Do you have bed bugs? They’re right here in West Michigan and they aren’t fun to have around. Fortunately, bed bug infestations leave clear signs and there are fast steps you can take to eradicate them from your home. Here’s what you need to know:

Signs of Infestation

First of all, you won’t see any bed bugs out in the open. Not only are they very small (far harder to spot than even tiny sugar ants), but they dislike light and hide during daytime hours, only coming out at night. Instead, you’ll primarily be looking for leftover clues and signs of bedbug activity—though you may spot groups hiding in wood framing, around baseboards, or under furniture while you’re investigating.

Telltale signs include:

  • Castoff bed bug skins, shells, or exoskeletons left behind as the bugs move through their lifecycles. These will be 1-5mm in size (remember, bed bugs are very small).
  • Rust-colored stains around your mattress or pillow, left behind when bugs are crushed.
  • Fecal spots, or tiny, ink-like specs on your sheets or mattress.
  • Small blood stains on your sheets or bedclothes, from where you’re being bitten.

Keep in mind that hives and rashes don’t necessarily mean that you have bed bugs. There are plenty of other biting insects out there in the world and countless skin conditions that can look a lot like bed bug bites. That said, if you are being bitten by bed bugs you’ll probably develop the following:

  • Raised, red skin welts
  • Areas of burning and itching
  • Localized rashes
  • Straight lines or clusters of repeated bites

How did we even get here?

Most of us can remember a time when bed bugs weren’t a problem at all. In fact, from the 1950s through the late 1990s bed bugs were largely unheard of in the USA due to the efficiency and widespread use of the pesticide DDT. 

However, DDT and several other major pesticides were found to cause serious side effects (for both human and other forms of natural life) and in the wake of their elimination infestations once again made a resurgence, exploding across homes, hotels, and even office spaces across the developed world. 

The Good News

Bed bugs aren’t dangerous and don’t lead to the spread of serious illness or other major health risks, unlike other pests such as ticks or mosquitos. And the faster you respond to a small infestation, the easier it is to get under control.

The Bad News

Once they’ve established and begun laying eggs, getting rid of bed bugs can be very, very difficult. Your best bet is to use multiple, intense approaches all at once. These include:

  • Canine tracking to locate bed bug clusters
  • Bed bug traps
  • Deep cleaning
  • Decluttering
  • Vacuuming
  • Heat or cold treatments
  • Sealing cracks and crevices
  • Nonchemical and chemical pesticides

If you suspect your home is harboring bed bugs, don’t wait! Consider hiring a professional exterminator right away and visit your local Godwin Hardware store for a wide variety of bedbug killers and traps to get your situation under control as fast as possible.