How to identify bed bugs and how to get rid of them
Mary Atieno, a resident of Nairobi’s Ngumo estate, once had a serios bed bug infestation. “Those pests are really terrible. I never want them to ever come near my house again”, she says. Mary admits that the bed bug infestation in her home became huge because she did not identify the bed bugs early. Early identification of bed bugs is important because it’s way easier to exterminate them before they establish.
What do bed bugs look like?
Bed bugs are small, parasitic insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals, including humans. They are commonly found in and around sleeping areas, such as mattresses, bed frames, headboards, and box springs. Bed bugs are known for their ability to hitchhike on clothing, luggage, and other personal belongings, making it easy for them to spread from one location to another.
The appearance of bed bugs can vary depending on their age and feeding status. Adult bed bugs are typically reddish-brown in color, although they can appear darker or lighter depending on how recently they have fed. They are approximately the size and shape of an apple seed, measuring about 4-5 mm in length and 1.5-3 mm in width. Bed bugs have six legs, antennae, and are wingless. They have a distinctive, segmented body and a beak-like protrusion called a proboscis, which they use to pierce the skin of their host and feed on their blood.
What are the main causes of bedbugs in Nairobi?
Bed bugs are primarily spread through human activity, such as travel, moving furniture, and purchasing used items. They are notorious hitchhikers and can easily travel on clothing, luggage, and other personal belongings.
Many Residents of Nairobi blame Matatus for the spread of bed bugs. Their assertions are partially true because some these PSV vehicles do not implement public health safety measures such as pest control.
Bed bugs can also be spread through the purchase of secondhand furniture, particularly mattresses and bed frames. Due to the current high cost of living in the country, many Nairobians have resorted to buying secondhand furniture because they cannot afford new furniture. It is important to thoroughly inspect any used items for signs of bed bugs before bringing them into your home.
Bed bugs can thrive in a variety of environments, but they are particularly fond of warm, humid areas near their hosts. This is why they are commonly found in and around sleeping areas. They can also be found in other areas of the home, such as behind baseboards, in electrical outlets, and inside furniture.
Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are not caused by poor hygiene or unsanitary living conditions. They can infest any home or space, regardless of its cleanliness. Whether you live in Kibera slums, Mathare slums, or the posh Runda and Lavington Estates, you can have a bed bug infestation. Clutter and disorganization can make it easier for bed bugs to hide and spread, so it is important to keep your living space tidy and free of clutter.
Signs of bed bug infestation
Bed bugs are notorious for their ability to hide in cracks and crevices, making them difficult to detect. However, there are several signs that can indicate a bed bug infestation. One of the most common signs of a bed bug infestation is bites. Bed bugs feed on the blood of their hosts, usually at night while they are sleeping. Bites may appear as raised, red welts and are often grouped together in a line or cluster. However, not everyone reacts to bed bug bites, so it is possible to have an infestation without experiencing bites.
Another sign of a bed bug infestation is blood stains. After feeding, bed bugs may leave small blood stains on bedding, sheets, or clothing. These stains can be a result of accidentally crushing a bed bug while moving in your sleep. Additionally, bed bugs leave small, dark spots of fecal matter on surfaces, such as mattresses, box springs, or furniture. These spots may be found in areas where bed bugs are concentrated and can help to identify their presence.
As bed bugs grow, they shed their skins. These skins may be found in areas where bed bugs are present, such as in crevices and corners of furniture. These skins can indicate the presence of bed bugs, even if no other signs are visible. Additionally, bed bugs release a pheromone that produces a musty odor. This odor may be particularly strong in areas where bed bugs are concentrated and can help to identify their presence.
It is important to note that these signs may not always be present, especially in the early stages of an infestation. Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to detect, and their small size and ability to hide in cracks and crevices make them challenging to eradicate. If you suspect a bed bug infestation, it is important to contact a pest control professional as soon as possible. They can conduct a thorough inspection and recommend the appropriate treatment options. Early detection and treatment are key to preventing the spread of bed bugs and minimizing the damage they can cause.
How to get rid of bed bugs
Here are the steps you can take to get rid of bedbugs:
- Identify the infested areas: Conduct a thorough inspection of your home to identify areas where bedbugs are present. This may include your bed, furniture, and other areas around your sleeping area.
- Clean and declutter: Remove any clutter or unnecessary items from the infested areas. Vacuum carpets, furniture, and other surfaces thoroughly to remove bedbugs, their eggs, and any other debris.
- Wash and dry bedding and clothing: Place all bedding, clothing, and other washable items in a washing machine on the hottest setting possible. Dry these items on the highest heat setting for at least 30 minutes to kill any remaining bedbugs.
- Use heat treatment: Bedbugs are susceptible to heat, so you can use a clothes dryer on the highest heat setting to kill them. You can also use a professional-grade heat treatment system to heat infested areas to a temperature that kills bedbugs and their eggs.
- Apply insecticides: Insecticides can be an effective way to kill bedbugs. Insecticides such as Kungunil, Lava, Promax 20 EC, and Bedlam are quite effective at killing bed bugs. However, it is important to follow the instructions carefully and use only insecticides specifically labeled for bedbugs.
- Seek professional help: If the infestation is severe or the above methods are not effective, it may be necessary to seek professional help from a pest control company. A professional can conduct a thorough inspection, identify the extent of the infestation, and recommend the most effective treatment approach. Contact a Fumigation and Pest Control Company in Kenya like Agile Pest to come get rid of bed bugs in your home.
Getting rid of bedbugs can take time and persistence. It may require multiple treatment approaches and ongoing monitoring to ensure that all bedbugs and their eggs are eliminated.
How to avoid future bed bug infestations
Just like preventing other pests from coming to your home, preventing future bed bug infestations requires a combination of vigilance, prevention, and early detection. Here are some tips to avoid future infestations:
Use reputable Matatu SACCOS: If travelling to the CBD or to work, use only Matatus that have a reputation of implementing pest control measures. Don’t just board a Matatu because they’re offering you low rates.
Inspect secondhand items: If you are bringing secondhand furniture, clothing, or other items into your home, inspect them thoroughly for signs of bed bugs before bringing them inside.
Keep a clean home: Regular cleaning and decluttering can help prevent bed bugs from finding places to hide. Vacuum carpets, furniture, and other surfaces regularly, and dispose of any clutter or unnecessary items.
Cover your mattress and box spring: Use a bed bug-proof cover to encase your mattress and box spring. This can help prevent bed bugs from getting in or out.
Be cautious when traveling: When staying in a hotel or other lodging, inspect the room for signs of bed bugs before unpacking. Keep your luggage off the floor and away from the bed. When returning home, inspect your luggage and wash all clothing on the hottest setting possible.
Seal cracks and crevices: Bed bugs can hide in cracks and crevices, so seal any gaps in walls, baseboards, and other areas around your home where bed bugs can hide.
Use caution with shared spaces: Bed bugs can be found in shared spaces, such as offices, schools, and other public areas. Be cautious and inspect your belongings before bringing them home.