Bed bugs are nasty, bloodsucking creatures that attack their victims when they’re most vulnerable…… like when you’re soundly asleep in your bed! For victims of these tiny critters, this can be a truly nightmarish scenario.
So, how can you identify bed bugs? And more importantly, what can you do to prevent your home (and mattress) from becoming their next favourite dine-in buffet restaurant?
Let’s find out.
Why are bed bugs in my home?
If your home has been invaded by bed bugs, don’t blame yourself. It’s a common misconception that bed bugs are related to poor housekeeping or personal hygiene – but that’s often not the case. Just like travellers, bed bugs can hitch “business class rides” and arrive at your home in a variety of ways:
- On your luggage, backpack, or other items that you carry out with you (and place on upholstered surfaces)
- From unit to unit in HDB flats or hotels
- Hiding in used furniture and cracks in the walls
- …and many other ways
How to spot bed bugs
Bed bugs are most active at night when people are sleeping. Because of their tiny size (and the fact that they usually feed when you’re asleep), they can feast for 3 to 10 minutes and leave satiated – with their victims being totally unaware of what happened, until they see the bite marks and start feeling the unbearable itchiness.
But you’ll definitely be able to spot signs of their presence. For example:
- Spots of blood on your pillows, bolsters, sheets, or mattress
- Tiny black or brown spots on your bed, which are their faeces!
- Seeing dead (or alive) bed bugs on your bed
- Bites on your body
If you see marks like this on your skin, these are probably bed bug bites – meaning it’s time to do some exterminating!
Preventing – and getting rid of – bed bugs
Bed bug bites can be itchy and ugly, which is reason enough to keep your home free from bed bugs and the trouble they cause. Follow these tips to keep your home clean, neat and bed bug-free.
Clean your bedding
Be sure to clean your sheets, blanket, pillows, and bolsters often. According to Virginia Tech’s Department of Entomology, bed bugs and their eggs will be killed when exposed to temperatures of at least 48°C for 20 minutes.
Following this finding, we recommend washing your sheets and covers in hot water (over 48°C) for 30 minutes, then drying them in a dryer (at the highest setting) for another 30 minutes or more. Also, do clean your sheets once every two weeks – or at the very least, once a month.
Steam and vacuum your mattress and couches
Bed bugs can live on (or even in) your mattress and couches too, so steaming and vacuuming is a must. Do this every time you change your sheets and reserve a vacuum head to use exclusively on your mattress and couches to make sure they stay clean.
Bed bugs are notorious for hiding in the cracks of walls. So, if the plaster in your bedroom wall is cracking, get a contractor to repair and repaint it – sealing up gaps and plugging possible hiding spots.
Is there a lot of clutter under or around your bed? If so, these provide more hiding places for bed bugs to conceal themselves in. Do some Marie Kondo-ing and say goodbye to all the clutter that no longer sparks joy in your life! (And for items that do, keep them nicely instead of piling them in your bedroom.)
Choose a latex mattress
Did you know that the type of mattress you have, can make your bed a more (or less) hospitable environment for bed bugs? For instance, spring mattresses have lots of room for bed bugs to burrow themselves into. Meanwhile, latex mattresses are made of more dense material, making it less “friendly” to bed bugs.
As a bonus, if you choose a Sofzsleep latex mattress, its mattress cover can be unzipped and removed easily for thorough cleaning, you can also be assured of a better night’s sleep – thanks to latex that’s both comfortably plush and supportive. What’s more, with a variety of mattresses to choose from (like a “his/her” mattress with different levels of firmness to suit both partners’ preferences), you can be sure that you’ll find a latex mattress that you’ll love.
Call an exterminator
When all else fails, call in the professionals! Know that a female bed bug can lay 500 eggs in her lifetime, so if you need to spend some money on nipping the problem in the bud, do so and put your mind (and health) at ease.
A well-maintained home is your best defence
While there is no way to guarantee that bed bugs will never enter your home, keeping your living areas – and especially your bed/bedroom – clean is an effective way to not only keep the bed bugs away, but also to catch and eliminate them early, should they hitch a ride in past your front door.
As victims will tell you, bed bug bites can be difficult to deal with, so be diligent with regular housekeeping – especially in your bedroom. Sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite!