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What Are These Tiny Bugs in My Bed? Bed Bugs Infestation

Bed bugs are the most common insects infesting beds. Besides these bugs, here are 12 other insects commonly found in beds.

Only a few things are worse than finding insects in your bed that challenge your sleep and make you wake up with itchy rashes. Various insects can infest your bed, the most common being bed bugs (Cimex lectularius), which are tiny, wingless insects that have been a problem the world over for several centuries.

  • Bed bugs consume the blood of humans and animals (including poultry and other birds) to survive.
  • They tend to infest the mattress, bed frames, box springs, back of wallpapers, and upholstery, and may even travel as hitchhikers by clinging onto clothes, luggage, and linen.
  • Bed bugs can be seen at various places, such as night shelters, hotels, schools, offices, public transportation, and homes.

Although bed bugs are generally the culprits, you may find other insects infesting your bed.

12 other insects often found in beds

  • Bat bugs
  • Spider beetles
  • Booklice
  • Dust mites
  • Fleas
  • Carpet beetles
  • Ticks
  • Cockroach nymphs
  • Swallow bugs
  • Termites
  • Lice
  • Ants
  • Although bed bugs can be differentiated from these insects, you may require help from a pest control expert if you are not sure what insects are in your bed.

    What are the signs of bed bugs infestation?

    Bed bug infestation may be identified by spotting adult bugs on the bed particularly in the folds on sheets and mattresses. They appear oval and grow up to a length of 3/16th of an inch.

    • Bed bugs possess two tiny antennae and six legs.
    • They appear flat and brown before feeding and swollen, longer, and red after a blood meal.
    • The younger ones of bed bugs (called nymphs) are too tiny and thus often overlooked.

    You may identify bed bug infestations by the presence of their molt skin (exoskeleton), empty eggshells, and tiny eggs or bloodstains on sheets and mattresses. The brownish blood stains result from their fecal matter that contains blood. A bed bug-infested area often has a musty odor.

    Bed bugs often go unnoticed because their bites are painless. It may be difficult to distinguish their bites from those of other insects, such as mosquitoes.

    • The bites appear red with a darker center and are often arranged in clusters or lines. 
    • The bites may be seen on the face, neck, arms, hands, or other body parts.
    • The bites may take as long as two weeks to appear in some people.

    Although bed bug bites are often harmless, they cause excessive itching. Some people may develop hives or other allergic reactions to the bug’s saliva.

    How to get rid of bed bugs

    Identifying bed bug infestations early helps get rid of them before they spread or get more difficult to control. You may need help from a local pest control agency to confirm the infestation and help effectively and safely eliminate the insects.

    To get rid of bed bugs you need to:

    • Limit the spread of bed bugs
      • Remove the infested items, place them in a sealed plastic bag, and treat them for bed bug infestation.
      • Items, such as electronics, which cannot be treated, may be left in the sealed bag for a year to ensure that no bed bugs are left alive.
      • After vacuum cleaning, empty the trash in a sealed bag and throw it in an outdoor trash container.
      • Discard the items that cannot be safely eliminated from bed bugs in a way that no one can use them. You may spray paint a warning sign on such items (such as furniture) indicating that they have been infested with bed bugs.
    • Safely kill the bed bugs
      • Heat treatment: Use a clothes dryer on high heat or a heat chamber to kill the bugs.
      • Cold treatment: Place the sealed infested items in the freezer set to 0°F for three to four days.
      • Steam cleaners: Use steam (with a diffuser to prevent scattering of bed bugs) to eliminate bed bugs from items, such as bedsheets, mattresses, pillow covers, and curtains.
      • Washing: The affected linen and clothing may be washed in hot water (at 140°F) or tumble-dried on a hot setting for at least 30 minutes.
      • Regular vacuum: Regularly clean and vacuum the spaces to prevent bed bugs infestation.
      • Declutter: Bed bugs often inhabit cluttered areas, thus avoid cluttering your spaces.
      • US Environmental Protection Agency registered chemicals: They help safely eliminate bed bugs when used according to package instructions. These chemicals include pyrethrins, pyrethroids, and chlorfenapyr.

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    Medically Reviewed on 11/30/2021

    References

    Image Source: iStock Images

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bed Bugs FAQs. https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/bedbugs/faqs.html

    US Environmental Protection Agency. Do-it-yourself Bed Bug Control. https://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/do-it-yourself-bed-bug-control

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