't let the bed bugs bite. "If we only have a choice!" That's what some of our Smart Parenting Village moms seem to say. One of them recently asked: "Have you experienced a bed bug infestation? What to do?"

    Other moms who have gone through the same experience readily shared what worked for them.

    One mom highly recommended spraying the bed foam with tea tree oil. Another one said she sprayed their bed with bleach and let it dry under the sun.

    Do you have the same problem? Before you can get rid of bed bugs, you have to be able to identify them first.

    What are bed bugs?

    It's easy to confuse bed bugs (surot) with fleas or other bed mites but telling the difference may be based on how they look and the kind of mark they leave on your skin and on your sheets. Bed bugs have these characteristics:

    • small oval and brownish in color
    • adults have flat bodies the size of apple seeds
    • their bodies may swell and turn reddish after feeding
    • they bite at night when you are asleep
    • they bite on areas that are exposed (unlike fleas which concentrate on the ankles)
    • they may leave blood stains on the sheets or pillows
    • they give off a musty odor
    • they can leave droppings and lay eggs on the bed

    How do bed bugs bite?

    It's how the bite looks that will give you a better lead in finding out the real culprit to that itchy bake you wake up to in the morning.

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    Most bed bug bites are painless at first but will later turn into itchy welts. Their bites do not have red spots in the center like flea bites do.

    If there's any upside to them, they are not likely to transmit diseases unlike mosquitoes do but they may feed on you and your bedmates for as long as 10 minutes through an elongated beak. They only stop when they become engorged.

    The only way to know if they are really bed bugs is to deliberately find out where they are hiding and see how they look.

    Since they are quite tiny, a flashlight and magnifying lens may come in handy. You must also know that even if they are called bed bugs, they don't solely infest your mattress but may also find a home in your clothes, couches, bedframes, books, and luggage, among others.

    What's the best way to get rid of bed bugs?

    Once you are positive that they are bedbugs, the real work begins. You can try the following:

    Find out where they are hiding

    Look for their droppings, yellowish eggs, eggshells, and the skin shed of newly hatched bed bugs. Check your headboard, the seams of your foam and the bed frame.

    If you find it difficult to find these, best to assume that the entire room is infested. clean it from top to bottom using a vacuum cleaner an disinfectants.

    Wash what you can in hot water

    Wash beddings, pillow cases, clothes and whatever you suspect may be infected with bedbugs but are washable in hot water (46° Celsius).

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    If you have a dryer with a heater, you may dry them there for 30 minutes. You can also try drying them under the mid-afternoon sun.

    It is unlikely that the heat reaches 46° Celsius, but some will attest to the effectivity. You can also place infested items in a garbage bag (like pillows) and leave them under the sun for four days or more.

    Use chemical and natural treatment

    Some Smart Parenting Village moms said they tried using alcohol, malathion, borax, bleach, and commercial anti-bed bug sprays.

    Other moms have gone the natural route, using tea tea oil a a water and baking soda mixture sprinkled over the foam.

    Don't forget to vacuum the bed to make sure no beg bugs are left, whether dead or alive. Vacuuming the whole room and not just the bed have also been recommended.

    If all else fails, you can replace your mattress and pillows and hire a professional to do the cleaning.

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