Bed bugs can create serious problems for your and your loved ones. These tiny creatures can bite you hundreds of times in a single night, leaving red spots that itch, deprive you of sleep, and may even produce acute allergic reactions. If you want to understand this tiny enemy, take the following key points about bed bugs to heart.

1. How Bed Bugs Invade Homes

Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to maintain a dirty home to experience a bedbug infestation. Your pets or kids may have carried bed bugs into your residence, or the pests may have attached themselves to your luggage during a recent hotel stay. You can even purchase used furniture that secretly harbors bedbugs.

2. How to Spot a Bedbug Infestation

You might mistake bedbug bites for the work of mosquitos, fleas, or other creatures. However, the itchy red bites left by bed bugs tend to confine themselves to the upper body, while flea bites more commonly appear on the lower extremities. Bedbug bites may follow a straight line or appear in closely-spaced clusters.

Bed bugs tend to hide when not actively feeding. However, tiny red blood spots or brown bits of exoskeleton left behind on your bedding may reveal their presence. You may also smell an unpleasantry musty odor that these unwanted guests commonly produce.

3. How to Rid Your Home of Bedbugs

You can physically remove bedbugs from upholstery by vacuuming them up and immediately discarding the vacuum bag. Wash infested sheets, pillowcases, and other such items in hot water, drying them in high heat to kill the bedbugs. You can also encase infested mattresses in sealed plastic containers to confine and starve bed bugs.

Any bedbugs you can't eliminate through these methods will require the use of chemical insecticides. Don't try to use this method yourself, since the wrong chemicals used in the wrong way can endanger your health. Pest control experts know how to select insecticides that will kill bedbugs without placing your family at undue risk.

4. How to Prevent Future Bedbug Problems

Once you've eliminated your bedbug problem, you can protect yourself from future infestations. First and foremost, act as a gatekeeper by checking any furniture or luggage for infestations before you bring these items into your home. Seal any tight spaces or gaps that might permit bedbugs to move from room to room.

Careful home maintenance can often prevent any bed bugs that enter your home from multiplying into a full-scale infestation. Make a point of vacuuming often, continuing to launder clothes and bedding on high heat when possible. Consider buying a light-colored mattress cover that makes the signs of an infestation easier to spot.

Don't allow bedbugs to take over your home, threaten your health, and limit your quality of life. Contact your local pest control team to schedule professional inspection and extermination services.