Have you noticed itchy, red bumps on your skin lately? Maybe out of the corner of your eye you saw a tiny bug crawl on the side of your mattress? You might want to check your bed and surrounding furniture for bed bugs.
Here’s what you need to know about the bed bug life cycle, where they lurk and how to get rid of bed bugs before they bite you!
Bed Bug Life Cycle
Bed bugs feed entirely on blood. Their “blood meal” usually takes about 5-10 minutes, which is why they tend to feed on sleeping humans at night. Adult bed bugs can live without feeding for around a year depending on temperatures.
One female bed bug can lay 200-250 eggs in her lifetime. Bed bug eggs hatch in 6-10 days and the nymph bed bug will go out to find its first blood meal in order to molt to the next stage. Each nymph stage usually lasts about a week (longer if a bed bug can’t find a live host to feed on). The adult bed bug life span usually last 6-12 months.
How to Check for Bed Bugs
- When staying at a hotel, check the piping of the mattress and the box spring for tiny black marks.
- Check the headboard (especially the bottom close to the mattress) for live bugs, eggs or their black excrement.
- Keep your suitcase on a stand and away from the bed or couch.
- Keep dirty clothes in a sealable plastic bag if you think the room might have bed bugs.
How to Kill Bed Bugs
It’s important to immediately begin treating the area that you found the bed bugs or else they will quickly move to another hiding place.
- Gather clothes and bedding in a sealable plastic bag. Sprinkle about a cup of Diatomaceous Earth (DE) into the bag and tie closed. Shake the bag and place outside if it’s hot out. After 72 hours, wash the clothes and bedding at the highest temperature possible.
- Vacuum any visible bed bugs and eggs on headboard, bed frame, curtains, furniture and electrical appliances (dispose of the bag immediately afterwards).
- Wearing a dust mask, puff and sprinkle DE on the mattress, box spring, bed frame and any nearby furniture or fabrics.
Diatomaceous Earth physically kills bed bugs in 48 hours after they come in contact with the powder.
For more information about bed bugs and how to get rid of them, check out our insect library.
EPA Directive on Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
When using desiccants (diatomaceous earth or boric acid) to control bed bugs it is critical to use those that are registered by EPA and labeled for bed bug control. Desiccants that are intended for other uses, such as food-grade or for use in swimming pools, pose an increased inhalation risk to people. Learn more here: https://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/pesticides-control-bed-bugs