Dust Mites vs. Bed Bugs – How To Tell Them Apart?

Bed bugs and dust mites belong to different groups of pests that infest our household and cause various health issues. Where bed bugs are typically the size of an apple seed and are easily discernible to the naked eye, dust mites are microscopic.  Bed bugs are small, oval insects that do not fly and can live anywhere in the home. These pesky pests take up residence in various areas of the home, including cracks in furniture, in any type of textile and most commonly, in beds, where they thrive in the mattress, box springs and bed frames.

Bed bugs are parasites that feed on blood of humans and pets (mammals) but dust mites do not actually feed on humans and pets. Bed bugs are insects and dust mites belong to the arachnids (spider) family. Diseases caused by dust mites are mainly due to the chemical composition of their shed skin and feces. Let’s look at the differences between bed bugs and dust mites.

Dust MitesBed Bugs
Microscopic – cannot be seen.Visible – brown and 5 mm in length.
Doesn’t bite – feeds on dead skin.Bites – feeds on human blood.
Found mainly in mattresses, bedding, and upholstery.Found in furniture, under mattresses, cushions, and other dark places.
Cause allergic reactions.Cause bites and itching.
Remove with vacuuming, hot water, sunlight, and certain chemicals.Remove with vacuuming and specific chemicals.
Can be partially prevented with hypoallergenic mattresses and bedding – plus regular cleaning.Can be prevented with regular cleaning and checking for infestations.

Symptoms of Dust Mites

Dust mite allergy symptoms caused by inflammation of nasal passages include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
  • Postnasal drip
  • Cough
  • Facial pressure and pain
  • Swollen, blue-colored skin under your eyes
  • In a child, frequent upward rubbing of the nose

Dust mite vs. bed bug bites:

Where bed bug bites are real and cause discomfort that can be easily diagnosed, dust mites may not be easily diagnosed due to lack of awareness. Dust mites are potentially more dangerous than bed bugs because they adversely affect people and children who are susceptible to allergies and further weaken their immune systems. Bed bugs on the other hand are quite predictable and with a little effort, it is easy to get rid of them.

Where Do They Live?

You may have got the hint that both dust mites and bed bugs are sharing the same bedroom with you. While both have different feeding habits, humans are the primary source of food.

Hundreds of thousands of dust mites can live in the bedding, mattresses, upholstered furniture, carpets, or curtains in your home. They feed on the dead human skin cells found in dust. Dust mites are not parasites; they don’t bite, sting or burrow into our bodies.  Also, dust mites thrive in dark and humid environment and that’s basically most households on the planet.

As for bed bugs, they are hiding not too far from dust mites. Bed bugs prefer cracks and crevices that are hidden from plain sight. Also, you may find bed bugs hiding beneath cupboards or upholsteries. Occasionally, you may spot their feces, and skins that gave away their hiding spot.

Treatment For Bites

Bed bug bite treatment includes measures to relieve the symptoms like irritation, itching etc. If, of course you are convinced that the skin lesions you experience are not caused by bed bug bites, it is better to see a qualified doctor to both figure out the cause and treat the problem An over the counter antihistamine pill is effective as a bed bug bite treatment for itching and irritation. You can also use a hot washcloth to wipe down the area affected by bed bug bites.

Although dust mites don’t literally bite, the discomfort caused can only be explained as a dust mite bite. Besides, allergic rash that looks like fleabites maybe caused by dust mites. Dust mite bites treatment involves treating for allergies and asthma. Dust mite bites rash is also caused by the allergies and can be cured with appropriate allergy medication.

If you see dust mite bites symptoms, it is important to see a qualified doctor to get the allergies under control and take measures to prevent asthma. It is also important to treat your home and get rid of invisible dust mites.

If you suspect dust mites in your home or find rash that looks like dust mite bites on baby, immediately consult your pediatrician and take measures to prevent and treat any known and unknown allergies.

Controlling Dust Mites & Bed Bugs

Keep the house aired out and dry. Dust mites do well where humidity is greater than 50% but do not do well in dry conditions. Try to keep the moisture level (humidity) below 50%. This may be difficult in some seasons and some climates. Plants and fish tanks add to humidity, so keep these out of the bedroom.

