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What Is the Main Cause of Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs have been around to feed on human hosts for thousands of years, even dating back to the Ancient Egyptian civilization. Even until the 21st century, bed bugs still prove to be a nuisance. And regardless of where you live and what kind of bed you sleep on, there’s still a chance that your home can be plagued with bed bugs. Once that happens, it can be difficult to get rid of these pests.

But what exactly is the main cause of having bed bugs in your home? The short answer: someone (or something) brought a couple of adult bedbugs into your home, and they’ve successfully bred a colony that’s now feeding off of you, your household, and even your pets. Here’s what you should know about the different causes of bed bugs.

What Caused Your Home to Have Bed Bugs?

The main reason for bed bug infestations is because someone or something carried them into your home. They’ve then made their way into your furniture, carpets, wall cracks, and other suitable locations in your home, and have grown to the extent that you and your household can now notice their effects. There are a number of ways bed bugs could have entered your home, including:

Multi-Unit Buildings

Bed bugs cannot fly like other pests or jump high like fleas, but they can crawl very fast. If you live in a condominium or apartment or have stayed in a hotel, it is possible for them to travel between rooms in an effort to find a new host and a good breeding ground. So, if your next-door neighbor happens to carry bed bugs, it’s not only their unit where bed bugs can settle down.  

Second-Hand Furniture

There’s nothing wrong with buying second-hand or used furniture, but there’s always a risk of bed bugs especially if it is upholstered furniture. If you didn’t have the furniture deep-cleaned before bringing it inside your home, there’s a risk of it containing bed bugs, which made their way into your home.

You Carried Them In

Depending on where you go outside your home, you (or someone in your household) could have unknowingly carried bed bugs into your home. Bed bugs can crawl and feed on the blood of people and other animals, and you might not even notice it. A few examples include:

  • You go out and sit on furniture infected with bed bugs. These pests can crawl on you and hide in your clothes or attach to your skin when you go home.
  • If you have a habit of putting your bag down on the floor when in another location like a hotel, bed bugs can climb on your bag.
  • You travel a lot for work and may bring back bed bugs from the places you’ve been to.

Keep in mind that bed bugs aren’t limited to human blood and may also feed on pets.

Your Guests

Just like how you could unknowingly be bringing bed bugs into your home, house guests may accidentally be doing the same. When you know your home has a bed bug problem, the best thing to do is to contain the infestation and avoid going outdoor to unintentionally spread it. But during that time your guest may still be unaware that they’re home is infested or they unknowingly picked it up, they could spread bed bug in your home.

Insecticide Resistance

You might be using insecticides or bug bombs from your local hardware store to keep away pests like roaches and ants from your home. However, some insecticides are not effective in treating bed bugs. In the mid-20th century, an insecticide called dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) was used to tackle infestations for insects like bed bugs, but it was banned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and, years later, many of these insects are now immune to several pest control chemicals – including bed bugs. These days, only pest control companies can effectively address a bedbug infestation.

Signs of Bedbugs in Your Home

You won’t know when you’ve brought bed bugs into your home, so it might be a while before you know you have bed bugs. By then, it might already be too late and your home is swarming with bed bugs. A few signs of bedbugs in your home that you should notice include:

  • If you see them. Bed bugs are small wingless insects that are reddish-brown in color and are as small as an apple seed before they feed. They may look similar to fleas, but they have flat bodies while fleas have a rounded end.
  • If you see their remains. Bed bugs often leave their rust-colored droppings and shed skin on your upholstered furniture. Bedbug excrement may also begin to have a distinct smell.
  • You have bed bug bites on your skin. It can be difficult to differentiate bedbug bites from other types of insect bites, but look out for red bites with a darker center spot that are arranged in a line or close cluster (in comparison, a mosquito bite is larger). Bedbug bites usually appear in the upper area of your body, as opposed to flea bites that usually appear on your lower body parts. Although these are minor and don’t require medical treatment, these itchy bites can be uncomfortable. Seek medical treatment if you have signs of infection, though bacterial infection from bed bugs is unlikely. You may also have allergic conditions to bed bugs and other insect bites.
  • Blood spots on your bed. Bed bugs only feed at night when you’re asleep. If you see bloodstains on your pillowcases or bed sheets, it means they’ve recently fed.
  • Your furniture smells bad. If your bed releases a musty odor, this is from the bed bugs’ remains and scent glands.

If you see signs of infestation, it’s important to contain it immediately to prevent spreading bed bugs around or even outside your household.

How to Avoid Bringing Bed Bugs in Your Home

Prevention is better than the cure, so it’s much better if you try to keep these parasitic insects out of your home completely. Here are a few good ways to avoid bringing them into your home.

  • Inspect both new and used furniture that enters your home. Inspect thoroughly at the mattress seams, under the cushions of your couches, the crevices of beds, and other areas bed bugs are likely to inhabit.
  • Avoid putting your bag on the floor when outside your home. Certain types of flooring (especially carpets) can be a good breeding ground for bed bugs. Place your bags on the table, on your (non-upholstered chair), or keep it in a suitcase stand. Place your bag away from walls and other furniture, since bed bugs can climb from there.
  • Limit outside contact. Be careful when entering your home. If possible, let your household practice leaving their shoes at the door. If you sat down on public transportation or in a shared space, be sure to change out of your clothes and put on clothes for the house before sitting on the sofa or laying down on your bed.
  • Keep your used clothes separate. If you’ve gone on vacation and slept on places like hotel rooms or cruise ships, keep your used clothes in a separate bag. Wash the clothes from your trip and dry them under hot temperatures. This can kill bed bugs that might have attached to your clothes.  

How to Treat Your Home If You Have Bed Bugs

You can lower the risk of bed bug infestations, but once your home is swarmed with bed bugs, it’s nearly impossible to remove these pests on your own. Common household insecticides do not work on bed bugs, and it is difficult to try to contain the colony without a pest control professional. Pest control services can contain the colony, exterminate it, and advise safety precautions to prevent another infestation.

Let California Bed Bug Exterminators Keep Your Home Safe

There are a number of reasons why your home has bed bugs. Regardless of your home’s cleanliness and your household’s hygiene practices, bed bugs can infect any home and make everyone uncomfortable. That’s why it’s best to prevent bed bug colonies from entering and breeding into your home.

Regardless of the cause of the infestation, California Bed Bug Exterminators is here to keep your home safe. We specialize in professional treatment that removes all bed bugs from your home, so you and your household can feel comfortable and have a better quality of life living in a pest-free environment. Contact us today to learn more about our pest control services.