Have you been getting unbearably itchy bed bugs bites causing sleepless nights? Or have you been noticing skin rashes that pop up from nowhere when you wake up every morning? If the answer is yes, then you might be facing a bed bug infestation.

You might be wondering what the source of a bed bug infestation is? And where do the bugs come from? The answer may surprise you. Humans bring in bed bug infestations, so we need to take some responsibility. Someone may pick up bed bugs from a hotel room, theatre, a plane or even from public transport. They climb onto your clothes or sneak into your luggage bags. Eventually, the beg bugs find a way into your home.

A bed bug infestation may be a headache to a lot of people. However, with some understanding, you can prevent or get rid of bed bugs infestations.

Types of Bed Bugs in Singapore

common types of bed bugs in singapore

There are two commonly found species of bed bugs in Singapore:

Cimex lectularius has a worldwide distribution, especially in temperate regions. Cimex hemipterus is a common species found in tropical and subtropical areas including Singapore. Both species feed on human blood and are important pests to the travel and hospitality industries.

Life Cycle and Biology

A female bed bug can lay 200 to 250 eggs in her lifetime and the eggs hatch in 6 to 10 days. The life cycle of a bed bug can be completed in as little as three weeks.

Bed bug larva undergoes incomplete metamorphosis. It takes five stages before a larva matures into an adult bed bug. A blood meal is needed each time before a nymph moults into the next stage. Bed bugs are opportunistic feeders. They consume as much blood as possible from you until they are fully engorged.

A tropical bed bug can live for up to 100 days while a common bed bug can live for up to 1 year. As much as they need blood meals for growth, bed bugs were found to be able to survive a long period without blood meals.

Have you ever wondered how a tiny bed bug can find its way to you? Bed bugs are attracted to the carbon dioxide and body heat given off by human bodies. A higher concentration of carbon dioxide due to human presence stimulates bed bugs to feed. As they approach the human host, they are attracted by the body heat of the host.

bed bug tips

Hazards

Unlike many other pests, bed bugs do not transmit diseases to humans nor cause structural damage to buildings. However, bed bugs feed on human blood. Their presence can still have severe impacts on humans.

1. Allergic reactions

Bed bug bites are not harmful to humans. Some people do not even develop reactions towards the bites. However, people that develop allergic reactions to bed bug bites may have painful swelling or intense itching around the bites. In this scenario, medical attention will be needed to ease the symptoms of allergy.

2. Effect on mental health

Bed bug bites can be extremely itchy to some people. The itch from the bites can cause insomnia and even anxiety in cases of heavy infestations. Bed bugs may cause an affected individual to have sleepless nights, and the lack of sleep can further affect the mental health and the ability to carry out normal daily activities.

3. Property damage

Bed bugs do not cause structural damages like termites and rats, but they can cause cosmetic damages to the property. In a heavily infested unit, blood speckles and the droppings of bed bugs can be found all over the unit including the mattresses, bed frames and walls. Owners need to replace the items if the stains are not removable. Also, repainting the walls can be costly.

4. Economic and reputation damage

Bed bugs are a serious threat to the hospitality industry as well as the transport industry. Hotels suffer a loss when the bed bug infestation decreases their capacity to accept guests. The cost to treat bed bug infestations is usually a significant amount that can badly affect a company.

Besides hotel rooms, bed bugs can also be found on planes, buses and trains, causing significant losses to the businesses. A business’ reputation can be badly affected by bed bugs. Numerous lawsuits may also come from bed bug infestations.

Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation

signs of a bed bugs infestation

Here are some signs that tell you that you have a bed bug infestation.

1. Bites

One of the most apparent signs that indicate a bed bug infestation is the presence of bite signs. It might be difficult to differentiate between the bites caused by bed bugs and other insects such as mosquitoes.

A bed bug usually bites more than once, so it is likely to leave numerous bites that cluster around several exposed parts of the body such as face, neck, arms and legs.

2. Blood speckles on bedding and wall

Bed bugs hide in the corners and edges of a mattress, as well as other locations with cracks and crevices, including the wall. During the night, as bed bugs leave their hiding place to forage, you might accidentally crush them during your sleep. Crushing them causes their bodies to rupture, leaving behind blood stains on the mattress or wall.