Lysol can kill 99% of dust mites; however, the dead carcasses and droppings of dust mites are what causes allergens. Killing them will not be enough; you must also vacuum the area or shake out the bedding to remove them after you have killed them.  Also consider steam cleaning carpets when possible. In addition to cleaning the carpet, the heat of the steam kills dust mites.

Wash bedding, including pillowcases and mattress covers, in hot water [ 130°F (54.5°C)] every 1 to 2 weeks. You can also dry bedding at high temperatures.

You can limit your contact with dust mites by using allergen-proof covers on your mattress, box spring, and pillows, and washing them regularly. This works well as part of an overall plan to reduce allergens in your home. It is not enough to use mattress and pillow covers without some of the other methods mentioned above.

As for bed bugs, it’s also important to keep your home and bedroom clean and uncluttered. You will also need to caulk and seal cracks around HVAC vents, walls, plumbing, or other locations.  Cover electrical outlets and install bed bug proof encasements on the mattress and box spring.

Ultimately, you may have completely got rid of bed bugs, but dust mites are a stubborn enemy. If you reduced dust mites to a minimum, the allergies will subside.

Is Aprehend The Most Effective Treatment for Bed Bugs?

Although bed bugs may seem to have been a pest of years gone past, they’re now making a comeback across the United States. Bed bugs now infest numerous public places, where they can crawl onto clothing and hitchhike to your home. Hotels top the list of bed bug hideouts, but they may also be found in theaters, airplanes, subways, trains, buses, prisons, and dormitories. Your best guard against bed bugs is information. Know what they look like, and take appropriate steps to keep them from crossing your threshold.

What is Aprehend?

The active ingredient in Aprehend is a natural fungal disease of insects called Beauveria bassiana, it is specific to insects and does not affect humans or animals. While the use of Beauveria to control bed bugs is a new application, Beauveria and other insect diseases have been used to control pest insects in horticulture and agriculture for many years.

How Does Aprehend Kill Bed Bugs?

Beauveria is a natural disease of insects, it infects an insect by direct contact, and does not need to be eaten to initiate an infection. Aprehend contains the conidia of Beauveria, these microscopic ‘seeds’ readily attach to insect cuticle (insect skin). Once attached, the conidia germinate and penetrate directly through the cuticle and gain access to the insect’s blood system. Once there the fungus grows inside the insect, using the blood as a food source. Very soon the insect becomes sick and dies from the fungal infection. In bed bugs this takes between 3 and 7 days.

How Long Will It Take For A Bed Bug Infestation To Be Eradicated?

As with all current bed bug control methods (except heat), it will take time before all the bed bugs in an infestation are killed. Aprehend starts working immediately after spraying, and remains effective for up to 3 months, providing the barrier has not been removed by cleaning. When a bed bug crosses the spray barrier, it picks up conidia, which will germinate within 24 hours. The fungus will then grow inside the body of the bed bug, and death will occur between 3 and 7 days later. Bed bugs that remain in their harborages can become infected if they contact a bed bug that has picked up conidia from the spray barrier, these bed bugs will also go on to die within a few days. It will take time before all bed bugs have been exposed to the fungal conidia, either by crossing the barrier themselves or coming into contact with others who have picked up conidia. However, since the spray barrier will remain effective for up to 3 months, all bed bugs will be eliminated. Depending on the level of infestation, and the activity of the bed bugs, it may take between 4-8 weeks to effect complete eradication.

Do You Have To Spray Directly on the Bed Bug?

No, bed bugs are extremely difficult to find and target directly, because they hide in tiny cracks and crevices (called harborages) in furniture and the structural elements of a building. It is impossible to locate and treat inside every harborage in a room. Aprehend is designed to be sprayed in 2” wide barriers around the bed and items of furniture where bed bugs are likely to walk when they emerge from to look for a blood meal. When bed bugs cross the barrier, the conidia readily attach to the cuticle of the bed bug, and will initiate the infection process.

Who Should Use Aprehend?

Aprehend may be useful for those who have a small number of bed bugs in their homes. If you have a full-scale infestation, unfortunately, Aprehend and other sprays may not work efficiently for you. Natural fungi like beauveria bassiana may be a better choice than chemical sprays, since the disease that it causes can spread more efficiently from insect to insect than chemicals can. Note that when using Aprehend, you should exercise caution as with any bug spray. Use gloves and a mask when applying it.

