You can hardly find them in your bed at home, but on vacation or when you move quickly from one place to another, it is possible to cross bed bugs. Here we will give you a complete guide about what can I put on my body to prevent bed bug bites? Nightmare of the more adventurous travelers, who often frequent hostels or camp in the wildest places, these insects sting without distinguishing between women, men, and children.
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small blood-eating insects (in technical jargon, bloodsucking ), also known as mattress bugs because they are usually easy to find in the bedroom.
They are pests that reproduce very quickly if they find a suitable place for their proliferation.
These particular bedbugs prefer warm, populated places, as they are attracted to the carbon dioxide exhaled with their breath.
Where do bed bugs hide?
These infesters hide in mattresses, in upholstery, in cracks or crevices in the wall, even inside electrical outlets, and even in suitcases and bags full of clothes.
By multiplying quickly, these insects can slowly infest all the spaces of the house, so it is important to identify them immediately, even if, as we anticipated, being attracted by warm and welcoming places and by the carbon dioxide we produce with our breath, they often nest in the bedroom. It has always been thought that the presence of these particular bugs was synonymous with a dirty and uncared for a place. In reality, this is not always the case.
Bed bugs had disappeared from circulation due to the strong use that was made in the past of DDT, the most powerful and effective insecticide.
With the new sanitary regulations that have banned this repellent as toxic, these little insects have found a certain type of relief, which has allowed their repopulation.
Furthermore, the increase in international travelers has allowed a spread of these pests that hide among the suitcases and are transported from one place to another.
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Main Features of bed bugs
Adult bed bugs are the size of a lentil or apple seed, so they are visible even to the naked eye. They are oval and flat, have a red-brown color, and measure approximately 5 millimeters in length and 1.5-3 millimeters in width.
The females are capable of laying, in the course of their life, even 500 eggs, which are about one millimeter large and are covered with a sticky and whitish substance.
Upon hatching, the small bedbugs become adults in 6-8 weeks, and after five stages, they become nymphs.
If they are unable to feed themselves with a certain continuity, it could take a few more weeks to complete this evolution.
The food of bed bugs is obviously represented by human blood, which is sucked through a pointed anatomical organ, similar to a stylet.
Insects have an average life span of about nine months; during this period, they are able to remain without nourishment even for a long time (more than 100 days), showing remarkable resistance to the lack of food.
On the other hand, this shouldn’t be too surprising, given that, after each “meal,” they are full for at least 4 or 5 days.
How to recognize bed bugs
Adult bed bugs are the size of a lentil or apple seed. Oval and flat, they are more or less 5 millimeters long and have a red-brown color.
During their life (they have an average life of about nine months), the females can lay up to 500 eggs, each about one millimeter, coated with a sticky and whitish or almost transparent substance.
When the eggs hatch, the small bugs reach the adult stage in about six weeks. After five stages, they become nymphal, and as they grow, they take on an increasingly dark amber or rust color.
Bed bugs live out of direct light and hide in hidden spots. Their food is human blood, which they suck through a pointed anatomical organ.
Beyond the classic bite, the presence of bed bugs can be recognized through two clues:
- presence of fecal stains – on the sheets or other furnishing accessories of the bed, you may see small drops with sharp edges
- Presence of exuviae – the hard coating on their body that insects lose as they grow. Each bedbug changes its coating at least five times over the course of its life.
- presence of white patches, which may be the eggs of newly hatched bedbugs
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What to do if you get stung
A bed bug bite usually manifests itself with reddish wheals tangentially in series and aligned accompanied by intense itching (itching is due to the allergic reaction to some substances with vasodilator and anticoagulant action introduced into the blood with the saliva of the bedbugs).
These effects can also manifest themselves a few days later. Each person can have different reactions, based on the type of hyperimmune response that occurs, the intensity of which varies from subject to subject.
The anatomical areas where you are most likely to be affected are the hands, arms, face, and neck.
Individuals who get repeated bites over time may have more pronounced symptoms. Some people may also develop scarring or skin infections from intense skin scratching.
Rarely, a more severe systemic allergic reaction to a bed bug bite may occur.
The vast majority of the time, bed bug bites can be managed at home. However, if someone starts experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is good to see a doctor or go to the nearest emergency room:
- shortness of breath
- chest pain
- tightness in the throat or difficulty swallowing
- swelling of the tongue or lips
- dizziness or fainting
- itching all over the body
- redness around the site of the bedbug bite
some individuals may develop insomnia and anxiety from severe or repeated bed bug infestations
Generally, however, there is no need to worry as the itching and spots resulting from bed bug bites tend to disappear on their own within a week without specific treatment.
However, if the itching persists or the spots do not convince you, contact a doctor for a possible local cream that will speed up healing.
How to avoid infestation
Then it is good to proceed with the elimination of these small animals to avoid a real infestation:
- take a good look between the cracks in the bed frame or in the cracks in the walls or floor
- look for small black spots between the sheets, which may be bed bug droppings or patches of blood
- also, analyze the possible presence of white or dumb spots, which could instead be the hatched eggs
- also, analyze between the cracks in the plaster or behind the loose wallpaper
- if necessary, vacuum the entire bed frame
- wash all potentially contaminated clothing
- wash and dry the laundry at high temperatures
- one grandmother’s method is to place soap flakes under the mattress and grease the legs and frame with petroleum jelly to prevent bedbugs from climbing
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How To prevent bed bug bites
Perfect cleanliness in your home does not guarantee the absence of bedbugs. Simply put, these parasites, unlike the same cockroaches, do not care how dirty your apartment is.