3. Dark spots on mattress and wall

The droppings of bed bugs consist of digested blood which resembles black pepper flakes. They are commonly found near the hiding sites of the bed bugs so be sure to check the corners and edges of your mattresses and bed frames if you suspect a bed bug infestation.

4. Sickly sweet odour in the room

In places heavily infested with bed bugs, a pungent smell can be detected. People can have a different perception of how the odour smells. The odour is caused by the pheromones released by the bed bugs. Thus, the odour intensifies as the number of bed bugs present increases.

5. Cast skins of bed bugs

As mentioned earlier, bed bugs need to moult (cast off their skin) to grow. The sighting of cast skins (also known as exoskeletons) indicates the presence of bed bug infestations. The sightings of live bed bugs are also possible.

Tips to Prevent and Get Rid of Bed Bugs

prevent and get rid of bed bugs

1. Check your bed and sofa

While bed bugs are mostly found around your bed, they can hide around other locations such as the sofa too. Bed bugs locate themselves near the seams and zippers of mattresses and cushions.

They can also infest the gaps between cushions as well as the frames of beds and sofas. Inspecting the beds and sofas helps to detect bed bug infestations. This allows early action before the infestations worsen.

2. Check your luggage

Another major source of bed bug infestation is infested accommodation. As you are enjoying your vacation in resorts or hotels, bed bugs from an infested room may climb into your luggage and follow you back home. Inspect your luggage as you are unpacking them may help you prevent a bed bug infestation.

3. Be mindful when using shared laundry services

Launderettes and shared laundry services are convenient for people living far from home. However, the convenience does come with a risk of exposing yourself to bed bug infestations. Bed bugs may hide in the shared equipment, so do check your washed clothes for signs of bed bugs after using shared laundry services.

4. Check secondhand furniture and clothes

Buying pre-loved items are a great way to save costs and care for the environment. However, sometimes you are getting more than what you wish for as bed bugs may hide in items such as furniture, clothing and even stuffed toys.

Bed bugs can survive without a blood meal for up to 4 months, so they can even be found in items that have been left unattended. Make sure you check the items before you use them again to prevent bed bug infestations at home.

DIY Methods

Getting rid of bed bugs on your own is not an easy task. However, some methods can reduce their presence or even remove them entirely in cases of light infestations.

1. Wash and dry in high temperature

Bed bugs can be killed when exposed to temperatures higher than 60°C. Washing or drying your mattress linen and clothes at high temperature is one of the most effective ways to kill bed bugs.

2. Vacuuming

Vacuuming can remove the adult bed bugs, the nymphs and even the eggs. Focus on the potential hiding spots of bed bugs such as wall joints, cracks and crevices. Thoroughly vacuum the bed, including mattresses and bed frames to remove bed bugs.

Vacuuming together with washing linens in high temperature may help to eliminate the bed bugs. However, if the situation does not improve, professional pest treatment is required to help solve your problem.

3. Use bed bug-proof encasements

Bed bug-proof encasements restrict the movements of bed bugs, thus preventing new infestations as well as trapping existing bed bugs. They are available in the market and work well to keep bed bugs off your bed as long as you install them correctly.

Professional Bed Bug Treatment

Residual insecticidal treatment is one of the treatment methods to get rid of bed bugs. The chemicals and products used by pest management professionals are different from those that are available over the counter (less effective). The application of residual insecticides targets the areas where bed bugs are most likely to hide and reside, such as:

  • Seams of beds
  • Folds of sofas
  • Wall crevices

Killem Pest has employed steaming treatment as an alternative solution for bed bug control.

It is an environmentally friendly solution as it resolves and eliminates bed bugs and their eggs without the use of any insecticide.

The superheated dry steam from the specially designed appliance can be steamed up to 180°C, which directly kills the bed bugs and eggs upon contact. The steam generated will not cause damage to any surface or fabric. Instead, it can help to eradicate viruses, bacteria, germ and fungi on the treated surface.

Bed bug problems should not be underestimated. They are best solved before they become much more severe. In the case of a serious bed bug infestation, treatment methods may vary and can become more challenging. It is vital to identify the root cause of bed bug problems, recognize the source to avoid continuously bringing them back from outside. Lastly, help from a professional pest control company is strongly advised.