Where Should You Use Aprehend?

Unlike a lot of sprays, there aren’t any toxic chemicals in Aprehend. This is a major plus side, because chemicals in bug sprays can cause health or breathing issues in those with lung illnesses, young children, elderly folks, and more. What’s more, those toxic chemical smells can linger for a long time in your home, clinging to carpets and furniture. The lack of toxic chemicals in Aprehend means that you can use it in your home without worrying about causing breathing problems (however, you should always use personal protective equipment when you are using bug sprays).

Are The Bed Bugs Out of Your Control?

By the time you find bed bugs, it may already be too late for sprays to really be effective. That’s where whole-home heat treatments come in! If you think you have bed bugs or are interested in a home heat, contact ECO Bed Bug! We use heat treatment to eradicate bed bugs which is safe, effective treatment. Contact us today for information and to schedule an inspection (202) 709-7490.

How to Prepare Your Home for a Bed Bug Inspection

If your calling a pest control company then you already suspect you may have bed bugs.   No one wants these loathsome parasites anywhere near their homes and families.

Hopefully, this is your first experience with a bed bug infestation. In which case you probably won’t know what to expect when the technicians comes to call. Naturally, you’ll have some questions about what you should, and shouldn’t, be doing to prepare your home for the inspection.

CATCH AND SAVE LIVE BED BUGS

If possible, catch and save live bed bugs to show the technician. You can save a couple of specimens (popping them in a jar works best) it can help to speed up the inspection process. If you don’t like the idea of handling a bed bug, you can even take a photograph. If the home has been recently altered, or over-the-counter pesticides have been applied, and bed bug populations are either spread out or temporarily diminished, evidence of live bed bugs is extremely helpful to the technician.

DON’T SLEEP IN ANOTHER ROOM

We know, the idea of remaining in a room in which you know bedbugs are hiding is a nightmare situation.  As tempting as it might be to move to another room, it is advised that you stay put. Bed bugs follow their food source. If you move to another room, due to the incredibly adept sense of smell of the bed bug, they will follow you, or otherwise find other individuals in the home to feed on. This means that the bed bugs will migrate and cause rooms that may not have been infested to require professional treatment. Of course, this all means more money and time spent on eradicating the infestation. To contain the infestation, save money and time, and to give the technician an accurate picture of the infestation, it is important to stay put and contact a professional as soon as the infestation becomes known to you.

MOVING FURNITURE & BELONGINGS AROUND

Moving around furniture and other items in your home will only exacerbate the spread of the pests and alter what has been happening naturally in your home. This will give our technician an inaccurate picture of the degree of the infestation. Bed bugs are more likely to go undetected by the homeowner, when furniture and other household items have been recently shuffled around, leading to a more severe infestation. To give the technician the most accurate information on the infestation, it is hugely important to refrain from altering the normal layout of your home.

Does Steam Kill Bed Bugs?

Steam can effectively kill bed bugs because they are really bad at tolerating heat. The quality of the bed bug steamer you use is extremely important. It’s best to use a commercial steamer with a capacity of at least one gallon (3.78 L) and steam volume control. Don’t use the steamer that you’d use to steam your clothes and don’t use a carpet cleaner. These simply won’t reach high enough temperatures to kill bed bugs. The surface temperature where you apply the steam treatment should be at least 160–180°F (71–82°C).

How to Kill Bed Bugs Using Steam?

The method requires some time and dedication. You cannot expect the steam cleaner to kill the insects as soon as you turn the thing on. The truth is that you will actually need to come in contact with the bed bugs or eggs, in order to get rid of them. That’s why you should take your time to ‘explore’ every single crack and crevice.

Quick and basic steam cleaning of your mattress or couch won’t really make a difference. So, make sure to slowly apply the steam on top of every surface, under the surfaces and in the cracks and between the cushions. For example, steam is effective up to ¾’’ into fabric surfaces. When it comes to various cracks and crevices, the steam will be able to kill the insects up to 2-3/8’’ into a gap.

