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Do I have bedbugs?

The thought brings chills even to those of us fond of little six-legged creatures. There is something sacred about where we sleep. Blood-sucking insects crawling all over us and giving us itchy welts during the night can bring significant psychological trauma. Fortunately, bedbugs present little to no danger to our health and are not known to transmit any diseases. But we need to know if we have them before we can begin the removal process. Below I will present three lists consisting of bedbug signs and symptoms, techniques used to find bedbugs and several other problems you may have (hopefully) besides bedbugs.

Bedbug Signs and Symptoms

  • Very itchy red welts that often appear in rough lines or clusters, usually on exposed areas of the skin not covered by clothing. These welts do not look identical on every person. Different people have different allergic reactions to bedbugs and some people have no reaction. Welts are caused by the liquid pumped into the victim during bedbug bites that masks the pain and eases the flow of blood – very similar to mosquitoes.
  • Blood spots on bed sheets, pillow cases, blankets or clothing caused by the accidental crushing of bedbugs while they are feeding.
  • Small black or brown specks near the creases or underneath a mattress. This material is bedbug waste or bedbugs eggs. It kinda looks like smudged dirt.
  • Bedbugs give off a sweet, musty smell that can become quite noticeable during an infestation.
  • Obviously, the visual siting of bedbugs or their dead bodies is the easiest way to confirm their presence.

Find Bedbugs

  • Early morning hours, right before dawn, is the best time to look for bedbugs.  They are most active at this time while we are deep in sleep.
  • Place double-sided tape around your bed or anywhere you think bedbugs might cross to try to get to their food source (you). You can simply use regular tape that is folded.
  • There are very expensive traps for sale that claim to attract bedbugs. I’ve read that they don’t work very well.
  • Make some type of homemade trap to place underneath each bedpost of your bed. This can be four plastic containers filled with water. The idea is to trap the critters as they are climbing onto or off of your bed.
  • Grab a flashlight and start searching. Bedbugs are flat and get squeeze into almost any crack. Think beds, couches, chairs, behind baseboards, anywhere inside wooden furniture, electrical outlets, behind wall picture frames, and inside electronic equipment.

What else could have caused my bites?

  • I finally figured out that the extremely itchy welts all over my body (I even had a fever) were caused by chiggers. I believe chigger bites are probably the bites most similar to bedbug bites. Chigger bites sometimes appear in lines along the edge of clothing or in clusters.
  • Scabies (human body lice) could possibly be misdiagnosed as bedbugs bites.
  • Some people want to believe (myself included) that they have chicken pox.
  • It can’t hurt to investigate the possibility of mosquito bites.

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