How Do You Get Bedbugs?

So, how do you get bedbugs?

Although bed bugs are not dangerous and they don’t carry diseases, these bloodsucking insects are not the kind of guest you want to welcome into your home. So, how do you get bedbugs?

Bedbugs feed on the blood of humans and animals and will bite you in order to do so, often causing skin irritation and itching. But you keep your home scrupulously clean, so how do you get bedbugs in the first place, how can you spot them, and what steps can you take to get rid of them?

How to spot bed bugs

Bedbugs are so tiny that it’s almost impossible to see them with the naked eye. Bedbugs can’t fly and move around by crawling from place to place in search of a meal. These annoying creatures live in and around your bed, attracted by your body heat and the carbon dioxide that you exhale as you breathe.

Because bedbugs’ bodies are flat, they are able to squeeze into the tiniest of spaces, for example, inside skirting boards, in crevices and cracks in bedsteads, underneath wallpaper or deep within carpet pile.

You may have a bedbug infestation if you can spot any of the following signs:

  • spots of blood on your sheets (caused by squashed bed bugs)
  • tiny brown shells
  • black dotting on your mattress or bedding (bed bug feces)

You may notice tiny, bloody scabs on your body where you’ve been bitten. The bites may be itchy and sore. If you suffer a severe reaction to the bites, consult your doctor without delay.

How do you get bedbugs?

Bed bugs are remarkably tough creatures and they can survive for very long periods without feeding. The adult insects and their eggs can both be transported around in clothing, hidden inside furniture or even clinging to items of luggage.

Bedbugs can arrive in your home in any of the following ways:

  • on visitors’ clothing, on their shoes, and inside their bags
  • on second-hand clothes or bedding
  • on second-hand furniture, especially in beds and mattresses
  • by migrating through holes in adjacent properties to set up new colonies

The most common ways of bringing bedbugs into your home are through purchasing second-hand beds and mattresses and from hotel bedrooms.

How to get rid of bed bugs

Unfortunately, once a colony of bed bugs has become established, you will quickly have an infestation on your hands, and the best way to eradicate the creatures is by contacting a professional pest control firm. However, there are some steps you can take to slow down the spread of the colony in the meantime.

  1. Take all your bed linen and wash it on a very high-temperature setting, preferably over 60ºC. After washing your bed linens, tumble dry everything on a very hot setting. If you don’t have a tumble dryer, hang your washing out to dry in strong, direct sunlight on a very hot day.
  2. Unfortunately, you will have to dispose of your mattress; once the bedbugs have colonized it, you will never get rid of the dormant eggs that they lay, which will hatch into adults and the cycle will begin again. Remove the mattress from the bed and burn it.
  3. Use a vacuum cleaner to vacuum every single crack, crevice, and join in your bedstead to remove any living bed bugs and their eggs. Burn the vacuum cleaner bag or wash out the cylinder with boiling water and disinfectant to make sure that you don’t leave any living bedbugs that could emerge to set up a fresh colony.
  4. Spray the bedstead and the immediate vicinity of your bed with a bed bug-specific insecticide available from good DIY stores or your local pest control firm. Make sure that you get the product right into every crevice.

Conclusion of: how do you get bedbugs?

Bed bugs can infest even the cleanest of homes and they are notoriously difficult to eradicate. Always consult a reputable pest control firm for advice and, in the meantime, follow the steps set out above.

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Last Reviewed:
July 11, 2017
Last Updated:
October 18, 2017