The Advantages of Removing Bed Bugs With Steam

There are several advantages to using steam to kill bed bugs. For one thing, steam is a very sustainable way to remove bed bugs since water is a renewable resource. Also, like heat treatment, steam does not leave any chemical smells or residue in your home! Steam cleaning to remove bed bugs is something that you can easily do by yourself. Perhaps the biggest advantage of steam cleaning to get rid of bed bugs is that the steam reaches such a high temperature that the bed bugs die nearly instantly.

The Disadvantages of Removing Bed Bugs With Steam

Of course, there are some disadvantages to using a steam cleaner to kill bed bugs. One disadvantage, steaming can work well only on certain surfaces. Bear in mind that steam can damage some surfaces and appliances. Secondly, steam must come directly in contact with the bed bugs and their eggs in order to kill it. So if you miss a spot and a few bugs escape, you could end up with an infestation again. The other main disadvantage of using steam is that steam cleaners can be expensive running you a few hundred dollars.

How Does Thermal Remediation Treatment Differ From Steam?

Heat treatment may take a bit longer than steam cleaning to kill bed bugs, but it tends to be more thorough. Bed bugs will die at temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the temperature your home is typically heated to during a bed bug heat treatment. However, since heat permeates every part of your home, including small cracks and crevices, there’s a very low chance of missing any bugs and having to start the process again.

Precautions When Using A Steamer on Your Own

While steam is effective, it can be dangerous. Always read and understand the manual that came with the steamer. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions. The steam is under pressure, so be careful when refilling the machine and using the steam wand. The steam will be hot, as high as 212-230°F. This can cause burns, so never let children use the steamer and always direct the steam away from yourself.

Do You Need Bed Bug Removal Services?

If you think you have bed bugs or are interested in a thermal heat remediation treatment, contact ECO Bed Bug! We use heat treatment to eradicate bed bugs. This safe, effective treatment is completed in less than 8 hours depending on infestation level. Contact us today for an inspection at (202) 709-7490 or through our website.

BED BUG BITES DON’T AFFECT EVERYONE

Because bed bug bites affect everyone differently, some people may have no reaction and will not develop bite marks or any other visible signs of being bitten. Other people may be allergic to the bed bugs and can react adversely to the bites. These allergic symptoms can include enlarged bite marks, painful swellings at the bite site, and, on rare occasions, anaphylaxis.  So, why exactly do some people say bed bugs seemingly bite one person over the other?

Characteristics of Bed Bug Bites

Since bed bugs usually attack their victims during the night, it will most likely happen when you are sleeping in your bed. Which means the parts of your body that are usually exposed during the nighttime are the most vulnerable to their bites. Most cases of bed bug bites show up in a small area clustered together. The cluster of bites may also form a line pattern on your skin. The bites usually cause a burning and itching sensation and appear to have a reddish presence to them. There can also be signs of small blood stains on your bed sheets that alerts you with the presence of bed bugs. 

Do Bed Bug Bites Typically Swell?

Bed bug bites form red, swollen areas with dark red centers. These marks are a reaction to the saliva used by the bug to numb the area while feeding. An allergic reaction to bed bug bites could increase swelling or cause hives near the surrounding area, mostly from excessive scratching.  Most bites will heal within one to two weeks of appearing and not cause any long-term problems. Those with stronger sensitivities to insect bites may take up to three weeks or longer to heal.

Is There a Blood Type Preference?

You may have fewer or more bed bug bites on your body than your spouse or a roomate due to your blood. These pests prefer a certain blood type and get it where it is available. They prefer blood that they’ve been accustomed to. For instance, bed bugs that grew up drinking O+ blood will feed on O+ blood in the future. If they grew up feeding on AB+ blood, they would prefer people with this blood as well.

This means that bed bugs don’t have a preference for a single type. They can drink any blood. It only depends on their taste. This is probably why bed bugs often target you and you don’t see any bites on your spouse or a roommate.

Is it Bed Bug Bites or Something Else?

There are many other insects (not to mention the many other non-insect related causes) that leave similar markings on a human’s body.”  A rash can be concerning, of course, but just because you noticed it first thing in the morning or it looks a bit like what you think a bed bug situation might, that doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s what is happening. Talking to your doctor or a dermatologist or hiring a pest control company to come out and take a look can help you figure out what you’re really dealing with — and help you get to a place of resolution much sooner, whether you do really have bedbugs or not.