The presence of a person whose blood can be enjoyed at night is enough for them.
So weekly cleaning is not a panacea if sexually mature individuals somehow infiltrate your living space.
There is food, but there is a secluded spot for them in any case. To avoid potential infection, it is important to prevent insects from appearing in the house at all.
Otherwise, you will have to order the services of service for the destruction of bedbugs in the apartment.
- from neighbors;
- with luggage;
- with purchases from stores;
- with used things from old owners;
- with guests and relatives, etc.
Your task is to take all possible measures to protect your home from uninvited guests.
Prevention of the invasion of bed bugs
- Block the paths of insects’ access to the apartment as much as possible:
- Fill up cracks, gaps between walls and communications, close ventilation with a fine grate.
- Apply insecticide to areas adjacent to risers, ventilation ducts, doors.
- Make repairs regularly. Bedbugs most often settle in defects in the flooring, under old baseboards, peeling off the wallpaper.
- Do not accumulate rubbish in the apartment. Get rid of unnecessary things, and keep the necessary things in order.
- If you know that your neighbors definitely have a breeding ground, persuade them to carry out pest control.
- When purchasing things from your hands, carefully examine them for insects. Evidence of their presence is a “cognac” smell, black dots on surfaces, fragments of chitinous membranes, paws, etc.
- Upon returning from a trip, send all things to the wash, and spray the suitcases with an aerosol from bugs and cockroaches.
10 Natural remedies for bed bug bites
When you are bitten by a bed bug, you should first wash the area thoroughly with antiseptic soap and water, and then follow some natural remedies to reduce itching and prevent any infections:
Cinnamon And Honey
Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties; honey helps moisturize the skin. When you mix them together, you get a great remedy for bed bug bites, reducing the chance of an infection or injury. Mix two to three tablespoons of ground cinnamon and a few drops of honey to make a smooth paste. Apply it and let it dry before washing. Repeat the process every three to four hours.
The menthol contained in the toothpaste appears to be a good remedy for itching. Apply a generous amount to the bite to soothe the burning sensation and relieve itching.
The ‘ witch hazel provides a mild anesthetic effect which helps to soothe the itching caused by bites. It is also suitable for children. You have to dab the dye on the bitten with a cotton swab.
You can choose whether to buy a gel or to apply the leaves (which need to be filleted) directly on the sting. The active ingredients and amino acids present in aloe vera help relieve itching and burning sensations.
The lemon has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It is also a natural astringent. The juice can therefore help dry out rashes and soothe itching by reducing redness and swelling.
The ice is an excellent remedy for any puncture, also that of the bed bug. It is known for its ability to numb nerve endings which can help relieve the itchy bite sensation by reducing swelling and inflammation. Apply it to the affected area for 10-15 minutes.
The oatmeal is famous for its soothing on the skin. In fact, it’s commonly used for conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and general skin rashes, as well as to treat a variety of insect bites. In addition to being soothing, oatmeal is also anti-inflammatory because it contains avenanthramides that reduce the redness and swelling of the site. You can make a paste with a little water and apply it to the sting. Otherwise, you could immerse yourself in a tub for about 30 minutes by dissolving the flour in the water.
The cucumber is most famous for being rich in water and helping drain the lymphatic stagnation. However, it is also known to be soothing for many skin conditions. It is anti-inflammatory and contains high amounts of caffeic acid and vitamin C. In addition to these properties, cucumber is also refreshing and can contribute to an immediate sense of relief. You should refrigerate it, slice it, and apply the slices to the stings for at least 15 minutes.
Baking Soda And Water
Make a paste with baking soda and water and apply it directly to the skin. Let it dry before scrubbing with a cotton ball.
The salt is a natural antibacterial and helps treat skin rashes and inflammation caused by the bites of bedbugs. Rub some crystalline salt on the affected area, and you will appreciate quick pain relief. Repeat this three times a day.
Is it possible to see bed bugs with the naked eye?
How to recognize bed bugs? It is not easy to identify if our bedroom is haunted by these particular guests who show up and go about their business while you sleep.
They also nestle in reluctant and well-hidden corners. They can be seen with the naked eye if you look carefully and proceed with a disinfestation.
Sometimes it is precisely the pest control workers who can instruct on how to spot these mattress infesters.
However, only bedbugs in adulthood are visible to the naked eye, which can be as large as a reddish-brown rice grain.
How to cure the wheals generated by bed bug bites?
Bed bug bites typically disappear after about 1 to 2 weeks. Eventually, to relieve the itching, cortisone cream can be used to relieve swelling.
In case of allergy, on the other hand, an antihistamine should be used, preferably by mouth.
As with other insect bites, remedies for bed bug bite lesions and subsequent infection include antibiotic therapy to limit the spread of the infection.