How bed bugs form

Fighting bed bugs: this is how you get rid of unwelcome guests

Bed bugs are one of the parasites with which you least want to share your warm bed. Because bed bugs can bite people in their sleep and suck their blood. We will tell you how to clearly identify the insects, fight the bed bugs and get rid of them as soon as possible.

Fighting bed bugs: this is how you get rid of unwelcome guests
Fighting bed bugs: this is how you get rid of unwelcome guests

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are popularly known as house bugs because they are relatively common in ordinary households. Bed bugs belong to the family of flat bugs and usually nest in the sleeping places of endothermic creatures that are at the same temperature, which include mammals and birds - humans are also particularly popular with bed bugs. The bugs linger in the sleeping places to feed on the blood of living things under cover of darkness. It is therefore not surprising that many would like to get rid of bed bugs right away.

Bed bugs are parasites and can grow to be up to five millimeters in size when fully grown. Their body shape is very flat, which is why they are often called "flat bugs". The body of the bedbugs is reddish-brown in color. Bed bugs have six legs and two antennae that are made up of four limbs. Their mouthparts, which the animals use to bite their victims and then suck the blood, are on the lower side of the flat body. Although bed bugs have wings, contrary to many opinions, they cannot fly because their wings have withered in the course of evolution.

If the bed bug is soaked in blood, its color changes from dark red to deep black and its body grows to up to nine millimeters. In this condition, the bug can survive for up to a year and a half without consuming any further food. This doesn't mean that she won't stay with you and bite you again, just that she would survive if you left the house for several weeks. Unfortunately, the parasites cannot be fought that easily.

Bed bugs are nocturnal animals and hide in their hiding places during the day. Since they avoid daylight, they usually sit behind pictures, skirting boards, under mattresses, the slatted frame or the duvet cover during the day. Wallpaper, carpets and sofa beds are also popular hiding spots. When it gets dark, the insects then dare to get out of their hiding spots and bite - mostly unnoticed. Because bed bug bites are not painful, only the subsequent red itchy bites let you notice the bugs.

A female bed bug lays several eggs every day - she will get up to 300 of them in her lifetime. These hatch after one to two weeks, are fully grown after about six weeks and then also lay eggs - this is how the bed bugs multiply very rapidly in your home. The control of bed bugs is therefore hardly possible without professional help.

Where do bed bugs come from?

Bed bugs used to only be found in the tropics. Thanks to countless holiday trips and imports from warm countries, the insects also came more and more to our latitudes. Bed bugs are often an unpleasant souvenir from trips. The little bugs hide cleverly in clothes, suitcases or in shoes and then come home with them. Since the parasites are used to the tropical climate, they particularly like to stay in well-tempered apartments and bedrooms.

But bed bugs can not only be brought home from your last vacation. More and more often the animals are passed on with furniture from the flea market or the street. In New York City, for example, the plague is already particularly widespread: there, the bugs are even transmitted via clothing in cafes, bars and restaurants - an infestation that one can do without.

Bed bugs: how to recognize insect infestation

Not sure if you brought bed bugs with you from your last vacation? Now it's time to keep calm. Before calling an exterminator, you should be absolutely certain that it is really a bed bug infestation. Only in this way can the exterminator successfully fight the bed bugs. We will tell you which signs you can use to recognize an infestation in your home.

Identifying bed bugs by their droppings

On the one hand, you can recognize a bed bug infestation by the feces residue on the mattress, bed sheet, duvet or pillow. Feces can also be visible on the slatted frame. The small black dots sometimes look like mold spores from a distance and should not be confused with these. It is better to look twice and examine your textiles carefully, otherwise any treatment is pointless.

Detecting bed bugs: dead animals and molting trays

If you find dead animals or the molting shells of live animals there, you can be relatively sure that you will be sharing your bed with bedbugs. These can be found on the bed sheet, the pillow or under the bed and slatted frame. But these residues can also be found behind baseboards and pictures. In this case, you should collect the dead animals and keep them until the exterminator is on site. With the help of these inspection copies, the exterminator can determine the exact type of insect and thus select the correct procedure for combating the bed bugs.