If you need an professional opinion feel free to contact us at (202) 709-7490.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO DEVELOP A BED BUG INFESTATION?

How can one determine the length of time that has passed since the bugs arrived? Is it even possible?  For large or long-time infestations, it becomes unrealistic to determine the age of the infestation by observation alone. Confounding variables such as multiple introductions, feeding frequency and treatment attempts enter into play. It is best to say they have been there for a long time (months or years), and leave it at that. However, the age of small infestations can be gauged fairly well for the first couple months, and that is likely sufficient in many cases.

A GOOD GUESS. At normal room temperatures (72°F) and with ample feeding opportunity, bed bug nymphs require about a week for development of each instar between molts. Each molt leaves behind exoskelton, the “shed skin.” In small infestations, these exoskelton can be used to estimate a timeline. This method is limited but can be useful under the right circumstances. For example, if a fourth instar bug is found alone in a mattress tuft along with some fecal spotting and three graduated exoskelton, a reasonable guess would be that it has been using that harborage for at least two to three weeks.

Able to lay 3 eggs a day if a host is available to feed on. Eggs take about 10 days to hatch at 72°F, so if you find hatched eggs attached to furniture, they’ve been there for at least that long. Newer eggs can be collected, and upon hatching provide an estimation of when they were laid.

Often a great indicator of how long an infestation has been around is the number of adult bed bugs present. Generally, it takes at least seven weeks for a bed bug to grow from an egg to an adult, so there should be no new adults from eggs during that period. Therefore, if many adult bugs are present one can reasonably assume that the infestation has been there for more than seven weeks. The assumption here is that the infestation started from only a few bugs and there have not been additional introductions during that time. For example, if an infestation starts with five bugs of any stages, there will still be no more than five adults seven weeks later.

The bottom line is that while there isn’t a surefire way to determine the age of an infestation, you can determine some limits. It requires careful inspection of the available evidence including fecal spotting, exoskelton, eggs and adult bugs.

Be sure to inspect your home regularly if you believe you have been subjected to an area with bed bugs. Or you can even call professionals to come and do an inspection of your home or vehicle. Don’t hold off! Call ECO Bed Bug Washington DC to schedule your inspection (202) 709-7490!

HOW TO PREVENT A HOLIDAY BED BUG INFESTATION

The upcoming holiday season is a unique time of year where people may still decide to travel during the COVID pandemic. Our homes may see more visitors than usual which means there’s a greater likelihood of people transferring bed bugs to others and taking them back home.

It’s a safe bet to say that no one dreams of ending the holidays with a bed bug infestation, but that is exactly what some of you will end up with before all the traveling is over. Now you may be wondering, how bed bugs get into homes during the holidays anyway?

Bed bugs are some of the best hitchhikers around and can show up just about anywhere. It could be as easy as the morning commute on the bus, at the hotel we stayed at, or in a piece of furniture we sat on in a waiting room. As we unknowingly come into contact with bed bugs, they climb onto clothes and into luggage just waiting to be taken to their new destination. One of the frustrating things about bed bugs is that they are so small they oftentimes hide away in creases, folds, and stitching without being seen.

The good news is that you can take precautions to prevent yourself from bringing bed bugs home during this holiday season.

Check Your Room Right Away

When you get to the hotel, motel, Air BnB or a family members home; check the room immediately for bed bugs so you make sure they don’t hitch a free ride with you back to your home.

How to check your lodging for bed bugs:

Bed – Check under and behind the mattress and frame. Bed bugs like it dark and hidden.
Nightstands – Open the drawers and check not only the drawers but under the nightstands as well and behind it too.
Closets, armoires, and baseboards – It’s good to keep a pocket flashlight on hand or at least use the app on your cell phone. Check the closets, armoires, and baseboards thoroughly.
Sofa beds, chairs, and other furniture – Check the cushions, especially the seams.
Suitcase Stands – Inspect the web supports and the joints of the stand.

