You’ve probably heard a loved one say, lightheartedly, “Sleep tight.” Do not allow the bed bugs to bite.” This proverb arose from centuries of battles between humans and bed bugs dating back to ancient Greece and Rome. While the expression is lighthearted, these expert travelers can multiply quickly, wreaking havoc on homeowners and families.
How long do bed bug bites last?
A bite can take up to 14 days (typically only three) to develop on the skin and another 14 days to disappear, but reactions vary from person to person. Those with sensitive skin may notice symptoms in as little as an hour, and it may take up to three weeks for them to completely disappear. Few may experience a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis, which necessitates immediate medical attention. Some people may never notice a bite at all. As a result, rather than relying solely on skin reactions, it is critical to understand the signs and locate evidence of bed bug activity in your home.
Regardless, it is critical to avoid scratching wounds, as this will aggravate symptoms and lead to inflammation and infection.
Do bed bugs bite dogs?
Yes! Bed bugs prefer human hosts, but they have been known to feed on family pets. Because fur and bedding are excellent hiding places, keeping these areas clean is critical to avoiding eggs.
Bed bug bites in dogs, like in humans, appear in clusters and may resemble a rash. You may notice your dog(s) scratching, licking, or gnawing at their skin. Spotting is a good indicator to look for; dried blood or bed bug feces in fur or bedding are important indicators of their presence.
How to Protect Yourself from Bed Bug Bites While Sleeping
A single female bed bug can lay hundreds of eggs in her lifetime, so avoiding an infestation is critical.
If you haven’t caught a bed bug in the act, look for them in their natural habitat: your bed. In their wake, bed bugs leave a trail of evidence such as blood spots, eggs, shed skin (or exoskeleton), musty odor, and fecal stains. Despite the fact that these findings are unsanitary, there are no known diseases transmitted to humans by bed bugs.
To eliminate potential hiding spots, consider purchasing tear-resistant, white mattress protectors. Successful intruders will be exposed if your mattress is dressed in white or light-colored sheets. You can also buy pre-treated encasements that kill bed bugs on contact as an added precaution.
While bed bugs typically start their journey in mattress and box spring seams for easy access to humans, they can also thrive in furniture, cracks in floors, curtains, clothing, and tight spaces such as electrical outlets. Vacuum daily and keep your home clutter-free to reduce the risk of bed bug foraging in these areas.
Don’t be alarmed if you only see one bed bug; this does not indicate that breeding has begun. If you notice bed bugs multiplying, you may have an infestation. This realization can be devastating, but you are not alone. In fact, 25% of Americans have personally experienced a bed bug infestation or know someone who has.