Identify bed bugs by their bites

When bed bugs bite down to suckle blood, unsightly stitches appear all over the body. Since these are often arranged in a row, it is popularly referred to as a so-called "bed bugs street". The stitches turn reddish in color and itch immensely. This is because the bedbugs release a special secretion when they suckle blood, which inhibits blood clotting and thus leads to extreme itching. As a result of these bites, very small traces of blood can be found on your bed sheets in addition to stains. In this case, you should definitely contact the exterminator directly and ask them for assistance in fighting the bed bugs. Incidentally, the stitches should simply be left to rest and avoid excessive scratching in any case, as they could otherwise become infected. If a person is stung particularly often, allergic reactions can also occur in the long term.

Are bed bugs harmful to your health?

The bed bugs in themselves are not harmful to health. However, the bed bug bites are extremely itchy and in many cases are scratched up. These open areas can contaminate the wound and lead to infection. But: contrary to popular belief, the parasites are not carriers of disease. According to the latest studies, bed bugs do not transmit any infectious diseases.

This is where you can find bed bugs

Bed bugs are by no means, as the name suggests, only in bed. The animals have various places where they hide during the day. In most cases, the parasites are in the bedroom or living room or in a separate dressing room. Bed bugs are rarely found in the kitchen, bathroom and hallway. We have put together the most important hiding spots for you to make your search easier.

  • Bed frame
  • duvet cover
  • Picture Frame
  • book
  • Cover
  • Baseboard
  • Luggage
  • pillow
  • Pillow
  • dress
  • suitcase
  • mattress
  • Bedside table
  • stuffed animal
  • shelf
  • backpack
  • closet
  • Shoes
  • armchair
  • sofa
  • Sockets
  • Bags
  • Carpet edge
  • Door frame
  • Wall clocks
  • laundry basket

Fight bed bugs

Anyone who has found a bed bug infestation in their home should definitely not tackle bed bug control without the help of a professional. On the one hand, you can never be sure which type of insect you are dealing with - so self-treatment is usually not effective. In addition, the over-the-counter products only rarely help in the long-term control of bed bugs. More aggressive agents kill the infestation, but are usually also extremely harmful to humans. If you have discovered bed bugs, you should call the exterminator directly and not try yourself as a pest controller.

Bed bugs: call an exterminator

If you find itchy bites on your body and poop stains on your bedsheets, you should contact a professional pest controller directly. This can get the bed bug infestation under control within one to two weeks and prevent it in the long term. The professional will first find the source of the infestation, otherwise only the bed bugs currently living on site will be killed. However, if the nest is in the neighboring apartment or in a nearby location, new bed bugs will keep coming back and the infestation will continue to spread.

Once the source is found, the exterminator will begin bed bug control. This is done with traps, chemicals, insecticides or heat and is rarely done in one session, but rather takes 14 to 20 days on average. The best thing to do is to look for a company that is part of an official association. These companies know the safest and least harmful active ingredients for human health.

Successful bed bug control by a professional costs from 150 euros upwards - but it's worth it, because afterwards your apartment is guaranteed to be insect-free and you can fall asleep again with a clear conscience. In addition, you not only protect yourself, but also your neighbors or work colleagues from an infestation. The bed bugs like to spread over several apartments, for example through holes and slits in the wall or over clothing.

Bed bugs: Prepare with spray and Co.

Anyone who has contacted the exterminator sometimes has to wait several days or even weeks for an appointment. Until then, you can start fighting the bed bugs yourself. For example, you can vacuum thoroughly all corners, textiles and crevices and thus remove the animals. However, you should not dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag directly, but freeze it first. Otherwise, the animals usually live on in the bag and just crawl out when the time comes. Bed bugs only survive at temperatures between 45 and -20 degrees Celsius. After freezing, you can then dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag.

Another measure to prepare for bed bug control is double-sided adhesive tape. Use it to tape the slatted frame, bed frame, baseboards and picture frames in the bedroom and living room so that the animals stick to them when they walk. You should then catch the parasites and keep them until the exterminator arrives so that he can look at the individual bed bugs and choose the right means of control.

Also wash your bedclothes, sheets, pillows, duvets, plaids and carpets, if possible, at 60 degrees Celsius so that the eggs and any hidden bed bugs are also killed.