What You Should Be Looking For:

Bed bugs
Bed bug larvae
Dark or black stains
Skin casings that has been shed

Don’t Use Luggage Stands

One of the most underrated hot spots for bed bug activity is the luggage stand. Bedbugs frequently hitch a free ride on your luggage and inside luggage pockets and other crevices. When you return home from your trip and unpack the bedbugs unpack too, and start making themselves at home in your house. This is why luggage stands are often the main point of contact for bedbugs.

If you want to avoid this common method of “hitchhiking” by bedbugs it’s a good idea to not only leave your luggage inside the bathroom while inspecting the room but also for the duration of your stay. It may sound crazy but it’s actually a way to drastically mitigate your risk of any bedbugs getting in your luggage.

What You Can Do Post-Vacation

Okay, so you just got back from vacation, you took all the necessary steps to prevent bedbugs during your stay; now what do you do?

Simply taking necessary prevention steps to avoid bedbugs is a great first start when traveling— but it’s not enough, you also need to take some steps once you get home to ensure your house remains bedbug free.

What To Do With Luggage

When you get home from your vacation, it’s good to get in the habit of storing your luggage outside in a storage shed or in your garage. The best way to store luggage is in big trash bags and then tie them in a knot so that if there are any bedbugs they will suffocate and die. Since you already know that bedbugs love to take a free ride in your luggage especially without you knowing it, keeping your luggage this way will keep it from spreading into the interior of your home.

Now, when you plan to travel again and need to get your luggage out of the garage, make sure you check it before packing; it might even be a good idea to spray it with some bed bug killer spray and let it air out for a couple of hours before using it.

What To Do With Clothes

If bedbugs have gotten into your luggage without you knowing it, they most certainly are burrowed amongst your clothes as well. When you return home from a trip simply wash all of your clothes on the hottest temperature setting your washing machine is capable of. Make sure you wash these clothes right away once you take them out of the luggage, don’t store them in a hamper and then do it later.

Once the clothes are washed, you should dry them for at least 30 minutes in a dryer— do not air dry. The reason for this is that bedbugs do not survive in high temperatures. Washing them in hot water will not only kill adult bedbugs but also bedbug eggs that could hatch later on if not exposed to high temperatures.

Lets’ say you’ve done everything right, but you have brought bed bugs back home. Contact ECO DC (202) 709-7490 for an inspection or to learn more about bed bug removal and to get started right away!

Should I Purchase or Accept Secondhand Upholstery Furniture

Upholstered furniture can be a paradise for bed bugs. Once inside, they can be impossible to detect.  Over-the-counter pesticides that claim to kill bed bugs, may not be up to the task of adequately permeating upholstered furniture. Steam cleaning won’t eradicate bedbugs from upholstered furniture. The extreme heat necessary to kill the bugs and their eggs doesn’t penetrate into the padding of upholstered pieces deeply enough to do the job. 

How Do I Know If the Furniture Has Bed Bugs?

If you decide to take the furniture, you need to check for signs of bugs before loading it up and taking it home. Check visually and inspect the furniture and look for telltale signs of bed bugs. If you see black spots, leave it- this is likely bed bug feces, and the bugs aren’t too far away. Be extra careful with mattresses and other bedroom furniture. Bed bugs come out and eat while you’re sleeping, so if there is a bed bug infestation, they will most likely occupy bedroom furniture. 

I Think It’s Safe. Now What?

If you’ve inspected the furniture thoroughly and there don’t appear to be any signs of bed bugs, great! But you still need to be careful and take some preventative actions when you get home. If you picked up a chair, couch, or something else with a cloth cover, throw it in the dryer on high heat (do not wash it first) for about 30 minutes just in case you missed something. Bed bugs will not survive in the heat. When they spend 30 minutes at 120 degrees, they’re almost guaranteed to die. Most dryers can get around 125 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit.  You’re typically a bit safer with wood or plastic, as there aren’t as many hiding places for the bed bugs. Still, it never hurts to wipe them down before you bring them inside your home.

What If I Do End Up With Bed Bugs?

Let’s say you did everything right – you checked the couch before you took it home, you threw the cover in the dryer, and you still ended up with bed bugs. Don’t worry. If you are looking for a safe way to get rid of bed bugs, look into a bed bug heat treatment. This bed bug extermination process gets rid of bed bugs in just one day and won’t fill your home with fumes! Contact us today for an inspection at (202) 709-7490 or through our website!